Wednesday, January 28, 2004

St. Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas is was a 13th century Dominican priest, philosopher, and theologican. As a Doctor of the Church, he has been given the title "Angelic Doctor" and is the patron of Catholic universities and schools.


Major Life Events

1225 Born to a noble family in Italy

1230 (age 5) Placed in the Monastery of Monte Cassino to be educated

1239 (age 14) Attends the University of Naples

1244 (age 19) Joins the Dominican Order, the Order Friars Preachers

1245 (age 20) Placed under the instruction of St. Albert the Great

1250 (age 25) Ordained to the priesthood

1255 (age 30) Receives his Doctorate in Theology

1256 (age 31) Named Professor at University of Paris

1258 (age 33) Writes Summa contra Gentiles

1265 (age 40) Appointed Archbishop of Naples by Pope Clement. He turns it down to work on Summa Theologia.

1272 (age 47) Appointed head of the faculty of theology at the University of Naples.

1274 (age 49) Dies of disease traveling to a Pope's Council on foot.



Titles

Doctor Angelicus
The Dumb Ox -- Due to his large stature and quiet nature
The Universal Teacher
Doctor Communis
Great Synthesizer


Representation

Chalice
Monstrance
Ox
Star
Sun
Teaching
Teacher with pagan philosophers at his feet


Patronage

Academics
Against storms
Against lightening
Apologists
Book sellers
Catholic academies
Catholic schools
Chastity
Colleges
Learning
Lightening
Pencil makers
Philosophers
Publishers
Scholars
Schools
Storms
Students
Theologians
Universities

Most Prominent Virtues

Humility
Chastity
Obedience
Charity
Poverty



Favorite Quotes


The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, It produces Love.


The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.


How is it they live in such harmony
the billions of stars -
when most men can barely go a minute
without declaring war in their minds about someone they know.
There are wars where no one marches
with a flag, thought that does not keep casualties from mounting.
Our hearts irrigate this earth.
We are fields before each other.
How can we live in harmony?
First we need to know we are all
madly in love with the same God.


Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.


A man has free choice to the extent that he is rational.


To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.


To convert somebody, go and take them by the hand and guide
them.


Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity, according to its very notion, causes peace.


In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign. Secondly, a just cause. Thirdly, a rightful intention.


Beware the man of one book.


The things that we love tell us what we are.


Good can exist without evil, whereas evil cannot exist without good.


Human salvation demands the divine disclosure of truths surpassing reason.


The end of all my labors has come. All that I have written appears to me as much straw after the things that have been revealed to me.


A person is disposed to an act of choice by an angel ... in two ways: Sometimes, a man's understanding is enlightened by an angel to know what is good, but it is not instructed as to the reason why ... But sometimes he is instructed by angelic illumination, both that this act is good and as to the reason why it is good.


Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained by man's own will.


Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason.


Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.


Well-ordered self-love is right and natural.


It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.


There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.


Almighty and Eternal God, behold I come to the Sacrament of Your
only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. As one sick, I come to the Physician of life; unclean, to the Fountain of mercy; blind, to the Light of eternal splendor; poor and needy, to the Lord of heaven and earth. Therefore, I beg of You, through Your infinite mercy and generosity, heal my weakness, wash my uncleanness, give light to my blindness, enrich my poverty, and clothe my nakedness. May I thus receive the Bread of Angels, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, with such reverence and humility, contrition and devotion, purity and faith, purpose and intention, as shall aid my soul's salvation ...


To love God is something greater than to know Him.



Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you.

Prayer: Father, help us to emulate St. Thomas Aquinas in His humility and to use the gifts You have given us wisely to draw others to You. Help us to gently take them by the hand and guide them into Your open arms.

~ Jean M. Heimann





Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Saint Angela Merici

Today is the feast day of St. Angela Merici, the foundress of the Ursulines. Angela was born on March 21, 1474 at Desenzano, Lake Garda, Italy and died on January 27, 1540 in Brescia.

Angela’s parents died when she was only ten years old. Together, with her older sister, she moved to the nearby town of Salo, to live with her uncle. When her sister died quite suddenly without receiving the last sacraments, Angela was deeply upset. At the age of 15, she became a Franciscan tertiary and greatly increased her prayers and sacrifices for the repose of her sister's soul. She asked God to reveal to her the condition of her deceased sister and He answered her prayer by showing her through a vision that her sister was in Heaven.

When her uncle died, she returned to live at Desenzano to make a life for herself. She was convinced of the need for women to be educated in their faith and converted her home into a school where she daily gathered all the girls of Desenzano and taught them the basics of Christianity. It was at this time that she received a vision, which led her to found a religious order who were to devote their lives to the spiritual education of young women. The school she established at Desenzano was so successful that she was invited to the nearby city of Brescia, to establish a school there, which she accepted.

During a pilgrimage to Holy Land, while visiting Crete, Angela was struck blind. This did not interrupt her trip, however, but she continued on the journey, visiting the shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she still had her sight. On the way home, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was miraculously restored at the same place where it had been lost.

In 1525, Pope Clement VII, who had heard of her great holiness and her success as a religious teacher of young girls, invited her to remain in Rome; however, Angela returned to Brescia to live a quiet life, away from the limelight.

