Thursday morning, and I feel refreshed after a great sleep. Last night, my Church was packed to the brim with parishioners. It would be nice to see that many at our normal “days of obligation” such as on Sunday’s. I so love my faith, and ALL that it entails.
I have a “doozy” of a reflection today. I suspect here will be a very strong response from some: and I encourage it. The only way to correct a problem is to first think and talk about it. God Bless All of You!
The "Season of Lent"
Quote or Joke of the Day:
Allan K. Chalmers: The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live (NAB Dt 30:19)
This verse is from the first reading at mass today. This ONE sentence can cause so much discomfort in nearly all of today’s society. If I was to be ‘politically correct,’ I would not bring up the deadly trio: abortion, euthanasia, and death penalty (not to mention stem cell embryonic research). But those that know me, know I am as politically correct as Archbishop Raymond Burke or William Donohue. I am a very direct person, that sometimes embarrass or makes uncomfortable, the people near us.
Pro-life and pro-choice to me are the same concept. By choosing a stance on pro-life issues, you are making a choice: a choice to love and cherish all life, as a gift of creation from Him above. After all, God does not make mistakes: only Humans are capable of this act! Being Pro-life is making a choice to regard all life as sacred and special. Being pro-life is choosing to recognize the grace and gift God has given us: dominion over all His creations on this earth. Pro-life means having an understanding that life and death is NOT a matter for us to accept or deny; but to cherish and foster in a loving way, regardless of what ‘life’ gives us as challenges.
Euthanasia and death penalty decisions are considered the “lesser of two evils” by our societal norms. Evil is evil without exception; and any sin against life separates us from Christ’s relationship. Purposeful murder is wrong, regardless of who the person is, or how much of a burden that person is to a family or society.
I cannot explain why people, especially the elderly, have to suffer with debilitating diseases and conditions. As one with disabilities, I can tell you I still have a purpose in society, even though others may think I am “over-the-hill” and possibly even a burden to my family. I believe my family will disagree with my being a burden, though they will agree that my life-style and needs have changed. Along with my disabilities have come a stronger relationship and interaction with my wife and children. Instead of being at work, missing their growth into manhood, I am now a witness and active part in my boys becoming the men they are to be in society. They are witnessing the good and bad of life, and the need to help others with a loving touch, smile, and compassion when encountering struggles in life.
Now for the “touchy” subject: abortion!! How many people can I get angry with me by saying abortion is absolutely and totally wrong? So I won’t! But it is not going to be that easy for you either!
I love when I am told, “It’s my right to choose!!!” I ask, “Choose what?” My right to choose as an incomplete sentence. Tell me what you are choosing. See; not that easy to answer, is it?
What you are actually saying in this incomplete sentence is this, “I have the right to choose whether to kill a living being of human DNA and tissue, thriving in my uterus, for reasons of fear, selfishness, inconvenience, vanity, or lack of responsibility.” Not to be confrontational, but I challenge anyone to disagree with me on this sentence.
Rape and incest account for so few of the numbers of the abortions performed. This may be a strong statement by me, but I believe that even these reasons do not permit the murder of an innocent human being. Instead, I believe the government should aid the affected female with free mental health and medical care to deal with the pregnancy and delivery; and to offer the option of adoption services, if wanted. I even think there should be some type of financial aid given for the care of the fetus during pregnancy, and for the care of the baby if kept by the woman.
The other statement I hear in regards to the “pro-choice” stance on birth control is, “I do not want to be a mother at this time.” The sad fact is you will still be a mother. Instead of being the mother of a child of God, you are now a mother of a dead baby!
“Legally, it is not a baby until born.” This exclamation is the one the comes out of pure desperation and hypocrisy! Our government pronounces and practices, that on one hand a person can be convicted of murder if a baby that dies at the hand of another, while it is still in the uterus. At the same time our government also allows the cruel purposeful death by the cutting and pulling apart, with suction and surgical tools, of a screaming human. Our government also allows the excruciatingly painful burning to death of this same “human” with a strong saline (salt water) solution, as long as it is still in the uterus. There is no way possible for anyone to rationalize, or explain the hypocrisy and malfeasance with this paradox in today’s society.
