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.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 6th Fast


"During the past fifty years, coupled with what was often a weak reaction on the part of decent people, there has been a conspiracy of evil practices, propagating themselves in books and illustrations, in theaters and radio programs, in styles and clubs and on the beaches, trying to work their way into the hearts of the family and society, and doing their worst damage among the youth, even among those of the tenderest years in whom the possession of virtue is a natural inheritance.
Dearly beloved youth, young men and women, who are the special object of the love of Jesus and of us, tell me, are you resolved to resist firmly, with the help of divine grace, against every attempt made to violate your chastity? ...
...Finally, all of you who are intently listening to our words, know that above the unhealthy marshes and filth of the world, stretches an immense heaven of beauty. It is the heaven which fascinated little Maria; the heaven to which she longed to ascend by the only road that leads there, which is, religion, the love of Christ, and the heroic observance of his Commandments." 
(Homily of Pope Pius XII for the Canonization of St. Maria Goretti, June 24, 1950)

Today is the feast of St. Maria Goretti. She was a young girl of twelve who was impoverished in worldly goods but had an abundance of spiritual wealth and strength.  Violently attacked by a lust-filled neighbor, she valiantly fought off her offender, but later died of the fourteen stab wounds inlficted upon her.  She chose the death of her body rather than the death of her soul.

As we fast for marriage today, we should recall this martyr of purity.  It is not just a goal for the youth to preserve their purity and innocence.  There is not one of us today who would say,"I wish I was less innocent; I am glad I was exposed to such and such."  Rather, we say," Why did I read that?  Why did I watch that? What benefit did I gain from losing that small bit of my innocence?"  The devil works in subtle ways, and carefully chips away at our purity and innocence but making us believe we need to know about this or that or that we need to be able to combat evil by knowing about its sources.

But what if we want to preserve purity and innocence in ourselves and our children, we must not just fend off attacks but also actively strengthen our fortresses by enriching our lives with the knowledge of He who is most pure, and most innocent.  As St. Maria Goretti did, we must flee all things that will tarnish our purity, and seek all things that will fortify it. 

Lilies, symbol of purity

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day


Happy 4th of July!  Praise God for the gift His Most Divine Son!  Praise God for the gift of our country!   Today is a day of thanksgiving and celebration, but one for serious reflection as well, especially for us as Christians.  In the Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers famously asserted our fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Unfortunately, the first two rights have been severely under attack for some time.  The forces behind the war on the unborn, disabled, and elderly seek the erosion of our right to life.  And the recent HHS mandate and healthcare ruling are only the latest offenses in a long line of egregious violations of our right to liberty.  Yet, the third right enumerated in the Declaration, the right to the pursuit of happiness, has not and cannot ever be taken away.  Because the pursuit of happiness does not mean the pursuit of wealth, or comfort, or security.  It means that God has given each man the right to the pursuit of true happiness: eternal beatification in heaven.  And no person, or government can take away this right, this desire that is innate in all of us: to be perfectly happy in the arms of Our Loving God.

During these unsettling times, we must take comfort in Our Lord's exhortation, "Be not afraid!"  Paul in his letter to Romans also give us encouraging words:
"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. . .  because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we are ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we are saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for patience."  (Rom. 8: 18, 21-25)
 Let us pray for our country today that God's mercy may turn men's hearts back to His ways.  But let us be aware that His merciful hand may use us an instruments for the conversions of others.  Recall the early Christian martyrs and how their witness brought many into the fold.  We must pray for ourselves and our children that we may receive the courage to defend our Lord, and to die rather than deny Him.  Embrace the Hope of Heaven! And remember the words of St. Josephine Bakhita, a former slave who found her true Master, : 
 “I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me—I am awaited by this Love.  And so my life is good.”