Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Go here for the full story.
My contribution to this week's Carnival: The Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs, and Our Innocents Today looks at the significance of the Feast of the Holy Innocents, including how it is similar to what is happening in our culture today and what we can do to help put an end to the massacre of the innocents.
A few of my favorite posts there include:
Christine's Planned Parenthood Abortion Funding Requests in Obama Memo Top $4.6 Billion, which tells us all about how Planned Parenthood sends Barry their Christmas list.
Joe's Love and Freedom, which examines the real meaning of love and how it both confines and frees us at the same time.
Sarah's A Few of My Favorite Things gives you a tour of her favorite rosaries, complete with their stories.
But don't stop here, be sure and read all the great posts at this week's Catholic Carnival!
St. Sylvester, a native Roman, was chosen by God to govern His holy Church during the first years of Her temporal prosperity and triumph over Her persecuting enemies. Pope Melchiades died in January, 314. St. Sylvester was chosen as his successor. He governed the Church for more than twenty-one years, ably organizing the discipline of the Roman Church, and taking part in the negotiations concerning Arianism and the Council of Nicaea. He also sent Legates to the first Ecumenical Council.
During his Pontificate were built the great churches founded at Rome by Constantine — the Basilica and baptistery of the Lateran, the Basilica of the Sessorian palace (Santa Croce), the Church of St. Peter in the Vatican, and several cemeterial churches over the graves of martyrs. No doubt St. Sylvester helped towards the construction of these churches. He was a friend of Emperor Constantine, confirmed the first General Council of Nicaea (325), and gave the Church a new discipline for the new era of peace. He might be called the first "peace Pope" after centuries of bloody persecution. He also established the Roman school of singing. On the Via Salaria he built a cemeterial church over the Catacomb of St. Priscilla, and it was in this church that he was buried when he died on December 31, 335.
Numerous legends dramatize his life and work, e.g., how he freed Constantine from leprosy by baptism; how he killed a ferocious dragon that was contaminating the air with his poisonous breath. Such legends were meant to portray the effects of baptism and Christianity's triumph over idolatry. For a long time the feast of St. Sylvester was a holyday of obligation. The Divine Office notes: He called the weekdays feria, because for the Christian every day is a "free day" (the term is still in use; thus Monday is feria secunda.).
~Compiled from Heavenly Friends, Rosalie Marie Levy and The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Without the separate doses for measles and mumps there will be NO MORAL ALTERNATIVES in the US for these vaccines!
In December 2008, the Holy See affirmed in Dignitas Personae, that “everyone has the duty to make known their disagreement and to ask that their healthcare system make other types of vaccines available.” The Vatican further stated that “there is a duty to refuse to use such “biological material” even when there is no close connection between the researcher and the actions of those who performed the abortion.”
Read the article and the letter we sent to Merck - and let them know how you feel!
Children of God for Life
Judie Brown's column: MERCK MIRED IN MAYHEM
A defiant Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday named a black political trailblazer to Barack Obama's Senate seat, a surprise move that put the governor's opponents in the uncomfortable position of trying to block his choice from becoming the Senate's only black member. Blagojevich's appointment of former state Attorney General Roland Burris injected race into the drama surrounding the embattled governor, who repeatedly sought to distance his selection from charges that he tried to sell the seat to the highest bidder.
This is a typical move on the part of Governor B. and doesn't surprise me one bit. He is one of the "untouchables", isn't he?
Bereit's revolutionary campaign, combining prayer, fasting, constant vigil and community outreach touched 204 cities across 49 states.
He is part of an exceptional group of speakers taking part in the Ninth Annual Training and Activism Week in Washington, D.C.
"David Bereit is a hero in the pro-life movement," said Marie Hahnenberg, project director for the 2009 Training and Activism Week. "His dedication to ending abortion through regular, peaceful presence outside of Planned Parenthood facilities and other abortion clinics has sparked a passion in thousands of people for protecting and defending the preborn."
Reports from around the country say that at least 1,100 lives have been spared from abortion thanks to the 40 Days for Life campaign.
"He has inspired so many people to become activists in their home towns and we are very happy to have him share his knowledge and experience," Hahnenberg said.
The ALL Training and Activism Week and Personhood Conference on Jan. 23 will also feature ALL president Judie Brown, Ambassador Alan Keyes, Kristi Burton, architect of the Colorado Personhood movement, Lila Rose, president of Live Action Films and renowned pro-life blogger Jill Stanek. David will be speaking on how to use today's technology to spread the pro-life, personhood message.
The event celebrates the reinvigoration of the personhood movement that works toward cultural and legislative recognition of all human beings from the moment of creation until natural death.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
American Life League: Student Leader of the CO Personhood Movement to Speak at A.L.L. Conference (23 December 2008)
American Life League: A.L.L. Personhood Conference Features New Media Stars (10 December 2008)
~ Maureen L. Condic, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person and Associate Professor of Microbiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine
You've heard all about the disputes: "Silent Night" banned at the "holiday" program, artistic references to the Bible censored and faith-inclusive children's programs facing discrimination.
Now some people are fed up with public school treatment of Christianity and have launched a campaign calling for a rescue of kids from government education programs – a "Call to Dunkirk."
Read more here.
Many Christians have been educating their children through homeschooling or by sending them to private or parochial schools. Is there still hope for changing our public school system? Is the answer homeschooling or private schools for everyone?
