Archive for September, 2010

The Epitome of Deception

Friday, September 17th, 2010

In the Lord’s Prayer, we ask, “lead us not into temptation.” Every temptation is a lie, that makes something evil look good.

Among the most masterful temptations of the evil one is to make the killing of a child seem better than the birth of that child. This is the lie that leads each day to thousands of abortions. As we pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” let’s keep in mind the need to protect all pregnant mothers from the deception of abortion. Let’s also pray against the temptation to be silent and passive in the midst of this holocaust. Sins of omission are the most frequent sins, especially in regard to the culture of death. Let’s say more, do more, and sacrifice more for life! Lead us not into temptation!

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The Source of All Healing

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

In the Lord’s prayer, we ask that we may be forgiven our sins “as we forgive those who sin against us.” We are asking the Lord to use us as an example of how readily and generously He should forgive our sins.

He is more eager to forgive our sins than we are. This should not only give us confidence, but should help us inspire confidence in those who despair. One of the hardest sins to confess is abortion. And even there, the Lord is ready to pour out His mercy on those who repent.

Nothing can minimize the horror of abortion, and nothing can justify it. Yet countless people come each day to the cross where they find that even this sin is washed away in the Blood of Christ.

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Our Lady of Sorrows

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

In John, chapter 19, we read that the mother of Jesus stood faithfully at the cross as He suffered and died for our salvation. All but one of the apostles had run away in fear. But perhaps Mary remembered the words that had been spoken to her thirty-three years earlier, as related in Luke 2: “This child is appointed…as a sign that is opposed…and a sword will pierce through your own soul also.” She knew that the plan of God was unfolding before her eyes, and so she bore the suffering bravely.

So many abortions happen because mothers are afraid to bear the suffering that comes with fulfilling God’s plan for their child. Let’s point them to the example of Mary, and the strength of Christ, that they may choose life.

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Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Saint Paul declared that he never wanted to boast in anything except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself indicated to His followers that they were to take up their own cross each day, and Saint Peter declares that Christ suffered for us to leave us an example, that we might follow in His footsteps.

Christians venerate the cross, not because Jesus is still on it, but because it is the instrument by which He saved the world and by which we take hold of that salvation.

This means that the cross is also the instrument for ending abortion and building the culture of life. Practically, that means that it is silly to seek to escape controversy and criticism. When we plan pro-life projects, let’s plan to embrace the cross.

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The Greatest Love of All

Monday, September 13th, 2010

One of the events I enjoyed most as a parish priest was First Communion liturgies. I always preached vigorously on the awesome wonder of Christ being our Food from heaven, fulfilling our deepest longings.

Each year our parish provided each family with a video of the First Communion Mass. One year, the music that the company we hired placed on the video was “The Greatest Love of All.” It played as scenes of each of the children and their families were shown.

The lyrics of the song are as follows:
“I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone to fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me

[Chorus:]
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all”

The song is a beautiful song, and there’s much in it to agree with. We have to foster healthy self-esteem in the hearts and minds of our children, because we know the evils that result when children lack a sense of their own dignity.

But I felt compelled, after the video came out, to point out in a Sunday homily that there are some key ways in which the song contradicts what we believe. For saying this, I was severely criticized by some of the parishioners. But you be the judge.

“I never found anyone to fulfill my needs…So I learned to depend on me.” This is being sung as backdrop to a video in which the children receive the One who fulfills all our needs, the One on whom alone we are to depend and who is totally dependable.

“I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadows.” But Communion is about union with Jesus, about walking in his shadow, in his light, in his will and in his truth.

“At least I live as I believe.” Communion is about living as Christ teaches. Our beliefs are to conform to His teachings.

“Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” No, it’s not. Learning to love the Lord is the greatest love of all, a love by which we sacrifice ourselves and give ourselves away for others – just as Jesus does in the Eucharist.

It’s OK to like the song. But let’s at least be aware of what is and isn’t our Faith.

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Life-Affirming Faith

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Abraham is our father in faith. His name was originally “Abram,” which means “exalted father.” But God changed his name to Abraham, meaning “father of many.”

God tells him when he is ninety nine years old that he will bear a son and be the father of many nations! The stars in the sky don’t measure up to the number of descendants he will have. And it came to pass. His descendants include us, who inherit the same life of faith as he lived.

This is a faith that affirms life despite being confronted with the power of death. In Christ we have seen the victory of life over death, and this faith enables us to declare that the power of abortion will come to an end and the culture of life will prevail.

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In Remembrance of September 11, 2001

Friday, September 10th, 2010

On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked our land in an event that we should never forget.

We lament the loss of thousands of lives, and the destruction of our buildings.

Yet earthquakes or tsunamis can also cause the same damage.

What makes terrorism different? The evil of September 11 was that some human beings had a blatant contempt for the right of other human beings to live.

As we fight terrorism, the evil we fight is a reflection of the evil we do. The same contempt for human life is found in every abortion clinic. What moral difference does it make if a victim is five feet tall or five inches tall, or if the instrument of death is an airplane or surgical forceps?

As we recall September 11, let’s resolve to defend all life.

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Give Us Our Daily Bread

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

The Lord taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We ask Him for the provisions we need each day to live and to serve Him. We ask Him for the spiritual strength to resist the temptations that will certainly come our way, and for the grace to advance His Kingdom.

This also means we are praying for the graces we need to advance the protection of human life. We may be tempted to compromise with the culture of death. We ask for the daily bread of strength to defend life, to speak up for the helpless, to intervene to save the weak. We pray also that those tempted to abort their children because of economic reasons may experience the help of God’s people, the daily bread of their generosity.

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The Birthday of the Blessed Mother

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Today we celebrate the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We rejoice that this woman was chosen by God to be His own mother.

In our day, we need Mary’s presence and example more than ever, because so many mothers are afraid to be mothers, and so many opinion-makers in our society have forgotten what motherhood really means.

Let’s honor Mary today by offering special prayers for all who are pregnant and afraid, especially those tempted to abort their child. Pray that they find new hope and strength in the one who said “Yes” to God’s plan.

Pray also for those who have aborted their children. Pray that on this day, Mary herself will comfort them, and point them to her Son, in whom there is forgiveness and life.

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Anniversary of Mother Teresa’s Death

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was called from this world on September 5, 1997.

In my many conversations with her about the pro-life movement, it was very clear that she expected us not simply to pray but to intervene. She told me about how she went to the places where abortions were performed and took the women by the arm, away from that place of death and to her communities where they would find hope and life for themselves and their children.

Help us to honor Mother Teresa by joining the special novena we have posted at priestsforlife.org. You will find a prayer to say, and will be able to share with us how Mother Teresa has influenced your own life – that’s at priestsforlife.org.

Above all, honor her by imitating her.

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