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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Original Christmas Story...the story continues

While for most people Christmas is now over for myself and many Catholics the story is just beginning.  The Church celebrates the Christmas season as the 12 days from the beautiful celebration of the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord to the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th.  During this time we continue to celebrate the birth of our Lord, the Word made flesh.  There are also great feasts of holy men & women that are celebrated during this time including; St. Stephen, St. John Apostle & Evangelist, Feast of the Holy Innocents, Feast of the Holy Family, on the Octave of Christmas the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God.  Also not specifically feasts but great saints on the calendar are St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nazianzen, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. John Neumann (different from St. John Newman) and also the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.
Now that I have just listed that massive mouthful, what does this mean for us?  This is a beautiful time of grace, one that is filled with great examples of what it means to be Catholic, to witness (starting with the first martyr, St. Stephen) to the Catholic faith, to evangelize.  As the secular new year approaches there is the look forward to new years resolutions and things to be accomplished in the new year.  But before we rush back into the hustle of worldly things, let us take these twelve days and examine where we are in our relationship with God.  This is a period of special grace, please take advantage of it.  Start a new devotion or  resolve to try to attend mass more often, open yourself to more avenues of grace.
We are in the middle of a Year of Faith, a time to grow in our own faith and begin to seek avenues to evangelize others.  The humbling example, the self-emptying of Jesus to come to us as a baby, vulnerable to the world, is our example and our template.  What do you need to empty from yourself to allow Jesus to reign in your heart.  Take some time in silence over these twelve days and reflect on what Jesus wants you to leave behind, to let go of, to release to His love so that you can move forward in faith.  Then you will be able to answer the call of Christ and the Church to evangelize those around you, to be a witness to love, to life, to Christ.
"It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present-day society make all the more urgent. Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ's sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection." (Evangelii Nuntiandi 14 (Evangelization in the Modern World) Pope Paul VI)
Open yourself to grace this Christmas season so that Jesus can enter into your heart, your life and live forever.  And so that you carry forth the Word of God to all those who need to hear it or see it.  Always remembering what is most important:


Bringing forth Christ:
"The Lord can find a dwelling place in our own souls and lives.  Not only must we carry Him in our hearts, but we must bring Him to the world, so that we too can bring forth Christ for our Epoch."  Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What Child Is This?? - The Original Christmas Story

has a lot to tell us about life and love, passion and purpose.

This Advent I had the great intention of writing a blog post every Sunday of Advent, unfortunately my life had other plans.  I got busy with this and that, having a Christmas party, packing to come home for Christmas, cleaning my house and all sorts of things that just seemed to get in the way of the more important things.  Jesus' coming in flesh, reflecting on the love of God, the yes of Mary (and the yes of Joseph).  There are so many things that were more important than me and what I needed that seemed to escape me sometimes this Advent season.

In my past few posts, I wrote about transformation, transforming our lives radically to Christ (metanoia in the Greek).  Advent for all of us should have been a time where we radically reoriented our lives to the birth of the Lord.  Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, "dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father." (John 1:14)  "Only if people change will the world change; and in order to change, people need the light the comes from God, the light which so unexpectedly [on the night of Christmas] entered into our night."  Pope Benedict XVI

In my personal Advent reflections I looked at how my life has been impacted by the Incarnation.  How has my life been affected by the Word becoming flesh?  How has yours?  Do we allow Christ, the final Word of the Father to take root in our lives?  Do we allow this Truth to find its foundation in us?  The world today does not recognize any foundation, and it is shown as we slip slowly into degradation.  Truth is stated simply at the beginning of John's Gospel.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father."  John 1:1,14

When Christ is removed from Christmas all we are left with is mas and that is meaningless.  So are you making your Christmas meaningless by removing Christ, the Incarnate Truth from it.

So I would say for many of us and I include myself in this, we are sometimes a people lost drifting through life as if it was meaningless.  Our lives need to be lived with passion for Christ and with the purpose of getting to Heaven.  This Christmas is the time to wake up and realize that life has purpose and to live that purpose; Jesus said to him (says to us), "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." John 14:6

Christmas is the time to find our purpose, our passion, our love in Christ, the Word made flesh.  Then to live that purpose, passion and love in our everyday lives, following the example of Christ.  (cf. The Beatitudes - Matthew 5:1-12)  God is Love, and we are called to love:
"7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit.14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."  1 John 4:7-16

There is no greater love than God humbling Himself, emptying Himself and coming into the world as a baby, in a manger.  "And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." Luke 2:7



Is there room this Christmas season for Jesus to be in our hearts, our minds, our lives and those of friends and family.  Do our actions, our words, our lives demonstrate that Jesus lives within us.  The very Word of God received in the Eucharist.  Christmas night and the birth of Our Lord is the school of faith and life where we can encounter Christ.  Emmanuel, God-with-us.

"It is the task of us Christians, with witness of our life, to spread the truth of Christmas which Christ brings to every man and woman of good will.  Born in the poverty of the manager, Jesus comes to offer to all that joy and that peace which alone can fulfill the expectation of the human soul."  Pope Benedict XVI

Prayer:
This evening, I welcome you, Jesus, in the most unpretentious of forms: that of a baby.  Truly I discover this evening that the greatest of gifts can come in the simplest of wrappings.  How can I thank you for the gift of yourself, the Word of God having taken on human flesh as a baby in a manger? The best I can do is to give you my love...and that is what I present you with this evening.

