Archive for December, 2018

The Sword of the Prince of Peace –Preparing for Pro Life Battle in 2019

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

By Kevin Burke, LSW

That cute little baby in the manger is carrying a sword.

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Mathew 10:34)

When Jesus speaks of bringing a sword in Mathew’s Gospel, this is clearly not a call to physical violence (see Mathew 26:52.). Jesus speaks of the fact that his words, actions and teaching will cause division, foment controversy, and at times provoke a violent reaction.

But this sword also points to the fearsome power of the Risen Christ as he comes again with his power and glory fully revealed.  Jesus will consummate his victory over Satan and unleash the mercy and justice of God upon the nations:

From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. – (Revelation 19:5)

To Us a Child Is Given

We live our lives within the boundaries of this brief journey through a particular time and place. But mysteriously, our lives are also woven into an eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness that in time will reach their climax with the Second Coming of the Christ.

Advent touches upon this great mystery in such powerful ways.

Israel was called forth in time to be a people set apart and formed in a special way by Yahweh. In a similar way, the humble daughter of Israel, the Virgin Mary was set apart for her special vocation. Mary humbly accepted the awesome vocation as the mother of the Christ and offered her consecrated womb, and her entire life to bring her son Jesus into the world.

Prepare for Battle

In Revelation John says Satan is “the deceiver of the whole world.”

The incarnation of Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary intensified Satan’s hatred and rage against humanity, and especially of women and their unborn children.

It seems clear that over the last 100 years Satan has made a woman’s body and womb, human sexuality and reproduction, and gender as special battle grounds where he manifests his passion to deceive and destroy.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

In this Advent season we have a time of preparation to once again welcome the Savior into our hearts, homes and communities. In this time of peace and preparation – let us also prepare for battle.

This is a battle is for the heart, mind and soul of the human family. We must pray to God for renewed zeal to fight against abortion and other attacks upon marriage and the family. We fight not with anger, derision or with hatred toward those we oppose.

We act in love and concern for the unborn and all who are being deceived by Satan.  We pray and work to bring all those wounded by their participation in the death of the unborn to reconciliation and healing in Christ Jesus.

We know that without God’s grace, we can do nothing.

We rely on continual repentance and the deepest humility, immersion in the Word of God, prayer with our fellow Christians and pro life advocates, rosary, and for sacramental Christians, Reconciliation and Eucharist.

Remember, He is coming soon! (Revelation 22:7)

The Cross Above the Manger: Coping with Grief and Loss Over the Holidays

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

By Kevin Burke, LSW

Christmas can be a magical time, especially when enjoying the season through the eyes of children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.  However alongside the lights and festivities, the joy and wonder of this special time, many can quietly struggle with a sense of grief and loss.

You don’t have to be an Ebenezer Scrooge to recognize that the expectations for an idealized Hallmark Christmas fail to match up to the complex realities, the uncertainty and fear that are part of many of our lives.

The death of a friend or family member, loved ones serving in the military, divorce and relationship challenges, illness and unemployment, or the loss of a beloved pet, can cast a long shadow on our holiday celebrations.

Holidays can magnify any painful experiences of family dysfunction from the past and the fallout from those difficult times can linger and impact current family celebrations.

Those ministering in the abortion healing ministries know that this time of year, the focus on the Christ Child and the joy of children at Christmas can surface feelings of regret and sadness about a past abortion loss (or losses.)  We remember the son, daughter, grandchild,  brother, sister, niece or nephew who will never share in the wonder of the season.

This repressed grief associated with abortion and other losses can contribute to substance abuse, anxiety, depression and a sense of melancholy. You may find yourself pulling away from social situations or  keeping hyper-busy and distracted, immersed in the hustle and bustle of the season.

If we can slow down the Holiday rush for a few minutes, we may discover something important in the deeper meaning of this great feast.   We may be able to make some peace with our pain and loss in the context of the Christmas story.

As the mystery of the incarnation of Jesus unfolds, before the choir of angels sings to the Shepherds in the fields, we see the first reaction of Mary and Joseph upon learning of their unique vocation and calling from God – fear.