In 1535, Angela selected twelve women and laid the foundation of the order of the Ursulines in a small house near the Church of St. Afra in Brescia. She died only five years later.

St. Angela's body is incorrupt. She was beatified in 1768 by Pope Clement XIII and canonized in 1807 by Pope Pius VII.

She is the patron saint of physically challenged people, sick people, and of those who have lost their parents.


Quotes From St. Angela Merci


Disorder in society is the result of disorder in the family.

Saint Angela Merici
-------------------------------------------------------------------
We must give alms. Charity wins souls and draws them to virtue.

Saint Angela Merici
-------------------------------------------------------------------
As our Savior says: "A good tree is not able to produce bad fruit."

He says: A good tree, that is, a good heart as well as a soul on fire with charity, can do nothing but good and holy works. For this reason Saint Augustine said: "Love, and do what you will," namely, possess love and charity and then do what you will. It is as if he had said: Charity is not able to sin.

Mothers of children, even if they have a thousand, carry each and every one fixed in their hearts, and because of the strength of their love they do not forget any of them. In fact, it seems that the more children they have the more their love and care for each one is increased.

Be sincerely kind to every one according to the words of our Lord: "Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart." Thus you are imitating God, of whom it is said: "He has disposed all things pleasantly." And again Jesus said: "My yoke is easy and my burden light."

-- From Spiritual Testament by Saint Angela Merici

~ Jean M. Heimann

Thursday, January 22, 2004

The Sanctity of Human Life

More than 40,000,000 lives have been lost to abortion since 1973's Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling.

Tonight, I heard a number of startling statistics -- both good and bad at the pro-life rally from a variety of speakers.

Sondra McEnroe, a board member for Central Illinois Right to Life as well as a Registered Nurse involved with Birthright from it's inception, reported that 53% of people in the United States currently believe that abortion is wrong, while only 34% are still defending the pro-death view.

She attributed this positive change to the "Roe effect" -- that is, while the pro-death population continue to murder their babies, the pro-life population continue to procreate and multiply. Our babies outnumber theirs! (Sondra herself is the mother of eight children and grandmother to forty-one grandchildren.)

The key note speaker was a the Reverend Ceasar Irwin LeFlore III, the founder and President of Powerlight Ministries, Inc. of Chicago, IL and the Midwest Regional Director of the Life Education and Resources Network (LEARN). He is an ordained minister who presently serves as chairman of Adult Bible Education at Lorimer Baptist Church in Dalton, IL. Rev. LeFlore sits on the board of several pro-life organizations, including the Pro-life/Pro-Family Coalition, the Illinois Federation of Right to Life and the Illinois Freedom Project. He is a published author and speaker. He is a husband and father.

Reverend LeFlore, a dynamic and powerful speaker and well - seasoned preacher, who preferred "amens" to applause, gave new insight into the Black Pro-life Movement in the United States and the plight of the Black population today.

He compared the Dred-Scott Case* to Roe V. Wade, but he pointed out the one distinction between the Dred Scott case and the Roe v. Wade case is that we can hear the voices of the victims of the slaves, but we cannot hear the voices or the cries of the unborn.

Sadly, when politicians speak on behalf of the minorities or when minority concerns are raised, there is never any mention of the pro-life movement or the rights of the unborn He reported that one political party in this country talks about the rights of every minority group with the exception of the unborn.

LeFlore compared the way the Black man was viewed in the Dred - Scott case with the way the unborn baby is viewed by those who uphold pro-death views today. The Dred- Scott perception of the Black man was: "He may have a heart and a brain, but he is not a person." The pro-death view of the unborn baby is: He only becomes a person when he is born." Whereas the Black person was viewed as a slave -- a possession---under Dred-Scott, the unborn baby is a possession whose destiny is determined by the mother who wants "control over" her own body. In Dred - Scott, the comment raised by its supporters were "Isn't slavery something merciful?" Abortion supporters also ask, "Isn't abortion merciful?"

He spoke about the trials that the Black race has endured for many generations and their survival of their race through all of this as a special blessing. "Black people are blessed. God appointed for us to survive. When we were unfairly locked away -- we were free. Though hatred touched our bodies, it could not touch our souls." In a style reminiscent of the late Reverend Martin Luther King, Le Flore spoke strong words of encouragement, "We are proud. We are survivors. We shall overcome."

"In the next 72 hours, more Blacks will be lynched in the womb than killed any other way." He went on to say that unless something is done to reverse the trend, that it is possible that there will be no Blacks by the end of this century.

Le Flore related that there are Black men who are "wolves in sheep's clothing" and are claiming to support the rights of others of their race, while at the same time, denying their fellow Blacks self-existence. "Social justice has been hijacked."

Some Black women today perceive abortion as "a civil right" which has been available to White women for a period of time, which is now a viable option for them, as well.

Today, the life threats to Blacks include poverty, crime and violence, substance abuse, AIDS, and infant mortality. Since 1973, abortion has taken the lives of more Blacks than crime and violence, heart disease, and accidents combined. Abortion takes over 4,000 lives of Blacks each day or 1.3 billion per year. 36% of all the abortions performed are on Black women. Black women have triple the rate of abortions that White women do. Since the passage of Roe v. Wade, 13 million Black babies have died.

What Can We As a Pro-life People Do?

