UNBORN WORD of the day


Want to have an extra spiritual pro-life lent?
January 31, 2008, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae

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Salvador Dali, Christ of Saint John of the Cross, c.1951

Lent starts in just five days; Ash Wednesday, February 6th. Here’s a great idea for you! Have you ever read the inspiring and prophetic Letter by John Paul II, THE GOSPEL OF LIFE (Evangelium Vitae)? If not, or if it was many years ago (it was issued on March 25, 1995) reading this amazing document could be your Lenten project!

It is not an easy read. That’s where the effort and self-discipline comes in. It’s about 155 pages in the Daughters of St Paul edition, divided into 105 sections. If you read 2 or 3 sections every day of Lent you will have read one of the great prophetic works of our time – written by a Saint? – and be all the better for it. Your intellectual effort and persistence will be pleasing to God without a doubt.

Here is a beautiful quote from the GOSPEL OF LIFE:

“In the early afternoon of Good Friday, “there was darkness over the whole land … while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two” (Lk 23:44, 45). This is the symbol of a great cosmic disturbance and a massive conflict between the forces of good and the forces of evil, between life and death. Today we too find ourselves in the midst of a dramatic conflict between the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”. But the glory of the Cross is not overcome by this darkness; rather, it shines forth ever more radiantly and brightly, and is revealed as the center, meaning and goal of all history and of every human life.#50

IN A FEW DAYS WE WILL BE LETTING EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT OUR BRAND NEW “GOSPEL OF LIFE” PROJECT WHICH WE SHARED AT OUR MARCH FOR LIFE EXHIBIT IN WASHINGTON.



Abortion Hurts Women – A compassionate message for women
January 29, 2008, 12:36 am
Filed under: Pro-life

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Father Pavone has a talk he gives called Twelve Reasons the Pro-life Movement is winning. One of the twelve reasons he cites is:

‘More and more women who have had abortions are standing up and saying, “I regret my abortion!” (And the more abortions there are, the more women are standing up against what they have done.)’

At the March for Life, the presence of these women is felt. Each year at the March, the group Silent No More, speaks out in front of the Supreme Court. ‘Men and women who have lost children to abortion gather in front of the Supreme Court and publicly share their testimonies of pain and healing.’ About fifty-seven people got up this year and gave their testimonies. Silent No More is a joint project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life.

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Another group that had a booth at the March for Life convention was Operation Outcry. I happened to have been assigned a seat at their table at the Rose Dinner so I was able to speak to these wonderful people. I was seated next to Lisa Dudley who is the Director of Outreach and Rebecca Porter the Florida State Leader for this group. Operation Outcry is a project of the Justice Foundation.

The Justice Foundation represents Norma McCorvey, who was “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade, and Sandra Cano, who was “Mary Doe” in Doe v. Bolton, in their legal efforts to reverse their 1973 Supreme Court rulings that made abortion on demand legal in America.

After reading testimonies of women who regret their abortions, the Supreme Court acknowledged that women have been hurt by abortion but ‘stated it had “no reliable data to measure” the extent of the problem.’ The Justice Foundation decided that an effective way to show the Court the magnitude of the problem was to collect a much larger number of testimonies.’ They are now trying to collect a million testimonies of women who have been hurt by abortion to present to the Court.

Besides reaching out to assist women who have had abortions Operation Outcry is working to help The Justice Foundation collect these testimonies to present to the Supreme Court. Please visit their website to learn more.

One final note – the Silent No More website has a page with resources to help women who have had abortions.

Resources for Help After Abortion



Biblical Prophets and saints in the womb
January 27, 2008, 1:40 am
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Quotes from Great Christians

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Last Thursday, January 24 was the feast day of St. Francis de Sales.

While at the March for Life I attended the Rose Dinner. At this dinner, the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America Most Blessed Herman prayed a beautiful prayer in which he detailed the many times in the Old and New Testament that Biblical figures were called by God or mentioned in the Bible while still in their mother’s womb. (I am trying to get a copy of this beautiful prayer.) This reminded me of a quote from St. Francis.