As the Angel Gabriel encounters Mary and Joseph, he responds to the anxiety in their hearts.  It is a message to all who are suffering and struggling this time of year:

“Do not be afraid Mary…do not be afraid Joseph…”

They are overwhelmed with the massive changes being unleashed in their lives and are naturally afraid.

This touches upon the mystery in the lives of the Holy Family, and in our own stories.  Alongside the joy of the incarnation and the birth of the Christ, as the choirs of angels sing, and wise-men and shepherds follow that brilliant star – there is the looming threat of murderous political persecution, exile from family and friends, and in time, the rejection and crucifixion of the Christ Child in the manger.

Fr. Bernhard Speringer shares:

  …the Cross above the Manger is more than a mere decoration…The birth and death of Jesus Christ, the Manger and the Cross, belong together indissolubly. God became man in order to die for us as man. God was born in Bethlehem in order to be able to lay down his life on Golgotha out of love for men!  Thus the Manger and the Cross form a union. Both the Manger and the Cross are for us the revelation of God’s love.

Some Coping Strategies for the Holidays

– Lower your expectations and the expectations of other.  Our commercialized culture puts great pressure on families this time of year.   Avoid those things that take you away from focusing on the deeper meaning of this great feast.

– Give yourself permission, especially if you are struggling with your own grief and loss, to avoid or at least limit certain situations that will drain you emotionally and spiritually. Instead do things that will feed your soul and be healthy for your body, mind and spirit.

– At Holiday gatherings, avoid those conversation topics and encounters that will feed into conflict and stress you out.  Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the strength to avoid getting pulled into any old toxic dynamics and exchanges and let the peace of the Christ Child reign in your heart.

– If you have a friend or relative who is going through a tough time or had a rough year, try and make some time to be with them. Above all give the gift of listening with love and acknowledge their losses.  Embrace them with love and assure them of your continued support.

– If you know a friend or loved one who was impacted by an abortion loss and they have shared this with you in the past, check in with them to see how they are doing.   Share a recovery resource or contact information for an abortion healing program in your area.  It really is the best Christmas gift you could offer them.

– Exercise daily as your health allows. It’s very challenging to do this at first if you are grieving or struggling with depression.  Start with something simple and build on the positive results.  A daily walk and simple stretching have been proven to be very effective medicine for anxiety and depression.  If you need additional support ask a friend, family physician, or your pastor for a counselor referral.  Avoid the over use of alcohol or other drugs or behaviors to avoid your feelings and find relief of your pain and grief.

– Spend time each day in quiet prayer with God. Ask the Lord to help you avoid both isolation but also over-business as ways of coping with your pain.  Open your heart to the Spirit and ask for consolation, strength and the peace to accept the will of God in your life.  Unite your suffering with that of the Holy Family and pray that the grace from your simple sacrifice may touch someone you love who is in need of God’s mercy.

– Make a resolution to get involved in services and activities at your local church.  Pray for discernment to see if God is calling you to reach out with the love of Christ to the homebound, prisoners, the homeless, the unborn, and children in need.  Ask your pastor or local charity how you can best serve.

Finally I want to share a music video of a Christmas song I wrote called “The Promise.” You may find it speaks to you if you are hurting this time of year.  Please note that while it reveals the joy and wonder of the season, it is graphic at times and intense in its depictions of the mystery of the incarnation.  I pray it will touch your heart with the great love and mercy that God has for you, his precious son or daughter.  Have a blessed Christmas and New Year.  [Music recorded and produced by Henry Gennaria.]

 

 

An Imprisoned Human Rights Activist Finally Home for Christmas – She Reveals that Many of Her Fellow Prisoners Shared About a Traumatic Abortion Loss In their Past

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Mary Wagner is a human rights activist from Canada. This Christmas Mary will celebrate the birth of Christ with friends and family. But for most of the last decade, Mary Wagner has often celebrated the birth of Christ in prison.

Her crime?

Mary enters abortion centers, peacefully prays, and shares a rose and information about other options with each woman in the waiting room. She refuses to obey Ontario’s “bubble law” that requires protestors to maintain a specified distance from abortion facilities.

