sing when it hurts – a lesson from the cherubim

“He put a new song in my mouth; a hymn of praise to our God.”  Psalm 40:1:3

REPOST from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Life is hard. Sometimes dark. There are times when troubles pile so high we fear we might suffocate under them. We are lonely. We are scared. We are burdened. These are wintry, cold spiritual seasons when there seems to be no light, no help, no relief, no comfort in any direction.  It’s at these times, when we are most discouraged, most weary, that the angels teach us what we must do. We must SING!

Angels are actively engaged in the unceasing praise of God. At Mass several parts of our Liturgy come from Scriptural accounts of angelic worship. The Gloria begins with words sung by the angels at Christ’s birth (Luke 2:14). The Sanctus is from Isaiah’s vision of God surrounded by angels who sing, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory’ (Is.6:1-3).


Some angels are called cherubim, thought to be from the root “to mount.” The Psalms describe a majestic God “mounted” upon, or riding, the exotic winged cherubim: “And He ascended upon the cherubim and He flew: and He flew upon the wings of the wind” (Ps 18:10).

This sort of ascendance imagery is also used in fifteen songs which comprise one of the most precious and beautiful portions of the Bible, the Psalms of Ascent. Sung by the children of Israel as they ascended Mount Zion in Jerusalem during liturgical feasts, their worship was an integral part of the sweaty, joyful exertion and anticipation of arriving at the summit where God awaited.

Their physical climb up the mountain was a type, model and picture of the slow upward trajectory of the Christian spiritual life here on earth. It is a glorious, sweaty enterprise that will ultimately require our very last breath, but those same Psalms of Ascent lift and accompany us, too, up the grand, grueling mountain as we sing them in the Divine Office and our hearts ascend to God in daily prayer. 
*for the complete text, go to:  http://www.catholic.org/hf/faith/story.php?id=37673 

by Sonja Corbitt, NASHVILLE, TN 8/4/2010 Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic speaker, Scripture teacher and study author, and a contributing writer for Catholic Online. She is available to speak on the New Feminism, current events and your preferred theme. Visit her at http://www.pursuingthesummit.com for information and sample videos.

Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

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Opinion: Be Courageous Prophets! Restore the Family as the Foundation of Society

REPOST

From:  Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

  • By Jennifer Hartline
  • 6/28/2010
  • Start at home, but do not stay there. Be courageous prophets.

    As our culture sinks deeper into a moral abyss, the cure is not less Church but more Church.  Those whose faith was badly or never formed, and those who are timid and reluctant need to shape up, learn their faith and step out with courage to witness by their lives to the truth of God’s plan for the human person and the family.  What is the remedy for a culture that rejects God, denies the natural law, places the State in authority over the children and celebrates every manner of immorality?  The Christian family; the “domestic Church.” Without families that are strong in their communion and stable in their commitment peoples grow weak… The priority of the family over society and over the State must be affirmed.” 

    The answer is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

    The answer is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

     WASHINGTON, D.C. – (Catholic Online) – “A society built on a family scale is the best guarantee against drifting off course into individualism or collectivism, because within the family the person is always at the center of attention as an end and never as a means… Without families that are strong in their communion and stable in their commitment peoples grow weak… The priority of the family over society and over the State must be affirmed.”  (paragraph 213, 214, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church)

    Perhaps you saw these stories this week:  A school board in Provincetown, MA approved a condom distribution policy where any student in the district can ask for condoms from the nurse, and be given an educational demonstration on how to use them properly.  There is no minimum age requirement or age limit.  1st graders are welcome to ask for condoms and be taught how to use them.  The policy also states that “the school district will not honor requests from parents that students not be allowed to receive condoms.”  That’s right.  Parents cannot object or exercise their rightful authority over their own minor children – even 1st graders.
     
    In Iowa, the high school kids in Shenandoah got instruction on graphic sexual acts from a Planned Parenthood representative during their state-mandated sex-ed class.  Students were shown how to do female exams, and with the aid of a 3-D, anatomically correct male sex organ, shown how to use a condom.