DeFlore recommends the following:

1. Pray always.
2. Promote the preciousness of pregnancy.
3. Educate society.
4. Promote abstinence.



~ Jean M. Heimann


* In 1846, Dred Scott and his wife Harriet filed suit for their freedom in the St. Louis Circuit Court. This suit began an eleven-year legal fight that ended in the U.S. Supreme Court, which issued a landmark decision declaring that Scott remain a slave. This decision contributed to rising tensions between the free and slave states just before the American Civil War.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

LITANY IN RESPONSE TO ABORTION

By Fr. Frank Pavone



Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.



God the Father, Creator of the world, have mercy on us. RESPONSE: Have mercy on us!

God the Son, through whom all things were made,

God the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life,

Lord Jesus, the Beginning and the End,

Lord Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life,

Lord Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life,

Lord Jesus, Eternal Word of Life,

Lord Jesus, living in the womb of the Virgin Mary,

Lord Jesus, Lover of the poor and weak,

Lord Jesus, Defender of the helpless,

Lord Jesus, Bread of Life,

For every sin against life,

For the sin of abortion,

For the daily killing of innocent babies,

For the bloodshed throughout our land,

For the silent screams of Your children,

For the killing of Your future disciples,

For the exploitation of women by abortion,

For the silence of Your people,

For the apathy of Your people,

For the co-operation of Your people in this tragedy,





For our pre-born brothers and sisters killed by abortion, RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.

For our pre-born brothers and sisters threatened by abortion,

For our brothers and sisters who have survived abortion,

For mothers who have had abortions,

For mothers tempted to have abortions,

For mothers pressured to have abortions,

For mothers who have refused to have abortions,

For the fathers of aborted babies,

For the families of aborted babies,

For the families of those tempted to have abortions

For abortionists,

For all who assist and cooperate in abortions,

For doctors and nurses, that they may nurture life,

For government leaders, that they may defend life,

For the clergy, that they may speak up for life,

For the pro-life movement,

For those who speak, write, and work to end abortion,

For those who help provide alternatives to abortion…

For those who promote adoption,

For national and local pro-life groups,

For unity in the pro-life movement,



For courage and perseverance in pro-life work,

For those who suffer ridicule and rejection for their stand for life,

For those imprisoned for defending life,

For those who have been injured and mistreated for defending life,

For legal professionals,

For courts and judges,

For police officers,

For educators,

For media professionals,



In thanksgiving for the babies saved from abortion,

In thanksgiving for the mothers saved and healed from abortion,

In thanksgiving for the former abortion providers who have become pro-life,

In thanksgiving for all those who take a stand against abortion,

In thanksgiving for the call to be part of the pro-life movement,



Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us,

O Lord, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.



Let us Pray



Almighty and ever-living God, You have created all things through Your Son Jesus Christ. He trampled the power of death by His Paschal Mystery. May all who acknowledge You promote the sacredness of life and always serve You faithfully, through the same Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Continuing To Fight For the Rights of Parents and Their Children

Today, I spent some time praying at the local abortion mill. There were about twenty mothers who came today to have their babies aborted. [I was prepared to do the sidewalk counseling I have been trained for, but no one came in or left during the time I was scheduled there. The holocaust was already in progress.] This was slightly lower in number than usual and I would like to think that my prayers and presence had something to do with it.

However, this struggle is not about me -- it's about being obedient to God's will. God calls each of us to serve him and to love one another as we love ourselves. If I were going through something like traumatic spiritually, physically, and psychologically, I would hope that someone would be praying for me, for my family, for the abortionist and the staff.

Of all the lies and deceptions in this world, I cannot think of one more horrific than abortion. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said that there can be no peace in our world as long as we continue to kill the most helpless and innocent in our society -- our own children.

"I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love - that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. "

~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta


What Can We Do?

I would like to share some information about what we can all do to help put an end to the atrocity of abortion and restore peace to our country and to our world.

There is an international group known as the Helpers of God's Precious Infants that helps to put an end to abortion through three different and powerful ministries: (1) prayer groups, (2) sidewalk counselors, and (3) spiritual supporters.

The prayer group comes to the abortion mill for an hour or more on a day that abortions are scheduled and pray for the sidewalk counselors who are working to prevent the physical abortion of the child. The prayer group obtains from God the graces needed to reverse the "spiritual abortion" of the mother. This is necessary for the mother to change her mind about the physical abortion.

The sidewalk counselor is the person who gently approaches the mother going into the abortion mill and asks her to reconsider her decision. The counselor offers the mother a rosary and a pamphlet explaining how the rosary is to be prayed. The counselor also educates the mother on her baby's biological development and helps her understand the exact manner in which the abortion will kill her child. The mother is also warned of the physical harm the abortion may cause her own body. She is provided with literature telling of all the help available -- financial, medical, and spiritual.

The sidewalk counselor may also counsel the father or extended family members who are physically present and are hurting.

Finally, there are some people who would like to be present at the abortion mill, but are physically unable to come. Many are shut-ins or those with terminal or chronic illnesses, who offer their suffering and pain for the purposes and intentions of the Helpers.

Also involved are religious communities, who offer daily prayers and works. Even young school children pray and make small sacrifices, such as giving up one night of watching television.


Who Are the Helpers of God's Precious Infants?

