Friday, December 22, 2006

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Merry Christmas all!

Blogging will be spotty until after the New Year. I am taking a break to celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

May you and your loved ones be blessed with the peace of His presence and the joy of His love at Christmas and throughout the New Year!

My Blogiversary? Again?

December 23 - tomorrow - will be my 3rd Blogiversary. I never thought that my blogging would last so long! I still have no idea of what I am doing technologically, but I am definitely hooked.

As I have mentioned before, this blog is part of my apostolate - to teach others about the Catholic faith and to learn more myself in the process, to spread the Good News, to witness for human life, and to share God's love with others through my prayer intercessions, and in any way I can.

Blogging has to be something that's fun or I wouldn't be doing it, so I try to include humor, quizzes, memes, movie and book reviews to keep it all interesting. I am so grateful to all of you, my devoted readers, for your prayers and support over the years (especially recently) - you are the ones who help to keep me motivated each day. God bless you!

Brief Book Reviews: Gems for Christmas & the New Year

Here are my most recent reads:

His Suffering and Ours: Words of Hope for Pierced and Wounded Hearts by Kathryn Mulderink is just superb! This is a wonderful book to read now and also later, in preparation for Lent. In her first book, To Sing You Must Exhale, Kathryn– an accomplished Catholic poet - presented us with a glimpse of the strong spiritual union she shares with the Lord through her poetry. This second time around, she takes us deeper into her uniquely feminine spirituality through a smattering of mystical poetry and a dynamic collection of excerpts from personal letters, Scripture passages, and meditations which center around Christ’s Seven Last Words from the Cross. If you are experiencing any kind of suffering (and who isn't?) then this is the book you need to lift you up. It is filled with wisdom, encouragement, and unconditional love.

101 Inspirational Stories of the Sacrament of Reconciliation by Sr. Patricia Proctor - A wonderful collection of intimate narratives in which the writers share their personal struggles and reveal how the sacrament of Reconciliation has set them free and brought peace and healing to their lives. Sr. Patricia Proctor also includes commonly asked questions answered by priests who have been hearing Confessions for years, as well as a number of helps for penitents, such as Confession prayers and Examination of Conscience guidelines and more. This is a great one to take to bed with you at night, and savor one or more stories at a time. Be sure to catch my very short personal witness story on page 149 - "Welcome Home".

My Life with the Saints - James Martin, SJ
I am falling in love with this book! (I'm not quite finished yet.) It is a special memoir of how one life has been personally touched and led by the example of the saints. The author writes in such a warm, friendly conversational style, I feel as if I have known him for ages. He reveals some details about the saints' lives that are entirely new to me and most of you who read my blog know that saints are my specialty. I have one word for this book - delightful!

You can check out My Life with the Saints and the author on the Catholic Mom Book Spotlight here.

Operation Rescue: Abortionist Tiller Charged With Multiple Counts! Updated

Operation Rescue calls on the Board of Healing Arts to suspend Tiller’s license and close his mill

Wichita, KS – Attorneys for late-term abortionist George R. Tiller announced at a press conference today that charges have been filed by Attorney General Phill Kline against their client for illegal late-term abortions and what they described as a “technical” violation of Kansas reporting laws.

Tiller is scheduled to appear in Sedgwick County District Court on Wednesday, December 27, to answer multiple misdemeanor counts filed against him in a contentious case where Tiller unsuccessfully fought to prevent law enforcement from gaining access to medical records that likely contained incriminating evidence against him. [More]

Glory Halleuiah! Judgement Day has arrived! More to come...

December 22, 2006 -Update: Wichita, KS – District Attorney Nola Foulston has successfully moved to drop the 30 charges against late-term abortionist George R. Tiller filed yesterday in Sedgwick County District Court by Kansas Attrney General Phill Kline. The motion was made because, under Kansas Law, charges can only be filed by an Attorney General at the invitation of the District Attorney or request of the governor or legislature. All charges have been dropped.

Foulston has come under criticism by pro-life supporters for refusing to prosecute accusations against Tiller because of her personal friendship with him. It is alleged that she adopted her only son through Tiller, who has stated publicly that
he has arranged adoptions in return for political favors
.

“This is a classic example of why justice cannot be done in this state because so many officials have ties to George Tiller,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Money buys a lot of favors here. This miscarriage of justice must not be allowed to stand. ” [More]


WorldNetDaily's post Kansas abortionist charged but judge dismisses counts can be found here.

