My youngest daughter goes to a Catholic University on the east coast. I would not call this college a conservative Catholic institution. It is like many other Catholic institutions – some conservative and some liberal elements can be found there.
I also know quite a bit about health insurance - so a couple of years ago I went through the health care plan that this college provides for its students. It took some digging – wading through the paperwork online etc. but I was happily surprised that the health plan they offered did not cover contraceptives. In fact I was overjoyed by this fact.
Recently, as most of you have heard the Obama Administration (with the help of renegade Catholic Kathleen Sebilieus) has found a way to force Catholic institutions to cover contraceptives/many of which are also abortifacient – through the new health care legislation.
Our Bishops have asked us to pray and fast as well as to call our Legislators and other government officials to protest this attack on Catholics and the Catholic Church. Here is an article about this recent decision.
This is just one more way that this administration is attacking religious institutions and people. Here are a couple of other decisions that have been made by this administration that directly attacks Christians.
Feb. 2011 – The Obama administration rescinded most of a federal regulations designed to protect those who refuse to provide care they find objectionable on moral or religious grounds. Here is an article on this topic:
Another article on this decision at Life News. Obama Admin Weakens Protections for Pro-Life Medical Workers
September 2011 – “The Obama administration through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ceased funding for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) work with victims of sex slavery and trafficking. The USCCB had been granted this funding since 2006 and …A Washington Post investigation found that USCCB lost the grant competition despite having received higher scores of effectiveness than other grant competitors.” Why – because the USCCB did not refer those they helped to get abortion or contraception.
Here are 2 articles on this topic.
Finally I would recommend the following article that summarizes the attack by this adminstration on Catholics.
Isenheim Altarpiece (Mathis Grünewald, ca. 1515, oil on panel)
When Christ was born in Bethlehem, the angel of the Lord appeared in the sky over the nearby fields and addressed the shepherds: “…behold, I bring you good news of a great joy…”
When the three wise men finally saw the star of Bethlehem settle over the place where Christ and His parents were staying, “they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy”.
Three decades later, after the Last Supper and before they went to the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus spoke in veiled terms about His quickly approaching death and subsequent resurrection. He gave his beloved disciples an image to help them understand: “When a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world” (Jn 16.21).
So the joy of the Resurrection is described by Jesus as being like the joy of bringing a newborn baby into the world! Perhaps, His mother had described to Him the joy she experienced when He was born. Perhaps Mary had told Him too, about the joyful message of the angel at Bethlehem and the joy of the three wise men.
The birth of a baby is an extraordinary event, one that changes many parents forever in a spiritual way as a bond of union forms naturally (and supernaturally) between parent and child. We might say that spiritual joy is a sign accompanying each child into this world, for all to experience with awe.
So too, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!
In the temporal order we say that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
In the spiritual order we can say that the truest path between two events in the Plan of Salvation is simply the will of God.
This can be demonstrated in the life of Jesus Christ. Let’s consider the Incarnation and the Resurrection. When Christ came into the world – according to the Letter to the Hebrews – He said:
“Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired,
but a body hast thou prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou has taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,
as it is written of me in the roll of the book.’” Heb 10:5-7
St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, a Doctor of the Church, says Christ spoke these words at the first moment of His conception. The Church has traditionally believed this also and links this scripture passage to the Feast Day of the Annunciation/Incarnation on March 25 (nine months before Christmas Day).
Christ spoke often – directly and indirectly – about doing the Father’s will. For example, it is incorporated for all time into the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy will be done”.
But in Gethsemane He re-dedicated Himself to it – three times: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Mt 26:39,42,44). The prayer in Gethsemane was a holy point of reckoning, for humanity in general, and for the humanity of Our Lord in particular. Jesus Christ – fully God and fully man – not only adhered to the will of God, in fact, He bowed down to it and fastened His human will to it by the bloody sweat of His brow (Lk 22:44).
For one of the soldiers presiding at the crucifixion, the shortest distance between him and the Savior’s Heart was a spear – which he didn’t hesitate to thrust. For us that distance can be traveled in prayer – which we shouldn’t hesitate to offer.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the Resurrection of Christ is the “fulfillment in accordance with God’s eternal plan” of His Incarnation (CCC#653). The true distance from the Incarnation to the Resurrection is the Will of God; a Merciful Will of Love poured out lavishly upon the human situation; cause for great joy!