Illinois Review: A call to abandon public schools
Ogre's Politics and Views Call to Dunkirk
Desert Conservative Stop the Brainwashing
Sabinus is said to have cured a blind boy, and a weakness in the eyes of Venustianus himself, who was thereupon converted, and afterward beheaded for the Faith. Lucius, his successor, commanded Sabinus to be beaten to death with clubs at Spoleto. The martyr was buried a mile from that city, but his relics have been since translated to Faënza.
Reflection.—How powerfully do the martyrs cry out to us by their example, exhorting us to despise a false and wicked world!
~ Excerpted from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Here is what the reader, who anonymously identifies himself/herself as Tea Tree has to say:
" I respect that you all have opinions, and the opinions in a population differ greatly. However, the United States are a democracy. Obama is promoting the right for people to CHOOSE for themselves, which is fitting for a democracy, no? There is nothing sinister or evil about allowing people this right.
The Bible can be interpreted in many different ways. If one Christian's views do not concur with yours, this does not mean they are not a true Christian.
I do, however, think it would be very unfortunate for the 'moderator' of this forum to delete this post because it disagrees with your views on the subject. If we were all the same this would be a very dull world. "
My Response: First of all, Tea Tree, aborting your own child is not a right -- it is murder. Parents in our society today are legally allowed to put an end to the life of their own child, while the baby is growing and living in the mother's womb; however, in doing so, the child's basic right -- the right to life -- which is guaranteed under the constitution is denied. Without that basic right, the child cannot exercise any of his/her subsequent rights -- for example, the right to free speech, the right to privacy, etc.
Second, the destruction of human life is something that is against the natural law. The natural law can be defined as the laws of nature which govern the activities of the universe. It is to man's advantage to live in accord with the natural law. For example, if I decide to jump out of an airplane without a parachute, because I deny the principle of gravity, I most likely will be seriously injured or killed. When humans fail to act in accordance with the natural law, they can cause harm to themselves as well as to others. Abortion or destruction of your own kind violates natural law. In nature, there is not a single species that permanently destroys their offspring. Abortion is contrary to the natural law. Abortion runs contrary to one of our most innate desires, survival.
How many people could have an abortion, if they saw what it looks like, and had to watch as their child was killed before their very eyes?
Women who have abortions experience post traumatic stress, known as post-abortion syndrome. Some of the psychological symptoms include : recurring nightmares following the abortion; sudden distressing, recurring "flashbacks" of the abortion episode, often occurring during situations that resemble some aspect of the abortion, such as a routine gynecological exam, or even the sound of a vacuum cleaner's suction. "Flashbacks" also occur in the form of recurring nightmares about babies in general or the aborted baby in particular. These "dreams" usually involve themes of lost, dismembered or crying babies. Other symptoms may include: self-punishing and self-denigrating behaviors -- such as eating disorders, becoming involved in abusive relationships; depression, anxiety, guilt, and suicide; alcohol and drug abuse; survival guilt; anniversary syndrome -- an increase of post-abortion syndrome symptoms around the time of the anniversary, and brief psychotic episodes.
In addition to the psychological problems that a woman experiences, there are also physical complications involved in abortion. Some of these may include:
1. DEATH: According to the best record based study of deaths following pregnancy and abortion, a 1997 government funded study in Finland, women who abort are approximately four times more likely to die in the following year than women who carry their pregnancies to term. In addition, women who carry to term are only half as likely to die as women who were not pregnant.
The Finland researchers found that compared to women who carried to term, women who aborted in the year prior to their deaths were 60 percent more likely to die of natural causes, seven times more likely to die of suicide, four times more likely to die of injuries related to accidents, and 14 times more likely to die from homicide. Researchers believe the higher rate of deaths related to accidents and homicide may be linked to higher rates of suicidal or risk-taking behavior.
The leading causes of abortion related maternal deaths within a week of the surgery are hemorrhage, infection, embolism, anesthesia, and undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies. Legal abortion is reported as the fifth leading cause of maternal death in the United States, though in fact it is recognized that most abortion related deaths are not officially reported as such.
BREAST CANCER: The risk of breast cancer almost doubles after one abortion, and rises even further with two or more abortions.
CERVICAL, OVARIAN, AND LIVER CANCER: Women with one abortion face a 2.3 relative risk of cervical cancer, compared to non-aborted women, and women with two or more abortions face a 4.92 relative risk. Similar elevated risks of ovarian and liver cancer have also been linked to single and multiple abortions. These increased cancer rates for post-aborted women are apparently linked to the unnatural disruption of the hormonal changes which accompany pregnancy and untreated cervical damage.
UTERINE PERFORATION: Between 2 and 3% of all abortion patients may suffer perforation of their uterus, yet most of these injuries will remain undiagnosed and untreated unless laparoscopic visualization is performed.(5) Such an examination may be useful when beginning an abortion malpractice suit. The risk of uterine perforation is increased for women who have previously given birth and for those who receive general anesthesia at the time of the abortion. Uterine damage may result in complications in later pregnancies and may eventually evolve into problems which require a hysterectomy, which itself may result in a number of additional complications and injuries including osteoporosis.
CERVICAL LACERATIONS: Significant cervical lacerations requiring sutures occur in at least one percent of first trimester abortions. Lesser lacerations, or micro fractures, which would normally not be treated may also result in long term reproductive damage. Latent post-abortion cervical damage may result in subsequent cervical incompetence, premature delivery, and complications of labor. The risk of cervical damage is greater for teenagers, for second trimester abortions, and when practitioners fail to use laminaria for dilation of the cervix.
PLACENTA PREVIA: Abortion increases the risk of placenta previa in later pregnancies (a life threatening condition for both the mother and her wanted pregnancy) by seven to fifteen fold. Abnormal development of the placenta due to uterine damage increases the risk of fetal malformation, perinatal death, and excessive bleeding during labor.