It has been a great sacrifice for Mary to be in prison during the Holiday season. Yet while challenging, Wagner shares of the joy she experienced. “Every time I have been in custody over Christmas, I had a sense of joy in that the first Christmas was so poor…Jesus was born in unpleasant circumstances…”

Wagner responds to those who criticize her actions telling her she can stay out of prison, and avoid arrest, by respecting the bubble law. Mary says that if she obeys this unjust law, then “the children scheduled to be killed will have no one to stand up for them.”

Many of the Female Inmates Suffer From Abortion Loss

Wagner reports that 85 percent of the women she interacted with in prison have at least one abortion in their past. She says that many were teenagers at the time, pressured by a boyfriend or family member to abort and felt they had no other option. They expressed sadness and regret about their decision.

Mary encountered a fellow prisoner who was pregnant at age 15 and forced to have an abortion by her mother. The girl broke ties with her family, fell into substance abuse, and now at age 29 was still dealing with the aftereffects.

Obviously most women or men who have abortions do not end up in prison. Yet, it seems that a high percentage of female and male inmates have abortions in their past.

Is there a relationship between the experience of traumatic abortion loss and incarceration?

In my book Tears of the Fisherman, I explore the topic of abortion loss and recovery for men. In a chapter on a prison ministry program at two Florida maximum security facilities, we learn that close to 90 percent of the inmates were involved in at least one previous abortion.

For some of these men, there was a direct link from their role in the child’s death, and later criminal behavior. For the majority of the men it was a painful and shame-filled event from their past and an important part of the journey that led them to criminal behavior and prison.

For the inmates I interviewed, and from what we have learned from the hundreds of men who have been through the prison’s Rachel’s Vineyard program, abortion loss connected in a toxic way with earlier father loss/abuse/abandonment and other life trauma. This left the men vulnerable to acting out their rage and grief in self-destructive and criminal ways.

This may hold true with the female inmates as well. Many likely have histories of abuse, family dysfunction, and other life trauma. The feelings and memories of the past, triggered in a powerful way by abortion related trauma, can be overwhelming.

Women and men can try to escape, and act out their painful emotions and memories by engaging in self destructive behaviors, relationships, and addictions. This can lead some women and men into criminal behavior and incarceration.

The Good News

Attending an abortion recovery program in prison helps women and men heal the deep emotional and spiritual wounds that abortion imprints on the heart and soul.

But this experience has other positive benefits.

Inmates intimately encounter the God who became man, healed our wounds, forgives our sins, and loves us with an unconditional love, despite our dark and shameful past.

Hearts are now open to the grace that can open the door to healing of family wounds, and other life trauma. They learn to grieve their losses, and share painful emotions in a healthy way.

[The following is a Christmas song I wrote and perform with producer Henry Gennaria, and a brief video I made to share the great mystery of the incarnation. It reveals the intimate bond between Mary and Jesus that began in the womb and was forged through great wonder and joy…yet also with great suffering. It reveals the radical love of God for each one of us…especially those in most need of His mercy.]

 

How Abortion Has Weakened Our “Cultural Immune System” and Prepared the Way for Transgender Madness

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

By Kevin Burke, LSW

– “A Virginia high-school teacher, Peter Vlaming, was fired on Thursday [December 6] after refusing to address a transgender student by the student’s preferred pronoun.” 

– “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here…”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

We know that under great stress, deprived of proper rest and nutrition, our immune systems are weakened.  Our immune response is compromised as it struggles to recognize and respond to threats.  In this weakened state we are more vulnerable to illness.  

Can a nation of people have a type of collective immune system?  

After 45 years of legalized abortion in the U.S., and close to 60 million procedures, there are few families that have not been directly impacted by the loss of a son or daughter, grandchild, sibling, nephew or niece.  

Millions of our fellow citizens have been complicit in the death of an unborn child; e.g., paid for the procedure, pressured or encouraged abortion, drove a friend to the abortion center.  

Thousands of medical and mental health professionals, educators and politicians have participated in direct ways in the death of the unborn. 

This is a shared national trauma. 

