The attack on marriage is really an attack on the human person, and his dignity, for the devil seeks to pervert our true purpose, to pervert God's holy design. For many of us, we cannot march in protests or write dozens of letters or call numerous times to urge legislators to vote for the Truth. But one thing we can all do is pray and fast. We have designated one day each week to fast for these intentions:

1. That marriage may be preserved, promoted, and understood as God's plan for creation.

2. For all marriages that they may reflect the love of the Trinity.

3. For broken marriages that Christ bring healing and conversion to the spouses' souls.

4. For those who are married, for the sanctification of their marriage and their spouse. For those who are single, for their future spouse and vocation.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

United We Stand


In its recent decision to uphold a Health and Human Services mandate that all employers provide reproductive services in their insurances packages (in reality, services that oppose reproduction like contraception, sterilization, abortion, and the like) the U.S. government may have finally awakened a sleeping giant: the Catholic Church and its bishops.  Even Catholics who supported Obamacare, like Sr. Carol Keehan, have spoken out against this mandate.  (It is quite ironic, though, that those who supported the individual mandate in the healthcare law would be surprised that other mandates would follow that would also violate personal and now religious liberty.)  

Many bishops have issued public statements read from the pulpit to their congregations denouncing the decision, and vowing to fight it.  New York Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal, reminding Americans that the right to religious liberty is of the utmost importance in our society.  It is the lifeblood of our Republic.  Quoting George Washington, he said:
"The conscientious scruples of all men should be treated with great delicacy and tenderness; and it is my wish and desire, that the laws may always be extensively accommodated to them."
And then quoting another founding father, James Madison, he wrote:
"Conscience is the most sacred of all property."
This situation is not just about violation of the First Amendment, it also points to the decision by the government to further the breakup of the family.  Pushing for coverage of "preventative services", read "destructive services", is a move that will contribute to the culture of "Me" rather than "We."  Selfishness reigns while sacrifice disappears.  The government has no desire to encourage family life, and this is more proof of it.  By furthering the breakup of the family, the government seeks to draw more people to itself; drawing them away from their families, and their Churches.

At a Sunday Mass in the diocese of Green Bay Wisconsin, the congregation gave their bishop a standing ovation after his forceful public statement against the mandate.  For too long, Catholics and Christians have been kicked to the curb, told they do not belong in the public sphere.  They are reminded to "go in their room, and lock the door and pray to their heavenly Father in secret."  But, Catholics cannot do that anymore.  It is sink or swim time for the Church in America, and the Christian family.  Some may say it is a scary time for the Church, a fearful time.  But I do not agree.  I think it is a great time to be a Christian, a Catholic because we are united in the Truth.  The lines have been drawn clearly, and it is exciting to be on the right side!  
 "You are the salt of the earth.  But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?  It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.  You are the light of the world.  A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.  Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." (Mt. 5: 13-16)

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Light in the Darkness


Sunday marked the tragic anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, a Supreme Court decision that eradicated all controls on abortion and forcibly redefined how Americans viewed life in the womb.  It denied a basic Truth.  Millions of Americans still remain in willful ignorance, and deny this basic Truth including our President, but thankfully our Catholic Bishops will not refuse to proclaim it, in and out of season.

Here is Obama's statement: (emphasis mine)
"As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.  I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.  While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue- no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.  And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams."
It is always ironic when the pro-abortion lobby pushes the line that the government has no right to interfere in private matters, and yet they have no qualms about forcing government mandates on those that disagree.  The line at the end is most disturbing: how have our daughters fulfilled their dreams?  By denying their very being, their very capacity to love and shelter another within them, women have not fulfilled their dreams but have continuously lived in a nightmare.  We must continue to beg for God's mercy upon our nation, less we become desensitized to the horror that constantly surrounds us.  Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles gave a much better reflection on this horrific anniversary.  Read the whole thing here.  An excerpt: (emphasis mine)
"Our country was founded on a great moral truth — that all men and women are created equal and are born with God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  
Roe v. Wade turned this beautiful truth inside out. The Supreme Court, in effect, said that our rights do not come from God but instead are bestowed by government — by courts and legislatures.

But that’s not the truth. And if our rights are not endowed by God, then they are subject to the random whims of those who hold political power. The strong get to decide what is right and wrong, who has rights and who does not, who gets to live and who does not.

So that is why the Church will always remain at the center of this great struggle for the right to life in our time.