COMPLICATIONS OF LABOR: Women who had one, two, or more previous induced abortions are, respectively, 1.89, 2.66, or 2.03 times more likely to have a subsequent pre-term delivery, compared to women who carry to term. Prior induced abortion not only increased the risk of premature delivery, it also increased the risk of delayed delivery. Women who had one, two, or more induced abortions are, respectively, 1.89, 2.61, and 2.23 times more likely to have a post-term delivery (over 42 weeks). Pre-term delivery increases the risk of neo-natal death and handicaps.
HANDICAPPED NEWBORNS IN LATER PREGNANCIES: Abortion is associated with cervical and uterine damage which may increase the risk of premature delivery, complications of labor and abnormal development of the placenta in later pregnancies. These reproductive complications are the leading causes of handicaps among newborns.
ECTOPIC PREGNANCY: Abortion is significantly related to an increased risk of subsequent ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies, in turn, are life threatening and may result in reduced fertility.
PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE (PID): PID is a potentially life threatening disease which can lead to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and reduced fertility. Of patients who have a chlamydia infection at the time of the abortion, 23% will develop PID within 4 weeks. Studies have found that 20 to 27% of patients seeking abortion have a chlamydia infection. Approximately 5% of patients who are not infected by chlamydia develop PID within 4 weeks after a first trimester abortion. It is therefore reasonable to expect that abortion providers should screen for and treat such infections prior to an abortion.
ENDOMETRITIS: Endometritis is a post-abortion risk for all women, but especially for teenagers, who are 2.5 times more likely than women 20-29 to acquire endometritis following abortion.
IMMEDIATE COMPLICATIONS: Approximately 10% of women undergoing elective abortion will suffer immediate complications, of which approximately one-fifth (2%) are considered life threatening. The nine most common major complications which can occur at the time of an abortion are: infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, anesthesia complications, convulsions, hemorrhage, cervical injury, and endotoxic shock. The most common "minor" complications include: infection, bleeding, fever, second degree burns, chronic abdominal pain, vomiting, gastro-intestinal disturbances, and Rh sensitization.
INCREASED RISKS FOR WOMEN SEEKING MULTIPLE ABORTIONS: In general, most of the studies cited above reflect risk factors for women who undergo a single abortion. These same studies show that women who have multiple abortions face a much greater risk of experiencing these complications. This point is especially noteworthy since approximately 45% of all abortions are for repeat aborters.
LOWER GENERAL HEALTH: In a survey of 1428 women researchers found that pregnancy loss, and particularly losses due to induced abortion, was significantly associated with an overall lower health. Multiple abortions correlated to an even lower evaluation of "present health." While miscarriage was detrimental to health, abortion was found to have a greater correlation to poor health. These findings support previous research which reported that during the year following an abortion women visited their family doctors 80% more for all reasons and 180% more for psychosocial reasons. The authors also found that "if a partner is present and not supportive, the miscarriage rate is more than double and the abortion rate is four times greater than if he is present and supportive. If the partner is absent the abortion rate is six times greater."
This finding is supported by a 1984 study that examined the amount of health care sought by women during a year before and a year after their induced abortions. The researchers found that on average, there was an 80 percent increase in the number of doctor visits and a 180 percent increase in doctor visits for psychosocial reasons after abortion.
INCREASED RISK FOR CONTRIBUTING HEALTH RISK FACTORS: Abortion is significantly linked to behavioral changes such as promiscuity, smoking, drug abuse, and eating disorders which all contribute to increased risks of health problems. For example, promiscuity and abortion are each linked to increased rates of PID and ectopic pregnancies. Which contributes most is unclear, but apportionment may be irrelevant if the promiscuity is itself a reaction to post- abortion trauma or loss of self esteem.
INCREASED RISKS FOR TEENAGERS: Teenagers, who account for about 30 percent of all abortions, are also at much high risk of suffering many abortion related complications. This is true of both immediate complications, and of long-term reproductive damage.
For information and details of the studies involved, please see AfterAbortion.Org.
As for your second comment, "The Bible can be interpreted in many different ways. If one Christian's views do not concur with yours, this does not mean they are not a true Christian." the Merriam - Webster online dictionary defines Christian as: 1 a: one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ b (1): disciple 2 (2): a member of one of the Churches of Christ separating from the Disciples of Christ in 1906 (3): a member of the Christian denomination having part in the union of the United Church of Christ concluded in 19612: the hero in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
Yes, anyone can profess to be a Christian, but the truth is that only those who live in accord with Christ's teachings are authentic Christians. You can call yourself an abortionist, but unless you are killing babies, you are not an abortionist. Actions speak louder than words. While many passages in the Bible are open to interpretation, I think most people have the intelligence to understand the meaning of "Thou shalt not kill."
"I do, however, think it would be very unfortunate for the 'moderator' of this forum to delete this post because it disagrees with your views on the subject. If we were all the same this would be a very dull world. "
I am posting your comment because I believe that it provides me with an opportunity to educate others and to expose them to the truth. Whether you agree with me or not is not the issue. The most important issue at stake is exposing you and others like you to the truth. The most crucial aspect of this post is sharing the truth -- planting the seed -- so that you may live the truth. The Truth will set you free. Thanks for your comments. God bless you!
P.S. If you are Catholic, please read this: Teachings of the Magisterium on Abortion
Readers: Feel free to add your comments. :)
St. Thomas Becket was born in London, England in 1118. His father was a Norman knight, Gilbert, who had become a prosperous merchant in London; his mother was also Norman, and he had at least two sisters.
