Monday, February 25, 2008

To conform

"There are so many times when we do not docilely conform our will to the divine will but instead want God to accomplish our designs and meet our every expectation; so often our faith shows itself to be fragile, our trust weak, our religiosity contaminated by magical and merely worldly elements."

Pope Benedict XVI

Uh, yeah, this is soooooooo true! For me at least. I wanted to keep this quote close at hand to remind me that it is I who need to conform my will to God's, certainly not the other way around! It's just so easy to forget or, maybe more accurately, resist that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Letting go

I though this article was awesome and something that everyone can relate to so I had to share!

Bill Donaghy
February 12, 2008 (catholicexchange.com)

Letting go of things is never easy.

Letting go of our addictions is never, ever easy.

Even when they are burning hot Rings of Doom, made by the Enemy, emblazoned with the fiery script of the Black Speech of Mordor, and pretty much telling us in so many words that they are in fact Evil, we are loathe to part with our precioussss "fill in the blank."

We cling so often to what we know is not good for us, to what we know in our minds and hearts is unhealthy for us. We wantsss it, precioussss.... we wantssss it... Perhaps because it gives us a sense of control or some comfort or it nurses our pride, or becomes the envy of our enemies. What makes the letting go so difficult is the fact that we have poured so much of ourselves into the Thing (whatever, or whoever, it is), just as Sauron poured his malice and his cunning and all of his art, twisted though it was, into the Ring of Power.

What happens when we pour ourselves into a creature and not the Creator? Then the possession, the creature or created thing, becomes the possessor. It gets a power over us, and the possessor becomes the possessed! By refusing to give ourselves freely in love, we lose ourselves tragically in lust for a power, or a plaything, or even a person that we have made into a god.

We need to break these addictions. We need someone to unfold our knotted fists and open them up to freedom.

Even Mr. Baggins, Frodo of the Shire, failed in the end, didn't he? At the end of all things, it appeared that even Frodo could not resist the power of the Ring, and succumbed to its weight, there at the very Crack of Doom. "Just let it go!" cried the ever faithful Sam. But Frodo could not loosen his grip and let such a small thing fall away from him.

I've often pondered Tolkien's decision in writing this ending. After all, they had come so far, proven themselves over and over again, starved and staggered, fasted and fumbled through countless miles to come to this point. Why did Frodo fail in the end?

This is the melancholic tone that sounds throughout Tolkien's writing, the sadness and sense of what Tolkien himself called the "long defeat." It's a reflection of our human story. We are, all of us, prodigal sons and daughters. Original Sin should be the one dogma of the Catholic Faith that needs no defense or apologetic. Its echo resounds in every one of our endeavors, every task, every ambition, encounter, effort and ache in the heart. We are wounded, and we need help. We can only come so far, give so much and then, when the leap is wider than our eyes can fathom, or the task too heavy for us to bear, we choke. We hold back. We don't want to let go, jump, trust, abandon. And the discordant music that ripped a black hole in the fabric of the cosmos swells up again in the human heart. "I will not serve." "I won't let go!"

Thank God another hand was there that day, when Frodo refused to let the Ring fall. But it was an unexpected hand, a gnarled and withered hand that saved the day. Gollum clutched and grasped at his master and bit the hand of Frodo, causing the Ring to plummet into fire and out of memory.

How often does it seem that Providence puts these unwelcome hands in our way, gnarled and withered hands that take things away from us, tear at us and tease us? It should be stressed that this is not the Hand of God... directly. He wills only our good and we must believe this, we must trust this. But we must know too that God is a jealous Lover. And He may from time to time unbind and allow the hands of the Devil to act. This is the mysterium iniquitatis, the mystery of evil, and the mystery of Good, as well. It is the puzzling Plan of Providence.

Does this frighten us? Is this an unsettling thought for us? To consider that God would ever allow us, His children to be burned, to be hurt, to suffer like Job? It takes tremendous faith, and a laser focus on that one thing needful, that pearl of great price. It is, we find in the end, not the pearl that matters, but the Person holding it. All else must fall away. Everything must fall away and we must be stripped, just as Frodo and Samwise on their journey through Mordor, and Abraham through the countless miles to Canaan, and Moses in the wilderness, and Hannah in her tears, and David in his battles, and Anthony in his barren cave and Clare in the cutting of her hair and all the ties that bound her to comfort. Everyone must pass through Mordor, through Calvary. And there, if we are to be free, we must lay down the Precious. Cast it into the fire, let it burn upon the altar of the Cross.

And then will be free. Then we will cry with Samwise when the Ring was destroyed and he passed from death to unexpected Life, "I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!"

