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Monday, December 31, 2012

What's the Real Problem?

Remember when Jesus declared that all foods were clean, that what is in unclean comes, not from outside a man, but from within. The same is true with the violence of our society. Guns aren't our society's problem. Neither are corrupting influences like violent video games, pornography, etc. although they can create major temptations. The real problem is the heart of man that chooses good or evil. Some people love the good. You can give them an armory of guns and they will never use them to commit evil. You can take them to a city street lined with abortion mills and they will never kill their children. Instead, they will offer life and hope to those who are choosing death . If you put them in a library full of pornographic books and videos, they will guard their eyes and pray. They don't delight in sins and when they do commit them, hasten to Confession to repent and make a firm purpose of amendment.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gun Control Fails in England

In England since handguns were banned violent gun crime has risen by 40%. Is this video the future for America? If we don't fight, it may well be. As one of the men in the video says,  "It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by six."

The Feast of the Holy Family... an invitation to model your family on the home at Nazareth. If we always live in the light of the Holy Spirit our work and play, every breath we take, will be sanctified. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, pray for us.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Also Thinking about The Hobbit

Haven't seen it yet, but some things just put you in mind of the mythological. Myth is a way to speak the truth in imaginative imagery. C.S. Lewis certainly thought so. Beware of dragons, especially the real ones who are visible all around us, especially in high government positions! Their name is legion.

Thinking About New Year's Resolutions?

How about taking the 90-day Bible challenge. What a great project for this year of faith. you can learn more and sign up here. I plan to give it a try. The first suggestion is to decide on a time and place for daily reading. Is early morning best for you? Or late in the afternoon before starting dinner? Think about a time that works for you and dedicate that time to growing closer to Christ. The challenge begins on January 1st and ends with the Easter Vigil. You won't read the entire Bible of 73 books, but you WILL read 14 books and develop a tremendous habit of daily spiritual study and reflection using God's personal messages to His people. St. Jerome says that ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. This is a great opportunity to grow closer to Our Lord and will give you a wonderful Lenten project as well. Let's do it together and discuss what we learn. I look forward to hearing your insights and sharing my own. Are you in?

Friday, December 28, 2012

There's no such thing as "safe" abortion!

Legalizing abortion-on-demand in 1973, the Supreme Court inflicted an astronomical increase in the murder of unborn children. Easy abortion hasn't helped women's medical condition either despite the euphemism equating it with "reproductive health." Abortion isn't about "health;" it's about anti-health -- especially for the baby. But the moms often end up in medical crises as well: perforated uterus, damaged cervix, massive infection, depression, suicidal, etc.

 The last abortion mill in St. Louis, a Planned Parenthood, sent a woman to the hospital the day after Christmas, the third time since Thanksgiving at that single facility. All that talk about safe abortions? That's all it is -- talk. The toll from each abortion? One dead/one wounded (and occasionally dead).  Abortion was legalized to address social problems, but all it does is create more problems usually worse that the initial one. Work to end abortion. Support a crisis pregnancy center!

After All Those Advent Hymns...'s one of my favorite Christmas carols. I hope you haven't brushed Christmas off already! It's only the fourth day, with lots more to come! 

Armed Guards at Schools?

Why is the left attacking the idea? Sounds sensible and a lot more likely to prevent death than "gun free zones." Did you know that the Aurora theater attacker skipped the movie theater closest to his apartment? He also passed up the theater that attracted the largest crowds. What did he choose? The only theater in the area showing the Dark Knight that banned guns. Did that influence his choice? We may never know, but the same selection bias is demonstrated in many mass shootings. The place that bans guns is the killer's target of choice. Here are a few facts from the Fox News report:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

On the Third Day of Christmas...

One set of grandchildren left with our son and his wife today so we went on a pilgrimage to the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington for a twenty decade rosary. The decorations were beautiful and we enjoyed the many nativity scenes and all the shrines honoring Mary under her many titles. I picked up a card about Our Lady of Sorrows and all the promises to those who honor her under that title.

Before heading home, we stopped at our daughter's in Fairfax and "kidnapped" four grandchildren for another Christmas adventure. Roller skating tomorrow and a birthday party for a Noel girl and a phone call to her cousin who shares a birthday on the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

How I love the holidays. Not only are they holy days, but joyous family days. We plan to celebrate the twelve days of Christmas in grand style with grand-children!