Thomas was noted for his piety, his strong devotion to Our Lady, and his generosity to the poor. Richly endowed by nature, he was tall, handsome, strong, and athletic, with dark hair, pale complexion and a prominent nose. His sight and hearing were unusually keen, he had an excellent memory, and he was a gifted speaker and debater.
He enjoyed playing field sports as a boy, and as a young man, his energy, his practical ability, and his initiative exceeded his wisdom and his judgment. He was educated at the Merton Priory in Sussex and at the University of Paris.
When he returned to England at twenty-one, he obtained an appointment as a clerk to the sheriff’s court, where he showed great ability. He was determined to make it on his own in the world now that his parents were both deceased.
After three years, he was taken into the household of Theobald, the Norman monk-archbishop of Canterbury. The young Thomas gradually climbed up the ecclesiastical ladder of success via his charm, his generosity and his adaptability. He was ambitious, and refused no opportunity for advancement. He enjoyed having a "good time", but at all times his life was marked by purity and holiness. The archbishop assigned him the post of archdeacon, and, at the age of thirty-six, he was recommended by Theobald to the young King Henry as chancellor.
Henry II was a man of great ability and vigor with a genius for both leadership and organization, however, he was also self-willed, arrogant, demanding, and passionate. He was power-driven and was obsessed with obtaining complete control over every power in his kingdom. As his chancellor, Thomas had a personal fondness for Henry and devoted all his efforts to serve and please the young king. Thomas was very well paid for his work and spent his earnings lavishly on entertainment, luxurious clothing, extravagant meals, and on hunting. He never failed to work hard and act prudently on behalf of the king's interests. There is evidence that during this time he was dissatisfied with himself and his "worldly life".
In 1163, Theobald died, and the king secured the election of his friend, Thomas, as archbishop, confident that he would serve all his interests and meet all his demands. Thomas was reluctant to accept the office, and warned Henry that he might regret his decision. Eventually, he did agree to accept the office and when he did, something unusual happened. Thomas suddenly became an austere and very spiritual man, devoting himself wholly to the interests of the Church. He made it clear that he was now the faithful servant of the Holy Father.
A short time later, the inevitable clash with the king occurred. Henry reasserted all the rights of the monarchy, which had been claimed and exercised fifty years earlier. Since that time, however, the papacy had established the claim of the church to control matters such as the trial of clerics and the excommunication of offenders, and had asserted its right to hear appeals and decide all cases.
The archbishop and his king were in constant conflict, and affairs reached a crisis when the king demanded that Thomas agree to the Constitutions of Clarendon (1164. This document stated that all the customs of the past were now contrary to both the law of the Church and the practice of the papacy. Thomas hesitated, and for a moment gave way, thus breaking the solidarity of the bishops in their resistance. Then, at a council at Northampton in 1164 he reasserted his opposition and in face of threats of death or imprisonment, he escaped at night and crossed to France to seek the pope.
As archbishop, Thomas was in exile in France for the next six years, while he and the king and Pope Alexander III attempted to settle the controversy and restore peace to the church in England. Meanwhile Thomas, at the abbey of Pontigny and elsewhere, devoted himself to prayer and penance in what may be called a 'second conversion' from piety to sanctity.
When an uneasy peace was established in 1169, Thomas returned in triumph to Canterbury. Almost immediately, the King enraged by the archbishop's refusal to withdraw some censures, let words slip out that were taken to be a command to kill the archbishop as a traitor.
On December 29th, 1170, four knights from the court of King Henry II burst into Canterbury Cathedral as the Archbishop was on his way to Vespers. Just inside the cloister door, they murdered Thomas Becket, whose defense of the rights of the Church had angered the King. His last words were: 'I accept death for the name of Jesus and for the Church.'
The murder shocked the conscience of all Europe; miracles were announced immediately; the archbishop was canonized as a martyr by Alexander III in 1173; the king did public penance at his tomb, and much of what St Thomas had worked for all his life was accomplished by his death. Within three years, Thomas was canonized, and the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury has become one of the most popular destinations for pilgrims from all over the world.
Patron: Clergy; secular clergy; Exeter College Oxford; Portsmouth, England.
Symbols: Sword through a mitre; pallium and archbishop's cross; battle axe and crosier; red chasuble; altar and sword.Often Portrayed As: Archbishop with a wounded head; archbishop holding an inverted sword; archbishop kneeling before his murderers; archbishop being murdered in church.
The Becket Panel at Wymondham Abbey offers a visual meditation on the life of the Archbishop.
To take an online tour of Canterbury Cathedral go here.
You can sing a reflection with the words and music here.
Read St. Thomas Becket's homily in the cathedral on Christmas morning 1170 excerpted from T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral.
My Favorite Quotes from St. Thomas Becket:
"Many are needed to plant and water what has been planted now that the faith has spread so far and there are so many people...No matter who plants or waters, God gives no harvest unless what is planted is the faith of Peter and unless he agrees to his teachings."
"Remember the sufferings of Christ, the storms that were weathered...the crown that came from those sufferings which gave new radiance to the faith...All saints give testimony to the truth that without real effort, no one ever wins the crown."
Thomas said this to a friend on his way to ordination: "Hereafter, I want you to tell me, candidly and in secret, what people are saying about me. And if you see anything in me that you regard as a fault, feel free to tell me in private. For from now on, people will talk about me, but not to me. It is dangerous for men in power if no one dares to tell them when they go wrong."
