Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

“Meekness is necessary in order to dialogue, without shouting. It is also necessary to think of the other person as something more than me, and David thought of this: ‘He is the anointed one of the Lord, and is more important than me.’ Humility, meekness. In order to dialogue, it is necessary to do that which we ask for today in prayer, at the beginning of Mass: to do everything for everyone...

“Jesus has done it: he humbled himself until the end, he has shown us the way. And it is necessary that too much time doesn’t pass. When there is a problem, as soon as possible, in the moment in which it can be done, after the storm has passed, come together to dialogue, because time makes the wall grow, the weeds grow and impede the growth of the grain. And when the walls grow, reconciliation is very difficult. It is very difficult!...

“Even in our hearts, it is possible to become like Berlin and build up a wall against others. I am afraid of these walls, the walls that grow everyday and encourage resentments and hate.”

--Pope Francis

Friday, January 24, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Do everything calmly and peacefully. Do as much as you can as well as you can. Strive to see God in all things without exception, and consent to His will joyously. Do everything for God, uniting yourself to him in word and deed. Walk very simply with the Cross of the Lord and be at peace with yourself."

--Saint Francis de Sales

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Forty-Plus Years of Legal Mass Murder

Today we Americans observe with great sorrow the forty-first anniversary of the unconstitutional, unjust, and tragic Roe v. Wade decision.

On January 22, 1973, seven men on the U.S. Supreme Court arbitrarily decided that a woman has a right to kill her innocent unborn child for any reason whatsoever. In producing this ruling, the Court misinterpreted the Fifth Amendment to our Constitution, which states, “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This passage, along with most of the Fifth Amendment, was written to protect the rights of persons accused of crimes. When our nation’s Founders authored this text, they meant that no one could be executed or deprived of his freedom or land without first being properly tried and convicted of a crime. But the irresponsible activist Court led by Chief Justice Warren Burger chose to ignore the intent of the Constitution’s authors and, through some incomprehensible twist of logic, arbitrarily reinterpreted the Fifth Amendment due process clause to justify legalizing the murder of innocent unborn persons—something the Founders would never have approved of in their wildest dreams. Roe v. Wade represented nothing less than an attack on the integrity and meaning of the Constitution of the United States by the very institution that is supposed to protect it, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Not only was Roe v. Wade an unconstitutional decision, it was also an unjust decision. In the Declaration of Independence, we the people of the United States declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights with which God the Creator has endowed all human beings. This right to life is an “unalienable” right, meaning that it cannot be taken away. Human life is sacred because it is a gift from God the Creator. To deprive an innocent human being of life is a violation of that person’s unalienable right to life. It is also a violation of the Fifth Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” Our nation’s devout Christian Founders took these principles of the natural law for granted. They could scarcely have imagined that, two hundred years later, the judicial branch of government would somehow justify allowing innocent human beings to be killed in their mothers’ wombs right here in the United States of America. They did warn, however, that the United States would not long endure without what George Washington referred to as the “indispensable supports” of religion and morality. If the people of a nation don’t believe that human rights—especially the right to life—come from God, then those rights will be perceived as coming from the state and the state will claim the authority to give or take away those rights as it sees fit. And if people don’t believe that it is wrong to deprive an innocent person of his or her right to life, then human life will not be respected.

Finally, Roe v. Wade was an immensely tragic decision. During the past forty-plus years, some 56.5 million innocent unborn human beings—an average of 1.38 million a year—have been murdered in their mothers’ wombs through legalized abortion. That is an alarming and staggering figure. That’s more than nine times the number of innocent Jews murdered in the Holocaust. It’s also more than the fifty million people killed in World War II, the deadliest conflict in modern human history. It is difficult to comprehend the full magnitude of this loss of life or to calculate the full impact of this massacre of the unborn on our nation over the past forty years. Excluding miscarriages, accidents, disease, and other causes of death outside the womb, our country is currently missing some 56 million inhabitants; in addition, many of those aborted in the 1970s and 80s would now be married and raising children of their own, so our country is really missing somewhere around 70 million people, and our nation’s population should be around 388 million instead of the 318 million it is now. Think of how much different—and better—things would be in our country if we had all these missing people contributing to our economy and using their God-given talents to serve our nation in a variety of professions and fields. We will never know how different the United States would be in 2014 if nearly all the innocent unborn had been born and were alive today. The absence of 70 million citizens is an incalculable loss to our nation.