    The teens were also treated to a demonstration of the sex act in various different positions using stuffed animals, as well as photographs that some parents called “pornographic.”    When many parents – who, of course, had not been informed of the content of this sex-ed class – complained, the principal was reportedly “mortified” and apologized.  The superintendent said, “It’s a political hot potato.  It’s a religious hot potato.  It’s a parental hot potato.  It’s all these things that cause a crack in the system between society, parents, and schools, and we’re still required to do it.”

    In Texas, a 14 year-old girl has been arrested after giving birth in a friend’s apartment and then smothering her infant son with the amniotic sac.  She then put the child in a plastic bag and asked a neighbor to help get rid of the body, and the neighbor told police he put the baby in a large trash bin at the apartment complex.  They also threw away the linens, clothing and the bed.  The 14 year-old’s younger sister was the only one who knew of the pregnancy.  She also witnessed the birth – and death –  and told a school counselor what happened.  The police officer said, “Everybody’s parents work, they were unaware of what was going on.”

    The baby – that little person who was suffocated and then treated as garbage – is lost now to all but God, for by the time police learned of the death, the trash had been collected and taken to a landfill that they said was too big to search.

    No grave; no dignified resting place; just a mucky, rotting landfill.  And anyway, who really cares?  So what?  It’s not like he was a human being.

    We are in a moral and cultural freefall.  These three infuriating and somber stories are all symptomatic of the collapse of the family unit in our society.  In my own lifetime I have witnessed this collapse accelerate at an alarming rate.  But I don’t recall hearing alarm bells while I was growing up.  The adults I encountered were mostly indifferent, unaware, or otherwise enthusiastically indulging in the amoral home-wrecking they were inflicting on us.

    Clanging the alarm bell now seems a lot like crying out, “Iceburg!” after the Titanic already plowed into the thing.  We are sinking fast, and looking anywhere other than to God and His Church for rescue is a waste of time and life.  Just rearranging deck chairs…

    Allow me to be direct:  Divorce, remarriage, single parenting by design or default, shacking-up, abortion, babies manufactured and destroyed at will, the demand for same-sex “marriage” rights and parenting rights, and a culture that worships sex – all these things combined make for one very deadly potion that America’s been guzzling for decades.

    Being drunk and sick, we began abdicating our parental responsibilities and allowed public authorities to have more and more influence, more and more control, and now they simply run roughshod right over parents, particularly when it comes to sexual “education” and anti-God, politically-correct indoctrination.

    The icing on this disastrous cake has been too many years of far too many wishy-washy, weak-willed, confused, apathetic Catholics who are utterly ignorant of their faith and so put up little to no resistance against the destruction of the most vital component of our society:  the family.

    What is the cure for an aggressive public authority that usurps the authority of parents?  A community of strong, cohesive families who meet their moral, spiritual, educational and material obligations to their children.

    What is the cure for the life-hating era we live in, where girls barely past the onset of menstruation are having sex, becoming pregnant, and killing their own children?  The answer again, is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

    The cure is not government programs or entitlements or more mandates or restrictions.  The only cure is to return to an attitude of reverence for the foundation of our society:  the family, “born of the intimate communion of life and love founded on the marriage between one man and one woman.”  (Paragraph 211, CSDC)

    As our culture sinks deeper into this moral abyss, the cure is not less Church but more Church.  Those whose faith was badly or never formed, and those who are timid and reluctant need to shape up, learn their faith and step out with courage to witness by their lives to the truth of God’s plan for the human person and the family.

    What is the remedy for a culture that rejects God, denies the natural law, places the State in authority over the children and celebrates every manner of immorality?  The Christian family; the “domestic Church.”