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Children under the age of two in Bethlehem were massacred by Herod the Great in an attempt to kill the child Jesus. We call these Holy Innocents martyrs because they died in the place of Christ. St. Augustine called them "buds, killed by the frost of persecution the moment they showed themselves."
In modern times, we have our own "holy innocents" -- those children who are killed daily in the place that should be the safest and most protective environment of all for them -- their mother's wombs. On this day, we recall the over 50 million children in our country alone (since 1973) and the vast number of children throughout the world who have been killed under the insane laws permitting abortion. Let us pray daily for an end to this tragedy and begin a novena for the protection of the unborn today.
Even before they learn to speak, they proclaim Christ
A tiny child is born, who is a great king. Wise men are led to him from afar. They come to adore one who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come.
Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage, and to destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children. You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers or fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children.
You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong your own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself. Yet your throne is threatened by the source of grace, so small, yet so great, who is lying in the manger. He is using you, all unaware of it, to work out his own purposes freeing souls from captivity to the devil. He has taken up the sons of the enemy into the ranks of God’s adopted children.
The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king. See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the saviour already working salvation. But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it. How great a gift of grace is here!
To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.
~ A sermon of St Quodvultdeus
Let us ask the Holy Innocents to intercede for us that we may bring about a renewed respect for human life in our society, to build a culture of life, protect the innocents in our day and comfort those who mourn.
The primary purpose of the Church in instituting and promoting this feast is to present the Holy Family as the model and exemplar of all Christian families.
On this special feast day of the Holy Family let us pray that we may emulate their holiness in our own family. Say a prayer dedicating your family to the Holy Family. Pray also for all families and for our country to uphold the sanctity of the marriage bond which is under attack.
Dear Lord, bless our family. Be so kind as to give us the unity, peace, and mutual love that You found in Your own family in the little town of Nazareth.
Saint Joseph, bless the head of our family. Obtain for him the strength, the wisdom, and the prudence he needs to support and direct those under his care.
Mother Mary, bless the mother of our family. Help her to be pure and kind, gentle and self-sacrificing. For the more she resembles you, the better will our family be.
Lord Jesus, bless the children of our family. Help them to be obedient and devoted to their parents. Make them more and more like You. Let them grow, as You did, in wisdom and age and grace before God and man. Holy Family of Nazareth, make our family and home more and more like Yours, until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with You. Amen.
For additional prayers to the Holy Family, go here and here.
Learn more about today's feast day at Catholic Culture.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
St. John, a fisherman, the son of Zebedee, and the brother of St. James the Great, was called to be an Apostle by our Lord in the first year of His public ministry, and he travelled everywhere with Him.
St. John is known as the Beloved Disciple, the Apostle of Love. Why was he identified in this way? John loved Jesus greatly, and he demonstrated a meek, mild, tender, humble, and peaceable disposition that made him very much like Our Lord himself. Also, his singular privilege of chastity, his virginal purity rendered him worthy of this more particular love.
As St. Augustine explains, "He was chosen by our Lord, a virgin, and he always remained such. Christ was pleased to choose a virgin for his mother, a virgin for his precursor, and a virgin for his favorite disciple. His church suffers only those who live perfectly chaste to serve Him in His priesthood, where they daily touch and offer His virginal flesh upon the altar."
At the Last Supper, Jesus allowed John to rest upon His breast. John is the one apostle who never abandoned Jesus, but stayed by Him to the very end. John was the only Apostle present at the Crucifixion and stood at the foot of His cross. It is there that Jesus entrusted His mother to the care of His friend. Consequently, John took Mary into his home, loved her, and cared for her as if she were his own mother.
Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb; when he met the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberias, he was the first to recognize Him.
St. John spent his later life in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. He founded many churches in Asia Minor. He wrote the fourth Gospel, and three Epistles, and the Book of Revelation is also attributed to him. Brought to Rome, tradition relates that he was by order of Emperor Dometian cast into a cauldron of boiling oil but came forth unhurt and was banished to the island of Pathmos for a year. He lived to an extreme old age, surviving all his fellow apostles, and died at Ephesus about the year 100.
Patron: Against poison; art dealers; authors; bookbinders; booksellers; burns; compositors; editors; engravers; friendships; lithographers; painters; papermakers; poisoning; printers; publishers; tanners; theologians; typesetters; writers; Asia Minor; Taos, New Mexico; Umbria, Italy; diocese of Cleveland, Ohio; diocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Symbols: Cup or chalice and serpent (cup or sorrow foretold by Jesus); eagle rising out of a cauldron (refers to being a martyr of spirit, but not in deed); serpent entwined on a sword; grave; Prester John seated on tomb, with book, orb, and sword; eagle on a closed book; scroll of his Gospel; scroll of the Apocalypse; nimbed eagle; book.
St. John's Teachings
Here is what our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, had to say about St. John's teachings in his General audience for 09/08/06:
If there is one characteristic topic that emerges from John's writings, it is love… John, of course, is not the only author of Christian origin to speak of love. Since this is an essential constituent of Christianity, all the New Testament writers speak of it, although with different emphases. If we are now pausing to reflect on this subject in John, it is because he has outlined its principal features insistently and incisively. We therefore trust his words.
One thing is certain: he does not provide an abstract, philosophical or even theological treatment of what love is. No, he is not a theoretician. True love, in fact, by its nature is never purely speculative but makes a direct, concrete and even verifiable reference to real persons. Well, John, as an Apostle and a friend of Jesus, makes us see what its components are, or rather, the phases of Christian love.