For when our hands are truly empty, God can finally fill them.



Bill Donaghy is a lay evangelist who writes and speaks on topics of the Catholic Faith. He is a certified Theology of the Body speaker, and teaches Scripture in Malvern, Pennsylvania. He and his wife Rebecca live in Lansdowne. Learn more about his speaking ministry and semi-serious blog at www.missionmoment.org.

On love and marriage

Here is a great statement that I came across today.
"One should not enter into marriage without knowing how to love. To love means to desire your own and your beloved's perfection, to overcome your own selfishness. Love must be total, full, complete, regulated by the law of God, and must last for all eternity in heaven."

St. Gianna Beretta Molla

When St. Gianna is referring to "perfection" I don't think she is saying that we can be completely without flaws. We are human, so we are sinners and flawed. But we are called to help each other reach our final salvation through that self-giving love and marriage. To have eternity in heaven loving God and praying for all those still on earth working toward their salvation.

St Gianna, pray for us.

Monday, February 18, 2008

This is why euthanasia is NOT in God's plan!

'Brain Dead' Woman Walks and Talks after Awakening
By Hilary White
2/18/2008

LAKE ELMO, MN (LifeSiteNews) - 65-year-old Raleane "Rae" Kupferschmidt's relatives were told by doctors that she was "brain dead" after she had suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage in mid-January, according to an Associated Press Report. Her family had taken her home to die and were in the process of grieving and planning her funeral when she awoke and was rushed back to hospital.

In accordance with her own wishes, doctors had removed Rae's breathing tube and were waiting for her to die. She was taken home from the hospital, and while friends and family gathered to say a last good bye, Kupferschmidt's daughter Lisa Sturm used an ice cube to wet her mother's dry lips. When her mother sucked on the ice cube, she thought it was only an instinctive reaction. She said, "I knew suckling is a very basic brain stem function, so I didn't get real excited. But when I did it again she just about sucked the ice cube out of my hand, and I looked at my aunt and said, 'Did you see that?'"

"So I leaned down and asked, 'Mom... Mom, are you in there?'" Sturm said. "And when she shook her head and mouthed, 'Yes,' we all just about fell over."

Rae was rushed back to the hospital and underwent surgery to drain the blood clot from her skull. After surgery, she recovered her strength and is now undergoing physical therapy and can walk with the aid of a walker. Doctors expect her to be walking on her own within weeks. Rae says she does not remember anything during her coma.

"I still don't know what my task is here on this Earth, but I know God's not done with me yet. How else could you explain everything that has happened to me?" Rae said.

She told family that she had seen angels in her room. "I said these angels are not here to take me home to my father. They're here to help me, to help me get over this."

"Brain death" or "death by neurological criteria," is common media terminology for patients who are said to be in an irreversible coma, sometimes referred to as a "persistent vegetative state" (PVS).

Physicians and bioethicists who support "brain death" criteria claim that such a diagnosis is reliable and means that a patient is beyond any hope of recovery.

Under new bioethics criteria, "brain death" can be used as a condition under which organs are removed from a patient while his heart is kept beating. Organ transplant requires that tissue be recovered from donors as close to physical death as possible and physicians are under heavy pressure to procure more organs.

The fact that in some cases patients who have been unconscious, semi-conscious or severely neurologically disabled have been declared "brain dead" or "PVS" only to recover, has undermined public confidence in the medical system.

In the US in 2006, Terry Wallis, who experienced a car wreck in 1984, woke unexpectedly and began to recover after 19 years in a minimally conscious state. In 2005 in Italy, Salvatore Crisafulli woke from a coma he had suffered for two years. He had been declared "nearly dead" by doctors after a serious auto accident that left him unresponsive. In Poland in 2007, a railway worker astonished his family and doctors when he awoke spontaneously after 19 years.

Doctors at United Hospital said they are amazed by Rae Kupferschmidt's recovery. One told Good Morning America, "I've been here for ten years and I've never seen anything quite like this."

Rae told Good Morning America, "God's got something for me to do. When I learn it, I'll unfold it and follow it."

Warning! This blog may cause tears


...at least if you are as sappy as I am.


My supervisor at work sent a link to a service video today. I figured it was just going to be some educational thing we should watch to do a better job with customer service. So, I proceed to the link and start watching all nonchalant. Well, before I know it I have tears in my eyes, and am hoping that no one walks into my office to see me that way.

It's amazing what one person's faith, positive attitude and giving spirit can do for so many others. Jesus called fishermen to be his apostles, why not a Down syndrome grocery bagger? Oh, you just have to go see for yourself...