    “The Christian family is called therefore to be a sign of unity for the world and in this way to exercise its prophetic role by bearing witness to the Kingdom and the peace of Christ, towards which the whole world is journeying.”  (paragraph 220, CSDC) “Christian families have then, in virtue of the sacrament received, a particular mission that makes them witnesses and proclaimers of the Gospel of life.  This is a commitment which in society takes on the value of true and courageous prophecy.”  (paragraph 231, CSDC)

    No – timid, milquetoast Catholicism will not get the job done.  Our time is crying out for heroes of the faith to show themselves in every walk of life, in every nook and cranny of the public square, in every community.  For too long we have bought the lie that our faith must remain at home in private – no longer.  There can be no separation of faith and living!

    Be courageous prophets.  Our mission is to rescue and firmly reestablish the family according to God’s plan and design.  Start at home, but do not stay there.  Be courageous prophets.
    ————-
    Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven).  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.  She is also a serious chocoholic.  Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.
    – – –
    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

    Novena of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

     

  • 5/14/2010
  • reposted from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
  • On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul.

    WASHINGTON,DC  (Catholic Online) – Catholic Online is pleased to offer the novena of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  The novena officially begins on the day after the Solemnity of the Ascension, Friday the 6th week of Easter and continues until Pentecost Sunday.

    The prayers for each day are printed below.  Please join us in praying this powerful prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church and all God’s people, that we might be strengthened to carry on the work of the New Evangelization.

    Come Holy Spirit, and enkindle in us the fire of your love!

    A novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest form of all novenas. It was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost.Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

    ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
    To be recited daily during the Novena

    On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.

    PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
    To be recited daily during the Novena

    O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You  and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples, and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

    *****

    FIRST DAY (Friday after Ascension or Friday of 6th Week of Easter)

    Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

    The Holy Spirit

    Only one thing is important — eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared–sin- Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”

    Prayer

    Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SECOND DAY (Saturday of 6th Week of Easter)

    Come. Father of the poor. Come, treasures which endure; Come, Light of all that live!

    The Gift of Fear

    The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

    Prayer

    Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    THIRD DAY (7th Sunday of Easter or transferred Ascension)

    Thou, of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.

    The Gift of Piety

    The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    FOURTH DAY (Monday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Thou in toil art comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat, solace in the midst of woe.

    The Gift of Fortitude

    By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    FIFTH DAY (Tuesday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!

    The Gift of Knowledge

    The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth–in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SIXTH DAY (Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter)

    If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn’d to ill.

    The Gift of Understanding

    Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SEVENTH DAY (Thursday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Heal our wounds–our strength renews; On our dryness pour Thy dew, Wash the stains of guilt away.

    The Gift of Counsel

    The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    EIGHTH DAY (Friday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!

    The Gift of Wisdom

    Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: “Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    NINTH DAY (Saturday, Vigil of Pentecost)

    Thou, on those who evermore Thee confess and Thee Adore, in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend; Give Them Comfort when they die; Give them Life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen

    The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

    The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

    Prayer

    Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts
    – – –

    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

    Weep, Rachel! Baby Boy Aborted Alive and Left to Die

    This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15

  • By Jennifer Hartline
  • 4/30/2010
  • reposted from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
  • The manner of this child’s death is horrifying beyond belief, but it’s not the location of his death that makes it a homicide!  He was the very same 22 week-old infant hours earlier when he was kicking and growing inside his mother’s womb!  He was the very same human being the moment he died as the moment before he was aborted.  That he died slowly, nearly two days after the abortion, only means he was clumsily murdered.

    A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping: Rachel Weeping for Her Children Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more. (Jeremiah 31:15)

    A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping: Rachel Weeping for Her Children Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more. (Jeremiah 31:15)

    WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) –  I would have taken him in a heartbeat and loved him.  You probably would have as well.  I know there are countless couples out there who would have given anything for the gift of him.  I know when you read about what happened to him, you will be as angry as I am at this moment.  Then you will, hopefully, weep as I am at this moment.  He deserves every tear we can shed and then some.

    The story of this horrible evil deserves righteous anger.  It is entirely appropriate to scream and wail.  There doesn’t seem to be nearly enough wailing – that may be what is beginning to bother me most.  I am enraged by the overriding hush.