The first concerns the very Source of love, which the Apostle identifies as God, arriving at the affirmation that "God is love" (1Jn 4,8; 16). John is the only New Testament author who gives us definitions of God. He says, for example, that "God is spirit" (Jn 4,24) or that "God is light" (1Jn 1,5). Here he proclaims with radiant insight that "God is love". Take note: it is not merely asserted that "God loves", or even less that "love is God"! In other words: John does not limit himself to describing the divine action but goes to its roots. Moreover, he does not intend to attribute a divine quality to a generic and even impersonal love. He does not rise from love to God, but turns directly to God to define his nature with the infinite dimension of love. By so doing, John wants to say that the essential constituent of God is love and hence, that all God's activity is born from love and impressed with love: all that God does, he does out of love and with love, even if we are not always immediately able to understand that this is love, true love.
Prayer to Saint John the Evangelist
O Glorious Saint John, you were so loved by Jesus that you merited to rest your head upon his breast, and to be left in his place as a son to Mary. Obtain for us an ardent love for Jesus and Mary. Let me be united with them now on earth and forever after in heaven.
Friday, December 26, 2008
The Christmas Catholic Carnival #204 is up at A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars. Ebeth is our gracious hostess this week and this carnival is filled with some tasty treats to celebrate Our Lord's birth.
Certain Jews, members of the Synagogue of Roman Freedmen, debated with Stephen but proved no match for the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke. They persuaded others to make the charge of blasphemy against him. He was seized and carried before the Sanhedrin.
Stephen spoke to the crowd and recalled the mercies of God towards Israel during its long history and of the ungratefulness by which, throughout, Israel repaid these mercies. “[Y]ou always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors” (Acts 7:51b). His speech provoked the anger of his audience.
But "[Stephen], filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God....’ They dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him....As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit....Lord, do not hold this sin against them’” (Acts 7:55-56, 58a, 59, 60b). Little did all the people present, casting stones upon him, realize that the blood they shed was the first seed of a harvest that was to cover the world.
Stephen's supposed tomb was discovered by a man named Lucian in 415, which spread his cult when his relics were taken to Constantinople and Rome. Some of these relics included some of the stones that killed him.
St. Stephen's name means "crown," and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown. He is the Patron saint of: coffin makers, deacons, headaches, horses, masons, stone masons, Germany, Owensboro, Kentucky, and Prato, Italy.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Poznan Cathedral Boys Choir, Polen
The Voices of Angels
Today the Church celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ, the first day in the octave of Christmas. Throughout Advent the Church longed ardently for the coming of our Savior. Today she celebrates His birth with unrestrained joy. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." The Son of God became man to give us a share in that divine life which is eternally His in the Blessed Trinity. Christmas time begins on December 24 with the first Vespers of the feast and ends on the feast of the Baptism of Christ. White vestments reappear in our churches as a sign of joy.
The Christmas feast is a festival full of joy. The Eternal Word has become Man and dwells among us. The longings of the patriarchs and prophets are fulfilled. With the shepherds we hurry to the manger and adore the Incarnate Son of God, who for us and for our salvation descended upon earth. The purpose of the Christmas feast is beautifully expressed in the Preface of the Nativity: "For by the mystery of the Word made flesh the light of Thy glory hath shone anew upon the eyes of our mind; so that while we acknowledge Him a God seen by men, we may be drawn by Him to the love of things unseen."
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Luke 2: 1 - 14
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
Everything works together to deepen the mystery of this new presence in the solitude of Christmas night, making it more intimate, more divine. Joseph and Mary's outward poverty is, as it were, the guardian of this mystery. If Joseph and Mary had looked like they were rich, people would have made room for them in the inn because of Mary's condition. They would have turned out other less important guests; they would have found a way to keep them and the mystery of the birth of Jesus would no longer have this solitude and silence. It would have happened in the midst of noise. This is not the way in which God visits our earth! On the contrary, poverty must prepare the way and push aside all those who seek only earthly possessions, all those who think only of settling on earth.
When it comes to the mystery of the Incarnate Word's first visit to this world, poverty has done its job so well that there is no one left except Mary and Joseph. When poverty is loved and accepted, there is true solitude. It is this solitude of Mary and Joseph that Jesus comes to live, and to reveal, to give, and to surrender Himself.
~ From The Daily Gospel with Fr. Philippe, OP (Priest, Philosophy Professor, Founder of the Community of St. John) compiled by the Sisters of of St. John
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
~ Via Fr. Frank Pavone.
St. John was born at Kanty, in the Diocese of Krakow, Poland in 1390 to Stanislaus and Anne who were pious country people. He was educated at the Academy of Krakow, where he impressed his professors and colleagues with his pleasant and friendly disposition; always happy, but serious, humble, and holy, he won the hearts of all who came in contact with him. He earned his doctorate in theology and philosophy, was ordained priest and was then appointed professor of theology at the Academy of Krakow. Shortly afterwards, he was reassigned to the Diocese of Krakow, to be a parish priest. He was then re-appointed professor of Sacres Scripture at the Academy of Krakow, a position he held for the rest of his life. John taught his students this philosophy again and again, "Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause." He distinguished himself as an orthodox teacher of the faith, and by his piety and love of neighbor gave Christian example to his colleagues and his students.
St. John demonstrated extreme humility and charity, distributing to the poor all the money and clothes he had, retaining only what was absolutely necessary to care for himself. He slept little, and on the floor, ate very little food, and totally abstained from meat after he became a doctor. He made one pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the desire of becoming a martyr among the Turks, and four pilgrimages to Rome on foot. Durng his life he performed many miracles, which were multiplied after his death at his tomb. He died in 1473 and was canonized by Pope Clement XIII in 1767. The Roman Breviary distinguishes him with three hymns; he is the only confessor not a bishop who is honored in this way.