“Taking up St. John’s expression, “The Word became flesh”, the Church calls “Incarnation” the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it.” Catechism of the Catholic Church 461
“Christ’s Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God’s Son, and is its fulfillment in accordance with God’s eternal plan.” Catechism of the Catholic Church 653
A Chapel Dedication
Today the Mystical Body of Christ is enriched
And this Archdiocese made more fruitful
The Holy Spirit unleashed God’s bounteous gifts
To bolden Christ’s witnesses ever truthful.
A Church, exquisite in splendor, yet humble
Frail in human stature, enflamed by Heaven
Not burning as others might suppose, rather
A light on a hill, in a valley, for a Mission.
Incense smoke ascending, wafting throneward
By the breezes of prayer, and Dedication.
A quake felt thro’ and beyond the Church wall
A Grace quake tumbling out the doors to Creation.
Forty odd miles away it overswept me
This soothing tsunami of light and compassion
The Woman in her pangs of birth is enlivened
Her young scholar soldiers of Peace to fashion.
Good neighbors and great almsgivers did gather
With Aquinas and a saintly host on this day.
The founders had ardently desired fruition,
Of pleasing Him, to Whom true homage we pay.
George A. Peate
HOLY INFORMATION…TO INFORM THE CONSCIENCE…AND FORM THE HEART…
Just as feeding one’s body should not be an altogether haphazard exercise but needs to be self-regulated for one’s own good health and well being, so too one needs to look to nourishing sources for information. Not all information is equal – some is garbage-like and some is holy!
St Paul told the Ephesians: “…walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” Eph 5:8-10
And he told the Phillipians also: “…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.” Phil 4:8
Our nation needs an informed electorate! But not informed with trivia, distorted half-truths, smooth-as-silk lies, compromised data, tainted journalism and all the other attempts to manipulate voters. The foregoing produces unformed/deformed consciences.
The voter with an unformed conscience considers unborn children as unimportant.
Seek that information that truly enlightens the intellect, enkindles the conscience and ignites the heart…
As one of the greatest men of the twentieth century said: “Our intelligence is not just an abstract machine; it is also incarnate and the heart is as important as the faculty of reason, or precisely reason is nothing without the heart”. Dr. Jerome Lejeune
The truth sets the heart free. A properly informed conscience will love the unborn child!
Pope Benedict has inaugurated “The Year of St Paul”, beginning on June 29, 2008, at the first Vespers of the traditional Church Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Last night I watched some of the liturgical celebrations live from the Vatican (on EWTN) to usher in this extraordinary Pauline year of grace.
In keeping with the spirit of this special day, we offer the following short quote from UNBORN JESUS OUR HOPE concerning the mystical nature of Mary’s pregnancy and words from Paul (and Peter) which help to throw light on it:
“She is the first Christian missionary. She carries the Christ across the land from this town to that. But He dwells within her ‑ within and beneath her heart. The mystery of this particular heart‑to‑Heart, body‑to‑Body communion between mother and Child, Christian and Christ, is impossible to fathom. Many years later both Saints Peter and Paul described their own sense of oneness with Christ in words that may help us in our appreciation of Mary’s experience. Reflecting on his own personal identification with Christ’s death on the cross, St. Paul would say; “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…” (Gal 2:20).
But what of Mary’s intimate identification with our Lord’s Incarnation, the singular experience of Mary’s maternity? Her sentiments may have resembled those of St. Paul; paraphrasing now: “I have been conceived with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…” And as each day passed, did she not sense that she was becoming, as St. Peter would later say, a partaker “of the divine nature” (II Pet 1:4)? No other human soul has experienced the wonder and grace of this mystical passage from youthful human simplicity into the eternal mystery of mothering God! Words fail us here: ” Christ is all, and in all” (Col 3:11).”
Every Christian must discover for himself or herself, and repeatedly, just how “Christ is all, and in all” for him and for her. In a unique way, during her nine month pregnancy, Mary must have pondered within her heart – in an archetypical manner – the Incarnational mystery that “Christ is all, and in all”. He certainly was “all and in all” in her! Following baptism and the onset of the life of God within each Christian soul, it is true on the spiritual level – a mystical truth and reality grasped and taught well by St Paul – that “Christ is all, and in all”! And just as the pregnant Mary saw intimate signs of Christ’s life within her own and desired to live well her nine months for Him, so too today’s Christian recognizes personal signs of Christ’s life within his or her heart and must strive to live well all his or her days for Christ.