Quiz: Who Would You Be in 1400 AD?

The Prioress

You scored 13% Cardinal, 61% Monk, 58% Lady, and 45% Knight!

You are a moral person and are also highly intellectual. You like your solitude but are also kind and helpful to those around you. Guided by a belief in the goodness of mankind you will likely be christened a saint after your life is over
.

You scored high as both the Lady and the Monk. You can try again to get a more precise description of either the Monk or the lady, or you can be happy that you're an individual.



Link: The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test written by KnightlyKnave .

Via Thoughts of a Regular Guy.

Today's Intercessory Prayers

Today I am praying to Jesus through His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the following intentions:

For Robert Schiavo.

For peace and healing for Ukok.

For best wishes for College Catholic AKA Fidei Defensor who is leaving the blogosphere.

That all Catholics will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Christmas in preparation for the coming of the Christ Child.

For an end to abortion and the closing of all abortion mills.

For healing for all those who are suffering the loss of a child or a loved one.

For healing for all those who are suffering from the pain of abortion.

For safe travel and good weather for those who will be traveling this Christmas.

For all previous intentions listed here.

Pray for Robert Schindler

Wesely Smith writes:
Robert Schindler, Terri Schiavo's father, has had a stroke and is in a hospital intensive care unit. He is conscious. At present, the doctors are trying to stabilize his condition. Once that is done, he will be transferred to a rehabilitation center. His family, always a class act, is at his side and are hopeful for Bob's full recovery.


It's been a very tough couple of years for the Schindler family. Regardless of where one stands on the Terri Schiavo case, the Schindlers--Bob, Mary, Bobby, and Suzanne Vitadamo--deserve our best wishes and, for those of a mind, prayers, toward Bob's complete recovery and the family's well being in this difficult time.


Cards can be sent to:

Robert Schindler, c/o
The Terri Schiavo Foundation
5562 Central Ave. # 2
St. Petersburg. FL 33707

I've been quite thankful for the leadership of the Schindler family and their dedication to the suffering and oppressed. I do hope our readers will reach out in support of the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation.

Via Pro-life Blogs and Secondhand Smoke.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Spiritual Meditation of the Day: Pope Benedict XVI

"The birth of Jesus is not a fable, it is a story that really happened, in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Faith brings us to recognize in that little Child born of the Virgin Mary, the true Son of God Who, out of love, chose to become man. In the face of the little Jesus, we contemplate the face of God, which is not revealed through force or power, but in weakness and the fragile constitution of a child. This 'Divine Child' .. demonstrates the faithfulness and tenderness of the boundless love with which God surrounds each of us. For this reason we rejoice at Christmas, reliving the same experience as the shepherds of Bethlehem."

What Christmas Tree Are You?

You Are a Traditional Christmas Tree

For a good Christmas, you don't have to re-invent the wheel.
You already have traditions, foods, and special things you bring out every year.
What is Christmas About? Listen to Linus

Today's Intercessory Prayers

Today I am praying to Jesus through Mother Mary for the following intentions:

For healing and conversion of M., who has been away from the Church for 30+ years, and for M., who has been away from the away from the Church for 40+ years - I place them in the immaculate heart of our holy Mother, Mary.

For a special intention for Bill.

For a joyful and peaceful Christmas for all.

For friends for those who suffer from loneliness; for peace and healing for those who are hurting in any way - especially for those who are suffering the loss of a loved one.

For continued healing for Gloria.

That all Catholics will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Christmas in preparation for the coming of the Christ child.

For the repose of the soul of a young man who was killed in an accident this morning and for healing for his family and friends. For healing of the driver in that accident who was badly burned and is in critical condition.

For an end to abortion and the closing of all abortion mills.

Judie Brown: Nancy Pelosi's Problem

The pro-abortion Catholic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, who will be Speaker of the House this coming January, is flaunting her Catholic identity in the face of both Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore and Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C.

Her office has announced that she will celebrate her new position with a series of events including Mass at her alma mater,
Trinity College in Washington, D.C.

Pelosi's office claims that her planned events will present a different image of her: "that of a Roman Catholic mother and grandmother."

The exploitation of the Catholic Mass is particularly egregious because Pelosi is not only a committed pro-abortion politician but she has rarely supported anything even close to resembling a family value. While we are grateful that she at least recognizes her family as important to her, we cannot abide such disdain for the Church and particularly for the Mass.