Patron: Lithuania, Poland.
Symbols: Dressed in a professor's gown with his arm around the shoulder of a young student whose gaze he directs towards heaven; giving his garments to the poor.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Washington, D.C. (22 December 2008) – American Life League and the Diocese of Amarillo scored a major victory this week as Planned Parenthood prepares to completely withdraw from the Texas Panhandle.
Using American Life League's STOPP project to defeat Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion chain has been completely eradicated from the diocese of Amarillo, Texas."Once again we see that the STOP Planned Parenthood plan works – even on a grand scale," said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League and director of the STOPP project. "We have been honored to work closely with Bishop John Yanta, Respect Life Coordinator Rita Diller, and all those in the Amarillo Diocese who, since 1997, have worked towards the day when Planned Parenthood would no longer exist in the Texas Panhandle.
Through the grace of God, that day will come next week."
In 1997, Planned Parenthood operated 19 clinics in the Texas Panhandle. As of Jan. 1, 2009, the local affiliate with its two remaining clinics will change names and sever ties with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Diller and Bishop Yanta made defeating Planned Parenthood the focal point of their efforts at the diocesan Respect Life offices. They worked with Sedlak and American Life League in implementing the STOPP plan to shut down the organization."
As the result of our 23 years of directly confronting Planned Parenthood, STOPP has developed a plan of action that is closing Planned Parenthoods across the nation," Sedlak said. "Our plan needs local activists to do the hard work of implementing it in a consistent and persistent manner until victory is won. The dedicated people of the Texas Panhandle did just that and God has granted this victory.""The stunning success is an inspiration to all who fight against Planned Parenthood across the nation," Sedlak concluded. "It is a wonderful Christmas present for all who have been so faithful for so long.
"Those interested in stopping Planned Parenthood in their own communities can read the STOPP plan at http://www.stopp.org/ and can contact Jim Sedlak at firstname.lastname@example.org to get help.
And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever." Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Pope Benedict XVI Encyclical «Deus Caritas Est», §41 (©Libreria Editrice Vaticana)
Mary's Magnificat—a portrait, so to speak, of her soul—is entirely woven from threads of Holy Scripture, threads drawn from the Word of God. Here we see how completely at home Mary is with the Word of God, with ease she moves in and out of it. She speaks and thinks with the Word of God; the Word of God becomes her word, and her word issues from the Word of God. Here we see how her thoughts are attuned to the thoughts of God, how her will is one with the will of God. Since Mary is completely imbued with the Word of God, she is able to become the Mother of the Word Incarnate.
Finally, Mary is a woman who loves. How could it be otherwise? As a believer who in faith thinks with God's thoughts and wills with God's will, she cannot fail to be a woman who loves. We sense this in her quiet gestures, as recounted by the infancy narratives in the Gospel. We see it in the delicacy with which she recognizes the need of the spouses at Cana and makes it known to Jesus. We see it in the humility with which she recedes into the background during Jesus' public life, knowing that the Son must establish a new family and that the Mother's hour will come only with the Cross... At the hour of Pentecost, it will be the disciples who gather around her as they wait for the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14).
~ Via Daily Gospel.
Reflection for Today
Sunday, December 21, 2008
You Are an Angel
A truly giving soul, you understand the spirit of Christmas.
O'Dayspring from the East, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!
Via WorldNet Daily: The Campbell's Soup Company purchased a pair of two-page advertisement spreads in one of the nation's leading pro-homosexual magazines, including an ad highlighting a lesbian couple and their son, reports the American Family Association.
The advertisement for Campbell's product Swanson's broth, the AFA reports, appears in both the December 2008 and January 2009 issues of The Advocate, a magazine that touts itself with the line, "For 40 years, setting the standard in LGBT journalism." [Read the rest here.]
If Campbell Soup is concerned for the welfare of children, then they should not be contributing to the normalization of same-gender couples with kids. The company has a social responsibility that extends beyond pleasing one group of potential customers. The ad profits from (and blatantly promotes) the homosexual agenda at the cost of the social/emotional/psychological health of society and its children.
View ad here.
Email the president of the Campbell Soup Company here
Call the company to express your concern:
1-800-257-8443 & 1-800-442-7684 (Swenson Division)
H/T: the pomegranate apple.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
SUPPOSEDLY if you've seen over 85 of these films, you have no life.
There are 239 films on this list.
Mark the ones you've seen.
Copy this list.
Then, bold the films you've seen and count the number.
Put your number at the top of the post.
Have fun! :)
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
Starsky and Hutch
Never ending Story
The Princess Bride
50 First Dates
The Princess Diaries
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Scary Movie 2
Scary Movie 3
Scary Movie 4
American Pie 2
American Pie Band Camp
Harry Potter 1
Harry Potter 2
Harry Potter 3
Harry Potter 4
Resident Evil 1
Resident Evil 2
The Wedding Singer
Little Black Book
Lilo & Stitch
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
13 Going on 30
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
Along Came Polly
Never Been Kissed
Meet The Parents
Meet the Fockers
Eight Crazy Nights
A Cinderella Story
The Lizzie McGuire Movie
Passport to Paris
Dumb & Dumber - I walked out of this movie after 15 minutes - it was too dumb!