Remember, Christmas is not just a day but a state of mind, a state of being in relation, a relation of love with the Word made flesh, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Invite Him into your heart today, welcome Him if you have drifted away.  His Love is never-ending and He so desires to be with you, won't you say yes as Mary said yes?  My prayers are with all of you and if you have said yes after being away for awhile or for the first time, Welcome Home.

O Holy Night - Kings College in Cambridge


Sunday, December 2, 2012

A New Year - A Simple Gift

It is the dawning of a new year and you are probably thinking right now this guy obviously can't read a calendar, however it is not a calendar year that I am talking about but the liturgical year.  The first Sunday of Advent marks the new year and a new period, a time of reflection and preparation as the Church looks forward to the birth of the Incarnate Lord.
Blessed John Paul II tells us in his Angelus message of Dec 2nd 2001;
"Dearest Brothers and Sisters: With today's first Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins.  The Church takes up her journey again, and invites us to reflect more intensely on the mystery of Christ, a mystery that is always new and that time cannot exhaust.  Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  Thanks to him, the history of humanity proceeds as a pilgrimage toward the fulfillment of the Kingdom which he inaugurated with his Incarnation and victory over sin and death."

And so we as the Church gather and begin a pilgrimage as the Magi did to meet Jesus in the manger.  To worship and offer gifts to the King of kings.  What do we offer to Jesus this Advent season, are we taking the time to properly prepare not only our minds but our hearts.  During this Year of Faith we are being called by the Holy Father to grow in a deeper understanding of our faith by delving deeper into the Catechism and the teachings of the Church; but this realizes itself most fully in seeking to come into closer intimacy with Jesus Christ.  Looking forward in hope and reaching out to Christ to draw ourselves closer to Him.

"Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope...It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope." Pope Benedict XVI - Seek That Which Is Above


And so as Adam and Eve were originally tasked with tending the Garden, we are tasked with tending the garden of hearts and minds.  To trim and cut away those things that keep us from God and to grow the vine of virtue that brings us closer to God.  This advent God calls us to radical transformation, a "metanoia", that is both interior and exterior.  "Faith without works is like a song you can't sing, its about as useless as a screen door on a submarine" (from the song "Screen Door" by Rich Mullins)

So we reflect on the garden of our hearts and minds and look to what needs tending this Advent.  Our journey is one full of hope and the expecting joy of the coming of the King.  Where is your heart?  Where is your mind?  There is so much hustle and bustle during the Advent season that we forget sometimes to look to what matters most, the tending of our souls in the garden of life.  Will you be ready?  Will your gift be one that is acceptable?  Will you be like the wise virgins in Matthew 25 who brought oil and were prepared for the bridegroom when he came and were admitted to the wedding feast or will you be like the foolish ones who did not and were left outside when the door was locked?

So let us prepare for the encounter with Jesus, to adore the babe in the manger who humbled himself to become man, but humbled himself further by coming as a baby, defenseless in the world, dependent on others for everything.  So let us humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord and let Him lift us up to Him.



Let us pray:
Loving God source of my longing, you have reached out to your people through the gift of your incarnate Son.  Today in a special way I start anew my spiritual journey toward the stable where I seek to encounter the babe of Bethlehem.  Be with me, guide me, teach me, strengthen me, and inspire me during this journey.  Draw me into closer union with you as I put forth my best effort to prepare for the coming of Christ so that I may truly present him with a gift worth giving on Christmas day.
Mary, Mother of God - Pray for us
Amen.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Where is the line???

As I left my house this morning to get my car inspected and then head to Mass I was struck by the stark reality of how lost our country is, and in some ways how lost many Catholics in our country are, how we have so many things to help us find our way and yet when it comes to the most important things we seem directionless.  Traffic as I expected was crazy and people cut each other off trying to buy the biggest television or the newest iPad.  Now I am a technology guru and enjoy the latest, greatest toys when I can afford them (which right now being in Grad schools isn't often, donations are accepted however). 

All humor aside as I was almost struck by a car in the Walmart parking lot where I needed to go to get a taillight bulb for my car to get it to pass inspection, I was driven to reflect on just where are the lines in today's world.  What are we willing to wait in line for?  I saw many people willing to wait several hours to buy a TV or a computer but rarely do I see people willing to wait 10 minutes for the Sacrament of Penance.  When Sunday Mass goes longer than an hour, people complain and leave early after Holy Communion.  As Catholics we need to realize that at Mass we receive the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We should be willing to wait as long as it takes and then get down on our knees (if you are able) and say "Amen" with love and conviction.

It gives one pause in today's society as to what is valued.  People instead of giving thanks and enjoying time with family and friends went to go stand in line to get the best deal on the newest thing because stores opened at 8pm yesterday.  In this culture, in this environment Catholics need to get back to the basics.  Cardinal Dolan called for this at the meeting with all bishops when they met recently.  