    The UK Telegraph reported April 28 that in the town of Rossano, Italy, a 22 week-old baby boy was  aborted alive, wrapped in a sheet with his umbilical cord still attached and left alone to die.  20 hours later, he was discovered by a priest who went to pray beside his body and noticed that the baby was moving and breathing.  Doctors then had the baby taken to a neighboring hospital to be cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit, where he ultimately died, nearly two days after being ripped from his mother’s womb and discarded like trash.

    His mother decided to end his life because prenatal scans suggested he was disabled.  Suggested.  Possibly disabled; declared unworthy to live.  He was murdered by heartless animals wearing lab coats, who have medical degrees hung in frames on their office walls.  He was handed over to death by the one who was entrusted by God with his care, and he was killed and thrown away by those who take an oath to “first do no harm.”

    It’s time to stop tip-toeing around, sugar-coating our language for fear of sounding offensive.  What’s offensive is what was done to this child.  What’s offensive is the barbaric execution of babies in the womb in the name of “reproductive freedom.”  What’s offensive is that societies at large turn their eyes away, pretend not to notice, and justify the evil being masqueraded as a “right.”

    How I long to hear Rachel weeping!  How I long to see her wail at the top of her lungs, cover her head with ashes and mourn for her children!  “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.”  Jeremiah 31:15

    Instead, it is the anti-Rachel who presently exerts her influence and power over us.  The anti-Rachel is heard in the voice of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW, Emily’s List, Catholics for Choice, Catholics United, the judges and politicians who protect abortion “rights” and yes, our President.  The anti-Rachel sits in the seat of power in our country and around the world, and weeping for our children has been eschewed; now we declare victory and “freedom” won by their calculated deaths.

    The anti-Rachel said just today that abortion must be kept safe and legal and whether or not it is rare is beside the point:

    “If those 1.21 million abortions represent only the women who could access abortion financially, geographically or otherwise, then that number is too low.  Yes, too low….Do we dare admit that increasing the number of abortions might be not only good for women’s health, but also moral and just?”  RHReality Check, “Keep Abortion Safe and Legal? Yes. Make it Rare? Not the Point.” by Aimée Thorne-Thomsen

    I would love to hear Ms. Thorne-Thomsen defend what was done to that baby boy in Italy this week, and defend it she must if she insists abortion is just and moral! 

    Where is the statement from Planned Parenthood extolling the courageous service of this doctor in providing the mother the “reproductive health services” she needed?  It should not make one iota of difference to them how this baby died.  All that matters is that his mother wanted him killed and the doctor tore him out of the womb.  As long as he ultimately died, the details are irrelevant.  After all, abortion is abortion is abortion.  What difference does it make how it’s accomplished?  So what if the insentient blob of tissue, the little parasite, the disabled fetus, the unplanned and unwanted intruder doesn’t die right away?  Whether in the womb, halfway out of the womb, or delivered and laying on an instrument table, who cares?  So what if it dies hours or days later, having been thrown in the corner with the dirty laundry?

    No, the voices of anti-Rachel cannot be sad for the death of this baby boy. Death is the necessary fruit of their labors. The most they can do is plead for the cause of better-trained doctors who are responsible and skilled enough to make sure they get the job done right on the first try. The tragedy for them here is that yet another doctor has failed to provide women the care they deserve. The manner of this child’s death is horrifying beyond belief, but it’s not the location of his death that makes it a homicide! He was the very same 22 week-old infant hours earlier when he was kicking and growing inside his mother’s womb! He was the very same human being the moment he died as the moment before he was aborted. That he died slowly, nearly two days after the abortion, only means he was clumsily murdered. I know there will be many people in many countries who will be outraged over this child’s death. They may weep and feel furiously angry. But will it matter? When the next opportunity comes to usher Rachel into the seat of power, that laws of life may be written in place of the current laws of death, will the millions remember this little boy and their anger over his murder? In our own nation, will the millions who say they recognize the humanity of the child in the womb remember this precious child and finally denounce the mythical “right” of abortion? Will they take their anger to the ballot box in defense of the sanctity of human life? Will Catholics in America finally live the undeniable truth of the faith they claim to believe? Human life is sacred and created by God. Abortion kills a child. No one has the right to kill a child. Abortion is intrinsically evil. This is what the Church teaches, yet scores of self-described Catholics either brush aside or flat-out reject this truth and carry the banner of “choice” instead. Why? Why would this child’s death have been legal, moral, just, and acceptable if only he had died immediately? How long will we choose the curse over the blessing? Why isn’t Rachel’s weeping a deafening roar? Rachel absolutely must refuse to be comforted over the brutal death of this child and every child who is killed in the name of “choice.”

