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.

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Let my People Go"


We should be especially mindful of the story of Exodus in our current struggle against religious persecution.  Modern theologians have a tendency to focus solely on the Promised Land and the subsequent end of their enslavement as the goal for the Israelites.  Yet, in his excellent book called Spirit of the Liturgy, Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger, reminds us that the land was only a necessary part of the ultimate goal of the exodus: the freedom to worship God.  
"God's original command to Pharaoh runs as follows: 'Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness.' (Ex. 7:16) These words- 'Let me people go, that they may serve me'- appear four times, with slight variations, in all the meetings of Pharaoh with Moses and Aaron." (Spirit of the Liturgy, Ratzinger, p.15) (emphasis mine)
Pharaoh, like many rulers to follow him, tries many compromises and accommodations with Moses (first telling him to worship God in Egypt, then allowing only the men to go, and finally allowing all to go except the cattle):
"But Moses cannot negotiate about the liturgy with a foreign potentate nor can he subject worship to any form of political compromise. . . the only goal of the Exodus is shown to be worship, which can only take place according to God's measure and therefore eludes the game of political compromise." (Spirit of the Liturgy, p.16)
This sounds all too familiar to us.  As it does to our brethren who live under cruel regimes in other parts of the world.  Just as Pharaoh could not decide for the Israelites how they were to worship God, so goes the same for any government today or in the future. The current administration has purposely changed the phrase "freedom of religion" to "freedom of worship" in public pronouncements.  But I, and many others, are certain that they do not mean the freedom to worship that was given to the Israelites by God in Exodus.  In essence, freedom of religion means that people are at liberty to live their religion in every aspect of their life without hindrance from the state.  In great contrast, freedom to worship means simply that people can say their whispered prayers in bed at night. 

But worshipping God is more than praying to Him in the quiet of our homes.  The Israelites were already worshipping God in their homes when Moses was sent to them by God; God released them from their bondage so they could worship Him with their liturgy and their lives.
"Cult, liturgy. . . is part of this worship, but so too is life according to the will of God; such a life is an indispensable part of true worship. . . Ultimately, it is the very life of man, man himself living righteously, that is the true worship of God, but life only becomes real life when it receives its form from looking toward God." (Spirit of the Liturgy, p.18)
Christ commanded the apostles: "Go out into the whole world and preach the Good News, baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." (Mk. 16:15)  He did not say,"Stay in the Upper Room, say your prayers, and go back to being fishermen."  It is quite ironic that many of the same people who say Christians never act Christ-like, are the same ones who are forcing us against the commands of Christ.  Faith is not put on, on Sunday, and taken off during the week.  If it were, we would be like the Pharisees that Christ spoke of when he said:
"Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'" (Mk.7: 6-7)
To deprive men of the freedom of true worship, the freedom to practice their faith, is a grave injustice.  Again, our current pontiff eloquently elaborates:
"When morality and law do not originate in a God-ward perspective, they degrade man, because they rob him of his highest measure and his highest capability, deprive him of any vision of the infinite and eternal." (p.19)
When this, or any, government takes away man's freedom of religion, they take away his hope itself.  Man was made to live in happiness with God forever; without true freedom to worship, man is deprived of the hope that points to this beatitude, and so deprived of the moral code that would aid him in reaching this blessed goal.

During this Lent, please continue to fast and pray for an end to persecution, for courageous leaders to arise, and for our families to strengthen and preserve the Faith.

Rallies for Religious Freedom will be held across the nation next Friday, March 23rd.  I encourage you to stand with our fellow Christians in the fight for religious freedom.  Go to this website to find the nearest location:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 2nd Fast

"Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife. " (Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, no. 17)
Though excoriated in his own time for statements such as this, Paul VI acted as no less than a prophet in his encyclical, Humanae Vitae.  Only eleven years after its promulgation China began its draconian one-child policy, enforcing it through forced abortions and sterilizations.  The availability and legality of contraception and abortion has decimated many countries' population growths.  And now it happens to the "freest" nation in the world that the government hands down a dictate forcing every person to pay for coverage of destructive care, thereby encouraging the further breakdown of the family.  It is evident that the desire of secular forces is to stamp out fertility, to stamp out life.  Why?  Because they cannot stand in the Light of Life itself.  The Light that shines brilliantly from each soul created is too much for the forces of evil to endure, and so they seek to eradicate it.

And yet, we know they cannot eradicate this Light, because its source is eternal.  And they cannot eradicate this Light because they cannot triumph over Him who is the "Way, the Truth, and the Life." What a beautiful time Lent is, as we meditate on Our Lord's Passion and Death and Triumph over Evil.  The war was won when Christ rose from the dead that first Easter morning.  Darkness may surround us but it cannot overcome the Light of the Truth.  We must be determined to let the Light of Christ shine forth in our lives, and in our homes.  During our fast today, let us especially focus on accomplishing our tasks, and offering up up any small or large sufferings with great joy.  The tediousness of this day and everyday can only be overcome by joy and patience.  If we wish to make it to Easter Sunday, we must first make the slow way to Calvary.  May God grant you patience and peace this day and during this holy season of Lent!