Blessed John Paul II once said, “The condition for the survival of America is to respect every human person, especially the weakest and most defenseless ones, those as yet unborn.” The appalling legal mass murder of the unborn in our nation must be brought to an end. Roe v. Wade must be overturned so that the unalienable, God-given right to life of every innocent unborn human being in the United States is once again protected by our Constitution and guaranteed by our laws. We must not rest until we achieve that goal.

Quote of the Day

"All of us through Baptism have been elected by the Lord. We are all elected. He has chosen us one by one. He has given us a name and looks at us. There is a dialogue, because that is how the Lord loves. Even David later becomes king and made a mistake. He maybe made many, but the Bible tells us of two big mistakes, two mistakes that really fall heavy. What did David do? He humiliated himself. He returned to his smallness and said: ‘I am a sinner’. And he asked for forgiveness and did penance. David guarded his smallness, with repentance, with prayer, with weeping...

“Christian faithfulness, our faithfulness, is to simply guard our smallness, so that we can dialogue with the Lord... For this reason humility, meekness, and gentleness are so important in the life of the Christian, because it is a container of smallness which the Lord likes to see. And there will always be a dialogue between our smallness and the greatness of the Lord.”

--Pope Francis

Monday, January 20, 2014

Quote of the Day

“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”

--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Quote of the Day

“It is in the Gospel that Christians find inspiration for their daily lives and their involvement in worldly affairs—-be it in the houses of Parliament or the stock exchange. Christians should not shun the world; they should engage with it. But their involvement in politics and economics should transcend every form of ideology.”

--Benedict XVI, “A Time for Christians to Engage with the World,” Financial Times, Dec. 20, 2012

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Peace is also threatened by every denial of human dignity, firstly the lack of access to adequate nutrition. We cannot be indifferent to those suffering from hunger, especially children, when we think of how much food is wasted every day in many parts of the world immersed in what I have often termed "the throwaway culture". Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as "unnecessary". For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity."

--Pope Francis

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Reflection for the Baptism of the Lord

"Jesus loaded the burden of all mankind's guilt upon his shoulders; he bore it down into the depths of the Jordan. He inaugurated his public activity by stepping into the place of sinners. His inaugural gesture is an anticipation of the Cross. He is, as it were, the true Jonah who said to the crew of the ship, 'Take me and throw me into the sea' (Jon. 1:12). The whole significance of Jesus' Baptism, the fact that he bears 'all righteousness,' first comes to light on the Cross: The Baptism is an acceptance of death for the sins of humanity, and the voice that calls out 'This is my beloved Son' over the baptismal waters is an anticipatory reference to the Resurrection. This also explains why, in his own discourses, Jesus uses the word baptism to refer to his death (cf. Mk. 10:38; Lk. 12:50)."

--Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth--Part One: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (New York: Doubleday, 2007), p. 18

Friday, January 10, 2014

Culture of Corruption

Four years ago, I celebrated his election to the U.S. House of Representatives. This morning, I signed a petition calling for his removal from office.

Four years ago, U.S. Representative John Boehner, a good Catholic family man from Ohio, was elected to replace Representative Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. As a leader of the Tea Party Republican movement, he was elected on a platform that included protection of the innocent unborn, smaller government, lower taxes, spending cuts, reduction of the national debt, and the repeal of ObamaCare. For several years, Speaker Boehner fulfilled his campaign promises, leading the U.S. House opposition to President Barack Obama's immoral and irresponsible policies. Unfortunately, during the past few months, Boehner's leadership has proved disappointing. In October of 2013, he led the House in approving federal funding for ObamaCare, shamefully betraying his own professed values of respect for unborn life, marriage, religious liberty, moral conscience rights, the moral law, and the right of the American people to make their own healthcare decisions.