The last argument I come up with is , “You’re a male! Stay out of woman’s issues!” I may be a man, but I remember being taught in science class is that the female egg has to be fertilized with a MALE sperm. This ‘piece of tissue’ has equal amounts of DNA material from male and female genomes. Yes, I do not have to carry the baby, and go through a form of hell in delivering the baby, but THAT BABY IS NO LESS MINE if I am the sperm donor.
The problem with our society is that men are not being forced to be responsible and “buck up” to help raise and support the baby. My sons know the facts of life, and know the consequences of an “unwanted” pregnancy. My boys know they will probably not be able to finish college as planned, and that they will need to develop and have a nurturing relationship with their child. It is not a threat to them: they know it is their responsibility as father of a child from God.
Should we harm, or use violence in the support for or against any of these three forms of death against nature. NO, NO, NO, NO!!! Again pro-life means we sanction, support, and love ALL life. Jesus Christ said that it is easy to be with your friends, so be with your enemies. We need to dialogue with those that disagree with our thoughts on life. We need to come to an understanding of the causes, and problems that make these issues a hotbed of contention. People need to understand the life is sacred, in all forms. Alternative solutions such as adoption, and help during pregnancy must be paramount in our society as the “pro-choice” movement, and not abortion. And most importantly, we need to pray for those that have had abortions; those getting abortions today and tomorrow; and for those that have died at the hands of others in violence, neglect, or by government action.
Prayer to the Virgin Mary:
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of us all, we turn to you today as the one who said “Yes” to Life. “You will conceive and bear a Son,” the angel told you. Despite the surprise and the uncertainty about how this could be, you said yes. “Be it done unto me according to your word.”
Mary, we pray today for all mothers who are afraid to be mothers. We pray for those who feel threatened and overwhelmed by their pregnancy. Intercede for them, that God may give them the grace to say yes, and the courage to go on. May they have the grace to reject the false solution of abortion. May they say with you, “Be it done unto me according to your word.” May they experience the help of Christian people, and know the peace that comes from doing God’s will. Amen.
(from the “Priests for Life” website)
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Simon
In St. Matthew’s Gospel, we read of St. Simon or Simeon who is described as one of our Lord’s brethren or kinsmen. His father was Cleophas, St. Joseph’s brother, and his mother, according to some writers, was our Lady’s sister. He would therefore be our Lord’s first cousin and is supposed to have been about eight years older than He. No doubt he is one of those brethren of Christ who are mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as having received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. St. Epiphanius says that when the Jews massacred St. James the Lesser, his brother Simeon upbraided them for their cruelty. The apostles and disciples afterwards met together to appoint a successor to James as bishop of Jerusalem, and they unanimously chose Simeon, who had probably assisted his brother in the government of that church. In the year 66 civil war broke out in Palestine, as a consequence of Jewish opposition to the Romans. The Christians in Jerusalem were warned of the impending destruction of the city and appear to have been divinely ordered to leave it. Accordingly that same year, before Vespasian entered Judaea, they retired with St. Simeon at their head to the other side of the Jordan, occupying a small city called Pella. After the capture and burning of Jerusalem, the Christians returned and settled among the ruins until the Emperor Hadrian afterwards entirely razed it. We are told by St. Epiphanius and by Eusebius that the church here flourished greatly, and that many Jews were converted by the miracles wrought by the saints. When Vespasian and Domitian had ordered the destruction of all who were of the race of David, St. Simeon had escaped their search; but when Trajan gave a similar injunction, he was denounced as being not only one of David’s descendants, but also a Christian, and he was brought before Atticus, the Roman governor. He was condemned to death and, after being tortured, was crucified. Although he was extremely old – tradition reports him to have attained the age of 120 – Simeon endured his sufferings with a degree of fortitude which roused the admiration of Atticus himself. His feast day is February 18
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #18:
Moreover they should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which “bear the imprint of the Most High,” and they should strive to move from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of universal kinship.