So in this upcoming Advent season let us reflect on how much we as Catholics have to be thankful for and how much work there is to be done.  There is the tradition of an Advent fast as well as a Lenten fast in the Eastern Rite Churches, maybe its time we take their example and fast this advent as well for conversion of heart and mind.  We are all partners in the vineyard of the Lord and should act the part. However, for us to take the Gospel out to others it needs to first take root in our own hearts and I know for myself  I find myself sometimes lacking, none of us are perfect, but I know God's grace and the Holy Spirit will make up the difference.  The call is then to interior conversion and transformation, metanoia - radical transformation and adherence to Jesus Christ.  The General Directory for Catechesis puts it this way; "Faith involves a change of life, a "metanoia", that is a profound transformation of mind and heart; it causes the believer to live that conversion.  This transformation of life manifests itself at all levels of the Christian's existence: in his interior life of adoration and acceptance of the divine will, in his action, participation in the mission of the Church, in his married and family life; in his professional life; in fulfilling economic and social responsibilities." (55)(Emphasis mine).


So the question is then where is the line?  Is it at the store, at a restaurant, at the mall?  Where is the line to see Jesus?  In the New Testament people jumped at the chance - in the Gospel on Tuesday Zacchaeus runs ahead and climbs a tree just so he can see Jesus over the crowds and yet in many of our Churches pews are barely occupied the echo of emptiness rings of the stone walls.  Where is the line to see Jesus?  The call is being made, the Holy Spirit knocks on the door to your heart, Jesus seeks your answer.  Will you wait in line to see Jesus?
(I know its not Christmas yet but this song speaks great truth)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rejoice: Christ is still the King!! Unite and be witnesses of the Gospel

"That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me.  I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." John 17:21-26

Christ is still the king and we must stand together united in opposition not to a party or a person but to evil.  To those things, people and institutions that take innocent human life, redefine marriage, corrupt the morals of your young people and culture in general.
Catholics we need to be a witness even more of Christ the King!!!  It is time to stand up, to unite and show this country what being Catholic is all about - it is not a rule, or a commandment but it is about a person, Jesus Christ who is love - Deus Caritas est (God is Love).  Are we witnessing to that in everything that we do, from home, to the pews in church, to the classroom, to the workplace, to the store (and the store parking lots), to the roadways (I am guilty here just ask anybody who has driven with me), to every single encounter we have with every single person no matter the circumstances.

The order is tall no doubt, but with the grace of God all things are possible.  The Church right now has a united leadership and all Catholics need to unite behind our Bishops.  Catholics who are lukewarm, unsure,  or cafeteria Catholics need to see Catholics who are fired up, joy filled and joyful; witnessing to the love of God in their lives.  Families (of all sizes) living, breathing, and witnessing good family virtues (not just values).  The world will listen to authentic witnesses,  the Church has seen it time and time again starting with the Apostolic Fathers right through to today with Saints such as St. Josemaria and Mother Teresa, Blessed John Paul II just to name a few. 

While things did not turn out the way we had hope and prayed.  Our salvation does not turn on an election.  Our salvation is in the Lord and our hope is in Him alone.  Everyone at the day of judgement will be called on to give an account of their lives and what will you say?  We lost the election so I gave up?  No, you say our nation had a setback in civil authority but God still reigns and I still sought in every aspect of my life to witness to You Jesus, who is Lord of all.

Will things be more difficult for awhile, probably, but take heart we are not yet in a Colosseum with lions.  However, if today's equivalent is called for, be prepared to embrace it with open arms. While martyrdom is not a pretty thought, we are called to martyrdom by dying to ourselves everday of our lives.  And if more is called for stand firm and know that Jesus is standing right there with you and your witness, your sacrifice no matter how big or small, will be just that a witness to our nation and the world.   Remember 1 Peter 3:15, "But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence."

This started out as Facebook post but just go too long, in closing I leave you with some verses from St. Paul, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter." 2 Thessalonians 2:15

(From Today's first reading)
My beloved, obedient as you have always been,
not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent,
work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
For God is the one who, for his good purpose,
works in you both to desire and to work.
Do everything without grumbling or questioning,
that you may be blameless and innocent,
children of God without blemish
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life,
so that my boast for the day of Christ may be
that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
But, even if I am poured out as a libation
upon the sacrificial service of your faith,
I rejoice and share my joy with all of you.
In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.
Philippians 2:12-18


May God Bless you and may God Bless America

P.S. I know its early but remember that Advent and Christmas are right around the corner, meditate on all God has done for us in the Incarnation and through His Paschal Mystery.
 
Rejoice for God is with us
Rejoice, Immanuel!
Rejoice and sound those trumpets
Rejoice and ring those bells
Rejoice to the King of Glory
And again we say rejoice
He is the Wonderful Counselor
The Prince of Peace

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Seven Upward | St. Paul Center For Biblical Theology

A great blog post by Dr. Scott Hahn on the importance of number seven in the bible and salvation history.  While you are the St. Paul Center page check out all the great resources that are there in the way of Bible Studies, Audio Courses and talks and a wealth of information in our library

Seven Upward | St. Paul Center For Biblical Theology

http://www.salvationhistory.com/

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Worth Living For – Worth Fighting For – Worth Dying For