Watch here


Enjoy, but have your kleenex handy! : )

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Inspirational Story - Patrick Henry Hughes

Wow! Proof that God has a plan for every life he creates.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Light of Life


An artist friend if mine, Nellie Edwards, created this great piece that she has called "The Light of Life." This is an image of Mary with Jesus in her womb. Nellie was inspired to create this image to show the sanctity (importance) of life from the moment of conception.

Can you imagine if Mary had said no to God when he asked her to be the Mother of God, or if she had an abortion and ended the life of Jesus before he had a chance to fulfill what God had created him to do? Most likely we wouldn't be here to ponder such questions, or if we were it would be a completely different and horrible world to live in.

EVERY life from the very first moment in the mother's womb comes from God and has a purpose in God's plan. If you are so blessed by God to be the parent of one of his children there is great JOY in that. There is no reason to be afraid (or selfish) because God will provide for the needs of you and your child. It is stated 365 times in the bible (one for every day of the year) to "BE NOT AFRAID." Anything is possible in God and he won't ask more of you than what you can do!

If anyone would like a print of this beautiful artwork, Nellie is selling them for only $15. Let me know if you are interested and I will hook you up!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Dateless? An angel to the rescue

OK, I thought this was pretty cute when I read it so I had to share. Anyone care to join me in the novena (9 days of saying the prayer)? : )


Web Site Offers Novena Prayer to St. Raphael

LONDON, FEB. 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Singles worried about spending the upcoming Valentine's Day by themselves are being encouraged to seek help through the prayers of an angelic matchmaker.

A Web site of the Catholic Enquiry Office, part of an agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, is encouraging Catholic singles to pray a novena to the Archangel Raphael.

Raphael is traditionally considered an ally in the realm of love and relationships thanks to the role he played in helping Sarah and Tobit in the Old Testament.

The book of Tobit explains how Raphael delivered Sarah from an evil spirit that had brought about the death of seven husbands on seven successive wedding nights.

Monsignor Keith Barltrop, director of the Catholic Enquiry Office, explained, "Many people have testified to the help they have received in finding a life partner through the prayerful help of the archangel. At this time of year, significant numbers are seeking someone special, or maybe dealing with recent heartbreak. St. Raphael is there to help."

Singles are being encouraged to join a novena starting Feb. 14, using the following prayer:

For the Choice of a Good Spouse

St. Raphael, you were sent by God to guide young Tobias in choosing a good and virtuous spouse. Please help me in this important choice which will affect my whole future. You not only directed Tobias in finding a wife, but you also gave him guidelines which should be foremost in every Christian marriage: "Pray together before making important decisions."

Amen.

Me and politics again... WOW!

I really like Gov. Huckabee's comments in the following story so I had to share it. He seems to be really level headed for a politician. It must be his faith! :)


Mike Huckabee "Responds" to James Dobson: I Would Vote for John McCain
by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com
February 6, 2008

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Mike Huckabee "responded" to pro-life leader Dr. James Dobson on Wednesday morning when he said he would definitely support John McCain over either of the pro-abortion Democratic candidates. Dobson, and other conservatives, have issued statements saying they wouldn't vote if McCain is the GOP nominee.

On Tuesday, Dobson issued a statement saying he is disappointed that the Republican Party "seems poised to select a nominee who ... voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings," and takes positions contrary to his on other political issues.

"I am convinced Sen. McCain is not a conservative, and in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are," Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family, added. " I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience."

Asked in general about those like Dobson or Rush Limbaugh who say they would not vote or pick someone else before they would support McCain, Huckabee said he disagreed.

"Well, you know what? They're not a conservative," the pro-life former Arkansas governor told CNN.

"If they say that, then that just proves something: They're more about themselves than they are the cause. Because there's no way that a true conservative would vote for Hillary Clinton," he added.

He told CNN he respects McCain and "would certainly vote for him before I would vote for Hillary or Obama."

"Some people need to switch to decaf and realize, folks, we may not get all of our battles just like we want, but there's a larger context in which this has to be fought," Huckabee added.

The public comments of support for McCain in no way mean Huckabee is dropping out or that he is considering a spot as his running mate.

On NBC's "Today" show, Huckabee said, "We're going to be opponents over the next several weeks, and we're not going to be talking about a marriage. We're going to be talking about both trying to go after the same bride."

"Nobody ever wants the vice president's job. Nobody ever turns it down," he added.