“God also appointed other favors for a small number of rare creatures who he would preserve from the peril of damnation, as is certain of S. John Baptist and very probable of Jeremias and some others, whom the Divine providence seized upon in their mother’s womb, and thereupon established them in the perpetuity of his grace, that they might remain firm in his love, though subject to checks and venial sins, which are contrary to the perfection of love though not to love itself…” Treatise on the Love of God : St. Francis de Sales, (1567-1622)

Here are the prophets that St. Francis was referring to:

Isaiah

“And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength)” (Isaiah 49:5)

Jeramiah

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

John the Baptist

“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)

Two other great men who were called from their mother’s womb but probably don’t quite fit St. Francis’ description:

Samson

“Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, ‘A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.’ But he said to me, `Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'” (Judges 13:6-7, see also Judges 16:17)

Paul

“But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased…” (Galatians 1:15)

Jacob and Esau are also mentioned as wrestling in their mother’s womb

“Isaac entreated the LORD on behalf of his wife, since she was sterile. The LORD heard his entreaty, and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children in her womb jostled each other so much that she exclaimed, ‘If this is to be so, what good will it do me!’

She went to consult the LORD, and he answered her: ‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples are quarreling while still within you; But one shall surpass the other, and the older shall serve the younger.’

When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb.” Genesis 25: 22-24

And of course Blessed Herman highlighted the most important unborn person mentioned in the Bible – Preborn Jesus.



March for Life 2008
January 25, 2008, 4:11 am
Filed under: Pro-life

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I got back from the March for Life late last night. It was a great experience to be in Washington D.C. with so many wonderful pro-life people.

One thing that really impressed me were all of the different groups that are fighting abortion and how many of these groups are fighting for the unborn in creative and new ways. I will be highlighting some of these organizations in the next week or so.

The March for Life is probably one of the largest protest events to take place annually yet the news media largely ignores it. I asked Nellie Gray if she knew how many people were at the March – she told me that they were trying to estimate the numbers and would put it on their website in a few days. She told me that the police no longer give an estimate because a few years ago a liberal group who had a rally on the Mall was disgruntled by the low estimate that the Police had given and really made a lot of trouble for the Police department.The result is that the Washington D.C. Police no longer give estimates for any march in Washington.

Here are some statistics from past years:

The Marchers Keep Marching
The First March 1974 20,000
March 1975 50,000
March 1976 65,000
Marches 1977-1998 Up to 100,000
The 25th March 1998 225,000
March 1999 125,000
March 2000 100,000
March 2001 225,000
March 2002 100,000
Marches 2003 – 2006 200,000

Nellie Gray also told me that her organization no longer prepares press releases after the March because the press never has given the March any coverage. In the past they sent out press packets and found it very frustrating when they were ignored.

People bus and fly into the March from locations all over the country. I met people who had been traveling by bus for 12, 15 and even 25 hours to get to the March. What an inspiration!

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While us old folks just marched – the young people in the crowd added the real energy. As I walked in the march – it was the enthusiasm of these young marchers that made me smile with their chants and songs.

As a Catholic I was really impressed with the young priests, seminarians and sisters that were sprinkled throughout the crowd. Also at the beginning of the March – they read off the names of the Bishops and Cardinals that were marching – I got the impression that there were at least 15 or 20 there. I’m going to try and get a list so I can post it in the future.

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At the beginning of the March there are wonderful speakers of all denominations. The March is truly an ecumenical event. President Bush addressed the crowd – I believe – from the White House. Quite a few members of Congress and the Senate got up and spoke. One Presidential Candidate, Ron Paul spoke to the crowd and Senator Sam Brownback read a message of support for the March from Presidential Candidate John McCain. We had a bit of a scare when Nellie Gray fell and had to be taken to the Emergency Room but she has recovered and is back to work doing post March wrap up.

The march then followed a route which started at the Ellipse of the National Mall and continued down Constitution Avenue. The march formally ends at the Supreme Court building. It was a truly wonderful event that I felt was a privilege to attend.

Here is a picture of what you find at the Supreme Court (which is barricaded so no one can go up the steps). A little startling – isn’t it?

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March for Life – We will not be posting for a few days
January 19, 2008, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Pro-life

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Theme for March for Life January 22, 2008:
“Build Unity on the Life Principles throughout
America.
No Exception! No Compromise!

The March for Life, in Washington, D.C., is on January 22. This is the 35th year for this March. In a previous blog, I mentioned that I attended the March for Life in 1980. Well, Unborn Word Alliance will be having a booth at the March for Life Convention (Sunday-Tuesday, January 20-22) this year so I will be there. I’m pretty excited about being able to attend the March this year. The Convention and Rose Dinner are held at the Hyatt-Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill.