One has to wonder what Archbishop Wuerl and Cardinal Keeler will do about this. Or will they see this as a political opportunity rather than an insult to the body and blood of Christ? We're watching and hoping that somehow this travesty is corrected prior to the January 4th date.

Via Judie's Blog.

My Comments:

Nancy Pelosi follows in the footsteps of John Kerry and so many of our other liberal, nominal Catholic politicians. They are hypocrites who are using their Catholic identity solely to further their political careers. They are not living out their faith, but are a scandal to their faith and have excommunicated themselves from the Church. I am praying for her conversion and for all those who profess to be Catholic, yet think it's to ok kill babies and publicly approve and encourage others to engage in this sinful behavior. What kind of mother or grandmother would approve the slaughter of our innocent and helpless unborn? Apparently, Nancy and her liberal cohorts need a refresher course in the Ten Commandments. Read my lips, Nancy, "
Real Catholics don't murder babies nor do they encourage others to do so."

Do excommunicated Catholics receive the Holy Eucharist? I think not - at least not in my diocese - and I would hope that she dare not even try to make a mockery of the Sacrament anywhere else.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mary Did You Know?

POPE BENEDICT XVI: HUMANITY AWAITS THE RENEWAL THAT CHRIST BRINGS

"Does mankind in our own time still await the Savior?" It appears that many people consider God as foreign to their interests. They have no apparent need of Him, and live as if He did not exist or, worse still, as if He were an 'obstacle' to be removed in order to achieve self-fulfillment. Even among believers ... are those who let themselves be attracted by alluring mirages and distracted by misleading doctrines that propose illusory shortcuts to happiness."

"And yet with all their contradictions, their anguish and their dramas - or perhaps precisely because of them - men and women today seek a road of renewal, of salvation, they seek a Savior and await, sometimes without knowing it, ... the coming of Christ, man's only true Redeemer."

For this reason, the Pope concluded, Christians must, "with the testimony of their lives, propagate the truth of Christmas, which Christ brings to all men and women of good will. Born into poverty in the manger, Jesus came to offer everyone the joy and peace which alone can satisfy the needs of the human soul."

~ Pope Benedict XVI: From His Wednesday Audience, December 20, 2006

Source

Today's Intercessory Prayers



Today I am praying to Jesus through Mary for the following intentions:

For Shannon, who suffered a miscarriage and for her husband, as they grieve the loss of their first child.

For Norbert for peace, healing, and reconciliation in his marriage.

For Greg & Gloria for healing and reconciliation in their marriage.

For Ukok.

for Julie D's special intentions.

For Moneybag's vocation.

For those suffering from mental illness, especially for S's family.

For the Holy Father's special intentions.

For fallen - away Catholics to return Home this Christmas, especially those within our families, and for the conversion of all nominal Catholics.

For good weather and safe travel for all those who will be traveling this Christmas.

For an end to abortion and for the closing of all abortion mills.

For the safety and well-being of all our troops and for world peace.

For grace, healing, strength, and the perseverance to do all that God has asked me to do through my various apostolates.

For a special intention.

For all previous prayer requests.

Knights Air Television Spot Asking Help for Children in Need

A television spot being broadcast by the Knights of Columbus this Christmas invites viewers to help a child in need. You may wish to provide such help by donating to a favorite charity of your own, or consider charities supported by the Knights of Columbus at the national, international or state levels.

The 60-second television message, which features a rendition of Away in a Manger sung by country music star Patty Loveless, will air Dec. 18-25 on U.S.-based cable TV networks CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, and CMT (Country Music Television). In Canada, it will be broadcast on CTV National and CTV Newsnet, as well as on local stations in Toronto and Montreal. Catholic programs airing in Hartford, Boston, Detroit, Orlando and Long Island will also show the spot, as will the U.S. Catholic cable channel ETWN.

Broadband (rm, 1.9 mb)
Dial-up (rm, 426 kb)

For more information, go here.

Pro-Life Nurse's Refusal to Do Abortions Changes Chicago Hospital Policy

Chicago, IL (LifeNews.com) -- A pro-life nurse who challenged a Chicago hospital's policy of having its staff participate in abortions has opened the eyes of her co-workers, who never knew they had a choice not to participate. The ordeal points to the reasons behind a Congressional provision that is currently tied up in courts. At the age of 48, Mary Bauer decided to change careers. She obtained a nursing degree and went to work at a Chicago, Illinois hospital in its labor and delivery unit.

