Thursday, November 30, 2006

Interesting comment about abortion

In the post below that talks about people choosing not to have children, someone left a comment that reads in part:

"Like the woman you write about, I had an abortion. I was sixteen, wanted to keep the baby, and my parents gave me only two choices: adoption or abortion. I thought adoption of a child I wanted would break my heart, so I chose abortion.
It's taken me a long time to come to terms with my anger at my parents, and with my own feelings about all this. In the end, I left the Catholic church. I left because I feel that God doesn't love me any less for my experiences, and I don't feel what I did was a sin. I feel like my childbearing decisions so far have been reactions to choices constrained by circumstances, and I feel sure in my heart that God understands that."

**********

Please join me in praying for this woman. I posted a comment in response to hers:


Thank you for your heartfelt post and honesty in writing about your experiences. I am sorry about your abortion; it sounds like you really didn't want it either. You mentioned being angry at your parents, so I presume it is related to their not allowing you to keep your baby.
You are right that God doesn't love you any less for what you did, just like he doesn't love any of us less for what we do. But that doesn't mean that what we do is always the right thing. God is too loving to tell us that it's OK to do evil, as if we can remain untouched by what we choose.

God doesn't condemn you for the abortion but calls you to repentance for it, like he calls all of us to repentance for our sins (including me--I'm not exempting myself in any way from the call to repentance.) The good news is that Jesus washes away all of our sins in his blood. We only need to acknowledge and repent of them. It's actually quite easy--almost too easy. True, it can be a bit embarrassing to confess our sins to a priest, but it's over quickly enough, brings the relief of finally getting it out, and best of all, the words of absolution actually bring about the complete cleansing and forgiveness of any sin. Then the joy of the Holy Spirit fills our hearts. Happiness!

God bless you!

What would you say if you could speak to this woman?

St. Andrew the Apostle

In today's feast, the first reading is from chapter 10 of Paul's letter to the Romans. He speaks about how people can't believe unless someone is sent to preach to them. He says, "Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ."

This gives us two things to ponder. First, God speaks to our own hearts, sending in prayer the light we need to see his will and to do it. It's amazing how this often comes as a flash of insight, when God makes known something to us. It happens in an ordinary way but it comes through grace.

Second, we can help other people by offering a word of faith in appropriate ways. Maybe someone is gossiping or backbiting, and the Holy Spirit can inspire us with a good word to say that can perhaps turn the conversation in another more positive direction.

St. Andrew, pray for us that we might preach the Gospel like you did and bring others to faith in Jesus Christ.

St. Andrew prayer

This is a traditional Christmas prayer to obtain graces that is prayed starting from Nov. 30, the feast of St. Andrew:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, o my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of his Blessed Mother. Amen.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Blessed Sara Salkahazi

I was recently catching up on back issues of L'Osservatore Romano, and found an interesting article about a new Blessed. Sister Sara Salkahazi was beatified in Budapest, Hungary, this past September 17.
Her short biography had many things that amazed me. She entered the Sisters of Social Service at age 30, and had to kick her chain-smoking habit. She also knew the power of the media. She had worked as a bookbinder and a journalist, and edited and published a Catholic women's magazine in Hungary. This was during the time that our founder, Bl. James, was promoting Catholic publishing also. St. Maximilian Kolbe and Bl. Titus Brandsma were doing the same things in other places in Europe. It seems that the Holy Spirit was leading the Church to understand the power of the media.

Bl. Sara must have been something of a character, because at one point she was denied permission for a year to renew her temporary vows. But she persevered, and during World War II she and other sisters saved the lives of over 1000 Jews. She was martyred on Dec 27, 1944, at the age of 45. The Nazis shot her in cold blood for her work in saving Jews. Before her execution, she slowly and deliberately made the sign of the cross, testifying to her Christian faith.

Blessed Sara, pray for us!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Nativity Movie


Have you seen it yet? Please post your reactions if you have. I haven't but I will be seeing it soon.

We have published two books that relate to the movie, which you can check out at our website.

I wrote a chapter in the one pictured here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Presentation of Mary

Today is the feast of Mary's presentation in the Temple. This is not in the Scriptures, but comes from an apocryphal Gospel called the Protoevangelium of James (scroll down to # 7 in the link for the part on the presentation.)

The Gospel of James, though apocryphal, is an interesting document. It's where we find the traditional names for Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne. Of course we can't rely on it as a historical document. Nevertheless, it's an important testimony to what the early Church believed about Mary. For example, it has a strong emphasis on Mary's virginity.

Perhaps one message we can take from today's feast is that Mary was always dedicated to God. She gave herself totally to him, and we can too.

On a personal note, I had my own "presentation" when I was a year old. On my birthday (the feast of the Immaculate Conception) my mother brought me down to church. In those days (the 50's) it was common for priests to bless children and I was dedicated to the Blessed Mother. I'm grateful to my mother for doing that for me.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Our Father

Two nights ago I woke up around 3 AM feeling agitated and concerned about some problems going on that I have to deal with. For a while all those thoughts just swirled around my head. Then I thought at least I could pray. So I started to say the Lord's Prayer, and as soon as I said, "Our Father," this feeling of deep peace came over me. I couldn't continue the prayer, but just kept repeating "Our Father." I felt very strongly the presence of God the Father in a very loving way. I fell asleep again, and later that day the feeling remained with me.