I won’t be posting for a number of days because I am leaving for the Convention and the March today. If any of you who receive the newsletter or read the blog are attending – please drop by the booth – I would love to meet you.

I wanted to also mention that while the March for Life is the big event on January 22 there are many other pro-life activities besides the March and March for Life Convention happening in Washington during the days surrounding the sad anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Here is a list of many of the different pro-life conventions and activities:

March for Life 2008 Conference and Activities Schedule



St. Bernard of Clairvaux
January 17, 2008, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Saints, Unborn Jesus

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The Vision of St Bernard, by Fra Bartolommeo, c. 1504

In his book, Treatise on the Love of God Creator, St. Francis de Sales tells of a vision that St. Bernard of Clairvaux had as a young boy.

“The most sweet St. Bernard, as yet a little boy at Chastillon-sur-Seine, was waiting in Church on Christmas night for the divine office to begin, and while waiting the poor child fell into a light slumber, during which he saw in spirit, yet in a vision very distinct and clear, how the Son of God, having espoused human nature, and becoming a little child in His Mother’s most pure womb, was with a humble sweetness mingled with a celestial majesty, virginally born of her:-As a bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber: a vision, which so replenished the loving heart of the little Bernard with gladness, jubilation and spiritual delights, that he had all his life an extreme sense of it, and therefore, though afterwards as a sacred bee he ever culled out of all the divine mysteries the honey of a thousand sweet and heavenly consolations, yet had he a more particular sweetness in the solemnity of the Nativity, and spoke with a singular relish of this birth of his Master.”

Treatise on the Love of God Creator: St. Francis de Sales,  (1567-1622)



An Example of Biblical Resistance for Pro-life Professionals Today

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Pharaoh’s Daughter Finds Baby Moses. Nicolas Poussin 1638

“In the Old Testament, precisely in regard to threats against life, we find a significant example of resistance to the unjust command of those in authority. After Pharaoh ordered the killing of all newborn males, the Hebrew midwives refused. “They did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live” (Ex 1:17). But the ultimate reason for their action should be noted: ‘the midwives feared God’. ” #73 Evangelium Vitae

Pro-life professionals are increasingly being put in positions similar to these Hebrew midwives. Many are taking courageous and principled stands for life.

In the past year one doctor in England was censured for persuading women not to have abortions. There is a chance that Dr. Tammie Downes may be forced out of her profession because she saved the lives of these children.

British Doctor Under Investigation for Persuading Patients against Abortion

Dr Tammie Downes: Why I’m so passionately against abortion

Doctor’s are not only fighting abortion but they are also having to resist groups that are trying to force them to refer women to have abortions.

LIFE DIGEST: U.S. medical group wants doctors forced to refer for abortions.

Pro-life doctors fight for conscience rights (Canada)

EU says Catholic Doctors Must be Forced to Abort

In an article on the Physicians for Life website we see that this is an ongoing fight.

Right of Conscience From Abortion – Federal Legislation Compared to UK (as of 5/07)

Many courageous pharmacists are also resisting and working to ensure their right of conscience when it comes to dispensing the Morning After Pill and birth control.

Pharmacists’ Rights at Front Of New Debate
Because of Beliefs, Some Refuse To Fill Birth Control Prescriptions

Pharmacists fired for denying ‘morning after’ pill

Catholic Hospitals are increasingly being forced to administer Plan B – one Bishop in Colorado has taken a courageous stand against this:

Colorado Springs Bishop Says He Does Not and Would Not Permit Plan B in Catholic Hospitals : Would likely have the Church pull out of hospitals than compromise the faith

These courageous pro-life professionals are continuing the tradition of the midwives in the Old Testament – they are resisting the pressure of those in authority because they fear God and love the life that He has created.

 



“Abortion need not be an ‘answer’ in this Archdiocese”
January 14, 2008, 12:30 am
Filed under: Inspirational Pro-life leaders
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I was born in Maryland so I have a special fondness for the state. Maryland has a unique history.

In early March 1634, the Ark and Dove (the two ships the Catholic settlers used to travel from England) reached Chesapeake Bay, bound for the Potomac River and Maryland. The Ark and Dove arrived at Maryland on March 3, 1634. On March 25, they came ashore on St. Clements Island to celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation (with a Mass). Consequently, March 25 is the ‘State Day’ holiday in Maryland. A Memorial Cross was built on St. Clements Island in 1934 dedicated to the memory of the first landing of the Maryland Colonists.

