Filed under: Pro-life
This Sunday is Respect Life Sunday in the Catholic Church. I know that in most Dioceses individual parishes will be highlighting Respect Life but in some parts of the country there will be Diocesan wide events to attend.
Click on the above map and it will bring you to the page at the USCCB website that lists and links to Diocesan Pro-Life Offices across the country so you can find out what events will be taking place in your area.
A few examples of Diocesan events around the country:
The Archdiocese of Boston presents: “Walk as Children of Light” Ephesians 5: 8b
10:00 am YOUTH RALLY with Fr. Stan Fortuna
11:30 am MASS with Cardinal Sean O’Malley
Then join us in supporting MCFL in their Annual Respect Life Walk
The Archdiocese of New York:
Saturday, October 4, 2008 – A Conference with Dr. Janet Smith at St. Vincent Ferrer Church (60th and Lex) from 1-6:30, click here for more information. There will also be a Helpers of God’s Precious infants rosary prayer vigil on Oct 4th beginning with Mass at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 8:00 a. m. and then rosary procession to Planned Parenthood on Mott and Bleeker St.
Sunday, October 5, 2008 – There will be Respect Life Sunday Mass at the Cathedral at 10:15 and then there will be life chains all over the archdiocese (the list of locations are up on their website at www.flrl.org). There is also going to be an exciting new post-abortion outreach launched in NYC in October – click here for more information.
Santa Maria CA. – Regional Mass for the Unborn – The Regional Respect Life Office, and the staff of St. Louis de Montfort, 5075 Harp Road, Santa Maria, CA. hold this special liturgy at 9:30 a.m., which is conducted annually during October Respect Life Month. Contact the church at 805-937-4555 for more information. Each parish is also urged to observe Respect Life Month during October with special attention to the teachings of the Church regarding the sanctity of life and the responsibility of all Catholics to protect the most vulnerable, with special attention given to the Unborn. www.sldm.org
You will notice that on the New York Archdiocesan website they mention Life Chains around the state. This Sunday, October 5 there will be Life Chains all over the country. This is their 21st year:
To find a Life Chain in your area click on this map to go to their website:
Adoration of the Magi by Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi
The second reading at Mass this Sunday, September 28, 2008, is the oft’ quoted passage from Paul’s Letter to the Philippians: 2:5-11. Not only oft’ quoted, but frequently relied upon by theologians and other Christian scholars because of its richly compact theological truths.
First it tells us, beautifully, about the attitude or mindset which Christ had when He came into the world, His incarnational virtues of humility and obedience; “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”.
Then Paul transitions to the Father’s wonderful exaltation of His only-begotten Son, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.
Let’s go back in time, ‘salvation history time’, to the first time when this literally happened. It was nighttime in the hill country outside Bethlehem, two thousand years ago (Lk 2:8-20). The angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds watching their sheep: The angel “confessed with his tongue” the Lordship of Jesus Christ: “…for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”. Suddenly “a multitude of the heavenly host” joined this angel praising God. They were all confessing with their tongues, the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Some paintings of this scene even suggest that these angels in the sky are in a kneeling position.
Next, we see the shepherds kneeling around the babe wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in the manger. And they “made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child”. They too were “confessing” the Lordship of Jesus Christ, while kneeling.
We can be certain that Mary and Joseph, at least for part of that evening, were also kneeling and confessing the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Later, we hear of the wise men from the East. When “they saw the child with Mary his mother…they fell down and worshipped him” (Mt 2:11).
We can join with these Holy Ones of old, God’s angels, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and wise men, and yes, with St. Paul, bending our knee to the Name of Jesus, and confessing with our tongue His glorious Lordship! But we can do more yet. Every physical action while acknowledging the Lordship of Christ, is likewise, an act of praise, honor or worship. With our eyes we can honor Him! With our hands – even if quietly folded in simple prayer – we can honor Him! With our head – whether bowed low or lifted high – we can honor Him! With our intellect! With our will! With our memory! With our imagination! With our time! Have I forgotten something?
Our lives are replete with opportunities to praise, honor and worship Jesus Christ our Lord. On the stairs, in the elevator, on the landing, in the hallway, on the bus, in the parking lot. We can sanctify the world, acknowledging His Lordship!
Filed under: Pro-life
‘Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief.
Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.
Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection?
Am I not the fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle?
In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?’
(Words spoken to Juan Diego on December 12, 1531)
In the year 2000, many of us lived through those anxious 35 days when the election had been thrown into the courts. I know that many in the country were praying fervently that George Bush would win, that someone who was pro-life would once again hold the Presidency.
During those anxious days, I approached my pastor (now retired) and mentioned to him how upset I was about all of this. Out of the blue he said to me, “I’m not worried because I know Our Lady of Guadalupe will give George Bush the election.” At the time, I fluffed it off as a pious statement. Of course, I didn’t even ponder why my pastor, not a particularly political man and definitely not one given to pious pronouncements would be saying something so completely out of character (for him).