The answer to the above title is Jesus Christ.  He is worth living, fighting and dying for.   This past weekend I saw the movie, “Greater Glory” about the Mexican Cristero War or La Cristiada and it was one of the timeliest and best movies I have seen in recent memory.  I recommend first off that everyone Catholic or not go and see this movie.  Freedom in our country is being assaulted and this movie is about fighting for religious freedom.  It is about living, fighting and dying for our faith.  While I am not advocating that an armed revolt is the answer by any means, civil disobedience if it comes to that is a valid and effective form of protest against a government that is trying to define religious freedom simply as the right to worship.  In the sense that while you are in your church celebrating mass or a service that is ok but take one step out and that freedom is restricted.  While this has not occurred to that degree yet, the current health care law, the Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare, and the HHS mandate set the precedent for the government to do this is in the future.  As the movie showed the restrictions did not start out very oppressive but grew after the first were accepted by a majority of the population without protest.  Catholics everywhere need to support, live, fight and defend the faith that they believe.  You may be a Catholic who goes to church on Sunday, prays and lives a good life, and God Bless you, my prayers are with you, but now there is the siren call to do more.  If we do not show unity in defense of this egregious attack on liberty, it will not end there.  Cardinal George in February of 2012 stated, “At the present moment, Catholics in this country are facing challenges to our institutional existence and our mission that we thought would never arise here. … The laws that used to protect us are now being used to weaken and destroy us, and this quite deliberately.”  Let your voice be heard in any way you can.  Through letters, emails, phone calls, protests.  Whatever your ability it is time to act.

Faith is worth living, standing up and declaring your faith, living what you believe is necessary.  Catholics and all Christians can no longer play lip service to their faith.  There must be life in what we believe and we must show it by our prayer and our actions.  If we are not living our faith in our every action, our every breath then we cannot effectively evangelize or convince others including the government that we take our religious liberty seriously.  What we believe must be reflected in our prayer and vice versa (Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi), and this needs to be translated into the way we live our lives.  By every breath we breathe we must speak the Truth of Christ.

Faith is worth fighting for, it is worth rallying, protesting, engaging in acts of civil disobedience.  While acts of this kind will probably be far less tolerated than the “occupy movement” was, if necessary and if the call is made then we must be prepared to live and defend what we stand for as Christians.  Catholic means universal and all need to be united in this fight to defend religious freedom.

Faith is worth dying for, while this may seem extreme, it may not be far off and is already occurring overseas in staggering numbers.  Cardinal George of Chicago reflected on this in 2010 stating, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”  This statement is telling and if you look at the direction we are heading as a country and as Catholics.  They are set on a divergent path.  As St. Boniface and Blessed José Sánchez del Río laid down their lives for the faith, giving us the example for the future, I pray it does not come to that but I do not see our government backing down, more they have seemingly dug in for the long haul, established their trenches for the coming battle.

We must be outspoken, bold, and walk tall for our faith.  Heads held high we must live what we profess, fight for what we believe and freely lay down our lives every day for what it means to be Christian.  Make no mistake what is being perpetrated is a great evil and “evil must be opposed.” 

Now to show my geeky Star Trek side but there was a great quote I must include because of its relevance:
“Vedek Yassim: Can’t you see what is happening to you? You’re becoming an apologist for them, a defender of evil. What will it take to make you act, Kira, to stop accepting them, and start fighting back?
Major Kira: Vedek - you just don’t understand.
Vedek Yassim: You are right, I don’t. Maybe tomorrow... we will both understand.” (Star Trek Deep Space Nine, 1993)

“Major Kira: People can find a way to justify any action, no matter how evil.
Ziyal: You think my father is evil?
Major Kira: I think - you can’t judge people by what they think or say... only by what they do.” (Star Trek Deep Space Nine, 1993)

And to end with a quote from a martyr whose life and death we celebrate today:
"Let us continue the fight on the day of the Lord. The days of anguish and of tribulation have overtaken us; if God so wills, 'let us die for the holy laws of our fathers,' so that we may deserve to obtain an eternal inheritance with them." -St. Boniface (Borrowed from Facebook Apostles)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Catechism, Apologetics and Catholic Product Reviews: The New Evangelization Inside the family

This is a great and simple blog that emphasizes the role of the familyin Evangelization.  If we want to make a real success with the New Evangelization in the United States the family must be at the center of this missionary mandate.  The family has many different aspects and in the coming weeks I hope to expand on the role of family in evangelization


Catechism, Apologetics and Catholic Product Reviews: The New Evangelization Inside the family: A few years ago I was listening to some program or reading a book about evangelizing within the Church and I discovered that it had never oc...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Infinite Love

Love, something that is misunderstood in today’s day in age.  As I mentioned in my last post about unconditional love, the complete self-donating love that springs from God is missing.  The question is why?  Let me offer some reflection.  Our world places a premium on the material, the immediate, and the physical.  Absent from this is the Spiritual, delayed gratification, fasting, and those things that are supernatural.  We seek to replace God’s love with love of the world and worldly things. 
God’s love is so deep, a complete abyss of love that we can never reach the bottom.  Our hearts so thirst and cry out for this love.  There is nothing else that can fill this gap in our hearts.  There is an inscription written on our hearts when we were created by God, and this is the longing, the calling of our hearts for God.  We must seek God with all our hearts; seek His love for us, because "God is Love" (1 Jn 4:8) and love is his first gift, containing all others. "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Rom 5:5) (CCC 733)  This is a love that excludes no one; everyone is welcome at the table of the Lord.  If we look to our hearts we know this to be true, when we fill it with things of the world, it may be full for a short period but each day it needs to be refilled.  God fills that hole with His love till it overflows and explodes out of us.  God’s love explodes out of us in our works.  When we know the love of God deep in our hearts we cannot help but do the works of mercy. 
As deep cries out to deep so our heart cries out for God and when it is not filled with Him we are not fulfilled.  This is seen so often in today’s world where love is a finite concept.  Love is not finite but infinite.  If you have ever read the: Chronicles of Narnia the end of the last book ends with the children running in Aslan’s land and the call is this, Farther up and deeper in.  As they run farther up and deeper in the land grows larger and this is the analogy for God’s love.  The farther we delve into the depth of God’s love the bigger it gets, it is infinite.  This is where all love springs from, the complete and infinite love of God.  The constant sharing of Trinity, The Father begetting the Son and between the love of the two of them they spirate the Holy Spirit, the breath of God that comes to dwell in all of us.
We need to learn to pray to God in love.  God's love has no bounds, neither should our prayer. (see note 52) Praying "our" Father opens to us the dimensions of his love revealed in Christ: praying with and for all who do not yet know him, so that Christ may "gather into one the children of God."  (CCC 2793)