On her first day of work, Bauer arrived excited and looking forward to her new job. However, after an initial orientation, hospital staff said her first assignment would be assisting in the abortion of a 22 week-old unborn child with Down syndrome. In an interview Bauer described her ordeal. "I just told them, ‘I can’t take that patient. I’m very pro-life. I cannot participate in any way, shape or form. I just can’t do it, so I need an alternate assignment," Bauer said. Read the complete story.

Isn't it amazing what can happen when one person speaks out on behalf of the truth and does what is morally and spiritually right?

This story reminds me of Jill Stanek's story which is also very uplifting and inspirational.

Jill's latest article from WorldNetDaily is quite insightful and thought-provoking. I am amazed at how much we think alike on this subject. Jill Stanek is the humble, yet admirable and articulate lady I once compared to Mother Teresa upon our first meeting at a pro-life rally at Sacred Heart Church in Peoria, IL several years ago when she boldly and courageously presented her heart-rendering testimony. She responded, "But I'm not even Catholic" and I thought to myself, "But I wish you were. We need Catholics like you."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Digital Christmas Tree

Fun Christmas Quiz

94%Your Christmas knowledge is...
 

**WOW!!!!! You have the Christmas Spirit!!!
___________________________________
"Jesus is the Reason for the Season"

Fun Christmas Quiz
Quizzes for MySpace

Catholic Leaders Sign Document Urging “Assumption of Chastity” on Catholic Campuses

MANASSAS, Virginia, December 19, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com)Catholic colleges and universities must “faithfully and compassionately” address disordered attitudes towards sexuality on their campuses, a document signed by more than 50 leaders of Catholic organizations said, in particular calling for chastity in students and faculty dealing with same-sex attractions.

"We leaders of various Catholic apostolates encourage all Catholics, united in prayer and action, to faithfully and compassionately address rising homosexual activism, sexual scandals, pornography and sexual addiction, and harmful attitudes toward sexuality, human life, and marriage on Catholic college and university campuses,” the statement drafted by the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) begins.

“The Christian response to the wound of same-sex attraction is not hatred or discrimination, but aggressive efforts to develop a prevailing 'assumption of chastity' among students, faculty, administrators, staff, and trustees on Catholic campuses, and an environment available to healing."Entitled Addressing Same-Sex Attraction and the Virtue of Chastity on Catholic Campuses, the statement calls on Catholic educational institutions to foster a campus culture that is “conducive to moral student life,” remembering the Church’s call to chastity for all Christians.

“The overall message is that Catholic universities have the responsibility not to give in to the intellectual fashion today, but that they stay with the teachings of the Catholic church,” President Nick Healy of Florida’s Ave Maria University, told the Naples News.

“The church teaches that [same-sex attraction] is an objective disorder, and should be discouraged.”

The statement urges institutions to educate students about Catholic moral teaching on marriage, human life, and sexuality, and calls for spiritual, psychological and medical guidance for students, faculty and staff who are “struggling with chastity.”“We’ve all got disorders and temptations toward evil,” Joseph Fessio, provost of Ave Maria, told the Naples News.

“That comes from original sin. If we were to find people having difficulty living a moral life, we would try to help.”While “there is no valid scientific evidence for a biological origin of same-sex attraction,” the document states, “there is evidence that persons with same-sex attractions can and do change.” [More]

I am happy to see this happening. I think it is a move in the right direction for the culture of life. I wish this would have been in effect in the 60's, but I thank God for giving our leaders the wisdom to take action on this today.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Getting into the Christmas Spirit: A Concert and A Movie (Our Lady of Guadalupe)

This has been a busy time of preparation for Christmas for me. I am doing a little reading, some writing, some celebrating, some house cleaning, some baking, and winding up my shopping. And, of course, daily Mass, daily rosary, recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, spontaneous prayer, and Eucharistic Adoration are all a part of my preparation spiritually.

Yesterday, I went to a Christmas concert at church and it was magnificent! I couldn't believe how much talent we have in our parish. The singing was truly of professional quality.

The concert included: Overture from Unto Us a Child is Born by J.S. Bach (organ), a female duet singing Not That Far from Bethlehem, a female trio singing Mary Sat A-Rocking (quite jazzy), Gloria in Exclesis Deo (organ), a coed ensemble singing Breath of Heaven, Whisper of Angels sung by a woman who could be Joan Baez's twin (What a beautiful voice!), a men's ensemble singing As Lately We watched, Christmas Solstice (on the organ), Angel's Carol by the choir, and Carol for Advent, and Allelulia, He is Coming by the combined choirs.