Fast forward to the day the Supreme Court handed down the decision that decided the election (essentially stopping the endless recounts). I had promised Our Lady of Guadalupe that I would celebrate her feast day and pray for the election by attending the special Mass at my Church on December 12. As I was about to leave for this evening Mass, the news came out that the Supreme Court had rendered a decision. The initial reaction of the Fox News commentator that Al Gore had won was all I heard as I left for Mass. I was weeping throughout the Mass (a little embarrassing) and trying to offer this up to Our Lord for our country.
To my incredible surprise when I arrived home, my husband met me at the door telling me that George Bush had won. My tears of sorrow were turned to joy. And for those in the pro-life movement George Bush has been a good President.
A few years later, I heard something that again surprised me: that Jeb Bush who met his wife, Columba, while teaching English in Leon, Guanajato, Mexico in 1971 (Columba was born in Leon) made a pilgrimage with her to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe during the election crisis. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of North and South America and patroness of the unborn. Amazing when you realize that the election was decided for the unborn on Our Lady’s feast day, December 12. Here are three online sources that reference this pilgrimage by Jeb Bush and his wife.
Of course, I haven’t been able to find absolute proof that Jeb Bush and his wife made this pilgrimage but two other incidents have made me think it might be true.
The first was on the night of the election of 2004 as I watched the returns I noticed something that surprised me. In the living room where George Bush and his family were watching the election returns was a small framed picture of our Lady. I went up close to the screen and pointed it out to my family. Since then I have found a photograph of this scene that I saw on television – see below.
The picture of Our Lady is next to George Bush’s daughter Barabara
The other more recent event was on July 3 when John McCain and his wife visited and toured the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Here is what happened.
“They walked into the church together and a few minutes later, Monsignor Monroy and McCain walked up to the altar. McCain laid a wreath of white roses – a tradition of the Virgin of Guadalupe – near the base of the painting. He then received a description of the painting for several minutes. Finally, he was blessed by Monsignor Monroy. For several minutes, according to reporters who were closer to the action, the Monsignor had one hand on McCain’s forehead and another on his shoulder as he offered the blessing. Cindy McCain stood next to the Senator with her head bowed and her eyes closed.”
Press Coverage of McCain at the Guadalupe Shrine
Guess who was with John McCain during this visit? Jeb Bush.
While there Jeb Bush expressed confidence that the White House would stay in GOP hands.
Jeb Bush Joins McCain on Tour of Basilica in Mexico City
The two best known pro-life priests have written about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the unborn. Both recognize that this apparition is unique because when Mary appeared to Juan Diego she was pregnant. Some of you will ask how do we know that this is so.
We know it because of the Maternity Band: The maternity band around the woman’s waist was the sign of a pregnant woman, a mother who is about to give birth, it was a sign to the Indians that someone is yet to come.
Calling it a surprising image this is what Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said about Our Lady of Guadalupe: “Today this image is still preserved on Juan Diego’s tilma, which hangs over the main altar in the basilica at the foot of Tepeyac Hill just outside of Mexico City. In the image, Our Lady is pregnant, carrying the Son of God in her womb. Her head is bowed in homage, indicating that she is not the Goddess, but rather the one who bears and at the same time worships the one true God.” and “…Our Lady of Guadalupe has been declared the ‘Patroness of the Unborn’.”
From: Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Pro-life Movement
Father Thomas Euteneuer of Human Life International states: “Of all the many manifestations of Mary’s loving presence among us throughout the centuries, in this apparition alone does she appear to us in the manner of a pregnant mother. She holds within her the unborn Christ, proclaiming the sanctity and blessedness of life within the womb. Her reverence and tenderness communicate to us the joy and awe with which we must approach each nascent life. In contemplating her simplicity we find the strength to emulate her faith, and proceed with confidence in the knowledge that God will overcome the seemingly insurmountable barriers looming all around us in the world today.”
This12th to 14th century statue is called the Vierge Ouvrante (the Opening Virgin) with the Trinity in her womb: we see Christ and God the Father (the Holy Spirit used to be here but has fallen away). The assembled crowd (in the fold out wings) consisting of crowned heads and humble folk who are praying to the Trinity. When this statue was closed, the viewer only saw Mary with the Christ Child in her lap
The following quotes are taken from a General Audience given by Pope John Paul II on December 10, 1997 entitled The Incarnation, the entry of eternity into time.
“Jesus’ birth makes visible the mystery of the Incarnation already realized in the Virgin’s womb at the time of the Annunciation. In fact, she gives birth to the child that, as the docile and responsible instrument of the divine plan, she had conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the humanity assumed in Mary’s womb, the eternal Son of God begins to live as a child, and grows “in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man” (Lk 2:52). Thus he manifests himself as true man….
