October is Respect Life month in the U.S. Catholic Church.
The worldwide Pro – Life Movement is an organic grassroots rising-up of people appalled that others would advocate the killing of unborn children. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children – founded in England in 1966 was the first pro-life group in the world. This of course also points to the sad distinction that England was leading the way in the killing of unborn babies in the free world (communist countries already had legalized abortion).
In the U.S., the Right to Life League of Southern California, founded in 1969 due to the liberalization of abortion laws there, was the first pro-life group in the U.S.
It wasn’t too long afterwards that the Catholic Church in the U.S. began to develop its “Respect for Life” programs.
We see in each of these names a message and commitment to human life. There is no doubt that in the abortion debate the Pro-Life Movement has taken the (inspired) high moral ground. Our opponents in this life-death struggle have placed themselves on the side of killing and death although they try to characterize their terms of engagement otherwise. Our terms of engagement are: Pro human life, desiring to protect innocent human life*, emphasizing the right-to-life – which in the U.S. was called a “self-evident” truth and an unalienable right (Declaration of Independence) – and promoting respect for human life which points to the dignity of each human being (a concept that is integral to any positive and progressive view of human beings).
Of course God said it first and most emphatically: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life…” (Deut 30:19, and “Thou shall not kill.”)
In the 1990’s Pope John Paul II began pointing to yet another crucial distinction in our terms of engagement: a Culture of Life (as opposed to ‘culture of death’). This term, and the necessity of its realization, addresses the big picture and the long term view for humanity. He offers a cogent and prophetic explanation of the pro-life position in his ground-breaking, life-supporting document THE GOSPEL OF LIFE.
* Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth, (1959 United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child).
Filed under: Incarnation
Today, September 29 is the feast day of St. Michael, St. Raphael and St. Gabriel. Gabriel appears to Daniel, Zachariah and Mary in the Bible. Harriet Beacher Stowe in her book, Footsteps of the Master, points to another noteworthy quality found in Mary by comparing her and the Prophet Daniel’s reactions to this awe inspiring Angel, whose name means “man of God,” or “God has shown himself mighty.”
“There is in her whole character a singular poise and calmness. When the Angel of the Annunciation appeared to her she was not overcome by the presence of the spiritual being as Daniel was, who records that ‘he fell on his face and there was no strength in him.’
Mary, in calm and firm simplicity, looks the angel in the face, and ponders what the wonderful announcement may mean. When she finds that it really does mean that she, a poor lonely maiden, is the chosen woman of all the human race – the gainer of the crown of which every Jewish woman had dreamed for ages – she is still calm.”
I didn’t realize it before, but apparently there are two litanies to “Our Lady of Lourdes”. I would like to comment on a few lines from what is probably the older litany. There are actually three lines in sequence which read as follows:
Mother poor and without shelter, PRAY FOR US*
Mother who did bear along forgotten roads the fruit of thy womb, *
Who did find no other shelter for thy Son and thy God than a wild cave,
and no other cradle than a manger, *
It is the second line above which caught my attention, but it is placed in perspective by the lines immediately preceding and following it. The third line speaks about our Lord’s birth at Bethlehem, so the second line is probably referring to the days of Mary’s pregnancy and perhaps the period of time as she made her way there.
She carried her unborn baby Jesus “along forgotten roads” as all expectant mothers do. In her case, we think of the road from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea – probably to the town of Ain-Karim – where her cousin Elizabeth lived with her husband the priest Zechariah. This town is near Jerusalem so Mary would have probably gone to Jerusalem a number of times during her three month visit. Then she returned to Nazareth and spent another four or five months there. But occasionally she would be out on the nearby roads to visit someone or obtain some item.
Finally there is the journey to Bethlehem when Mary is perhaps in her eighth month of pregnancy. God Incarnate and unborn left His mark on the roads of Israel, vicariously through the footsteps of Mary as she did the Will of God. Later John the Baptist would “make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isa 40:3), preparing the way of the Lord. But, in her own way Mary tried to make His way comfortable and safe, bearing Him with love and devotion even before the day of His birth. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of (her) who brings good news” (Isa 52:7).
For Mary, for all pregnant women – and for all unborn babies – all these roads lead to Bethlehem.