This is the first time in many years that I haven't been involved in the Music Ministry. I miss it a lot but have more than enough on my plate now. In fact, my physician has asked me to cut back on some of my apostolates for health reasons. She told me that I am doing way too much (So what else is new?) I am trying to take her advice - after all, there is still unpacking that needs to be done and some storage containers to be unloaded from our move to this area 14 months ago (two moves in that time). And, of course, I am making exercise a priority. (I am excercising the jaws less and the body more.)

After the concert, we went to see Our Lady of Gaudalupe, which just melted my heart. It is not a high budget film, but a simple one, albeit with several different story lines. It is a Spanish movie with English subtitles and be prepared to read quickly - there's no snoozing during this movie. I liked it and so did my husband.

The film takes place in modern day Mexico and and tells the story of a brother and sister team of archeologists, Jose Maria and Mercedes, who decide to investigate the case of Our Lady of Guadalupe. What they discover changes their lives forever.

Through their scientific research, the two discover, each in their own way, the true message that the Blessed Virgin Mary reveals at Guadalupe: that we are to live in harmony and peace with one another and to have faith and hope.

This movie is a gem. While the characters and dialogue seem a little simplistic at times - the message is powerful one - and the story is one you won't forget. It contains very touching and tender love stories on both the human and the spiritual levels.

I give it three *** of 4 stars. It is very good. Don't miss it!

To see the trailer and to learn more about the film go here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Simple Way to Support Our Soldiers This Christmas

If you go to www.LetsSayThanks.com you can pick out a thank you card, Xerox will print it, and it will be sent to a soldier who is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services. How amazing it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one! Please send a card. It is FREE and it only takes a minute. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the soldiers received a bunch of these?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

In Defense of the Virgin Birth

A Few Words on The Nativity Story

I saw "The Nativity Story" the weekend it was released (On Sunday, December 3) and enjoyed it. It was a uplifting and inspirational film. However, it didn't blow me away like "Passion of the Christ". It is a more "worldly" film and does not have that ethereal quality to it, that "The Passion" did. When I viewed "The Passion of the Christ" I felt as if the Holy Spirit had inspired Mel and was guiding him to tell the story just as he had the authors of the Bible.

"The Nativity" is Hollywood's version of how the birth of Christ took place and it is indeed a beautiful story. I particularly liked the way St. Joseph (Oscar Issac) is portrayed - as a kind, thoughtful, loving, and obedient man - who is the strong protector of his family. He was quite admirable in the film.

It was also interesting to see the shepherds' and the wisemen's stories in this movie - something that is unique to Hollywood films.

"The Nativity Story" presents a very human, down - to - earth version of Christ's birth with non - Caucasian actors speaking in mideastern accents. However, it is not authentically Catholic and that is obvious in its portrayal of Our Blessed Virgin Mary. Although I thought the actress (Keisha Castle - Hughs, Whale Rider) did a fine job as acting as an ordinary Jewish girl, I have a problem in viewing Our Blessed Mother as ordinary. Our Blessed Mother was immaculately conceived - she had no stain of original sin on her soul and she was without blemish. She was extremely beautiful inside and out. For her to look and act the way she did (imperfectly) in the film is not exactly as we would expect based on our beliefs. Also, in the film, Mary is shown struggling with labor pains when giving birth to Jesus, which is not in line with Catholic beliefs.

I suspect that the film-makers purposely did not include these aspects of Catholic teachings and traditions, in order to make the film more appealing to people of various faiths. It is truly an ecumenical film in that sense. It is a beautiful and simple story of Christ's birth.

I recommend you see it - it's one of the most inspiring and spiritually upflifting Christian films I have seen since "The Passion of the Christ". (Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe not included.)

I give it three of four stars - very good. ***

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What Kind of Christmas Ornament Are You?

You Are an Angel

A truly giving soul, you understand the spirit of Christmas.

St. John of the Cross, Mystic, Doctor of the Church


St. John of the Cross (along with St. Teresa of Avila) is one of the founders of the Discalced Carmelites and today is one of their principal feast days. I wish my Discalced Carmelite friends -- Fr. Glenn Harris, Chris, Marie, Kathryn, and Susan -- a very happy and blessed feast day!

Among the Church's contemplatives, St. John is one of the acknowledged masters of mystical theology. Indeed, perhaps no other writer has had greater influence on Catholic spirituality.

