Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pied Beauty

** An absolutely wonderful and powerful recitation by Carolyn Rose Garcia



Pied Beauty

By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Turn the Tide 2012

On the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, our President issued this statement:

"As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman's health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters."

"I remain committed to protecting a woman's right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right."

We know that "abortion" is just another word for killing. The taking of a human life in the womb. So, there is no "protection" in the act of abortion. And the killing of a human being is never private. What is the right to choose? Why doesn't the president tell us what the choice is...to kill, or not to kill.

The Catholic Church will not tell us WHO to vote for. The Church says that a good candidate respects the dignity of the human person. And we should all know who that candidate is before we vote. If we do not vote for the candidate who vows to protect human life, from conception to natural death, we may very well fall out of the state of grace. Let us pray that we all make the right decision in the voting booth.



Monday, January 23, 2012

A Pro-Life Homily by Deacon Greg Kandra




Always


Choose


Life








Homily for January 22, 2012:

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

by Deacon Greg Kandra, The Deacon's Bench


I have office hours the first Saturday of every month, to meet with families and schedule baptisms. It’s fairly routine, mostly collecting paperwork and filling out forms. But a few years ago, there was one meeting that I will never forget. It was anything but routine.

A young mother arrived at the office, filled out the forms and, after she’d finished, I looked it over and noticed that she’d left a couple spaces blank.

“You forgot something, “ I said. “You didn’t fill in the father’s name and religion.”

There was a long pause. She said quietly: “I don’t know who the father is.”

And then she explained:

“I was raped.”

I didn’t quite know what to say. I stammered an apology, and we talked for a few minutes. And at the end, as she got up to leave, I shook her hand and thanked her. I told that that I thought what she was doing was very courageous.

“Well,” she said, “It’s life. You do what you have to do.”

I saw her a few weeks later, at the baptism. Seeing her — holding that baby in her arms, sharing that moment with family and friends — one thing was clear: that child will never lack for love. Whatever may have brought that young life into being, that child was welcomed. That child is loved.

This weekend, in particular, that mother and her child are both on my mind and in my prayers. They remind me of something we need to remember:

We are people of life.

We value it. We believe in resurrection. In healing. In hope.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life,” Jesus once said.

We are people who follow the way, and seek the truth.

We are people of life.

And this Sunday, we pause to declare that to the world. We put on purple vestments and offer special prayers to note a sad milestone: it was 39 years ago today that the Supreme Court legalized abortion. We may not be wearing the sackcloth of the people of Nineveh, from the first reading. But this is a sign of sorrow, and mourning. It’s the same color we wear during Lent, a time of prayer and repentance.

You’ll hear a lot of people – including a lot of prominent Catholics – tell you that they are “personally opposed” to abortion, but they think it should still be legal. It might be useful to look at what that kind of thinking has given us, and what it means.

It means that today, 22% of pregnancies – one in five – end in abortion.

It means that 47% of the women who have had abortions – nearly half – have had more than one. Three quarters say they had abortions because a child would interfere with their job or education.

It means that, on average, there are 3,500 abortions every day in this country.

That sounds abstract. So let me make it real. That’s approximately the same number of people who attended Mass here Christmas Day.

Looked at another way: statistically, by the time you leave Mass this morning, another 145 innocent lives will be lost.

Years ago, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin spoke of the “seamless garment” of life issues, and how they are all connected. Some people dismiss that today and insist that all life issues are not created equal. That’s true, to a point.

But a culture that devalues life, that doesn’t respect life, won’t just draw the line at abortion. It goes further than that.

That culture creates an environment that cheers capital punishment. It’s a culture that legalizes assisted suicide. It supports torture and the degradation of human dignity. It enables bullying. It objectifies and devalues the human person in pornography.

And, as we learned just this past Friday: that culture considers religious freedom, and the human conscience — a personal sense of right and wrong, of good and evil — irrelevant. The government ruled that every major employer, including religious institutions, now have to offer free contraceptive coverage as part of their health plans – no exceptions. That includes the “morning after” abortion pill and sterilization.

A culture that doesn’t respect life will do all this and wrap it in the warm and unthreatening blanket, the seamless garment, of “choice” and “freedom.”

This is our world today.