In 1989, Msgr. Philip Reilly founded the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants as an international ministry committed to maintaining a loving and prayerful presence outside of abortion mills where God’s children are put to death.

We PRAY to obtain God’s mercy for the conversion of abortionists and their staff. Our witness outside the death centers tells abortionists and their neighbors that we refuse to accept abortion as a legitimate profession.

Our presence disturbs the consciences of the abortion mill's staff. It should not be pleasant to get up in the morning with the intent to destroy children. They should have to confront God each time they start their day. The message of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants to abortionists and all who help kill God’s children is that though we love them, we will never accept what they do.

We WITNESS to those who pass by, praying that they are inspired to object to the killing in their neighborhoods. Many resign themselves to the fact that the evil is there and cannot be prevented. When they see that something is being done, that it is not necessary to tolerate death camps in their midst, they often join us.

We PLEAD for the lives of the babies. We ask each mother to change her mind. We reach out to her with the love of Christ; we do not judge or condemn her for what she is planning to do. We simply promise support and assistance if she should change her mind, and prayers for healing and conversion if she should proceed with the killing of her child.

Most of all, we LOVE the unborn children who are brought there that day. Through our love, prayers and the efforts of the sidewalk counselors, many mothers are converted and give life to their babies. But for those babies who will die, we offer the only human love they may ever encounter in their short lives.

No one wants to face death alone. Even Jesus, in His agony, asked His apostles to watch with Him in prayer. Our loving presence for the children at the hour of their death comforts the Heart of God because they belong to Him.


"America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts -- a child -- as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters"
And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign." (Mother Theresa -- "Notable and Quotable," Wall Street Journal, 2/25/94, p. A14)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Reply to the Author of a Green Note

A lone neon green note
Secured on sacred ground
Outside the death camp
Corner - caught my eye.

Written on the reverse side
Of a wrinkled loan ticket,
It read:
“ Your effort is noted.
God would rather
Replace a soul,
Than to condemn it
To A life of unwanting.”

Unwanting?
Unwanted?
By whom?
Never by the Creator!
The Creator was there
In the darkness
At the moment of conception,
And knit the baby
In her mother’s womb.

Replace a soul?
Never!
He created this soul-
This life -
In a unique way,
In His very image.
There is no other
Identical
To this one.

He has given this soul
What he gives all souls,
A free will,
To love him
Or to deny Him.

He sent His only Son
Rejected by a sinful,
Self-centered world
To save this little one
And to save us all.

A sinless infant boy
Born to a family dirt-poor,
Delivered in a barn,
Unwanted by the world,
But revered by
His parents, wise men, and His Creator.
He was a King, soon to die
To save the souls of sinners
Like you and me.

Rationalize all you want
To escape the responsibilities you face.
Deny the Truth
And the Devil has the last laugh.

Under the weight of your cross,
You reach out for help.
It is too heavy to carry alone.

You seek a lifeline
– A parachute –
For your drowning soul
From the raging waters
Of eternal damnation.

Your neon green note
Flashing in the sun
Is a plea for prayer
A yearning for Truth,
A cry for mercy.

Lord, have mercy
On the soul of this sinner
And on us all!
Amen.


Jean M. Heimann

“ Awake, O sleeper, Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
-- Ephesians 5:14


~ Jean M. Heimann

copyright 2002

It seems like only yesterday, I found the anonymous green note on the ground after a busy day of prayer outside a local abortion mill. I cannot believe it has been almost two years ago. I continue to pray for the person who wrote it and for all those who need to know the Truth, but are blinded by the lies and deceptions that continue to exist in our "culture of darkness."

Yesterday, I went to see the movie "Lord of the Rings:The Return of the King" with my husband and a good friend who is the Director of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants in our area. A former nurse, she basically dedicates her life to helping those who face crisis pregnancies through her street ministry, where she prays for and counsels those seeking abortions. She cried through parts of the movie we watched and afterwards related that she felt as if she were at the abortion mill while watching it.

She suffers much from carrying her cross, just as Frodo did in carrying the ring, but there are spiritual supporters and prayer warriors (like Sam and the others in the Fellowship) who are with her on Calvary at the Foot of the Cross, and a myriad of saints to assist her in her efforts.

During this Sanctity of Human Life week and Christian Unity week, let us all pray with one voice for an end to abortion, for a conversion of hearts, and for a respect for all human life.

~ Jean M. Heimann




Monday, January 19, 2004

National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2004

A Proclamation

(White House) As Americans, we are led by the power of our conscience and the history of our country to defend and promote the dignity and rights of all people. Each person, however frail or defenseless, has a place and a purpose in this world. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, we celebrate the gift of life and our commitment to building a society of compassion and humanity.

Today, the principles of human dignity enshrined in the Declaration of Independence -- that all persons are created equal and possess the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -- continue to guide us. In November, I signed into law the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, reaffirming our commitment to protecting innocent life and to a basic standard of humanity -- the duty of the strong to defend the weak. My Administration encourages adoption and supports abstinence education, crisis pregnancy programs, parental notification laws, and other measures to help us continue to build a culture of life. By working together, we will provide hope to the weakest among us and achieve a more compassionate and merciful world.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 18, 2004, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies in our homes and places of worship and to reaffirm our commitment to respecting the life and dignity of every human being.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-eighth.