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On July 12, 2007 Most Rev. Edwin Frederick O’Brien was appointed the new Archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland. Here is an inspiring excerpt from a homily he gave at his Mass of Installation on October 1, 2007.

“The right to life is the greatest civil rights issue of our time. This is the issue that will determine whether America remains a hospitable society – committed to caring for women in crisis and their unborn children, committed to caring for those with special needs, committed to caring for the elderly and the dying – or whether America betrays our heritage and the truths on which its Founders staked their claim to independence.

In addressing these issues of life over the past four decades, the Catholic bishops of the United States have not – repeat, not – made “sectarian arguments.” The bishops have made moral arguments that can be known by anyone willing to think through the first principles of justice. It is worse than a tragedy, it is a scandal, that too many of our fellow-citizens, including our Catholic fellow-citizens, seem not to have grasped these first principles of justice or have turned their backs on them.

I pledge that I shall make every possible effort to continue and intensify the defense of the right to life that has been waged by my predecessors.

And I pledge more. No one has to have an abortion. To all of those in crisis pregnancies, I pledge our support and our financial help. Come to the Catholic Church. Let us walk with you through your time of trouble. Let us help you affirm life. Let us help you find a new life with your child, or let us help you place that child in a loving home. But please, I beg you: let us help you affirm life. Abortion need not be an “answer” in this Archdiocese.”



HOW ARE WE TO HONOR UNBORN JESUS?
January 13, 2008, 1:11 am
Filed under: Unborn Jesus

There are countless ways to honor Christ Unborn. But one way to consider this question is to reflect on the eight people and one angel mentioned in the Gospels as particularly honoring Jesus during His 9 months in the womb. These 9 are: the Archangel Gabriel, Mary, Unborn John the Baptist, Elizabeth and Zechariah (John’s parents), Joseph and finally the 3 wise men.

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The Archangel Gabriel honors Unborn Jesus through the profound reverence with which he announces His entrance into the world (Lk 1:5-17, 26-38).

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Mary honored Unborn Jesus by accepting wholeheartedly the Plan and invitation of God to be mother to the Messiah/Savior and by then loving Him (Lk 1:38).

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Unborn John honored Unborn Jesus by expressing joy at His Presence (Lk 1:44).

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Elizabeth honored Unborn Jesus by recognizing Him and then blessing Him and His mother (Lk 1:42-43,45). Zechariah honored Unborn Jesus by blessing Him, testifying to Him and rejoicing in His mission of Salvation (Lk 1:67-79). Elizabeth & Zechariah together honored Unborn Jesus by welcoming Him and His mother into their home for three months (Lk 1:56).

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Joseph honored Unborn Jesus by welcoming Him and His mother into his home, by his obedience to the angel of the Lord, his doing God’s will, and especially by loving Unborn Jesus as his own Son (Mt 1:.24).

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The 3 wise men honored Unborn Jesus from afar by seeking Him and searching for Him, passionately and diligently, and by rejoicing in anticipation (Mt 2:1-10).

How do we honor Unborn Jesus? Certainly, He wants us to honor Him through a loving acceptance of those unborn children entering our world today. But we can also honor Him by testifying to the great mystery of His Holy Infancy – even before His Birth, and we can bless Him, that is, praise Him in His Unborn Presence (just as we can praise Him in every stage of His life on earth and following His resurrection and Ascension). “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.” (Mt 18:5)



“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”
January 11, 2008, 11:13 pm
Filed under: The Incarnation

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Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26)

I find this verse in the Bible very meaningful. As a teenager (as many teenagers do) I went through a period of questioning not only my faith but life itself. The road that I traveled to Christ was the realization that the human person has an intrinsic greatness within. Because of that sense of man’s greatness I never, even then, thought that abortion was right. Here are three quotes that amplify the meaning of Genesis and this greatness that God has given to each person.