    (This boy was killed in Italy, but it happens here in the U.S. more than anyone will admit, despite our Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Read more at Jill Stanek.)
    —– Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven). She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. She is also a serious chocoholic. Visit her at My Chocolate Heart. – – –
     
    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

    Why is this Week Called Holy?

     
    Why is this Week Called Holy?
    Take This Cup
    By Deacon Keith Fournier
    3/26/2010

    repost from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

    We all experience “Gethsemanes” in our own lives; times of difficulty, deep sorrow, loss, distress, fear and anguish.

    It is often those times and circumstances that become the very path to holiness if we learn to love as He loves. Our Christian vocation is to live as He lives, to love as He loves and to thereby become “holy” as He is holy. We are invited to embrace the way of surrendered love.

    It is often those times and circumstances that become the very path to holiness if we learn to love as He loves. Our Christian vocation is to live as He lives, to love as He loves and to thereby become

    CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) – “Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.” After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.”

    (And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.) When he rose from prayer -and returned to his disciples- he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.” (Luke 22: 39-42)

    This Sunday we enter into Holy Week. Christians will gather in sanctuaries throughout the world and wave Palm branches in imitation of those who lined the streets at Jesus´ triumphal entry. We will follow the path of His struggle, the way of His rejection and we will be invited to climb the mountain of His great saving act of unmerited selfless Divine love.

    During this week we are invited to enter into His pattern of surrendered love; to walk this way with Jesus, who, in His Sacred humanity, teaches us the path to our own transformation. The agony in that garden called Gethsemane shows us a very human Jesus.

    Yes, He was Divine and, because of that, He alone could do for us what we could not do for ourselves, restoring through His passion and death the broken relationship between God and the people whom He fashioned for love and communion. With His outstretched arms, He bridged the gap between heaven and earth. In His triumph over death he defeated the last enemy and began the new creation.

    In His Sacred humanity this man Jesus shows each of us how to live differently. We are invited to greet and embrace even that which we do not want as the very means of transformation. We have been given the grace to accept difficulties, which, when embraced in love, can actually become a path to our redemption.

    The author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 14:15)

    The Christian tradition insists that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us and around us. This is the mystery of suffering in the Christian life.
     
    Saint Jose Maria Escriva once wrote “The great Christian revolution has been to convert pain into fruitful suffering and to turn a bad thing into something good. We have deprived the devil of this weapon; and with it we can conquer eternity.”

    How do we treat those circumstances that cause us to struggle? How do we deal with what we find unpleasant? Do we practice an “adult” form of avoidance and run, acting as if it will all just go away like when children cover their eyes? Or do we believe that even unpleasant things and “difficult” people can actually be gifts from the hands of a loving God who invites us to walk in the way of His Son?

    How do we deal with unresolved conflicts or troubling relationships? Do we work toward resolution, making “love our aim” (1 Cor. 14:7), or do we avoid them, thinking they will just go away if we “pretend” they don´t exist?

    Now is the time, during this week we call “Holy”, to join the revolution of which this great saint writes. After all, why do we call this week “Holy”? I suggest two among many reasons.

    First, the story of this week is the story of an all Holy God who showed the depth of His love through the complete emptying of Himself, in and through the Passion of His Son. Second, it is holy because we are invited into that life and way of holiness that Jesus demonstrated during all of the events that we will soon commemorate.