GEORGE W. BUSH

By: The President of the United States of America, George W. Bush
Source: The White House
Publish Date: January 16, 2004






Thursday, January 15, 2004

The Gift of Healing

Jesus The Healer

Yours is the healing touch
that helps us rise from our bed,
sick with the fever
that sin always brings.

Yours is the soft word
that brings us back to our senses,
frees us from the bonds
that sin always brings.

Yours is the word of command
that calls us back from the tomb,
wrapped in the shroud of death
that sin always brings.

Lord, on this, and every day,
may I rise up
like she who was healed of her fever,
to do your bidding,
in your way,
now and forever.

Amen.

Sue Stone

www.catholicmeditations.com



As I meditated on this poem today, it touched me deeply. So many of us are in need of healing in many ways - physically, emotionally, psychologically - but especially spiritually. This poem (used with permission by Sue Stone) reminded me to pray for those women who will be hurt today by making the decision to abort their unborn babies.

They will be hurt psychologically in many ways. In fact, there have been more than one hundred different documented psychological reactions to abortion, some of which include: feelings of guilt / anxiety, helplessness, grief, and remorse; feelings of anger, bitterness, resentment, feelings of betrayal and mistrust; and a diminished self esteem. They may also experience recurring nightmares, flashbacks of the abortion experience, depression, sexual dysfunction, eating disorders, substance abuse, self-destructive behavior, abusive relationships, suicidal thoughts and tendencies and other problems.

There are many physical consequences of having an abortion that are just as numerous. Women who have an abortion are at a higher risk for breast cancer, cervical, ovarian, and liver cancer, uterine perforation, complications in labor, endometriosis, infertility, poorer overall general health, blood clots, and many other problems. The most common minor complications include infection, bleeding, fever, second degree burns, chronic abdominal pain, vomiting, gastro-intestinal disturbances and Rh sensitization.

Worse than either of these is the spiritual death that occurs when a mother commits the sin of abortion. As a result of this sin, she experiences a complete separation from the God who created her. Whenever someone sins, the innocent, as well as the guilty suffer the consequences of that sin. In abortion, the most obvious victim is the innocent baby who has died, but others, too, such as the extended family and the community family suffer the consequences of the sin.

The good news is the Jesus is our Healer, Our Peace, and Our Joy. He is the Divine Physician who heals us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and restores our relationship with Him. He is the Source of all grace.

~ Jean M. Heimann

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Prayers for Father Benedict Groeschel

Let us continue to pray for Father Benedict Groeschel who remains in critical but stable condition.

Here is a prayer recommended by his Order:

"O Mother of Divine Mercy, look with compassion on your son and servant, Father Benedict. Extend your hands of healing upon him. Invoke the all powerful name of Jesus! Invoke your Spouse, the Life-giving and Holy Spirit to descend like a sweet and gentle dew upon your faithful servant. Drive away every illness! Draw down healing from on high! Like your son, and in His name, call him forth out of the darkness and the edge of death and say -- "Come out!"

Yes, Mother, we choose to hope and pray. May the will of the Father be accomplished for His glory and the good of your servant. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen!

Let us also pray to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta for Fr. Groeschel's complete recovery. They were friends and worked together to help the poor and the needy.

~ Jean M. Heimann
The Feast Of St. Hilary

Saint Hilary was born at Poitiers at the beginning of the 4th century. He was brought up in a noble family with pagan beliefs. However, as an adult, he studied the Scriptures, renounced paganism, and converted to Christianity.

His education as well as his zeal for the faith led to his being chosen to govern the faithful in Poitiers as their bishop. He fought vigorously against Arianism -- a heresy that denied the divinity of Jesus Christ -- and was exiled to the coastlands of Phyrigia by Emperor Constantine.

To strengthen his faith during his exile, he learned all that he could about Arianism and woe numerous treaties. His writings, which still exist today, include On The Trinity, a commentary of the gospel of St. Matthew, and a commentary on the psalms.

He returned to Poitier after three years of exile and died in 367. Pope Pius X made him a Doctor of the Church in 1851.

Quotes from St. Hilary

"Although in exile we shall speak through these books and the Word of God, which cannot be bound, but shall move about in freedom."

"I am well aware, almighty God and Father, that in my life I owe You a most particular duty. It is to make every thought and word speak of You."


Prayer: Father God, give us the strength to fight against the heresies and false teachings of our day. Help us to remain strong in our faith and study to obtain the knowledge to vigorously defend the truths of our faith

Monday, January 12, 2004

Feast of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys has been described as a woman of dreams and action, despite her fragile health. Growing up in a Catholic schools where I was educated by the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, I learned to appreciate the many gifts and virtues of this holy and determined founder of this teaching Order. The one trait that stands out the most in my mind is her obedience to God in carrying out His desires despite the many obstacles and hardships she faced.

Born in Troyes, France in 1620, Marguerite assumed a leadership role in her family at age 19 due to the death of her mother. The following year, through the inspiration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she felt called to withdraw from the world and to consecrate her life to the service of God. She immediately became a member of the Extern Congregation of Troy, a group of women who were dedicated to teaching poor children in the town. While remaining active in this apostolate, she first sensed a call to missionary life.