Gonzalo de Yepes, John's father, was disowned by his wealthy family of silk merchants for marrying a humble silk weaver, Catalina Alvarez. When forced to adapt to surroundings of poverty and hard work, Gonzalo died young, shortly after the birth of John, his third son.

John received his elementary education in Medina del Campo at an institution for the children of the poor, in which he was also fed and clothed. Besides his elementary studies, he was introduced to various crafts through apprenticeships. At 17 he found work at a hospital in Medina and was able to enroll in the Jesuit College, where he received solid training in the humanities.

In 1563, he entered the Carmelite Order in Medina and changed his name to Fray Juan de Santo Matia. After his novitiate and profession of vows, he went for studies to his order's College of San Andres at Salamanca. He enrolled at the university in Salamanca in the school of arts for the years 1564 to 1567 and in the theological course, 1567-68.

In the school of arts, he attended classes in philosophy; in theology, he probably heard the lectures of Mancio de Corpus Christi, OP, on the Summa of St. Thomas. An indication of Fray Juan's talents is evident in his appointment, while still a student, as prefect of studies. This office obliged him to teach class daily, defend public theses, and assist the regent master in resolving objections.

He was ordained in 1567, and while in Medina to sing his first Mass, he met Teresa of Avila, who had begun a reform within the order. She spoke to him of her plan to restore the Carmelite Primitive Rule for the friars as well as the nuns. Fray Juan, who had been longing for a life of deeper solitude and was thinking about transferring to the Carthusians, promised to adopt this life. With two others, at Duruelo, Nov. 28, 1568, he made profession of the Carmelite Primitive Rule, and changed his name to Fray John of the Cross. The new life in keeping with the Primitive Rule was austere and predominantly contemplative. But the active apostolate was not excluded; it consisted mainly of preaching and hearing confessions. The friars of this new reform wore sandals and were soon referred to as Discalced Carmelites.

At Duruelo Fray Juan was appointed subprior and novice master. Later he was named rector of a newly established house of studies in Alcala. In the spring of 1571, Teresa was ordered to govern the Convent of the Incarnation and to reform its 130 nuns. Realizing the need of a prudent, learned, and holy confessor at the Incarnation, she obtained permission from the apostolic visitor to have Fray John as confessor. While he was confessor there, the reform grew rapidly. But the attitude of the Carmelite Order toward the reform, for reasons due mainly to a conflict of jurisdiction, began to change. In 1575, in a chapter at Piacenza, it was determined to stop the expansion of the reform of the order.

On the night of Dec. 2, 1577, some Carmelites seized Fray John, took him to Toledo, and demanded a renunciation of the reform. He refused to renounce it, maintaining that he had remained at the Incarnation by order of the nuncio. They declared him a rebel and imprisoned him. He lived 9 months in a cell 6 feet wide and 10 feet long, with no light other than what came through a slit high up in the wall. During this imprisonment he composed some of his great poems. In August 1578, in a perhaps miraculous way, he escaped; eventually he journeyed to a monastery of Discalced in southern Spain.

The following years were given to administration: he was prior on several occasions, rector of the Carmelite College in Baeza, and vicar provincial of the southern province. in 1588 he was elected major definitor, becoming a member of the reform's new governing body, headed by Father Doria.During these years as superior he did most of his writing. He also, besides giving spiritual direction to the Carmelite friars and nuns, devoted much time to the guidance of lay people.

His deep life of prayer is evident in the splendid descriptions of The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love. He once admitted: "God communicates the mystery of the Trinity to this sinner in such a way that if His Majesty did not strengthen my weakness by a special help, it would be impossible for me to live."Toward the end of his life, a controversy arose within the reform. Father Doria desired to abandon jurisdiction over the nuns founded by St. Teresa and also the expulsion of Father Gratian, a favorite confessor of Teresa, from the reform.

As a member of the governing body, Fray John of the Cross opposed Doria in both matters. For obvious reasons John was not elected to any office in the chapter of 1591. He was instead sent to a solitary monastery in southern Spain. While there, he heard news of the efforts being made to expel him also from the reform.

In mid-September, he noted a slight fever caused by an ulcerous inflammation of the leg. Since the sickness grew worse, he was obliged to leave the solitude he so loved for the sake of medical attention. He chose to go to Ubeda rather than Baeza because "in Ubeda, nobody knows me."

The prior of Ubeda received him unwillingly and complained of the added expense. On the night of December 13, John of the Cross died, repeating the words of the psalmist: "Into your hands, 0 Lord, I commend my spirit."In 1592 his body was transferred to Segovia.