The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him." (1 Jn 4:9) "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (Jn 3:16)(CCC 458)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Unconditional Love

Unconditional love, something that our culture today does not understand but is what we  need, what we are all called to.  Love without expectations, without conditions, without preconceived ideas or notions.  Our hearts were made for this kind of love that is first and foremost found in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The Trinity, the eternal communion of love.  This is where love begins and ends.  As St. Augustine says, “our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”  Love itself is an act of affection but not in the reductionist sense that we see it today.  Love today is used (abused) in many ways.  Love is misused to say I love pizza or I love my car.  This is such a simply basest view.  You may strongly like these things but you don’t really love them and share a deep interpersonal connect with the pizza or car.  Love in the sense of unconditional, agape love grows out of our first and foremost our love for God and our deep personal relationship that we have with him.  Love is putting yourself last and others first, your wellbeing behind the wellbeing of others.  True love is a self-donating love the complete giving of self to God and if your vocation is to marriage then the complete giving of yourself to your spouse, always seeking their wellbeing over your own.  And in the supreme act of love, the marital act of self-giving sexual intercourse that then leads to the two becoming one and sometimes producing a third.  As the old line goes, love so real that in nine months you have to give it a name. 
Our culture has lost its love and in losing love it has lost its guiding light, it has lost God.  Our culture has become an ugly place where the relativistic concepts of the person as product and the usability of everything and everybody are rampant.  The dignity of the human person and that each individual is unique, unrepeatable and created by God.  Only in discovering the beauty of God, His creation, His plan and His unconditional love can we recover it for ourselves.  Our selfishness threatens to overtake us as a culture, everything is me first.  People are trampled and shoved out of the way for mere material items, but is there ever a line to see Jesus.  Are our adoration chapels so packed that they cannot fit any more people in them?  Do people make time for Church or do they live for Jesus. 
There is no doubt that this is not the easy route, this is not the easy way out but it is what each of us are called to; follow Jesus, to live his call of unconditional love because only in His heart will we find our rest.  There was never a promise that it would be easy, never a promise of a smooth road.  When you take the road less traveled it is fraught with bumps and holes but Jesus promises to walk with us and aid us.  We must persevere in love, unconditional love that knows no end.  The more we love the more we grow in holiness, the more we grow closer to Jesus, adhering to his Most Sacred Heart. 
As Catholics, as Christians we hold the light of love in our souls, when we receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.  There is no act of love more unconditional than Jesus Christ humbling himself, coming down to us under the auspices of bread and wine and giving us Himself so that we might have eternal life, supernatural grace.  The more we frequent the Sacraments, the more we grow in grace and truth.  The more our souls are nourished by the source of life Himself.  It is then the inward beauty that bursts forth in love and charity.  The act of unconditional love explodes from our very soul because it can no longer be contained.  “Beauty grows in you to the extent that love grows, because charity itself is the soul's beauty.” (St. Augustine)
People may say such a thing does not exist, that it is human nature to be selfish, serving yourself first and others second.  But it is when we love unconditional, giving completely of ourselves in self-donation to another person that we are the most human, that we fulfill our vocation as men and women created by God.  Our world struggles under the weight of many problems but none more pressing than the loss of beauty, of holiness of unconditional love.
And just in case you were wondering what unconditional love looks like, I have provided a few images…





“  Behold The Heart  
        that has loved so much,  
               and been so little loved in return.” 
-Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque   

Is it easy, no; Is it our calling, the answer to the deepest desire of our hearts.  Yes.  
As always Sacred Scripture says it best:
"Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Thirst Which Drives Us All: JESUS!!!