Filed under: Medical/Bioethical Issues
Two days ago we had a post on Blessed Herman, a saintly man who overcame severe physical limitations to accomplish great things. Today, approximately 90% of children who are diagnosed prenatally with disabilities are aborted.
Madeline Nugent has written a book called My Child, My Gift: A Positive Response to Serious Prenatal Diagnosis. It will be published in 2008 by New City Press. This book was written to support women who have or have had a diagnosis for a child who has a disability. Click here to find out more about this book.
Her website also has a DISCUSSION FORUM . This is an interactive forum where you may dialog with others who have experienced or who are experiencing serious prenatal diagnosis.
Here is why Madeline wrote the book:
‘Because Joseph was diagnosed in utero with anencephaly, My Child, My Gift was written. Joseph was born on his due date and lived four days of love in his parents’ arms.’
Joseph is the grandson of JoAnn McOsker, founder of Catholics for Life. When her daughter Maria went for her prenatal ultrasound, doctors diagnosed that Joseph had anencephaly. They gave Maria a book on “deciding what to do.” All but about three of the 119 pages in this book were about terminating a pregnancy.
She told her mother JoAnn that she could not even read the book. JoAnn, knowing that Madeline Nugent was an author, phoned her and asked her to write a book to tell women how to bring their children to birth in the face of an adverse diagnosis. That book is My Child, My Gift: A Positive Response to Serious Prenatal Diagnosis.
This looks to be a great and helpful book that offers guidance and help to women through these nine months and beyond.
The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child by Sandro Botticelli
The unique St. John Eudes wrote many diverse prayers during his lifetime demonstrating his desire to offer every action of each day to God in a special and meaningful way. This is reflected in prayers such as this:
“O Jesus, I offer Thee the rest I am about to take, in honor of the eternal rest Thou dost enjoy in the bosom of Thy Father, and in honor of the sleep and temporal rest Thou didst take in the bosom of Thy Mother, as well as during Thy whole life on earth.”
His reference to the “bosom of Thy Mother”, is an endearing term for the womb of Mary as we see in the following instruction he gave elsewhere to retreatants:
“Your retreat ought to be made with these chief ends in view: 1. To continue and honor the various retreats of Jesus, for example, His retreat from all eternity in the bosom of His Father; His retreat for nine months in the bosom of His Mother…”
During his times of rest, sleep and even retreat John Eudes was reminded of Unborn Jesus within Mary’s womb. As he instructs us above, we can honor these acts of Jesus to the extent that we join ourselves to Him with these mysteries of His Presence in mind.
Quotes taken from: St. John Eudes, C.J.M., The Life and the Kingdom of Jesus in Christian Souls
Today, Tuesday, September 25, 2007 is the feast day of Blessed Herman (1013-1054). He was born with many medical problems: cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida. During his lifetime he was known as Blessed Herman the Cripple. Father Robert F. McNamara on his website, Saints Alive, calls him Blessed Herman the Disabled.
He was a remarkable man. Despite his daunting physical limitations he studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, math, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin. He also built musical and astronomical equipment. He was considered a genius in his time. He wrote prayers and hymns – the most notable being the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen).
Father McNamara in his article on Blessed Herman the Disabled comments on the great meaning of Herman’s life with this closing insight:
“In his own day, the heroic cripple who achieved learning and holiness was called ‘The Wonder of His Age’.
In our day, many voices say that people with disabilities should be phased out of existence. Which were the Dark Ages, then or now!”
Filed under: Pro-life
As many of you know this site is dedicated to honoring the unborn Christ Child and promoting the Gospel of Life. So sometimes when you visit our blog we will have a quote about Christ’s time in the womb or the Gospel of Life or a post about another pro-life topic – we usually try to make it positive and/or inspirational .
Since, we do a lot with quotes, I thought today I would highlight some other websites that are dedicated to pro-life quotes.
First there is another blog called:
Priests for Life website has a page called:
Stories, Anecdotes, and Inspiring Quotes
Here is a place you can find Pro-life quotes from Mother Teresa:
Pro Life Quotes Archive Right to Life New Zealand
Celebrity quotes on Abortion and Life
USCCB Pro-life Activities Selected quotes from