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“…. as if, in a special way, He drew man from the mystery of His own Being. That is understandable, because it is not a question just of Being, but of the Image. The image must “reflect”, it must, in a certain way, almost reproduce “the substance” of its Prototype. The Creator says, furthermore, “after our likeness”. It is clear that it must not be understood as a “portrait”, but as a living being, who will live a life similar to that of God.” General Audience Dec. 6, 1978, John Paul II

“But the fact that man is made in the pattern of the Son and that Christ’s image is woven into his very being has certain consequences: in the merely natural effort to be more fully himself, to be all that he should be, he collides, so to speak, with Christ, not knowing what he is in contact with, but stirred, all the same, by shadowings of that unrealized Presence.” A Rocking Horse Catholic by Caryll Houselander

“All the ages of Christ on earth must be continually manifest in men: infancy, babyhood, boyhood, adolescence, manhood; also the life in the womb, the three days dead, the risen life…”
The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander



The Church reaches out to women who have had abortions
January 8, 2008, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae

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The last post was on the wonderful work that is being done to help pregnant women in crisis. The volunteers in pregnancy resource centers not only try to help women decide not to choose abortion but increasingly are trying to reach out to women who have had abortions.

Pope John Paul II in his encyclical on the Gospel of Life extends the Church’s hand to help these women find the peace of Christ.

I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.” #99



THE THREE KINGS REMIND US OF THOSE OFFERING PRO-LIFE SERVICES
January 6, 2008, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Pro-life

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Yesterday was the feast day of Epiphany which recalls the visit of the three kings to the newborn baby Jesus in Bethlehem (Mt 2:1-18). The visit of the three kings to the newborn baby and His parents reminds me of the people I have met over the years who have been involved with helping distressed pregnant women in need of medical, social and other Pro-Life services. From the early 1970’s to the present day there have been hundreds of thousands of people who have tried to help pregnant women in need, particularly women ambivalent about the pregnancy, those contemplating abortion or those actually going into abortion facilities to obtain abortions. Primarily, these pro-life volunteers have worked in Pregnancy Counseling Centers (and with their pregnancy hotlines) or have been sidewalk counselors who peacefully congregate in front of abortion facilities to try and reach out to those about to kill their unborn children.

Let’s look at the Gospel story. First we have three differing types of Kings: Jesus “king of the Jews” (verse 2), king Herod who wants Jesus killed (v. 13) and the three kings who come to give homage to Jesus (v. 2, 11). So kingship is defined by its relationship to the innocent baby. Consider the following:

The three kings are inspired by God and led by a Star as they seek the Holy Child. – Those in Pro-Life services are led by the Spirit of God to help the unborn child.

The kings are inspired to seek and worship the promised Child even before His birth. – Those in Pro-Life services are inspired to reverence the dignity of every unborn child.

The kings are filled with awe and genuine excitement at the prospect of seeing the Child. – Those in Pro-Life services have humility & good will as they turn to the unborn child.

The kings are opposed and deceived by the Government of Herod and society’s leaders. – Those in Pro-Life services are hindered in their good works by Government and others.

The kings protect the Child from Herod and this Government that is hostile to children. – Those in Pro-Life services protect unborn children from hostile Government and others.

The kings offer the Child (and His parents) gifts of “gold, frankincense and myrrh”. – Those in Pro-Life services offer unborn children and their parents resources, time & love.

The three kings of olden days are as patron saints and models to those today who take up the mission to unborn and newborn babies and their parents, through the holy ministry of Pro-Life services. If you are one of these chosen Pro-Life volunteers, know that you have been guided by Divine Light to where you are today, and give thanks to God for the privilege of serving – and trying to save the lives – of His little ones at risk and in need.

Thanks be to God for the three kings and Pro-Life Services volunteers!!!



The Epiphany: the triumph of simplicity
January 5, 2008, 8:10 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Quotes from Great Christians
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“The Epiphany” Giotto di Bondone 1266/76–1337

“The wise men passed onwards to the humble village. Again the star shone out in the blue heavens, and slowly sank earthward over the Cave of Bethlehem, and presently the devout Kings were at the feet of Jesus.

…The babe, it seems, will move the heights of the world as well as the lowlands. He will now call wisdom to His crib, as He has but lately called simplicity.

Yet how different is His call! For wise men and for Kings some signs were wanted, and, because they were wise Kings, scientific signs.

As the sweet patience and obscure hardships of a lowly life prepared the souls of the Shepherds, so too the Kings their years of oriental wisdom were as the preparation of the gospel.

Yet true science has also its child-like spirit, its beautiful simplicity. Learning makes children of its professors, when their hearts are humble and their lives pure.

It was a simple thing of them to leave their homes, their latticed palaces or their royal tents. They were simple too, when they were in their trouble at Jerusalem, because of the disappearance of the star.

