March 17, 2008
Dear Lay Missionary of the Gospel of Life:
The Blessings of the Most Holy Trinity be upon you as we unite ourselves with Christ this Holy Week!
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." (Matthew 16: 24)
As we unite ourselves with Christ's loving sacrifice for us this Holy Week, we embrace His call for us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. It is not enough to be moved by Christ's bearing of the cross; we must trust in Him, His sacrifice, and take up our cross and follow Him! Out of gratitude and deep devotion to Christ let us deny ourselves through prayer, fasting, and special sacrifice on behalf of the least and Christ in the least (Matthew 25:40). Let us deny ourselves and take up the cross in a unique and splendid way for the poor, helpless and defenseless least of the brethren, everywhere. Let us love the Bride of Christ and those who still need to embrace the Groom.
Last week, we witnessed a great demonstration of the way of the cross that Christ calls us to. As members of the body of Christ we share in the sorrow and joy attached to the death of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul, Iraq, and his companions. It is clear that this beloved Archbishop emulated the Christ of Holy Week, and was martyred for it!
See the excellent article by Deacon Keith Fournier: www.catholic.org/printer_friendly.php?id=27179§ion=Cathcom
How the world and our culture in particular need to hear of such loving and total sacrifice. Yet, one could hardly see or hear a word of the Archbishop's martyrdom. Instead, it was and has continued to be, the Gov. Eliot Spitzer sex scandal which totally dominated the communication airwaves. Again, Christ is rejected in the public square. Still, the love of Christ has been made manifest once again to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear the Gospel. Let us join with Christ and his martyrs, deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow Him. Let us walk the way of the cross for everyone.
As we reflect upon holy ways of uniting ourselves with Christ and His way of the Cross this Holy Week, I want to encourage you to joyfully give yourself to the way of prayer (especially the Rosary) and fasting/abstinence. I ask you to review my April 2007 teaching (www.priestsforlife.org/missionary/april07letter.htm) on Praying the Rosary and Fasting for Life. Let us also participate in the Liturgies offered to us this week by Holy Mother Church, and deepen our commitment to participating in or establishing Life Cells: www.priestsforlife.org/missionary/lifecellformats.htm.
Along with Fr. Frank Pavone, I would encourage you to consider prayerfully participating in a beautiful expression of Pro-life sacrifice and devotion, the Cenacles of Life. Our dear friend and holy priest, Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, is the Spiritual Director for the Cenacles of Life. The Cenacles are not a replacement for the Life Cells, but are a wonderful resource for extending the prayer and fasting dimension of our Pro-life Spirituality. One of our Lay Missionaries attends the weekly Cenacles of Life and holds her monthly Life Cell immediately before one of the weekly Cenacles. If you are not already involved in a Cenacle of Life, please consider beginning one. All the information you need may be found on their wonderful website: www.Cenaclesoflife.org. You will be hearing more encouraging words from me and Fr. Pavone about participating in and promoting the Cenacles of Life.
I would like to converse with you about this email through my blog posted on our MEV-Online Community Site, www.pfl-mev.org. If you are not registered as a member of our Online Community please register today at: http://pfl-mev.org/user/CreateUser.aspx.
Be assured that you will be very close to me as we participate in the life of Christ and His Church this Holy Week and on to Easter!
Keep your eyes on Jesus
who leads the way.