This call became concrete in 1652, when Monsieur de Maisonneuve, founder and governor of Ville Marie (Canada) returned to France and asked her to volunteer her services to teach the French and Indian children in the new settlement begun in New France. Our Lady confirmed the call. "Go, I will not forsake you." she told Marguerite. With this assurance, Marguerite left Troyes, France in a spirit of detachment and sailed across the ocean to this new young colony.

Her first action was to arrange for the restoration of the Cross-on Mount Royal which had been destroyed by the Indians. She also restored the chapel and in doing so, attempted to restore the faith of the colonists.

In 1658, she opened the first school in Montreal in an abandoned stable and soon realized that she must also educate and teach domestic skills to the young mothers who were now part of this new society. She became their mother, social worker, counselor, and friend.

She was a practical woman and worked realistically within the structures she found. Although she began her first school in an abandoned stable, she was able to combine the practical with the ideal form of education. She understood the necessity of teaching girls Christian values, as well as the importance of teaching vocational skills - to prepare them to be capable and competent mothers and homemakers.

Her curriculum included: reading, writing, arithmetic, singing, as well as religion, while back in her native country, France, people continued to argue the usefulness of teaching women to write.

She sailed across the ocean three times to France to obtain additional volunteer teachers. The group of teachers who joined her in her life of prayer, of poverty, and of service to others, bonded together as a religious group. Thus, in 1698, Marguerite founded the Congregation of Notre Dame -- an uncloistered Order who would continue the missionary work she had started.

She generously offered herself as a sacrifice of prayer for the return of the health of a young Sister and died in Montreal on January 12, 1700.

More than 2600 Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame work in various fields of service today in Canada, the United States, Japan, Latin America, Cameroon, and in France.

Marguerite Bourgeoys was beatified on November 12, 1950 by Pope Pius XII. Pope John Paul II canonized her on October 31, 1982, making her Canada's first woman saint.

Favorite Quote of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

A time of sickness is a time of grace. It is then that we reap a harvest for an eternity.



~ Jean M. Heimann


Prayer Request for Father Groeschel

Today I am lifting up Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, in prayer. Father Groeschel appears regularly on EWTN and is a well-known author and spiritual director. I learned from watching EWTN this morning that he is in critical but stable condition at Orlando Regional Medical Center after being struck by a car near Orlando International Airport in Florida. The accident occurred Sunday evening.

Please join me in praying for Fr. Groeschel.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Sharing a Prolife Prayer

I would like to share the following prayer I pray along others in our diocese for the closing of our local abortion mill. You can adapt it for your own community. I especially like to pray this during Eucharistic Adoration.

~ Jean M. Heimann

PRAYER FOR THE CLOSING
OF THE ABORTION MILL


Father, all life is in your care. You have entrusted us to one another, that we may show our brothers and sisters the same love you have for us.

We pray, then, for the least among us, the children in the womb. Protect them from the violence of abortion. We pray for those that are scheduled to die at (name of the facility, city and state) Save them from death. Give new hope to their parents, that they may turn away from the desperate act of abortion.

Grant conversion to the abortionist and to the staff. Show us how we are to respond to the bloodshed in our midst and lead us to the day when this place of death will be transformed into a haven of life.

Guard us with Your joy and peace, for in You, life is victorious. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Terri Schiavo News

Dr. William Hammesfahr, world reknown neurologist, shares the following information on Terri Schiavo:

Terri's feeding tube is for the convenience of nurses; not because Terri needs it. Terri does not drool. Liquid is the hardest thing to swallow, and she swallows 1½ to 2 liters of saliva a day.

Terri is not in a persistent vegetative state or coma. She is a living, thinking person who makes choices and decisions. While Dr. Hammesfahr was examining her, he observed Terri chose to ignore her husband Michael and, the person taking the video, but when she heard her mother's voice, she smiled and tracked her. Terri followed directions, and moved her arms and legs as Dr. Hammesfahr requested.

Terri did not have a heart attack. There were no cardiac enzymes in her blood, and no abnormalities in her EKG.

Terri was admitted into the emergency room with an extremely stiff neck consistent with a brand new injury to her neck.

Dr. Hammesfahr had seen the combination of injuries Terri suffered (spinal cord injury, brain injury, and neck injury) one other time. That was in an attempted strangulation case.

A police report was sent to homicide. There was no follow-up; no investigation by police. Dr. Hammesfahr said Terri's situation is unique - he consistently sees wrong things happen to Terri. There is no law enforcement follow-up now for fear of stepping on toes.

Terri's bone scan revealed Terri was a victim of multiple traumas - doctors were mandated to report it. There was no history of trauma prior to her marrying Michael. The fractures had to happen after marrying him. First lumbar vertebra fracture is common when thrown against a table.

At first, Terri had physical therapy, rehabilitation, and speech therapy. Electrodes were planted in her brain stem. A month or two later, she was more responsive. She got better with rehabilitation. She spoke appropriately at times, saying such things as, "I am hungry."

When electrodes are implanted, there needs to be follow up because the electrodes could be the source of possible infection and hydrocephalus. If there is no follow up, one is risking further injury. No follow-up was given.

Dr. Hammesfahr said he never has seen so many people and institutions fail someone in so many ways.