Our world is motivated by thirst, whether it be actual thirst for water or other beverage, thirst for food, thirst for material things (which seems to be unquenchable), thirst of the heart for love, or the thirst of the heart for more, for that one thing that will satisfy us completely.  Why is this seemingly random topic of thirst important, because it is what drives us.  If we thirst to be financially secure, we are scrupulous at saving.  If we thirst for a bigger house or car we are hard workers taking all the overtime we can get.  If we thirst for solid families (rare it seems in this culture) we devote our time to our kids.  If we thirst for God we devote our time to Him.  We devote our time to prayer, to adoration, to the Sacraments, to the Holy Mass.
As a volunteer at my local parish before coming to school you see this thirst in youth, adults, elderly.  You see the desire for more, and many times if someone is not there to tell them that the only thing that will quench their thirst is Jesus, then it is sought in the world.  A world full of relativistic and materialistic agendas that seek out the bigger and the better.
As a student in the Theology/Catechetics program at Franciscan University I came across this quote by our Holy Father when he was still the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and it struck me and inspired this post.
"It is the purpose and meaning of all Catechesis to lead to this thirst.  For one who knows neither that there is a Holy Spirit nor that one can thirst for Him, it cannot begin otherwise then with sensory perception.  Catechesis must lead to self-knowledge, to the exposing of the I, so that it lets the masks fall and moves out of the realm of something into that of being.  Its goal is conversio, that conversion of man that results in his standing face to face with himself.  Conversio ("conversion", metanoia) is identical with self knowledge, and self-knowledge is the nucleus of all knowledge.  Conversio is the way in which man finds himself and thus knows the question of all questions:  How can I worship God? It is the question that means his salvation; it is the raison d' etre (reason for being or the purpose that justifies a thing's existence) of Catechesis.
Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology pg. 354-55
Since we are all called to know God in an ever deeper way, we are all continuing called to conversion and from the continuing conversion springs the desire to bring others to this beautiful gift called faith.  Thus springs forth Evangelization of which Catechesis is but a part.  In my previous post I expressed that now was the time to Evangelize, Catechize and Commission.  At the root of all of this is the fulfilling of thirst of the human soul, which thirsts for the love of God which is given freely to all those who thirst.  The wellspring of eternal life resides in the saving work of Jesus Christ and Now is the Time to spread the Gospel, the "Good News."  Indeed the wellspring should be bubbling over in all of us so that we cannot help but to flood the world with the "Good News" of Jesus Christ
"All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!" Isaiah 55:1

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
All of must first come to the water, drink of the waters of eternal life and then go forth and spread the "Good News"  Brothers and Sisters it was never promised that it would be easy, that it would fun, but we must always remember the words of Jesus.
"So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.  "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household.  He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.  And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." Matthew 10:32-42
The cross may seem heaviest now but this is when Jesus is there with us helping us to lift the burden and to carry on.  In the face of persecution, the truth rings out with a clarity like that of a bell ringing throughout the land.  Persecution is occurring ever more in our country and in the world and in spite of that we stand for the Truth because we can do nothing less than what Our Lord did for us.  
Stand for Truth, Stand for Jesus, spread the Good News to all for the world is drinking the sand is dying of thirst because the waters of eternal life have not been shared with them.  The call has been issued forth, it is incumbent upon us to answer and to spread the waters of eternal life, Let the flood pour forth in our country!!! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Now is the Time – Evangelize, Catechize and Commission

Now is the Time – Evangelize, Catechize and Commission
People Drink the Sand Because They Don’t Know the Difference

So no doubt there has been a lot going with the HHS mandate, lawsuits and other legal action.  However this corrosive mandate which has only been made worse by the “compromise” put forth by the administration is an opportunity.  There is a great deal of division in our country right now, things are a royal mess.  Even though I am only 29, I look back in recent history and can’t find a time where our rights have been so impinged upon.

So when we look to the division in our nation, but we should also be looking into the division in our Church, not just the Catholic/Protestant divisive but within the Catholic Church itself.  There is the “Catholic Health Association”, and “Catholics United” who have come out in favor of this mandate with the Obama compromise.  My opinion and it is only my opinion is that they were probably for it even before the compromise but could not actually state that because of the massive outcry that there would have been.
The Catholic Church right now in the current moment has unprecedented unification amongst its bishop.  All 180 bishops have spoken out against this mandate and why is this?  Because they can see that this is fundamentally wrong, the morality of it notwithstanding, but the rule of law being violated is egregious.  This moment of unity should be used as a time of evangelization and catechesis on what the church actually teaches.  The threat is real and so should be the catechesis given by our bishops, priests and lay catechists.  That is not say that I am not extremely proud of what the US Bishops are doing, I just hope to see more done.  It seems the bishops not only have reacted to the mandate but heard the words of the Pope in his this address…
“…it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a RADICAL SECULARISM which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at EVERY LEVEL OF ECCLESIAL LIFE.” Benedict XVI, January 19, 2012
As many have said the sleeping giant that is the Catholic Church has been awakened, I would say though the giant has been startled and is waking up blinking his eyes and looking around.  The normal Catholic in the pew is looking around and seeing what is going on.  It could very easily if not pushed roll over and go back to sleep.  Thus the importance is shown of the necessity of catechesis and evangelization in the present environment on life issues.  Properly showing people why the church teaches what it does, seminars and catechetical events to educate and evangelize.  Secularism and Atheism has made major inroads in our culture and it is time that Catholics stand up and start to take back the culture because without the Catholic Church there wouldn’t be much of a culture to start with. 
So educate yourself, educated others, push your priests and bishops to hold educational seminars, teachings in homilies.  People are desperate for the truth and the as faithful Catholics we have a obligation to give it them. 

I would like to give you two quotes from the movie the American President which I think are exceedingly relevant right now:
 “America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free"…We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, [Barak Obama] is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.”
“[Lewis Rothschild] People want leadership…and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand…[Andrew Shepherd] People don't drink the sand 'cause they're thirsty. They drink the sand 'cause they don't know the difference.”

