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Pope Exhorts Us To Prayer for the Family PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Maedoc   
Tuesday, 01 January 2013 22:39

During his Christmas address to the Roman Curia, the Pope highlighted the current attacks against the the very nature of the family.  He is a prophet calling our attention to the grave threat that surrounds us.  It is a threat that many do not recognize.  On the feast of the Holy Family, the Holy Father guided us to recognize the importance of parents' role in education.  Our primary role is not simply to educate them in the arts and sciences but to educate them to a life of wisdom in God's presence. 

Mary and Joseph’s concern for Jesus is the same as every parent who educates a child, introduces them to life and to understanding reality. Today, therefore, we should say a special prayer to the Lord for all the families of the world. Imitating the Holy Family of Nazareth, may parents seriously concern themselves about the growth and education of their children, so that they may mature as responsible and honest citizens, without ever forgetting that faith is a precious gift to be nourished in their children through personal example. At the same time we pray that every child is welcomed as a gift from God, is sustained by the love of the father and mother in order to advance as the Lord Jesus "in wisdom and age and favour before God and man " (Lk 2: 52). The love, loyalty and dedication of Mary and Joseph are an example for all Christian couples who are neither the friends nor masters of their children’s lives, but the guardians of this incomparable gift from God.

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Forty Days for Life and Religious Liberty PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 January 2013 21:02

The new year always brings hope and positive change but this year is not quite the same.  Immediately after the holidays when business returns to normal, we will be faced with some grave challenges to our first natural rights, the right to life and the right to religious freedom.  This will happen in places that have been exemplary in respecting those rights.  Today, in the US, the HHS mandate will go into effect for non-religious employers and there will be heavy fines for those who do not comply.  CNS News has the story:

Because federal judges—including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—have refused to grant an injunction protecting the owners of Hobby Lobby from being forced to act against their Christian faith, those owners will be subject to federal fines of up to $1.3 million per day starting Tuesday for refusing to include abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plan...“Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery in a filing submitted in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

“Because Hobby Lobby is a secular employer, it is not entitled to the protections of the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act],” Delery told the court on behalf of the administration. “This is because, although the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association are ‘right[s] enjoyed by religious and secular groups alike,’ the Free Exercise Clause ‘gives special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations.’”

This comes off as somewhat promising since it suggests that religious employers will be exempted.  However, we know better as the Obama administration has argued time and again that religious freedom does not extend outside of worship and activities that are exclusively for religious purposes.  Again, religious purpose is essentially worship.   If your a business owner and you don't provide the benefits that the Obama Administration requires then you will bear suffocating consequences.  Up to $1.3 million a day!  

In Ireland they have started a prayer and fasting campaign as a response to a recent media driven pro-choice push to legalize abortion.  Join the campaign!  

More after the jump...

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An Irish Night Prayer to Our Lady PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 29 December 2012 22:21

Marcella over at Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae has shared an Irish Night Prayer to Our Lady and I'd like to share one part of that beautiful prayer:

O Mary, my blessing on thee in every part that thou mayest commend me tonight to thy Son.
O Queen of all the virgins in the wide world, pray for me to thy great good Son that I may be saved.
That thou mayest bring triumph from the world with numerous hosts, bring me to heaven swiftly by thy grace.
By thy birth, by thy glory, come to me; to the house of thy great good Son lead me by the hand.
By the choice that was made of thee over every part, by the Father, faultless worth, by the Son,
By the Holy Spirit who has bestowed every grace on thee, to bring me to heaven, fair the place, be it thy share.
By every angel, by every virgin, by every saint, bring me in the company of the (heavenly) hosts with noble peace.
With my soul, with my body, with my understanding and with my sense, I am under thy protection as long as I may be here.
Go read the rest, Thou Art Mother of the Great King at Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae


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Anticipation, Turn To The Lord PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 22 December 2012 17:19

As Advent comes to a close I'd like to take the time to share why this season has become so important to me over the years.  In my humble opinion, what makes this time of year so great is how it enables us to live out the liturgical life of the Church.  Lived in its fullest the liturgical calendar for Advent produces a real longing for Christmas, a concrete manifestation of the Gospel story that generates the deep awareness of Christ's presence and the role of anticipation in Christian living.  There's too much that can be said for this time of year and all the theological themes that run through it.  For myself, Christmas takes on great importance such that living Christmas, and celebrating the Christmas vigil as a vigil of the nativity, in joyful anticipation of Christ's coming is something I won't compromise... for anything.  Could there be anything more important than preparing one's soul to anticipate the coming of Christ? 

Reflection on the O antiphons makes living the Advent liturgy a much better experience.  Thanks to Fr. Z and Dom Mark for their work on the O antiphons.  Here's a quote from Dom Mark's blog on O Oriens (from Dec 21st):

Oriens was the name of the ancient Roman sun god, the source of warmth, energy, and light. At the same time, Oriens means the rising sun, the victory of light over the shadows of the night.

From the earliest times, Christians at prayer have turned towards the East. Christ is the Dayspring, the rising sun who dawns upon us from high “to give light to those in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:9). The eastward orientation of churches and altars is a way of expressing the great cry of every Eucharist: “Let our hearts be lifted high. We hold them towards the Lord.”

Ad Orientem

When, in the celebration of the liturgy, the priest faces the “liturgical east,” he is “guiding the people in pilgrimage towards the Kingdom” and with them, keeping watch for the return of the Lord. “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Pope Benedict XVI has reminded us that a powerful witness is given in the prayer of a priest and people who stand together facing eastward and giving voice to the same hope. “The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.’ And let him who hears say, 'Come’”

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Advent Lived Out PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 December 2012 21:59

Our pastor made the simple request during his homily this past Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, after some brief comments on all the hoopla and how exhausting it is, the shopping, preparation and Christmas celebration, "Why not just let Advent be Advent."  December would be much better if we just let Advent be Advent and spent our time focused on preparation such as getting the tree up around the 17th of the month, not a mad rush near Thanksgiving and focusing on the spiritual dimension rather than Black Friday and being busy with Christmas parties.  Sure celebrate a little on the Feast of St. Nicholas and Immaculate Conception but let the wisdom of the Catholic liturgical calendar make December rewarding and more relaxed. 

This has been an important point to me for years now.  What a joy life is when lived according to the liturgical calendar.  Christmas is often over about the time it really starts if we observe it according to the commercial marketing calendar.  Fortunately, I found a blog post by Fr. Zenhle from Spriongfield, Illinois that made some very reasonable suggestions.  First what is Advent about:

The spirit of Advent, if you will, is simple and "has a two-fold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ's Second Coming at the end of time" (Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 39).

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