Terri's 1996 brain scan shows 75% normal brain tissue; not scar tissue. It is not all fluid. That report is bogus. Her cortex is not missing; not at all. Some areas are thinned, probably due to hydrocephalus, with the fluid pushing against her brain. She is functioning. That is what is important. I have seen people a lot worse than her, and they are talking. A brain scan taken two years ago showed improvement.

The EEG (electroencephalogram, which is a test of brain activity) showed there was no recognizable brain activity. However, three doctors said she was restless. Muscle activity gives a reading, just as the brain does, producing artifact. By filtering out the artifact, the brain activity was also filtered out. The EEG should have been taken at her bed where she could relax. Judge Greer refused further testing. Dr. Hammesfahr said no further scan is needed because Terri is functioning, which obviously shows brain activity.

Judge Greer would not allow an eye examination, even though she is legally blind. She can only see objects 12" - 18" away.

She is isolated even though her condition demands sensory input.

Terri's medical records, which are legal documents, were falsified. Detailed records of Terri's responsiveness were thrown away. Nurses who were not even on duty wrote fraudulent reports as though they had been caring for Terri.

Why is it that Terri has to prove herself worthy of living? This is against the law in Florida. She is not in a persistent vegetative state. She is not terminal, even though she has been (illegally) in a hospice.

If the judge were to order a swallowing test, strict care would be needed to ensure Terri were not sedated to the point she could not swallow.

This is not about "letting her die" because she is not dying. This is about deliberately killing her: Murder.


Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Feast of St. Raymond of Penafort

Saint Raymond of Penafort was born in Spain in 1175 and died there on January 6, 1275 at the age of 99. He was the gifted son of the count of Penafort in Catalonia, Spain. Due to his status and wealth, he was well educated and at the age of 20, was already a professor of philosophy. He earned his doctorate in both cannon and civil law at the age 41. He taught cannon law in Bologna, Italy, and it was here that he first met the Dominicans. He was attracted to the Dominican Order by the preaching of Blessed Reginald of Bologna and received the Dominican habit at the age of 47. Raymond had a stong devotion to Our Blessed Mother, and it was this devotion that led him to forgo wordly fame and become a Dominician.

The Order made good use of his legal skills by assigning him the task of collecting and organizing all the laws and rules of the Church. At the order of Pope Gregory IX, St. Raymond produced a collection of cannon law. He also published several editions of the Summa Casuum – a guide for confessors and moralists on the rules of sins. As a result of his strong influence in academia and the university setting, his virtuous character, his great works, and his gift for preaching, many were drawn to the Dominican Order and there was an influx of vocations.

He was famous for his preaching to Moors and Christians throughout Spain. and was convinced that Christians could only convert others if their own lives set an example of selflessness and holiness.

In 1235, Pope Gregory named him archbishop of Tarragona, but sickness and his pleadings to be relieved of such a duty encouraged the pope to replace him with another, and Raymond returned to his solitude and contemplation in Barcelona as he convalesced from a serious illness. Rejuvenated by the peaceful life of the priory in Barcelona, he resumed his work as a preacher and confessor, and was successful in making many conversions.

In 1238, Raymond was elected Master General of the Dominicans the general chapter in Bologna. He made the visitation of his order on foot without discontinuing any of his penances or religious exercises. As Spiritual Father, he instilled in his spiritual children a love of contemplation, solitude, studies, and apostolic works.

During the last 30 years of his one hundred years of life he lived in prayerful obscurity, giving to others the fruits of his contemplation and labor. On his deathbed he was visited by Alphonsus, the king of Castile, and James I of Aragon, one of his penitents.

Saint Raymond is best remembered in the Church as a wise and holy confessor. He was appointed at different times as confessor to the pope and king, and as a papal penitentiary he pronounced on difficult cases of conscience.

Saint Raymond is often portrayed as a middle-aged Dominican crossing the sea on his cloak. He may be a Dominican holding a book and magister's wand, or with the Virgin and Child appearing to him. He may be pictured holding a key, the symbol of confession.

He is the patron saint of lawyers, including canon lawyers, and schools and faculties of law.



~ Jean M. Heimann
Feast Of Blessed Andre Bessette

(1845 - 1937)

Blessed Andre was the eighth of 12 children born in a small village near Montreal, Canada to a poor French Canadian family. At age nine, Andre's father was killed while he was working; about three years later, his mother died of tuberculosis.

He attempted various trades, but was not very skilled at any of them. He could barely read or write and suffered from poor health all of his life. At age 15, Andre became a Brother of the Holy Cross, but was rejected after only one year of the novitiate due to his poor health. However, with the help of the Bishop of Montreal he was allowed to stay and make his religious profession. For forty years, he worked as doorkeeper at the College of Notre Dame.

Andre had a deep devotion for St. Joseph and spent much time in prayer. He selflessly prayed for others, and through his intercessory prayers to St. Joseph, thousands of miracles occurred. Andre was deeply committed to helping the poor and the afflicted. On their behalf, he constructed a small chapel, dedicated to St. Joseph. This chapel grew into the Oratory of St. Joseph, which is still in use today.

Blessed Andre died at the age of 91 on January 6, 1937. He lived a long life of service to God and fulfilled his vocational duties to the fullest. At his funeral, more than a million people filed past his coffin.

Blessed Andre's most outstanding virtue, I believe, was his love for God shown through his service to his fellow man. He prayed individually with people for 8 to 10 hours at a time, despite his own poor health.