Speaker Boehner typifies the culture of corruption that has been affecting our federal government for a number of years now. New candidates for the House, Senate and presidency run promising to bring real change to Washington, but once they get to Washington and into their work, they simply assimilate into the corrupt establishment and end up representing the big abortion, agricultural, biotechnology, financial, insurance, junk food, pharmaceutical, and other interests that generally control how Washington operates instead of representing the true interests and common good of all Americans. New candidates with impeccable moral and religious credentials who are determined to deliver exactly what they promise are forced to contend with mass media smear campaigns and voter fraud, and those who do make it into the U.S. House or Senate find themselves a tiny minority, unable to accomplish most of their agenda for our nation. Such candidates cannot even win their party's nomination for the U.S. presidency these days because both the party establishment are so corrupt.

All of this is very frustrating for us, the American people. However, as good Catholics and good citizens, we cannot simply give up and surrender our nation to its enemies in high places. There are still things we can and should do to change our federal government. The first is to pray daily for our elected representatives and for our country. The second is to take action. Sign this petition calling for Representative Boehner's removal from office. Register to vote, if you aren't already registered, and don't miss the upcoming elections this November. Vote only for candidates who affirm traditional values and who are determined to challenge and defeat the Obama administration's unjust and unconstitutional laws, including ObamaCare. Real change is possible, but we must demand it and work hard to achieve it. And above all, we must trust in God, who guides the affairs of nations.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The new star that appeared to the Magi was the sign of the birth of Christ. If they had not seen the star, those men would not have set out. Light precedes us, truth precedes us, beauty precedes us. God precedes us. The prophet Isaiah said that God is like the flower of the almond tree. Why? Because the almond tree is the first to flower in that land. And God always precedes, He always seeks us first. He takes the first step. God precedes us always. His grace precedes us and this grace appeared in Jesus. He is the epiphany. He, Jesus Christ, is the manifestation of the love of God. He is with us."

--Pope Francis

Monday, January 6, 2014

Thought & Prayer for the Day

"In the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God there is also an aspect connected to human freedom, to the freedom of each one of us. In fact, the Word of God pitched his tent among us, sinners and needful of mercy. And we must all make haste to receive the grace that he offers us. But, St. John’s Gospel continues, “his own did not welcome him” (1:11). We too often reject him, we prefer to remain closed up in our errors and the anxiety of our sins. But Jesus does not desist and does not cease to offer himself and his grace that save us! Jesus is patient, Jesus knows how to wait, he always waits for us. This is a message of hope, a message of salvation, ancient and ever new. And we are called to bear witness with joy to this message of the Gospel of life, the Gospel of light, of hope and love, because this is Jesus’ message: life, light, hope, love.

"May Mary, the Mother of God and our tender Mother, sustain us always so that we remain faithful to the Christian vocation and make the justice and peace that we desire at beginning of this new year a reality."

--Pope Francis

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Reflection for the Epiphany of the Lord

"The new King, to whom they [the Magi] now paid homage, was quite unlike what they were expecting. In this way they had to learn that God is not as we usually imagine him to be. This was where their inner journey began. It started at the very moment when they knelt down before this child and recognized him as the promised King. But they still had to assimilate these joyful gestures internally.

"They had to change their ideas about power, about God and about man, and in so doing, they also had to change themselves. Now they were able to see that God's power is not like that of the powerful of this world. God's ways are not as we imagine them or as we might wish them to be.

"God does not enter into competition with earthly powers in this world. He does not marshal his divisions alongside other divisions. God did not send 12 legions of angels to assist Jesus in the Garden of Olives (cf. Mt 26: 53). He contrasts the noisy and ostentatious power of this world with the defenseless power of love, which succumbs to death on the Cross and dies ever anew throughout history; yet it is this same love which constitutes the new divine intervention that opposes injustice and ushers in the Kingdom of God.

"God is different - this is what they now come to realize. And it means that they themselves must now become different, they must learn God's ways.

"They had come to place themselves at the service of this King, to model their own kingship on his. That was the meaning of their act of homage, their adoration. Included in this were their gifts - gold, frankincense and myrrh - gifts offered to a King held to be divine. Adoration has a content and it involves giving. Through this act of adoration, these men from the East wished to recognize the child as their King and to place their own power and potential at his disposal, and in this they were certainly on the right path.