    In the Old Testament the word often translated as “holy” literally meant- to be set aside, consecrated, for God. In Jesus Christ it now means even more. We who are baptized into Him are invited to live our lives now, in Him. To love as He loves; to pray as He prays, to walk as He walks, to suffer as He suffers; to confront evil the way He does.

    All of us inevitably experience “Gethsemanes” in our own lives, times of difficulty, deep sorrow, loss, distress, fear and anguish. Friends may have betrayed us, or those whom we love may have rejected us. Maybe things about our lives are being exposed, brought into the light, and it is “uncomfortable”.

    It is often those times and circumstances that become the very path to holiness if we learn to love as He loves. Our Christian vocation is to live as He lives, to love as He loves and to thereby become “holy” as He is holy. We are invited to embrace the way of surrendered love.

    “Take this cup”. It is a very human request. What is the cup we are being asked to drink? Let us decide today to make the choice and drink, saying as we do “not my will but yours be done” When we live and love this way, the very people and circumstances that once seemed to be so difficult can become the path to freedom and we learn to walk the way of forgiving love with Him as His redemptive mission continues through time. 
     – – –
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    remember you are dust

    “Memento, homo … quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris” (cf. Gn 3:19).
    “Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return.”

    Yes. Today we need to hear the “you are dust and to dust you will return” of Ash Wednesday, so that the definitive truth of the Gospel, the truth about the Resurrection, will unfold before us: believe in the Gospel.

    ROME (Catholic Online) – This homily was preached by the late Servant of God John Paul II during the Ash Wednesday Liturgy in Rome on February 21,1996. May his prayers help us all to deepen our own conversion during these 40 days. 

    Ash Wednesday Homily

    by: Pope John Paul II (reposted from 2/21/2009)
    1. “Memento, homo … quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris” (cf. Gn 3:19). “Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return.”

    The Church speaks these words in today’s liturgy, while ashes are placed on the foreheads of the faithful. These words come from the Book of Genesis: our first parents heard them after they had sinned. Original sin and original sentence. By the act of the first Adam, death entered the world and every descendant of Adam bears the sign of death within him. All generations of humanity share in this inheritance.

    I once witnessed the opening of a royal sarcophagus in the cathedral of Krakow. It was the tomb of a great monarch who had ruled when my country was at the height of its splendor and power. I saw clearly with my own eyes how his body had turned to dust. In his case, death had fulfilled its relentless law. This will happen to each one of us: “To dust you will return.”

    2. After the Council, the Church also likes to repeat another liturgical formula during the distribution of ashes: “Convertimini!” “Repent, and believe in the Gospel!” (Mk 1:15).

    At the beginning of Lent, these words on Ash Wednesday are a plan of life for us. They are the words with which Christ began his preaching.

    Repent: Metanoeite! The readings of today’s liturgy speak especially of this.

    “Return to me”, the Prophet Joel proclaims (2:12).

    And the psalmist cries: “Miserere mei, Deus, secundum misericordiam tuam”. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love, … of my sin cleanse men … I acknowledge my offense…. Against you only have I sinned…. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me…. Cast me not out from your presence, and take not your holy spirit from me” (cf. Ps 51[50]:3-13).

    In the Gospel according to Matthew, it is Christ himself who explains the meaning of almsgiving, prayer and fasting, that is, of the actions by which we put sin behind us and return to God.

    “Return to the Lord, your God” (Jn 2:13), exhorts the Lenten acclamation.

    “Repent!”

    “Repent and believe in the Gospel”.

    3. What does “believe in the Gospel” mean? It means accepting the whole truth about Christ. The Apostle writes: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

    Christ, our justification.

    It is in him and through him that the tragic knot indissolubly binding death and sin is loosed.

    “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is 53:6) … and he, Christ, takes that terrible burden on himself, so that in him we may become the righteousness of God.

    Henceforth then, it is no longer the pair, sin and death, that prevails, but the other pair, death, his death on the Cross, and justification.