St Ignatius calls these kinds of experiences "consolation without preceding cause," meaning a consolation that just comes upon us for no other reason than God's grace. It's great when it happens! But it's usually not that often. God knows when we need a little extra help to keep on going. It would be good to hear about your own experiences of God's consolation too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cats vs. kids

I happened to come across a pro-abortion blog, written by a woman who has had an abortion and says she does not regret it. After the abortion, even though she is now married, she deliberately chose not to have any children. Instead, she has two cats.

I could not help but feel a little sorry for her. I suppose cats have some advantages. Perhaps the parents out there could comment on how your children have enriched your life. Would you trade your kids for two cats? Cats, not being persons, are not able to have a real relationship with you. Cats cannot say "I love you," or bring you a birthday present or visit you and take care of you when you get old and sick.

But more importantly, having children is a way that we can make of ourselves to another person. The "law of the gift" means that it is only in making a gift of ourselves that we can truly find ourselves. I don't mean to say that everyone is required to have children, since God calls some people to other vocations and some people bear the cross of not being able to have them, though they would want to. But to deliberately block them out when one chooses marriage, whose outcome is normally children, is the problem.

St. Albert the Great

Today's feastday is Albert the Great. He was a friend and mentor of St. Thomas Aquinas. As the story goes, when his fellow students called Thomas the "dumb ox," it was Albert who said, "One day that ox will bellow so loud that the whole world will listen!"

Here are some Albert links

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Catholic Sun

This is a poem by Hilaire Belloc that I like

The Catholic Sun

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There's always laughter and good red wine.
At least I've always found it so,
Benedicamus Domino!

Pope Benedict on St. Paul

The custom in my community is to dedicate Mondays in a special way to St. Paul, our patron.
I was just reading the talk that Pope Benedict gave on St. Paul in a recent general audience. The pope said that Paul gave all his energy to serving Jesus. He added, "From here we draw a very important lesson: what counts is to place Jesus Christ at the center of our lives, so that our identity is marked essentially by the encounter, by communion with Christ and with his Word. In his light, every other value is recovered and purified from possible dross."

Amen!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What kind of English do you speak?

Here's mine (I'm originally from New York):
Your Linguistic Profile:
40% General American English
40% Yankee
10% Dixie
5% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern

The widow's mite

Today's Gospel is about the poor widow who gave two small coins to the Temple treasure. But Jesus said that she gave more than all the others, because she gave from her neediness.

I thought of Grams, as she is affectionately known. Grams is the mother of two of our sisters in our community. She happens to be visiting Boston right now. She's 94 and sharp as a tack. As she once said, "I thank God that I have all my marbles and I know what I'm doing!" She's knows what she's doing, all right! She's extremely generous and while she lives very frugally herself, over the years she has made many generous donations both to our community and other good causes. God bless Gramas!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A typical day

Sometimes people ask me what a nun's life is like. Well, here's a typical day. This morning I was going back to my room after my morning shower, and one of the other sisters saw me and said, "There's an alarm going off by the boiler room and the red light is on." Oh great, I thought, this has to happen on Saturday when our maintenance staff is not here.
So I went down and silenced the alarm but found it went on because the boiler failed. I tried the reset button and it started up again, but after about one minute it failed again and the alarm went off. So I got on the phone and tried to get help, but it wasn't available just yet (why would it be on Saturday morning?). Luckily the weather has gotten a bit warmer these past few days, so it's not too bad. Then after breakfast I got a call that a group using our retreat house had no hot water and no heat. We got the hot water back but not the heat so far.

A typical day

Sometimes people ask me what a nun's life is like. Well, here's a typical day. This morning I was going back to my room after my morning shower, and one of the other sisters saw me and said, "There's an alarm going off by the boiler room and the red light is on." Oh great, I thought, this has to happen on Saturday when our maintenance staff is not here.
So I went down and silenced the alarm but found it went on because the boiler failed. I tried the reset button and it started up again, but after about one minute it failed again and the alarm went off. So I got on the phone and tried toget help, but it wasn't available just yet (why would it be on Saturday morning?). Luckily the weather has gotten a bit warmer these past few days, so it's not too bad. Then after breakfast I got a call that a group using our retreat house had no hot water and no heat. We got the hot water back but not the heat so far.

A typical day

Sometimes people ask me what a nun's life is like. Well, here's a typical day. This morning I was going back to my room after my morning shower, and one of the other sisters saw me and said, "There's an alarm going off by the boiler room and the red light is on." Oh great, I thought, this has to happen on Saturday when our maintenance staff is not here.
So I went down and silenced the alarm but found it went on because the boiler failed. I tried the reset button and it started up again, but after about one minute it failed again and the alarm went off. So I got on the phone and tried to contact our maintenance man, but he wasn't available (why would he be on Saturday morning?). Luckily the weather has gotten a bit warmer these past few days, so it's not too bad. Then after breakfast I got a call that a group using our retreat house had no hot water and no heat. We got the hot water back but not the heat so far.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Back home!

We got back home last night from Rome and it's really good to be back. The trip was very enriching in many ways, especially in meeting sisters from various countries who are carrying out our Pauline mission with great dedication. I was impressed at the older sisters who are still very active. For example, one night we visited our community in Albano, which is close to the retreat house where the meeting is. The superior, Sr Rosaria, is 80 years old and amazingly dynamic. She just radiates an incredible joy and holiness.

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