He was beatified by Clement X in 1675, canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726, and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pius XI in 1926.

~ Adapted from Welcome to Carmel, Teresian Charism Press!

To learn more about the Carmelites, go here.

Quotes from St. John of the Cross

If you do not learn to deny yourself, you can make no progress in perfection.

In detachment, the spirit finds quiet and repose for coveting nothing.Nothing wearies it by elation, and nothing oppresses it by dejection, because it stands in the center of its own humility.

The Lord measures our perfection neither by the multitude nor the magnitude of our deeds, but by the manner in which we perform them.

O you souls who wish to go on with so much safety and consolation, if you knew how pleasing to God is suffering, and how much it helps in acquiring other good things, you would never seek consolation in anything; but you would rather look upon it as a great happiness to bear the Cross of the Lord.

In giving us His Son, His only Word, He spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word -- and He has no more to say ... because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"Tiller the Killer" Must Be Stopped

I have heard nightmarish Tiller stories many times - people being forced to move out of the area for fear of their lives, people Tiller has frightened and actually injured with his jeep, women of all ages he has coerced into murdering their nearly full-term babies. (Not once has his hand been slapped for any of this - he gets off scott-free every time.) I have actually seen this killer face to face and have begged the Lord for mercy for him. I have also prayed daily for an end to his senseless acts of violence. Novenas, prayer, fasting, nothing seems to phase this hardened sinner, but I tend to believe that when God knocks him off his horse, he will fall hard. While he is still alive, there is still hope for him. That's why I am continuing to pray for this murderer's conversion. If he continues what he is doing today and does not accept God's mercy, the Lord will have His vengeance.

In the meantime, horrific things are happening on a daily basis at his abortion mill in Wichita and the following story is just one example of his daily "accomplishments" for the culture of death.

Go here to read "I Left My Dead Baby In The Toilet" - Former Tiller Patient Tells Of Abortion Horror On O'Reilly Factor .

Tiller must be stopped and you can help to put an end to his killings by coming to Wichita January 19-22 for an event aptly named "A Cry For Justice," sponsored by Operation Rescue. According to Operation Rescue's Troy Newman, "We will continue to focus the eyes of the nation on Tiller's heinous killing practice and demand he be brought to justice. We are drawing a line in the sand. The killing stops here."

Operation Rescue is calling pro-life supporters from around the nation to converge on Wichita, KS, the Abortion Capital of the World, for a four-day event on January 19-22, 2007, focusing on late-term abortionist George R. Tiller during the 34th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that decriminalized abortion in America.

For more information on the "Cry for Justice" event, go here.

Feast of St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr


According to the traditional story, Lucy was born of noble parents in Syracuse, Sicily about the year 283. She made a vow of virginity and was reported to the governor by a rejected suitor for being a Christian. She was tried and executed by a sword.


As the name, Lucy, derives from 'lux' or 'light', she has become associated with festivals of light and with invocations against afflictions of the sight. Legend has it that she was blinded by her persecutors. The church of San Giovanni Maggiore at Naples even claims to possess her eyes.

Prayer
Saint Lucy, your beautiful name signifies light. By the light of faith which God bestowed upon you, increase and preserve this light in my soul so that I may avoid evil, be zealous in the performance of good works, and abhor nothing so much as the blindness and the darkness of evil and of sin. By your intercession with God, obtain for me perfect vision for my bodily eyes and the grace to use them for God's greater honor and glory and the salvation of all men. Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr, hear my prayers and obtain my petitions. Amen

Today is T.O.'s patron saint's feast day. Let's wish her a happy feast day.

Argent by the Tiger has a super post on St. Lucy which highlights the various types of celebrations of this day throughout the world.

Pro-life Quote of the Day: Pope Benedict XVI

"As far as the right to life is concerned, we must denounce its widespread violation in our society: alongside the victims of armed conflicts, terrorism and the different forms of violence, there are the silent deaths caused by hunger, abortion, experimentation on human embryos and euthanasia. How can we fail to see in all this an attack on peace? Abortion and embryonic experimentation constitute a direct denial of that attitude of acceptance of others which is indispensable for establishing lasting relationships of peace. "

~ Pope Benedict XVI, from his 2nd Message for the World Day of Peace: "The Human Person, the Heart of Peace."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe


December 12th is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is the 475th year since Our Blessed Mother first appeared to Juan Diego and spoke this message of hope to him and to all her children:

"Do not let your countenance, your heart be disturbed... Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you."