"I'm not giving up," he said on CNN.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Governor Huckabee Tells Catholic Online Why he is Still Running


I have said this before and now I will say it again... I am not a political person! But this current time of looking for our next President of the United States has me worried. We, the citizens of the United State, have to take responsiblity for the future of our county and lives by voting. But we must vote in an informed manner based on morals and what is right. I have liked Gov. Huckabee from the start of his campaign because of his pro-life (from the moment of conception to natural death) and pro-marriage (between one man and one woman) Christian stance and beliefs. These issues are very important to me as a Catholic Christian that strives to live by, and loves, God's teaching on these matters. I have to admit that I really didn't expect Huckabee to make it this far in the election process so it gives me hope that he is still running. I liked the following article that I came across on catholic.org today so I thought I should post it on my blog.

Please pray for this election, all of our political leaders and the future of our country... and the world.




By Deacon Keith Fournier
2/9/2008
LOS ANGELES (Catholic Online) - Governor Mike Huckabee was the first Presidential contender to answer the questions put forth by Catholic Online concerning issues of great importance to Catholics.

He did so in an exclusive interview which quickly became our most read piece in our history.

Later, when there were repeated efforts to paint him as “anti-Catholic” we again approached him with a series of questions concerning this allegation. The allegation was patently false.

We also asked him to share his further thoughts on the fundamental human rights issue of our age, the right to life for every human person from conception to natural death.

Once again, the Governor graciously responded.

So did our readers! They quickly made it the second most popular piece in our history.

Now, Gov. Romney’s suspension from the campaign leaves Governor Huckabee as the only candidate standing between Senator John McCain and the Republican nomination.

Once again, some pundits and the chattering class have been trying to marginalize his appeal.I have written concerning those efforts in past articles.

However, there is now another front joined, the efforts to convince him to withdraw are coming from within the Republican Party.

We caught up with the Governor, which is hard to do given the frenzied pace of his campaigning, and asked him several questions concerning his decision to stay in this race.

DEACON KEITH FOURNIER:“Governor Huckabee, our readers and viewers have followed your efforts with great interest. They are inspired by your clear support of the right to life from conception to natural death and your affirmation of marriage and the family founded upon it.

You are the only candidate left who supports a Constitutional Amendment on both of these foundational issues which lie at the heart of our culture and ensure our continued freedom and global influence as a Nation.

Many of our readers and viewers have also been deeply touched by your concerns for the poor and the marginalized.

Efforts to marginalize you by using slogans such as “populist” have been apparently intended to disparage your “conservative credentials”. However, they have only made you more intriguing.

After all, Catholics are not capable of being easily categorized in the all too familiar boxes of “liberal”, “conservative”, neo-conservative” or “progressive” and have not paid attention to party labels for quite a while.

The press is filled with pundits speculating as to why you are staying in the race. I now ask you the obvious questions.

DEACON FOURNIER: Governor, please tell our readers and viewers why you are staying in this campaign?

GOVERNOR HUCKABEE: I am staying in because I want to win.

Not for my own ego aggrandizement, but because I care deeply about the issues that got me into politics in the first place, decades ago.

I will always defend Life and Marriage, for example, to name two critical concerns of mine.

The defense of traditional values and verities has been vitally important to me for as long as I have been involved in issues and politics.

After all these decades, I am not about to give up now—not until someone in this race secures 1191 delegates to the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

That’s seven months away.

A lot can happen between now and then. As I am sure my opponent would agree, this is not a coronation, this is an election.

Whoever wins this race will have to get out and work hard for every vote in every state, district and territory. The voters deserve nothing less.

DEACON FOURNIER: Do you intend to stay “all the way” to the convention?

GOVERNOR HUCKABEE: As I stated earlier, I am going to remain in this race until someone gets a majority of delegates at the Convention.

However, in addition, there’s the well-being of the conservative movement and the Republican Platform to consider.

I am resolute, for example, about the Pro-Life planks of the Platform.

Life-affirming words have guided us since 1980, and I want a strong endorsement of a Human Life Amendment to continue to guide us into the future.

And of course, I support a Marriage Amendment, too.

These and other causes—including reform of free-speech inhibiting “reforms”—are worth fighting for me.Conservatives know that they can count on me to fight for them!

Their confidence, as well as, of course, my faith, sustains me.

DEACON FOURNIER: What are some other issues which distinguish you from Senator McCain, on the Republican side?

GOVERNOR HUCKABEE: Senator McCain has run an honorable campaign. He is a true American hero.

However, there are numerous important policy differences between us, on issues ranging from 2nd Amendment rights to the Marriage Amendment.

I encourage your readers to visit both of our websites to study our stances on the issues. In the meantime, I will be campaigning, all the way to victory in Minnesota.

DEACON FOURNIER: Thank you for your time and your responses