    This fulfils what the Psalm proclaims: “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (51[50]:12). Create! Redemption is the new creation: in the justice and the holiness of the truth.

    4. Why does the Church place ashes on our foreheads today? Why does she remind us of death? Death which is the effect of sin! Why?

    To prepare us for Christ’s Passover. For the paschal mystery of the Redeemer of the world.

    Paschal mystery means what we profess in the Creed: “On the third day he rose again”!

    Yes. Today we need to hear the “you are dust and to dust you will return” of Ash Wednesday, so that the definitive truth of the Gospel, the truth about the Resurrection, will unfold before us: believe in the Gospel.

    On the threshold of Lent, it is necessary that this perspective be opened before us, so that we may believe deeply in the Gospel with all the truth of our mortal existence.

    We are called to take part in the Resurrection of Christ. For this appeal to resound within us with all its force at the beginning of the Lenten season, let us realize what death means… “You are dust” … “Repent! … Believe in the Gospel”!
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    “Becoming Prayer” by Deacon K. Fournier

    Reflection: Becoming Prayer

    By Deacon Keith Fournier
    8/22/2009

    Catholic Online

    Through prayer, daily life takes on new meaning. It becomes a classroom of communion.

    CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) – “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thess. 5:16-19)

    St. Paul wrote these words to the early Christians in Greece. They did not live lives of ease, in any sense of the word. They had families, occupations, and real struggles, beyond what many of us could imagine. They also suffered greatly for their faith in a hostile culture.

    He instructed them to “Pray without ceasing”. Did he really mean it? I believe that he did. The older I get, the simpler life gets. That does not mean it is “easy”. I speak of spiritual simplicity, the kind of attitude which gets right to the root of what really matters. I believe that Paul meant what he said to the Christians at Thessalonica and that his words are important to those who bear the name Christian today.We need to pray.

    Prayer is an ongoing dialogue of intimate communion with God. God fashioned men and women as the crown of His creation, creating us in “His Image”, for this loving, relational conversation of life with Him. At the heart of understanding what it means to be “in His Image” is to understand the immense gift of human freedom and what has happened to our capacity to choose. Love is never coerced.

    Our relationship with God was broken, separated and wounded through the first sin, the sin of origins or “original sin”. That sin, like all sin since, is at root a misuse of freedom infected by pride and self sufficiency. Our ability to exercise our freedom rightly, to live His Image by directing our capacity for free choice always toward the good, was impeded through the fall. Freedom was fractured.

    The “Good News” is that through Jesus Christ, the way has been opened for an even fuller communion with God, one that is restored through His Incarnation, Saving life, Death and Resurrection. In Jesus Christ we are being re-created, re-fashioned and redeemed. He comes to live in all who make a place for Him within the center of their lives. This “making a place” is the essence of Christian prayer. It is not about doing, but about being.

    The Lord wants us to freely choose to respond to His continual invitations to love. We will only find our fulfillment as human persons by entering into that kind of relationship. This is the meaning and purpose of life itself. As we grow in faith through our participation in the life of grace, lived out in the Church, our capacity to respond to His loving invitation grows as well, through prayer.

    Prayer is about falling in love with God. Isaac of Ninevah was an early eighth century monk, Bishop and theologian. For centuries he was mostly revered in the Eastern Christian Church for his writings on prayer. In the last century the beauty of his insights on prayer are being embraced once again by both lungs, East and West, of the Church. He wrote these words in one of his many treatises on Prayer:

    “When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from then on departs from his soul. Whether he is eating or drinking or sleeping or whatever else he is doing, even in deepest sleep, the fragrance of prayer rises without effort in hid heart. Prayer never again deserts him. At every moment of his life, even when it appears to stop, it is secretly at work in him continuously, one of the Fathers, the bearers of Christ, says that prayer is the silence of the pure. For their thoughts are divine motions. The movements of the heart and the intellect that have been purified are the voices full of sweetness with which such people never cease to sing in secret to the hidden God.”