People have been complacent, lazy, thinking that what we have in this country is easy.  People have been drinking the sand for way to long and it is time for us [the Catholic Church] to lead them to the water, the water that gives eternal life, the divine wellspring that is the Catholic Church started by Jesus Christ when he walked this earth and sealed with the promise of the Cross.  It’s time to stand up, to be counted as passionately Catholic, to live what we are called to live, the Gospel Message, the Good News.  The news we have doesn’t get any better and yet we have not been sharing that, now is the time to change that, now is the time to reach out, now is the time to make a difference.  Whether it is one person or a thousand, it is time to speak out and speak up because if not there might not be an opportunity to do so again.
“The Church exists in order to Evangelize” Evangelii Nuntiandi 41 (Pope Paul VI)
“I sense that the moment has come to commit all the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes.  “No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty:
to proclaim Christ to all peoples.”  Redemptoris Missio 3 (Blessed John Paul the Great)
Now is the time, Now is the time

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Battle for Souls and Opportunity to Evangelize – The HHS Mandate

Being at war, something no one wants to hear.  But the Catholic Church on earth, its Bishops, members, organizations are all part of the Church Militant.  By our baptism we are baptized into the Army of God.  The Church is always under attack for one belief or another and it has always stood firm in its beliefs.  People keep saying that the Church should get with it, modernize, can’t they see the signs of the times.  Well the Catholic Church most certainly does and what we see is our liberties slowly being violated one at a time.  The encroachment on our religious liberty, right to unreasonable search and seizure (airport patdowns), and the right to bear arms has been under assault for decades.  In this battle we are seeking to not only uphold morality but save the souls in our charge. 

Most concerning in our culture, is the simple moral degradation of our society because of the erosion of values due to the legalization of abortion, contraception and the widespread plague of pornography.  The loss of the family, of fatherhood, of motherhood, of our ability to educate our children the way we want.  Who warned of this, why Pope Paul VI in Humane Vitae:
1)      General lowering of moral standards
2)      A rise in infidelity, and illegitimacy
3)      The reduction of women to objects used to satisfy men.
4)      Government coercion in reproductive matters.
            Does that sound familiar?
            Because it sure sounds like what's been happening for the                past 40 years..."

Why does the church fight so hard to preserve life, because it is human dignity, the dignity of every human life that is one of the bedrock foundations of morality.  One just has to look back at the superbowl ads this past week and you can see the simple erosion of morality in this country.  People will say, “Sex sells.”  Those two words illustrate how cheap our culture has become, how cheaply we sell ourselves.  Sex only sells because people are willing to buy it!!  Wake up America and see what you have become, rise up and fight for yourselves, your dignity, for your eternal salvation.

While you may say these two issues, human dignity and religious freedom, are completely unrelated they are however two battles in the same war that we fight everyday in our world against the moral downslide that we are on and for the salvation of souls.  One has only to look to the excesses of Rome to see where our culture is heading, and it is not a pretty image in the least.

So in this battle Obama fired the first salvo and battle lines have been drawn.  The Church stands strong on over 2000 years of history, tradition.  But what is the battle ultimately over, is it over rules and mandates, yes and no. It is a battle for saving souls.  For bringing the Good News to those who have not heard it and for reenergizing those who have heard but need a booster shot. 

So when we go forth debating, talking, and conversing with people over this mandate, not only should be opposing it but also seeking to use that moment as an evangelistic one, inviting them back to church or to a prayer service.  Letting our witness shine forth, the love of God in our hearts received from the Jesus in the Eucharist, burst out of us.  Our joy should be so great it is uncontainable.

Remembering always that we are at war, we are foot soldiers in the arm of the Lord.  It is a battle for holiness, a battle for our very souls.  The fight goes on and our weapons stand at the ready.  Our battlefield commanders the saints stand ready.  We need to don our amour.
“Therefore take the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17)
Take a stand against the culture, fight for beauty, and fight for the Lord.  “The Lord Jesus is the beauty of holiness and only from His Heart does holy beauty shine upon the earth.”

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

HHS Mandate: Not Just a Catholic Issue

While the HHS mandate is being portrayed as a Catholic issue it is not.   This is a violation of a fundamental right.  In the past few weeks there have been outspoken criticisms from all different denominations.  From different Protestant denominations, Jewish groups, and the Orthodox bishops have all spoken out against this mandate.  Why this rare sign of unity because the leaders of these groups see the handwriting on the wall.  This is a test of what the US population will swallow without protesting, what rights we will give up without too much of a fight.  While the administration is seeking to characterize it as a “Catholic Issue” the groups speaking out against it show it for what it is a religious freedom issue.    

Obama is thumbing his nose at the Bill of Rights, at our forefathers; saying that does not apply to me, The systematic eradication of our rights has only begun, if Obama is able to get this passed and get reelected imagine what would occur in four years not having to worry about reelection.  His entire focus for most of the past 3 years has been getting reelected.  Without that hanging over his head what right is next – right to bear arms is probably right up there on his liberal agenda, what are you going to do when they come for your guns, will that make you wake up and realize what is happening.  Unreasonable search and seizure is being pushed very hard with the latest airport screenings and the pat-downs (groping) that goes on, so the fourth amendment seems be in jeopardy as well.  The sleeping giant of conservative Christian groups has been riled at the top, and they see the dangers in what is going on.  Will the average American realize what is being undermined before it is too late.  Stand up and speak, be heard, sign petitions, send letters.  Now is the time to do something before it is simply too late
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me
By Martin Niemöller 
I know this may be viewed as alarmist speech and this could never happen in the United States but to be sure it is happening now and will continue to happen under this administration.  Those that have spoken out in the past against regimes that seemed to be infringing on people’s rights were also called alarmists before they were silenced, is our right to free speech, to assembly going to be the next right taken away.  The military silenced the military chaplains from reading the letter written by the military archbishop…