But it doesn’t have to be our world tomorrow.

Last week, one of the presidential candidates said in a debate – and I paraphrase – that laws can’t change a country’s values. It’s the other way around.

Values, he said, have to change our laws.

He’s right.

Marching, protesting, campaigning, lobbying…all this can have an effect. But it can only do so much.

The real work, the important work, the hardest work happens in our neighborhoods, in our churches, in our homes, in our families.

It’s conversations around the dinner table and lessons in the living room. It’s teaching our children that we are people of life. It’s raising them to love those who are weak, to protect those who are vulnerable, to respect those who are different.

But are we even paying attention?

In the gospel we just heard, Jesus called his first apostles while they were mending their nets. They dropped what they were doing, and followed him.

Too often, I think, we ourselves are too busy mending our own nets. We are consumed by the mundane realities of daily life, and are too distracted to hear what is really important. We miss Christ’s call to conversion, to repentance – the call, as we heard, to “believe in the Gospel.”

Especially now, it is nothing less than a call to be people of life.

To be people who cherish life in all its complexity and confusion…and in all its sanctity.

To be people who not only shake our heads in sorrow over the state of our world, but who bow our heads in prayer and lift up our heads in hope.

We are people of life. We are Catholic Christians. In the second century, Christians did what the pagans wouldn’t: in the midst of a plague, they cared for those no one else would care for. The great theologian Tertullian wrote that it moved the pagans to say: “See how these Christians love one another.” This is our legacy and our mandate: to protect and defend and, yes, love the most vulnerable – the old, the sick, the abused, the abandoned, the forgotten, the unborn.

That is our way. We are people of life.

In doing that, in living out our call – and answering it, like the disciples on the seashore – we will one day help bring about the change we so ardently pray for every year on this terrible anniversary.

What that young mother told me a few years ago was more than pragmatic. It was, in a way, prophetic. “It’s life,” she said. “You do what you have to do.”

This is what we have to do. And if we do, we will change the values of our culture.

That will change the laws.

And one day, all that we hope and pray for this Sunday will be realized.

We won’t be marching in Washington. We won’t be preaching on this from the pulpit. We won’t be wearing purple.

And January 22nd will be just another day on the calendar.


Click HERE for March for Life 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rockford Abortion Clinic Closes !



Yesterdays media headline (ABC) was quite disturbing. "Unsafe Abortions on the Rise: New Global Analysis." Is there such a thing as a "safe abortion? How safe is the murder of a child? Our country and our world are giving in to this twisted propaganda that world population is a threat to humanity. Let us pray for the strength and resolve to stop this insanity.

There was certainly good news today, the notorious Rockford Abortion Mill has closed.

Here is the story out of Catholic News Service..

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- A Rockford abortion clinic that opened in 1973 has closed its doors for good.

The Northern Illinois Women's Center, which was closed by the state Sept. 30 because of conditions that the state said violated public health and safety standards, announced Jan. 13 that it would not reopen.

"Please say a prayer of thanksgiving for all those souls saved by this latest news," said a note on the website of the Diocese of Rockford, which had no direct role in the clinic closure.

The Illinois Department of Public Health had said the clinic could reopen Jan. 4 if its leaders paid a $9,750 fine and agreed to the immediate revocation of its license if further violations were found. Instead the clinic chose the state's second option -- payment of a $1,000 fine, relinquishing of its operating license and closure.

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, called the decision "a great victory for public health and women's safety" and said the Rockford clinic had been "one of the most infamous in the country."

"The entire state should thank the pro-life community for calling attention to the deplorable conditions at this abortion facility and demanding that authorities step in and enforce the law," he added.

But Scheidler said many other abortion facilities in the state have not been inspected for years.

"It's not enough for officials to step up and enforce the weak laws we already have," he said. "It's time for the General Assembly to close the loopholes that keep public health officials from ensuring other abortuaries aren't similarly violating the law."

During its nearly 40-year history, the Northern Illinois Women's Center had been the site of protests by Operation Rescue, the Northern Illinois Coalition for Reproductive Choice and other groups and individuals.

In 2000, Father John Earl, then pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Rochelle, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal damage to property after he drove his Saturn automobile into a closed garage door at the clinic, and then used an ax to open other doors and move about inside the building.

The Diocese of Rockford said at the time that "it has never been nor is it the policy or practice of the Roman Catholic Church to condone, approve or promote violence in any form to achieve a desired end."

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Day




The following is my post from 2011....

Martin Luther King Day

"One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all." MLK

Dr. King's words are striking, and so applicable to today's most vile attack on the dignity of the human person. What would Dr. King think of living in a country that has legalized the killing of the most innocent human beings, the unborn.

I pray that by reading and studying the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., more good people will enter the pro-life movement, and help end the sin of abortion in our time.


Today I read the "Letter From Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963", by Dr. Martin Luther King. I believe that this letter offers the very essence of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., his beliefs, his character, his courage, his love of humanity, his love for America, and his love of Jesus. Where are his disciples today? Certainly not Jesse Jackson, certainly not Al Sharpton. No, today his devoted disciple is his niece, Dr. Alveda King. Dr. Alveda King is carrying on the legacy of her famous uncle - Dr. King is a PRO-LIFE activist. Protecting the rights of the most vulnerable human beings in society, the unborn. I believe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be doing the same work if he were with us today.

Here is an excerpt from "
Letter From Birmingham Jail."

"You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may won ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there fire two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the Brat to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all".

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distort the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I-it" relationship for an "I-thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and awful. Paul Tillich said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression 'of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong."

Monday, January 9, 2012

PRO-LIFE MASS AT SACRED HEART CATHEDRAL - NEWARK NJ


PRO-LIFE MASS

Sunday, January 15, 2012

12:00 noon

Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
89 Ridge Street
Newark, NJ

The Most Reverend Thomas A. Donato presiding

Homilist will be Fr Dennis Wilde, OP,
Assoc. Dir., Priests for Life

Followed by Procession to:

St. Lucy’s Church
Newark, NJ
(a short walk from the Cathedral)

&

Eucharistic Holy Hour for Life

Holy Hour will include:

Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet & Benediction.

Young Adults

of the Archdiocese from Spirit & Truth & BLD Communities

will lead procession music & prayers at the Holy Hour

Parking is available at both locations.

Let us come together in prayer, sorrow & hope

as we approach the 39th anniversary of the infamous Roe vs. Wade

Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the U.S

"Oh Lord in your mercy,

grant us repentance, and forgiveness of our land and healing of our families,

that we may live the Gospel of Life and promote a culture of life in the world."

Sponsored by the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Newark.

For more info: 732 388-8211

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Quickening of St. John the Baptist

Why do you fly from the drowned shores of Galilee,
From the sands and the lavender water?
Why do you leave the ordinary world, Virgin of Nazareth,
The yellow fishing boats, the farms,
The winesmelling yards and low cellars
Or the oilpress, and the women by the well?
Why do you fly those markets,
Those suburban gardens,
The trumpets of the jealous lilies,
Leaving them all, lovely among the lemon trees?

You have trusted no town
With the news behind your eyes.
You have drowned Gabriel's word in thoughts like seas
And turned toward the stone mountain
To the treeless places.
Virgin of God, why are your clothes like sails?

The day Our Lady, full of Christ,
Entered the dooryard of her relative
Did not her steps, light steps, lay on the paving leaves
like gold?
Did not her eyes as grey as doves
Alight like the peace of a new world upon that house, upon
miraculous Elizabeth?

Her salutation
Sings in the stone valley like a Charterhouse bell:
And the unborn saint John
Wakes in his mother's body,
Bounds with the echoes of discovery.

Sing in your cell, small anchorite!
How did you see her in the eyeless dark?
What secret syllable
Woke your young faith to the mad truth
That an unborn baby could be washed in the Spirit of God?
Oh burning joy!

What seas of life were planted by that voice!
With what new sense
Did your wise heart receive her Sacrament,
And know her cloistered Christ?

You need no eloquence, wild bairn,
Exulting in your hermitage.
Your ecstasy is your apostolate,
For whom to kick is contemplata tradere.
Your joy is the vocation of Mother Church's hidden children -
Those who by vow lie buried in the cloister or the hermitage;
The speechless Trappist, or the grey, granite Carthusian,
The quiet Carmelite, the barefoot Clare, Planted in the night of
contemplation, Sealed in the dark and waiting to be born.

Night is our diocese and silence is our ministry
Poverty our charity and helplessness our tongue-tied
sermon.
Beyond the scope of sight or sound we dwell upon the air
Seeking the world's gain in an unthinkable experience.
We are exiles in the far end of solitude, living as listeners
With hearts attending to the skies we cannot understand:
Waiting upon the first far drums of Christ the Conqueror,
Planted like sentinels upon the world's frontier.

But in the days, rare days, when our Theotokos
Flying the prosperous world
Appears upon our mountain with her clothes like sails,
Then, like the wise, wild baby,
The unborn John who could not see a thing
We wake and know the Virgin Presence
Receive her Christ into our night
With stabs of an intelligence as white as lightning.

Cooled in the flame of God's dark fire
Washed in His gladness like a vesture of new flame
We burn like eagles in His invincible awareness
And bound and bounce with happiness,
Leap in the womb, our cloud, our faith, our element,
Our contemplation, our anticipated heaven
Till Mother Church sings like an Evangelist.

Thomas Merton 1949

Image > Snowroad - T Merton

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year !


2012 is here! I pray that all of you are having a very Blessed and Safe New Year.

Deacon Keith Fournier posted an article today on Catholic Online that I want to share with you. It's theme? Let us begin the New Year, through Jesus.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. 'For a son of God each day should be an opportunity for renewal, knowing for sure that with the help of grace he will reach the end of the road, which is Love. That is why if you begin and begin again, you are doing well. If you have a will to win, if you struggle, then with God's help you will conquer. There will be no difficulty you cannot overcome.' (St. Jose Maria Escriva, The Forge, 344)

The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." (Jesus to St John, recorded in the Bible, in the Book of Revelation 21:5).

These words from the Book of Revelation or the "Apocalypse" hold out the promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all men and women in every Nation under the sun. They were spoken to the beloved disciple John on the Island of Patmos when he received a vision of the new heaven and new earth where the completion of the Redemption of Jesus Christ will be fully manifested.The quote from a contemporary saint, St Escriva, help us to understand their daily promise and application.

The promise "I make all things new" addresses the heart cry of the entire human race. It answers our deepest longing. As the photos pour in from all over the world showing New Years celebrations, what is absolutely clear is that we all hope that we can begin again! At this time of the year, when we end one year and begin a new one, we seem compelled to make resolutions to change our lives. How deeply we want to begin again, to be made new. The Christian claim is that there is Good News! We can!

Those words, "Behold I make all things new" took on new meaning for me several years ago when I watched a powerful scene in the Mel Gibson masterpiece, "The Passion of the Christ." In it Mary, the Mother of the Lord, runs to her wounded Son. He has fallen for the third time from the weight of the Cross. There is a flash back to an earlier day when that same son, as a child, is seen playing in the dusty streets of Nazareth and is about to fall.

With the tender love of a mother, Mary reaches out to her Son. Then the viewer sees her hand touch the wounded face of the Adult Son and Savior who looks at her, and through words addressed to her - He speaks to every human person - from the beginning of time until the end - saying: "Behold, I make all things new." That is the hunger in the heart of every human person expressed on New Year's Eve and continued on New Year's day.

As we repent for the failures of the past year, reflect on the gifts it brought and resolve to "be better" in the coming year, we are confronted with the reality of our human condition and our fratcured freedom. We know that our resolutions to change often end in failure. We are prone to making wrong choices in daily life. We sin. Classical theology speaks of this inclination as "concupiscence".

The Apostle Paul wrote about this experience to the early Christians in Rome in the seventh chapter of his letter: "For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if (I) do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me... Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Our freedom is a reflection of the Image of God within us. It was fractured by the effects of the first sin. Our ability to exercise it properly by choosing the good has been undermined. In the words of Blessed John Paul II ("The Splendor of Truth") "freedom itself needs to be set free." Through the Incarnation, Saving Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus we are capacitated to live our lives differently. When we do, Jesus can make all things new!

As we cross from 2011 to 2012 let us make our first resolution to behold His face, wounded by love, as his mother did. Let us choose to walk through 2012 allowing the Savior to take up residence in our hearts and in our homes.

Read the rest HERE