This is my favorite quote for obtaining peace when things in my life get stressful. It reminds me just who I have on my side and how much my Mother loves me.

Patroness of the Unborn

In the Americas, five centuries ago, cruel human sacrificing rituals were performed in the Aztec empire. Between 20,000 and 50,000 were sacrificed a year. The rituals included cannibalism of the victims limbs. Most of them were captives or slaves, and besides men they included women and children. The early Mexican historian Ixtlilxochitl estimated that one out of every five children in Mexico were sacrificed.

The climax of these ritual killings came in 1487 for the dedication of the new and richly decorated with serpents temple of Huitzilopochtli, in Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), when in a single ceremony that lasted four days and four nights, with the constant beating of giant drums made of snakeskin, the Aztec ruler and demon worshiper Tlacaellel presided the sacrifice of more than 80,000 men. Our Lady of Guadalupe crushed this serpent in 1531.

Today, the ancient Serpent is certainly achieving big hits in its attack upon human life. Millions of unborn children are killed every year around the globe, in procedures that in some countries are not only legal but also officially supported and financed. In many cases the procedures follow the same rules as the sacrifices to the ancient god Molech: the slain and then cremation of the little children.The Woman clothed with the sun, in the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn, will crush this serpent again.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn, Pray for us!

Source:

Fr. Frank Pavone: Priests for Life Newsletter

Volume 17, Number 1, January - Febuary 2007

Prayer Intentions

You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as you pray the Liturgy of the Hours:

January intention: That our youth may be healed of the wounds of being abortion survivors.

February intention: For the seminarians and inquirers of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life.More members join the Lay Missionaries of the Gospel of Life

Over seven hundred individuals are now actively preparing for profession as Lay Associates of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. Embodying the mission and spirituality of Priests for Life, this Society not only welcomes seminarians, priests, and deacons, but welcomes lay persons. Members do the pro-life work that they are already doing (whether full-time or part-time, and whether paid or volunteer), but now do it in union with the spirituality of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, and as members of an approved Society within the Church. This provides opportunities to interact with other members nationwide.For information on how you can become a lay member, visit www.MissionariesoftheGospelofLife.org.
[More]

Spiritual Quote of the Day: Pope Benedict XV1

"Advent invites us to turn our gaze towards the 'heavenly Jerusalem,' which is the final goal of our earthly pilgrimage. At the same time, it exhorts us to commit ourselves with prayer, conversion and good works, to welcoming Jesus into our lives, to constructing together with him that spiritual building in which each of us - our families and our communities - is a precious stone."

~ Pope Benedict XVI

Update on My Activities

Ok... I am responding to those of you who have requested an update on my activities. After the election, I was really exhausted and needed some down time. Instead of blogging day and night plus doing extra work to promote pro-life candidates, counseling and assisting pregnant women, coordinating adult education activities in my parish, writing book reviews, reviewing movies, and going crazy performing all the other vital activities that good wives and mothers (we are all mothers) do, while struggling with FMS, I decided it was time to rest. As much as I would like to envision myself as having the strength of Samson and the endurance and perseverance of Mother Teresa, I have to admit to myself that I am only Jean Heimann - a mere mortal who is given many graces by God to get out of bed in the morning and perform the simple activities of everyday life which are often quite challenging. If I can perform those faithfully and obediently, then I ceratinly will have accomplished all that God has asked me to do.

Ok, here's the scoop on the book. I wrote my first book -- Gold in the Furnace -- in 2004. My Spiritual Father, friends, family and other writers who read my book proposal and excerpts from the book thought it was great and encouraged me to have it published. I sent the book proposal and excerpts from the book to about half a dozen Catholic publishers over the next two years. I received some very positive feedback but no takers. In the meantime, I began writing another non-fiction book related to a topic that I have been interested in for a long time which I believe will be appealing to both Catholics as well as non-Catholics and will draw others to the faith. I have resumed my research in this area and have begun writing about it again. I still need some validation on this second book and hope to meet with my Spiritual Father this coming week. I could certainly could use prayers for discernment because I truly desire to do God's will.

Thanks for your prayers and I will keep you all posted on this.

I would like to thank all of you who have sent me cards and words of encouragement and inspiration. May God bless you abundantly and bless your hearts with the same joy and peace you have given me.

I hope and pray that you are all having a happy and holy Advent Season as we wait in joyful hope with Mother Mary for the coming of our Savior.