I, as do many others, thank my Protestant, Orthodox, and Jewish brothers and sisters for speaking out and standing with the Catholic Church on this issue.  May this showing of unity bring more unifying efforts in the future so that the words of our Lord are fulfilled; “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

I am person who likes to speak his mind; I might not be able to do that very soon.  The wolves are at the door, banging against are freedoms.  Now is the time to stand up and be counted as someone who values their freedoms because if we do not, they might not be around much longer.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Possible Good From a Great Evil: Catholics United Against Health and Human Services Mandate

                Let me simply start by saying that the new Health and Human Services mandate which was enacted under the new health care law is an abhorrent and complete violation of Religious liberty, something that we as a country hold as, one almost might say, sacred.  The simple fact is that requiring all institutions that provide healthcare to employees must now include coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortifacients in the healthcare plans they offer is wrong.  While they state that most states already have laws like this in place, they overlook that exemption clauses in most states are much less rigid than the one proposed by the HHS mandate.  How can you call upon Catholic Hospitals to serve and employ only Catholics, or Catholic Charities to serve only those Catholics who are in need?  This not only violates our moral beliefs as Catholics but there would be outcry over discrimination that we only hired those of the Catholic faith or served those of the Catholic faith.  In the statement released by HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius (A Catholic) it says as follows:
                “Scientists have abundant evidence that birth control has significant health benefits for women and their families, it is documented to significantly reduce health costs, and is the most commonly taken drug in America by young and middle-aged women…This decision was made     after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty. I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services. The administration remains fully committed to its partnerships with faith-based organizations, which promote healthy communities and serve the common good.” (http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/01/20120120a.html)
      The simple fact that this is the most commonly taken drug in America says something about the degradation of our society and our respect for human life.  However, it is the next section that is most telling.  How this strikes a balance between religious freedom is beyond comprehension.  Might I also add that when the administration says is committed to working with faith-based organizations it does not mean the Catholic Church whose initiatives are stripped of funding because they will not promote abortion or contraceptive services in their work.  Evidently according to Obama the Catholic church does not serve his idea of the common good.
                So why do I say that good is coming out of this incredibly evil act by our administration.  There are several good things that have resulted from this mandate.  The first is the unification of all of the Bishops in the United States against this mandate.  The line has been drawn in the sand, this is something that cannot and will not be tolerated, Catholic institutions will close before they offer these services in their health care.  The statements of a variety of bishops from liberal to conservative show this to be true.  The statements of the Bishops Thomas Olmstead of Phoenix, Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, and David Ricken of Green Bay, agreed to refuse to comply.
                “They said: “We cannot – we will not comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their prosperity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope she can trust on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.”  (http://www.lifenews.com/2012/01/30/bishops-refuse-to-comply-with-obamacare-birth-         control-mandate/)
A total of 86 bishops and have already spoken out and more will do so I am sure in the coming days and weeks ahead.  Priests were directed to read statements at the end of Masses, Bulletin announcements, email and phone campaigns to make sure all are aware of the violation of liberty that is occurring.  Cardinal-designate Archbishop Timothy Dolan said, “Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.” (http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-013.cfm)  The Hierarchy of the church is united against this; other Christian groups as well are uniting against this with the Catholic Church showing unprecedented unity. 
                Another good to come from this evil is unification of faithful Catholics in an election year.  What is the last thing that the Obama administration wanted to do in an election year, galvanize a group that makes up around 25% of the population, as well as upsetting those who identify themselves as Christian which is an additional 51% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States).   Obama has done this by forcing down our throats a complete violation of our consciences and religious freedom.  While one might say that the economy, the wars, and other issues take center stage this election year, while they are important, this issue of religious liberty should be something that is a unifying force against the most anti-Catholic president in history.
                The repercussions of this will not only be felt in the Obama Whitehouse and in his reelection campaign but there will be backlash against other democrats as well.  This will extend all the way down to the local level throughout the political sphere. The impact will be felt as well in congressional races as well as governorships. 
                This is a serious issue and there needs to be a stand made and people are beginning to see that.  Under Obama our freedoms have slowly begun to be eroded away and this is the first major act of taking away religious freedom that has been done on a wide scale and in the public sphere and cannot, and it must not be allowed to stand.  We stand on a precipice in our country and its direction and I for one do not intend to live in a country where freedom is violated at the most basic levels, that is tyranny and totalitarianism. 
                The threat that has been made is to shutdown Catholic Hospitals, Health Care and Relief Services.  Why not do a test shutdown for a few weeks and see what would occur if suddenly all the support that Catholic and Christian organizations provide in this country were suddenly not there, the massive surge in unemployment because all those people were suddenly laid off, the effects this would have on our barely recovering economy.  I don’t believe that the Obama Administration thought this one out that well when they made this decision.  They were simply influenced by the radical left. 
                So while this great evil is currently occurring in our country, there is the good that there is unification.  Sometimes God allows great evil to allow a greater good to come from it.  The Catholic Church in the US is finally speaking with one voice; let us hope that once this mandate is defeated that we will continue to speak with one voice. 
To quote the movie Independence day:
"Mankind....that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed with our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests...We're fighting for our right to live...to exist...We will not go quietly into the night...we will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive!"
Short Video clip by Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan Speaks Out