Dumber & Dumber
Final Destination 2
Final Destination 3
The Ring 2
Flubber [the original]
Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
I Am Sam
The Whole Nine Yards
The Whole Ten Yards
The Day After Tomorrow
Seed of Chucky
Bride of Chucky
Ten Things I Hate About You
Nightmare on Elm Street
Remember the Titans
The Grudge 2
Son Of The Mask
Bad Boys 2
Lucky Number Slevin
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
A Bronx Tale
Children of the Corn
My Bosses Daughter
Maid in Manhattan
War of the Worlds
Rush Hour 2
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
She's All That
Wizard of Oz
Big Trouble in Little China
The Terminator 2
The Terminator 3
Jeepers Creepers 2
Catch Me If You Can
The Little Mermaid
Reign of Fire
Cruel Intentions 2
The Hot Chick
Miracle on 34th street
A Walk to Remember
The 40-year-old Virgin
Lord of the Rings:Fellowship of the Ring
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Lord of the Rings:Return Of the King
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Waiting for Guffman
House of 1000 Corpses
Kung Fu Hustle
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Shaun Of the Dead
Dawn Of the Dead
Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
28 days later
Kill Bill vol 1
Kill Bill vol 2
Kingdom of Heaven
Te Hills Have Eyes
I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
The Last House on the Left
Army of Darkness
Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
Ewoks The Battle For Endor
The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Revolutions
Team America: World Police
Silence of the Lambs
H/T: Lynne via Facebook.
O KEY OF DAVID, and Scepter of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: Come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.
Friday, December 19, 2008
"The ultimate Christmas gift from God," said Jim Bob Duggar, the father of the 18 children. "She's just absolutely beautiful, like her mom and her sisters."
The Duggars now have 10 sons and eight daughters. MORE
~ Via The Chicago Tribune.
A December 17 letter seeking a meeting has been signed by Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition; Brandi Swindell, Founder and President of Stanton Healthcare; Deborah Frantzich of Rachel’s Vineyard; and Day Gardner, President of the National Black Pro-life Union. MORE
~ Via CNA.
Will he accept? Will the meeting accomplish anything?
How I would love to be a fly on the wall at that meeting!
Give your child a chance. (Josh Groban shares a beautiful lullaby.)
Help babies live. Donate to pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in your community. Help pro-life organizations with your time, money, and talent.
Jill Stanek shares some ways to help in this post:
Help pro-life groups while Christmas shopping
Purchase of Christmas Music CD By Pro-Life Priest is Great Way to Support LifeSiteNews
Here are just a few of the many worthwhile pro-life organizations who can use your help:
*American Life League
* Operation Rescue
* Priests for Life
* STOPP International
Please refer to the pro-life links on my left sidebar for more pro-life groups who need your help.
O ROOT OF JESSE, who stands for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: Come to deliver us, and tarry not.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Now even the mainstream media is reporting the adverse side effects of the pill.
ABC News reports the following:
1. There is a risk of blood clots among smokers, high blood pressure, and stroke with some migraine headaches.
2. Women on the pill may suffer a lackluster sex drive, mood swings, or even extra sinus pressure.
3. Women may choose a mate they would not otherwise be attracted to.
4. Women may have a libido problem.
5. Women may experience heartburn, or constipation, or sleep disturbances, either as insomnia or extra sleepiness.
6. It can lead to greater difficulty conceiving and increase the likelihood of miscarriages.
H/T: Suzanne at Big Blue Wave.
The Pill Kills
New Booklet Outlines Frightening Facts about Contraception
The Evils of Planned Parenthood; What You Can Do to Stop Them
The Latest Defective Device in Birth Control
Newest Version of Birth Control Pill Increases Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke
The Birth Control Pill Kills Babies
Planned Parenthood's Latest Outrage
More Catholic doctors scrub contraceptive scripts
One of the Christmas songs you'll hear on the radio during these days is called "Grown-up Christmas List." It speaks of the fact that age does not stop us from dreaming, and that as life goes on, our wishes at Christmas are not for ourselves, "but for a world in need." The list begins, "No more lives torn apart, that wars would never start...that right would always win."
Do we dare to hope for these things, just because the calendar says December 25 is approaching?
Indeed, the question for a Christian is, "How we can dare not to hope for these things?" Christmas lists, after all, spring from Christmas hope, and Christmas hope is based on an historical fact: God has already given us everything in His Son. St. Paul asks, "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32).
We look for good things in life, and good things are all around us. Yet the best of good things does not satisfy us completely. The best relationships leave something to be desired, and the best vacations always end and leave us looking forward to the next one. This is because every good thing is just a reflection of goodness itself.
In the birth of Christ, we find that total, infinite goodness. "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Col. 2:9). "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being" (Heb. 1:3). In the birth of Jesus Christ, almighty God has given to the human family His last, best offer of hope.
The wonder of Christmas, in fact, is that the promised coming of the Messiah of the Lord was fulfilled in a surprising way that surpassed the hopes and dreams of the people of old. On the first Christmas night, angels announced Christ's birth to the shepherds. But instead of saying that Jesus was the Messiah of the Lord, they said that He is "Messiah and Lord" (Lk. 2:11). God, in other words, did not simply send someone to represent Him. He came Himself!
Christmas is not about the birth of a child who became a great man. It is about a God who created the human family, and then decided to become a member of that family. Christmas is not when Jesus began; it is when Jesus began existing as one of us, and thereby joined all of us to Himself. He joins to His Divinity all who share human nature: the weak and strong, the small and big, the born and unborn. Christmas is universal, and is about the exaltation of the human person.
That's why our "grown-up Christmas list" can say "no more lives torn apart" -- whether by abortion or anything else. Christmas lists spring from Christmas hope, and Christmas is all about the victory of life!