Andre was also a very humble man. He never took any credit for the work he did, but said, "It is St. Joseph who cures. I am only his little dog."

Although Andre was an uneducated man with poor health, he was strong spiritually and worked in powerful ways to bring the love of Jesus to others. The glory and the splendor of God shone brightly through him.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect through weakness. I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

~ 2 Cor. 12: 9-10


Quotes From Blessed Andre:

"I am ignorant. If there were anyone more ignorant, the good God would choose him in my place."

"I have only my great devotion to St. Joseph to guide me."



Prayer: Father God, help me to follow in the footsteps of Blessed Andre by giving myself to the afflicted and to the poor, to those in need of my love, my time, and my prayers. Fill my heart with a strong devotion to St. Joseph and to follow Blessed Andre in his shining example of love, perseverance in prayer, and in humility so that I may share with him in your glory. I ask this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.



Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Feast of St. John Neumann

A Prayer for His Intercession

O Saint John Neumann, your ardent desire of bringing all souls to Christ impelled you to leave home and country; teach us to live worthily in the spirit of our Baptism which makes us all children of the one Heavenly Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, the first-born of the family of God.

Obtain for us that complete dedication in the service of the needy, the weak, the afflicted and the abandoned which so characterized your life. Help us to walk perseveringly in the difficult and, at times, painful paths of duty, strengthened by the Body and Blood of our Redeemer and under the watchful protection of Mary our Mother.

May death still find us on the sure road to our Father's House with the light of living Faith in our hearts. Amen.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Epiphany of the Lord

A beautiful poem written by Pavel Chichikov:

GIFTS

A king, a king, a king made three
They made three inquiries of me:

Should we bring incense, smoke as sweet
As apple blossom to His feet?

Bring Him frankincense and myrrh
Though charity He would prefer

Should we bring gold? Bestow your souls
For gold to Him is dark as coal

Should we bring pillows made of silk
To bear His body while He milks?

It is His mother who will hold
His precious body from the cold

Soft her gentleness to see,
With that she welcomes you, all three


Pavel
December 21, 2003




Friday, January 02, 2004

Elizabeth of the Trinity

May my life be a continual prayer; a long act of love. May nothing distract me from You, neither noise nor diversions. Oh my Master, I would so love to live with You in silence. But what I love above all is to do Your will, and since You want me to still remain in the world, I submit with all my heart for love of You. I offer you the cell of my heart; may it be Your little Bethany. Come rest there. I love you so...I would like to console You, and I offer myself to You as a victim, O My master, for You, with You.

[Personal Note]


Thursday, January 01, 2004

Holy New Year

Early this morning, I wished Brother Michael Guadalupe a "Happy New Year!" He replied "Holy New Year!" What a beautiful wish! Holiness is the true key to our happiness, for true happiness can only be experienced when our hearts are surrendered to His desires and His will for us.

Tonight, as I sang "Refiner's Fire" with a talented youth group during Adoration, I winced a little as I always do at the part where I sing "purify my heart", thinking to myself, "What new trial or suffering will I be challenged with in the upcoming New Year? Do I really want to ask for further purification? I know that purification is a prerequisite for eternal life, and if it doesn't happen in this life, it will come in the next. Do I really trust God enough to know that he will never try me beyond my strength? Have I not consecrated and surrendered my life to Him through His Holy Mother?"

How I could I ever forget Our Mother's words to Juan Diego (and to all her children) at Guadalupe? "Know for certain that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God . . . here I will show and offer all my love, my compassion, my help and protection to the people. I am your merciful Mother, the Mother of all who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping and their sorrows . . . their necessities and misfortunes . . . Listen and let it penetrate your heart . . . 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 your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?"

Is there really anything else we need?

Have a Mary New Year!


Mary, Mother of God, stay close to us in the New Year and fill our hearts with hope.


Here is a very beautiful and inspiring poem / prayer from a gifted friend.

Dear Father,

Here we are again at the dawn of a New Year,
a time of beginnings.

Lord, I know not how many days lie before me,
or even if I will live past the start,
when the clock strikes midnight.

So much before us is uncertain,
uncharted,
in your most capable hands.

Yet, as this old year draws to its close,
I pray
that whatever time lies in front of me,
whatever days lay before me,
may I dedicate them anew to you,
lover of my soul,
King of creation,
my true goal
my God,
Abba,
Father.

Teach me, as each moment dawns anew,
to look at the time at hand,
with eyes that see as you would see,
to see the child beloved to you
who wears an undesirable face,
to see the soul deserving of my love
in the eyes of my enemy.

Let me see the time that can be consecrated to you,
to spread your peace,
where once I would have walked away,
to reach out
where once I would have clenched my fist,
to see opportunity
where once I would have seen obstacle.

Most of all,
let the fire of your love
burn so brightly in me,
that all that is dross in my soul
melts away,
that all that separates me from you
passes into ash, to be blown away.

In the morning,
be my first thought,
in evening, my last consideration.

May all my resolutions this year
resolve into the one:
To do what you would want me to do,
how you would want me to do,
when you would want me to do it,
not by my might,
but through the power of your Spirit,
now and forever,
Amen.

Sue Stone
sue_stone@stonesneatstuff.com
www.catholicmeditations.com