    The Christian revelation answers the existential questions that plague every human heart and trouble every generation. Through His Incarnation, Saving Life, Death, and Resurrection, Jesus opens full communion with God for all men and women. He leads us out of the emptiness and despair that is the rotted fruit of narcissism, nihilism and materialism. When we enter into the dialogue of prayer, we can experience a progressive, dynamic and intimate relationship with God and He transforms us from within. We, as Isaac said, can “become prayer” as we empty ourselves in order to be filled with Him.

    Through prayer, daily life takes on new meaning. It becomes a classroom of communion. In that classroom we learn the truth about who we are – and who we are becoming – in Jesus. Through prayer we receive new glasses through which we see the true landscape of life. Through prayer darkness is dispelled and the path of progress is illuminated. Through prayer we begin to understand why this communion seems so elusive at times; as we struggle with our own disordered appetites, and live in a manner at odds with the beauty and order of the creation within which we dwell only to find a new beginning whenever we confess our sin and return to our first love. Prayer opens us up to Revelation, expands our capacity to comprehend truth and equips us to change.

    Through prayer we are drawn by Love into a deepening relationship with Jesus whose loving embrace on the hill of Golgotha bridged heaven with earth; His relationship with His Father is opened now to us; the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead begins to give us new life as we are converted, transfigured and made new. Through prayer, heavenly wisdom is planted in the field of our hearts and we experience a deepening communion with the Trinitarian God. We become, in the words of the Apostle Peter “partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4) That participation will only be fully complete when we are with Him in the fullness of His embrace, in Resurrected Bodies in a New Heaven and a New earth, but it begins now, in the grace of this present moment.

    The beloved disciple John became prayer. He writes in the letter he penned in his later years: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure. Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness” (1John 3:1-4)

    As we “become prayer” our daily life becomes the field of choice and we are capacitated to choose the “more excellent way” of love of which the great Apostle Paul wrote. (1 Cor. 13) Pondering the implications of the exercise of our human freedom becomes a regular part of our life, as we learn to “examine our conscience”, repent of our sin and become joyful penitents. Prayer provides the environment for such recollection as it exposes the darkness and helps us surrender it to the light of Love, the Living God dwelling within us.

    “Becoming prayer” is possible for all Christians, no matter their state in life or vocation, because God holds nothing back from those whom He loves. This relationship of communion is initiated by Him. Our part is to respond. That response should flow from a heart that beats in surrendered love, in the process of being freed from the entanglements that weigh us down. The God who is Love hungers for the communion of sons and daughters – and we hunger for communion with Him – because He made us this way. Nothing else will satisfy. The early Church Father Origen once wrote: “Every spiritual being is, by nature, a temple of God, created to receive into itself the glory of God.”

    We were made in the “image” of God and are now being recreated into His likeness in Jesus Christ. As we “become prayer’, that likeness begins to emerge. We give ourselves fully to the One who gave Himself to us and cry out with Jesus Christ “Abba Father.” No longer alienated, we participate in the inner life of God who now dwells within us. We also dwell in Him through His Spirit. This dwelling is prayer. It is not about doing or getting but about being, becoming, receiving, giving, and loving.

    We will live the way we love and we will love the way we pray.
    A wonderful spiritual writer of our own time, Henri Nouwen, understood the intimacy of prayer and the call to live in God. He wrote these words in his work entitled Lifesigns:

    “Jesus, in whom the fullness of God dwells, has become our home by making his home in us he allows us to make our home in him. By entering into the intimacy of our innermost self he offers us the opportunity to enter into his own intimacy with God. By choosing us as his preferred dwelling place, he invites us to choose him as our preferred dwelling place. This is the mystery of the incarnation. Here we come to see what discipline in the spiritual life means. It means a gradual process of coming home to where we belong and listening there to the voice which desires our attention. Home is the place where that first love dwells and speaks gently to us. Prayer is the most concrete way to make our home in God.”

    Let us learn to “become prayer”.

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    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!