"By serving and following him, they wanted, together with him, to serve the cause of good and the cause of justice in the world. In this they were right.

"Now, though, they have to learn that this cannot be achieved simply through issuing commands from a throne on high. Now they have to learn to give themselves - no lesser gift would be sufficient for this King. Now they have to learn that their lives must be conformed to this divine way of exercising power, to God's own way of being.

"They must become men of truth, of justice, of goodness, of forgiveness, of mercy. They will no longer ask: how can this serve me? Instead, they will have to ask: How can I serve God's presence in the world? They must learn to lose their life and in this way to find it. Having left Jerusalem behind, they must not deviate from the path marked out by the true King, as they follow Jesus."

--Benedict XVI, Address to Young People at Marienfeld, Cologne, Germany, August 20, 2005

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Quote of the Day

“Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate...Let us resolve to honor this spirit of Christmas and strive to keep it throughout the year.”

--U. S. President Ronald Reagan, 1981

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year...and Happy Feast Day!

A Happy New Year to everyone, and a Happy Feast Day of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God (Theotokos).

For us Catholics, today is also the World Day of Peace, when we are called to reflect on how God's peace can reign more fully in our hearts, in our families, in our country and in the world. The relatively young tradition of this annual observance and of a papal message for the occasion dates back to 1967, when the World Day of Peace was instituted by Pope Paul VI. Pope Francis has written a beautiful Message for this World Day of Peace, the full text of which is well worth reading. The theme of Francis' Message for 2014 is "Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace." Here are a few excerpts:

"In this, my first Message for the World Day of Peace, I wish to offer to everyone, individuals and peoples, my best wishes for a life filled with joy and hope. In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced....

"Globalization, as Benedict XVI pointed out, makes us neighbours, but does not make us brothers. [Cf. Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate (29 June 2009), 19: AAS 101 (2009), 654-655.] The many situations of inequality, poverty and injustice, are signs not only of a profound lack of fraternity, but also of the absence of a culture of solidarity. New ideologies, characterized by rampant individualism, egocentrism and materialistic consumerism, weaken social bonds, fuelling that “throw away” mentality which leads to contempt for, and the abandonment of, the weakest and those considered “useless”. In this way human coexistence increasingly tends to resemble a mere do ut des which is both pragmatic and selfish....

"The story of Cain and Abel teaches that we have an inherent calling to fraternity, but also the tragic capacity to betray that calling. This is witnessed by our daily acts of selfishness, which are at the root of so many wars and so much injustice: many men and women die at the hands of their brothers and sisters who are incapable of seeing themselves as such, that is, as beings made for reciprocity, for communion and self-giving....

"The basis of fraternity is found in God’s fatherhood. We are not speaking of a generic fatherhood, indistinct and historically ineffectual, but rather of the specific and extraordinarily concrete personal love of God for each man and woman (cf. Mt 6:25-30). It is a fatherhood, then, which effectively generates fraternity, because the love of God, once welcomed, becomes the most formidable means of transforming our lives and relationships with others, opening us to solidarity and to genuine sharing...

"Fraternity generates social peace because it creates a balance between freedom and justice, between personal responsibility and solidarity, between the good of individuals and the common good. And so a political community must act in a transparent and responsible way to favour all this. Citizens must feel themselves represented by the public authorities in respect for their freedom. Yet frequently a wedge is driven between citizens and institutions by partisan interests which disfigure that relationship, fostering the creation of an enduring climate of conflict.

"An authentic spirit of fraternity overcomes the individual selfishness which conflicts with people’s ability to live in freedom and in harmony among themselves....

"May Mary, the Mother of Jesus, help us to understand and live every day the fraternity that springs up from the heart of her Son, so as to bring peace to each person on this our beloved earth."

And may Pope Francis' noble words inspire and motivate all of us Catholics, Christians, and all people of good will to renew our commitment to work together more earnestly in this new year for true and lasting peace in the world.