The right to life is the foundation of every other right and liberty in our society. Of course, we are always working for justice and peace. But we can never “disconnect” this vital work from our defense of innocent life and human dignity.

As Catholics we worship the God of the living. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus has given his Church a mission and each of us a duty to proclaim his Gospel of life.

We are called to be a voice for those who have no voice. We are called to help our society see that every human life — from conception to natural death — is sacred and precious to God."
Keep up the Good Fight!  Continue to live in the Light and refuse to be drowned by the darkness!  God Bless you!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

January 6th Fast

“I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.” (Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta)
It is important to note that a woman who worked amongst people living in the most devastating and humiliating of circumstances, was firm in her belief that the "greatest poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved."  The breakdown of families is due to many factors but all of them point to one main one: a lack of abiding and sacrificial love.  "No one has greater love than this, to lay down His life for His friends." (Jn. 15:13)  We would all like to believe we could have the courage to die for a loved one, to die for Christ if called upon, but do we have the, perhaps, greater courage to die each day for our loved ones?  It is a slower death: one that is can be tedious and agonizing.  It is a quiet one that no one will remember or laud; but it is certainly not less valiant!  

Our fast today, and our little sacrifices every day, will feed the fires of our love.  It will bring peace to our hearts, and joy to our homes.  Our society will not fall down if the foundations of it remain built to last.  There are many worthy causes out there but none so great as the preservation of the family.  Our first calling is to preserve our own, to love our own.

We frequently hear St. Paul's words but should never tire of meditating on them: 
"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (Rom. 13:4-7)

During this election season, please remember in your prayers today, a man who has always fought for the preservation of the family, Senator Rick Santorum.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Propriety is not Prudish


In the great epic Gone with the Wind, the mild and gentle Melanie is an outstanding model of many virtues (whether prudence is one of them is a subject for another post.)  One of these is modesty, not only as pertains to her dress but also to her speech.  During an exchange with Rhett Butler in which he goes into detail about his married life with Scarlett, Melanie implores him to cease speaking of such things as "it is not fit" for her to hear of such intimate matters.  She still strives to comfort him without inquiring after any sordid details.  Melanie's actions reveal a much-needed virtue in our society: modesty in speech.

Men and women speak freely in mixed (i.e. co-ed) company about intimate matters in their own lives or in their marriages.   Long ago, the veil was torn away and the innocence of the intimate was left out to be spoiled in the public sphere.  The consequences have been dire, but we need not contribute to this forced comfortability in speaking openly about private and intimate subjects.  Conversing in this manner greatly wounds the relationships of men and women.  Prudence and propriety do not equal prudishness.  One may think this analysis only pertains to secular society, and yet it is a problem found everywhere.  Many Christians believe it is normal to speak of marital and personal matters in mixed company as long as its done in a positive or pro-life manner.  Even in single-sex company, women may prattle about intimate things, speaking about them to complete strangers.

Part of encouraging traditional and strong marriages is reclaiming and promoting the sacredness and beauty of marriage.  We must strive not to profane marriage by removing the curtain of mystery that surrounds it.  In the Tridentine Mass (i.e. the old Latin Mass), the priest speaks inaudibly during the most mysterious and sacred part of the Mass: the consecration of the bread and wine into Christ's body and blood.  In the same way, men and women (whether married or not) can and should keep the most mysterious aspects of the marital union sacred by rediscovering the silence that is owed to its beauty.

"And they lived happily ever after"


Life is a struggle and often does not turn out as expected.  But even when tragedy strikes, God in His infinite mercy finds a way to bring healing and peace.  This is a beautiful, real life happy-ending, to a tragedy that struck over a three-quarters of a century ago.  A woman was raped, conceived a child, and gave her up for adoption.  She was then reunited with her daughter, 77 years later.  I encourage you to read the amazing story.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Its not just about the economy. . .


Happy New Year!!  Whether or not, Senator Rick Santorum wins the presidential race, he has played an invaluable part in the shaping the conversation.  While all the candidates are focused on jobs, and our economy, he has reminded voters that the founding principles of our republic were moral and not fiscal.  Ancient Rome did not decline because its armies were stretched too thin; its empire did not collapse because of its vastness.  Rather, the moral decay of its society ensured its demise.  Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia has encouraged political involvement from serious Catholics, both as voters and candidates: he is well aware of the great responsibility that devout men and women have in regards to their country.  It is edifying that men such as Santorum have heeded his call.  Here is a great article written by Santorum today outlining his guiding principle: the dignity of human life.  Read it here.