…The Incarnation is the fruit of an immense love, which spurred God willingly to share our human condition to the full. In becoming man, the Word of God brought about a fundamental change in the very condition of time. We can say that in Christ human time was filled with eternity….
…The entry of eternity into time is the entrance, in Jesus’ earthly life, of the eternal love that unites the Son to the Father. The Letter to the Hebrews alludes to this when it speaks of Christ’s inner attitude at the very moment he enters the world: “Lo, I have come to do your will, o God” (10:7). The immense “leap” from the heavenly life of the Son of God into the abyss of human existence is motivated by his will to fulfill the Father’s plan in total self-giving….
…Eternity has entered human life. Now human life is called to make the journey with Christ from time to eternity.”
We plan to feature other Vierge Ouvrante (The Opening Virgin) statues in future posts.
We get a quarterly newsletter from Shield of Roses, Our Lady of Refuge Chapter. Geri Urrutia, someone we have known a long time, along with all of the other members of this chapter of Shield of Roses, has been working for over 20 years on the front lines defending the unborn and helping moms.
They do very effective sidewalk counseling in Glendale, (California) and save many babies and help their families. Their quarterly newsletter is filled with photos of the beautiful babies they have saved, and with moving stories of these babies’ moms and dads. These parents are truly grateful for the help that Shield of Roses has given them.
We found one of the recent stories especially moving because it shows vividly how not just the babies lives are saved but that the lives of the families are also saved by this decision not to kill their baby. I think this story illustrates the wonderful work that all sidewalk counselors and pregnancy crisis centers do around this country. Here it is as taken from their Spring, 2008 newsletter.
HAPPY FORMER MOM CALLS US
“Geri, you saved four people the day you spoke to me about my baby”
Mom called me because her baby was now eight and had just received her first Holy Communion. Mom related to me that if she had had the abortion, she would have had to divorce her husband because he was pressuring her to abort this child who was pronounced to have severe handicaps. It wasn’t fair, he said, to bring a handicapped baby into the world when they already had a small child for whom to care. She would forever look at her husband in the future and know he was the cause of her abortion, and she would always feel grief for her lost child.
We saved her born child because we saved that child from being shuttled between two divorced parents. We saved Mom because she said she would have never been able to stand the pain of aborting her child, and of course we saved her baby. The baby was born without any fetal abnormalities that the doctors proclaimed.
Mom’s extended family also encouraged aborting the little girl, and now they are so very happy that Mom stood her ground, fought for her child, and carried her baby to term.
Here is a link to another mom who credits Shield of Roses in Glendale for saving her baby. A MOTHER’S CHOICE (1988) by Michele Henderson
To get involved with this group or to make a tax-deductible donation:
Shield of Roses
Our Lady of Refuge Chapter
P.O. Box 9053
Glendale CA 91226
Today is the feast day of St. Robert Bellarmine. On the Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops website they have a beautiful quote from St. Robert about the Incarnation.
So be still now, o my soul, and just listen to the way St. Robert Bellarmine compares the Incarnation to a marriage!
“The king is God the Father; the son is the Word of God; the marriage is the Incarnation; and the bride is human nature. It is most appropriate, indeed, that the Incarnation is compared to a marriage!
First, before a marriage is contracted, there is a time of courtship and engagement: hence the declaration of divine love, celebrated by the wise Solomon in his nuptial poem, the Song of Songs, and the solemn promise made by God to the patriarchs and the prophets that the nuptials would take place.
A marriage also requires mutual consent: this took place when God, through the angel Gabriel, voiced his Son’s intention to Mary, and she, the mother of the bride-to-be [the human race], answered for her daughter: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word’ (Lk 1:38).
The marriage is then consummated, whereby in all truth the two become one flesh-two natures so intimately united in one person that, unlike other marriages, not even death itself could long separate them.
And once a marriage has taken place, the couple hold everything in common: what had hitherto belonged to the Word-his unique titles, honors, and special privileges-are now bestowed on his bride; and similarly everything that belonged to human nature-its needs, aspirations, weaknesses and sufferings-is assumed by the bridegroom. Even more, a definite new relationship and familiarity begin to exist between the relatives and friends of the bride and groom: that happy intercourse between heaven and earth, which is called the “communion of saints”.
And finally, the traditional ends of marriage are also apparent in the Incarnation. Rightly, therefore, is this union called a marriage which the King of kings made for his divine Son.” (St. Robert Bellarmine)
Listen kindly to my prayer, Lord God.
Help me to appreciate more fully the awesome beauty of this great mystery, the Incarnation, and so come to know the depth of your everlasting love. Give me an eye with which to recognize your beloved Incarnate Son; an ear that can understand his word; a heart like unto his; and teach me to ever place my hand trustingly in his.
Taken from The Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops