Battle Ready?

December 31, 2009

As this year draws to a close, my overriding thought is of the (fortunately) unsuccessful Christmas Day Flight 253 attack, the Fort Hood massacre, and the present administation’s inability – and one could wonder* about unwillingness – to keep Americans safe.

*missing the red flags of the 253 undies would be bomber, the official version contradictiong 253 eyewitnesses, missing the red flags of the Fort Hood killer, a 9/11 “trial” – as if criminal matter and not act of war – in NYC, prosecuting US military and intelligence for doing their jobs, going after bloggers instead of the terrorists, .

Then I remember Jesus saying that we would have tribulation, that no matter the external circumstances, He would be with us. (sorry, can’t think of the verses off the top of my head)    Then I remember Pope John Paul II’s oft-repeated, “Be not afraid.” 

Granted, imperfections and sinfulness of people in the Church abound. Attacks on the Church and on Church teaching also abound. But we’ve been given all the spiritual graces and weapons we need. 

So let us
 face the new year
  armed with prayer and
    a willingness to be refined of the dross
      (in order for Christ to work more effectively in us),
         and think of Psalm 144:1-2:

Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war;
My safe guard and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, My shield, in whom I trust, who subdues peoples under me…

Speaking of spiritual battle may seem at odds with the traditional wish for peace in the New Year – and I do wish peace in the coming New Year to all readers of this blog – may it be the peace that the world can not bring,  the peace of Jesus through Mary.


Messed up

December 30, 2009

A Vermont judged has ordered the birth mother to give up custody of a 7 year old girl and give the girl to the birth mother’s previous lesbian partner.  Lisa Miller, the birth mother, became an evangelical Christian and renounced homosexuality.  She’s being forced to give up custody of her own child because she refused “visitation” to her ex-partner. 

Apparently “the best interest of the child” is no longer considered to be important.

Yet another Pelosi tantrum

December 29, 2009

This time it’s that free will trumps Catholic teaching.  What she says is so wrong in so many ways and I don’t have time to dissect it tonight, so I’ll just note the LifeNews report.

Rachel mourns her children

December 28, 2009

In today’s Gospel, Herod orders the death of  all male children, 2 years or younger.  Matthew goes on to quote Jeremiah 31:15:  “In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping! Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more.”

The Jeremiah quote is the basis for the name of Rachel’s Vineyard, which offers post-abortive services.  Actually, Rachel’s Vineyard “About Us” page uses the full quote (Jeremiah 31:15-17): Cease your cries of mourning, wipe the tears from your eyes.
The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward, says the Lord.
There is hope for your future!which ends with “There is hope for your future!”

The regional Project Rachel number is 1-888-9Rachel aka 1-888-972-2435.

The Holy Family

December 27, 2009

Several years ago, I felt impatience at Holy Family Sunday along the lines of: “Isn’t this overdoing the obvious?”  Today, with the attempt to make the traditional family of father, mother, child(ren) to be not the norm, a Sunday focusing on the Holy Family is a good idea.

Family life is the quinessential description of relationships.  Think of all the everyday expressions we use: a mother’s love, like a father to me, like a brother, like a sister.  It is family in which we learn to work and play together, to talk out a difficulty, to “be there” in tough times, and to rejoice in celebrations. 

 Granted, families can also be a cause of pain.   That it’s family can in itself make matters more painful.  Whether painful or nurturing, our family shapes our understanding of God. 

More importantly, whatever our family experience is, the Holy Family brings us closer to God: Jesus, God-became-man who went to Nazareth and “was obedient to them (Mary and Joseph);” Mary, whose fiat, “May it be done to me according to your word” made the Incarnation possible and from whom Jesus took his flesh; and Joseph, who protected the family God entrusted to him.

In the midst of the bustle of family life and in the quiet of those away from family, it’s good to have a day focused on the Holy Family.

The attack … and the homily

December 25, 2009

Unless you’ve been under a rock since yesterday, you know that a woman “vaulted over the barrier” and Pope Benedict XVI landed momentarily on the floor.  He was up a few seconds later and the rest of Mass proceeded without incident.

By the quirkiness of my mind, I thought of his interview as then Cardinal Ratzinger with Raymond Arroyo. Perhaps my leapfrog of thought was that a Swiss Guard tackled the young woman, protecting the pope, but even better than the highly trained Swiss Guards, the safest place is to be in God’s will and that led me to Pope Benedict XVI’s interview and his telling Arroyo of wanting to be home writing books. Twice, Cardinal Ratzinger had wanted to resign, but felt that since Pope John Paul II was perservering, so should he and apparently where God wanted him to be. After John Paul II’s death, then Cardinal Ratzinger again intended to go home and write books, that is, after the funeral and conclave.  For a third time, then Cardinal Ratzinger put aside what he wanted to do and instead, obeyed.  The good of his papacy is the fruit of that obedience.

One example is the Pope Benedict XVI’s homily, reported by Whispers in the Loggia. 

The first thing we are told about the shepherds is that they were on the watch they could hear the message precisely because they were awake. We must be awake, so that we can hear the message. We must become truly vigilant people.

Be awake! That’s a recurrent theme for homilies and particularly apt for Midnight Mass. Only Pope Benedict XVI the musician, though, would say the opposite of being “awake” is being “religiously tone deaf.”  You can read the “tone deaf” section through the link, but I want to note the section immediately preceding it:

What does this mean? The principal difference between someone dreaming and someone awake is that the dreamer is in a world of his own. His “self” is locked into this dreamworld that is his alone and does not connect him with others.

To wake up means to leave that private world of one’s own and to enter the common reality, the truth that alone can unite all people. Conflict and lack of reconciliation in the world stem from the fact that we are locked into our own interests and opinions, into our own little private world. Selfishness, both individual and collective, makes us prisoners of our interests and our desires that stand against the truth and separate us from one another.

Awake, the Gospel tells us. Step outside, so as to enter the great communal truth, the communion of the one God.

Pope Benedict then goes on to describe how “the shepherds said one to another: “‘Let us go over to Bethlehem’” Then there is a beautiful section summarized as God is the highest priority and that God comes to us as a child: When we see him, the God who became a child, our hearts are opened.   He ends with “transform me, renew me, change me.”  Notice that it’s not “change the other guy over there” but change *me.* As the pope said,

Lord Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, come to us! Enter within me, within my soul. Transform me. Renew me. Change me, change us all from stone and wood into living people, in whom your love is made present and the world is transformed. Amen.

Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus est natus!

December 25, 2009

Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary!

At the beginning of Advent, I wrote about how the Madonna House Advent music CD helps me battle the commercial aspect in the weeks leading up to Christmas. 

Actually, only the first half is Advent music. The second half is first Vespers of Christmas, ending with Gaudete.  Then I’d have  in my head for the rest of the day:

Gau-de-te … 

Gaudete ,  Chris-tus est na-tus …

ex Mari-a vir-gine, Gaudete!

Wishing you a blessed and joyous Christmas season!