But when the end of all broke upon them, when the star left them at that half stable and half cave, and they beheld a Child of abject poverty, lying in a manger upon straw between an ox and an ass, with, as the world would speak, an old artisan of the lower class to represent His father, and a girlish, ill- assorted Mother, then was the triumph of their simplicity.

They hesitated not for one moment.”

From Bethlehem by Father F. W. Faber



Walk for Life West Coast
January 3, 2008, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Pro-life

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Most of you know that on January 22 each year there is an annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.. Having lived in Canada and California for much of my adult life I was only able to attend one March for Life. In 1980, right after Ronald Reagan became President, and when I was six months pregnant with my first daughter, I flew to D.C. for the March. (Since my husband worked full-time in the right to life movement in Montreal and we couldn’t afford a hotel room I flew back home that night.) We were so excited to have a pro-life president that George and I decided that one of us just had to go.

It was a fantastic event, and as luck would have it, I ran into my parents next door neighbors from Virginia and spent the day with them.

It is really great that we now have a Walk for Life on the West Coast. Last year I attended the Walk for Life in San Francisco. I was able to hitch a ride on a chartered bus with a terrific group started in the Philippines called Couples for Christ. They were the perfect group to travel with – positive, fun and very organized and even though I don’t belong to their organization I felt really welcomed by them.

It was a wonderful event, the city is really beautiful and the walk is right through the historic wharf district. The speakers were inspiring and I ran into a number of people I knew from Southern California. It is always really encouraging to be with fellow pro-lifers. (Unfortunately, there was a much smaller counter-demonstration by the weirdest group of pro-abortion protesters that I have ever seen.)

Each year the Walk for Life has grown and they had about 20,000 come out last year. This year the Walk for Life in San Francisco will be on SATURDAY, JANUARY 19, 2008. (mark your calendars)

The speakers this year will be:

Dr. Alveda King, of the Martin Luther King, Jr. family and Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life

Gianna Jessen, abortion survivor

Rev. Clenard Childress, Director of LEARN

Jesse Romero,Radio Host and Evangelist

Fr. Frank Pavone from Priests for Life

And special invited speaker: Eduardo Verástegui, star of Bella

I want to thank the organizers of the Walk for Life for giving us this opportunity on the west coast to march in solidarity with the unborn as we remember that sad day, January 22, 1973, when unborn children were stripped of their human rights.



MARY, FIRST CHRISTIAN & FIRST AMONG HUMANS IN THE ORDER OF GRACE
January 1, 2008, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Mother of the Lord

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The Church’s liturgical year began at the outset of Advent, but the Church takes special notice of the first day of the calendar year by having a special celebration feast day for Mary “the Mother of God”. Rather than focusing on New Year Resolutions or looking over our shoulders at the year that was, the Church considers the new beginnings we find in Mary’s life.

“The Lord has created a new thing on the earth” (Jer 31:22). What is this “new thing”? Yes, it will be a New Covenant. Yes, Mary will be the New Ark of the Covenant (carrying within her the living Son of God). But, generally we could say that this “new thing” is a New Dispensation of Grace, a New Era for human living – a New Time of Grace. And this New Era of Grace begins precisely in Mary!

Even before the Incarnation, this “new thing” is realized within the soul and heart of Mary. Theologians have called it “the Immaculate Conception”. We can also call it, more generally, Grace…special Grace upon Grace! In other words, God prepared the way of the Lord, not only prophetically in the ministry of John the Baptist, but also biologically and spiritually within the body and heart of Mary.

When the angel Gabriel appeared to her she was “ready” – as ready as God had made her. And the angel acknowledges this mystery of Grace in her by proclaiming first of all: “Hail, full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Lk 1:28) Now through the centuries there have been some differences concerning how to best translate this greeting by the angel. If I might be excused for saying so, in one way, it doesn’t matter. “Rejoice, most highly favored, the Lord is with you” is another rendering. We know for a fact that God had worked a singular miracle of preparation within the life, person, body, soul of this one uniquely favored woman to be “the Mother of God”.

So, she is the first human to experience this “new thing” which God was beginning in human history and she experienced it uniquely. Her heart had already been filled with Grace abundant as she stood before the angel that day! Next, her womb was filled with Grace overflowing in the One Cell newly conceived – in the Person of God’s only begotten Son! In accepting the “Gospel Message” of God’s messenger angel, she becomes the First Christian! In her incipient and prophetic experience of the New Grace of this New Era of Grace, she is the First among all humans, and leads the Way behind the Divine Child who leads us.