We know that individuals can suffer from depression, anxiety and other emotional and physical symptoms from traumatic loss.  They are vulnerable to substance abuse and other forms of self-medication when they are denied the opportunity to work through their painful feelings and grieve their losses.  

 These symptoms can leave women and men vulnerable to having poor boundaries and to exhibit impulsive self-destructive behaviors for a time in their intimate relationships, especially in the aftermath of the abortion event. 

 What is the impact when an entire population of individuals, couples and families suffer from a shared national trauma? 

The continued unfolding of the Shockwaves of Abortion has left our families and communities, especially minority neighborhoods with high abortion rates, and children with emotional challenges and learning disabilities, vulnerable to exploitation.

The Transgender Virus 

The rapid advance of transgender activism in the last few years may be just one warning sign that our culture’s immune system is seriously compromised. 

We have allowed a small minority of radical activists and their twisted ideology, assisted by powerful allies in entertainment and media, to infiltrate our communities,  and our schools.   

Like the abortion rights revolutionaries, the transgendered movement is prepared to lie, manipulate information and language, and viciously attack anyone that dares challenge their agenda.  They are eager to exploit and mutilate our vulnerable children to advance their radical cause.

Like a compromised immune system, parents and educators, counselors and medical professionals find themselves, weak, defenseless, in denial of the threat, or promoting this madness.  

Healthy Organs Were Amputated 

Dr. Kathleen “Kelly” Levinstein, PhD, is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan, Flint.   Her research and advocacy work includes human and civil rights violations against the autistic community.

Dr. Levinstein shares a tragic and cautionary tale about the vulnerability of children with autism to the radical agenda of transgender activists.  Dr Levinstein has a daughter who has undergone transgender medical transition:

“My daughter, who is on the autism spectrum -When she was 16, she began watching a TV show called “Degrassi,” which featured an FtoM character. After a few weeks, she announced that she was not actually…lesbian, as she had previously said, but was in fact trans. She started attending a local PFLAG where she met many trans people, including a number of FtoM trans teenagers who were raving about a certain “gender therapist who gave my daughter the go-ahead to have a bilateral mastectomy after only two sessions…Healthy organs were amputated…

It is a crime not just against women, but particularly against disabled women.  So many of these young women who are “transitioning” are also autistic.”

Walt Heyer is an author and public speaker with a passion for mentoring individuals whose lives have been torn apart by unnecessary gender-change surgery.  He shares in an article in the Federalist of a custody battle that features a mother taking her 6 year old son down the dark road of gender transitioning that could lead to the boy’s chemical castration at age 8.  

The father says the boy acts fine with him and does not support this encouragement of the child transitioning.  The mother took her ex-husband to court because he uses male pronouns when referring to the boy, (who the mother calls Luna) and takes his son to the barber for haircuts…when his hair gets long.

Heyer shares:

 “Misdiagnosis of gender dysphoria happens around the world, and people’s lives are harmed when it does… I wrote a book, “Trans Life Survivors,” that shares many first-hand stories of misdiagnosis of gender dysphoria and the heart-breaking results.”

There is another movement that promotes the mutilation and medical experimentation on vulnerable children. Planned Parenthood harvests the healthy organs of unborn little boys and girls torn from the womb of their mothers. 

More Cultural Chaos…or Recovery of Sanity?

The further we are removed from our moral and spiritual Judeo-Christian heritage and the absolute providence of our Creator over human life, the further we travel with Alice down the rabbit hole into cultural chaos and madness.

We need to protect our young people from transgender radicals.  Like teacher Peter Vlaming, parents, educators, and community leaders need to stand up to these ideological bullies, whatever the costs, and protect their vulnerable children.  

An important step to restore sanity will be renewed commitment by our Churches, politicians and citizens to end this national trauma. We need to elect politicians that understand that abortion not only attacks the life of preborn children, it is eating away at the foundation of our society.  

Many of our fellow citizens would benefit from abortion recovery programs.  Women and men are strengthened as spouses and parents when they open up their hearts and souls to repentance and healing of this deep wound. 

If we fail to confront the threats to our national immune system, we will see a nation that becomes increasingly irrational, divided, weak and vulnerable to internal and external attacks.