I hope you are having as much joyful family fun as we are!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rejoice! Your Savior is Born. Hosanna in the Highest!

Wishing You and Your Family a Blessed and Merry Christmas!

Murillo's Adoration of the Shepherds

Art teaches theology. Notice the light in this painting. It comes from the babe. He is wrapped in pure white like an infant clothed in the white garment of baptism. Everyone in the portrait is leaning toward Jesus in silent adoration their faces filled with reverence and awe and  reflecting back the glow of the baby who is the Light of the World. Even the ox is focused on the event as if to represent all creation bowing at the coming of the Savior. After the baby and Mary, the brightest image in the portrait is the lamb reminding the viewer that Jesus is the lamb of God called to be slain. The kneeling shepherd, in fact, wears the fleece of a slain lamb which reminds me that we are called to "put on Christ." If I had to choose one virtue illustrated by Murillo it would be humility. Our Savior coming as a tiny baby, Mary wrapping him in the humble garments she's made for him, the profoundly humble body positions of Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds Their humility teaches how we should approach the King of King and Lord of Lords - on our knees in adoration.

Monday, December 24, 2012

One of the Miracles of Newtown - Journalist Returns to the Faith

Pray for Michael Bellmore that he perseveres in his reversion to the Catholic faith.

Lapsed Catholic has a Confession to Make

When Did You Become a Person?

Look to the Visitation for the answer. Obviously, Jesus and John recognized each other as persons when the were introduced at the Visitation. John heard Mary's voice and immediately he leaped in mother's womb. The Church teaches that at that moment he was freed from original sin in preparation for his role as precursor of the Lamb. We know from the angel's message that John was about six months old. How old was Jesus? We can figure that out pretty closely from the gospel which tells us that Mary "went in haste" to visit her cousin.

Elizabeth and Zechariah lived not far from Jerusalem so Mary's journey from Nazareth was 80-100 miles, at most a week for the journey, but probably less, perhaps three or four days. That means Jesus was less than a week old when mother and babe arrived and greeted Elizabeth. Already, however, John recognized Jesus as His Lord and Savior and leaped for joy. 

Think of fetal development. Jesus was actually making the journey along the fallopian tube while his mother walked or was carried by a beast along the road toward Jerusalem. It takes about a week for the newly conceived child to reach the uterus and embed there. So Jesus was a tiny embryo. How big? Look at the head of straight pin used for sewing. Jesus was probably no bigger than that at the Visitation. And yet He performed His first miracle that day releasing John from Adam's sin. The Visitation teaches us a lot about personhood. The relationship between John and Jesus occurred when Jesus was less than a week old and illustrates His personhood at that young age. Surely all of us, made in the image and likeness of the Word made flesh, receive that same gift from God. Our personahood was well established in the first week of life. Praised be to God who made the heavens and the earth and gave each of us the glorious gift of life!

It's Snowing in Woodstock - Come Lord Jesus

"And his garments became shining and exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller upon earth can make white." Mark 9:3
The Christmas tree is lit and laden with all the ornaments filled with memories of Christmas past. The beds are all made awaiting little (and big) guests. The roast and the chicken are ready for preparation and the fruitcake is decorated for the celebration of Christmas present. Christmas future hides behind time's veil, but everything pints to it coming in a world spiraling into darkness.

But no matter how dark and dismal the culture; no matter how gloomy the signs of the times, Christians light candles and praise God's goodness. Be not afraid as so many popes and saints say. Remember the Irish with their St. Bridget crosses thrust into the thatched roofs. Remember the hidey holes in Elizabethan England filled with vestments and holy vessels awaiting the onset of holy Mass. Remember the Roman catacombs where the early Christians gathered for prayer and buried their dead. And remember the prisoners of God who suffered and died with songs and words glorifying God on their lips. "Viva Cristo Rey!"

Many souls are saved in times of persecution. We have nothing to fear as long as we build our homes on the rock of the faith and stand with our backs against the sturdy wood of the cross. No enemy can defeat the Word who created the universe. Christ is coming on a cloud of heaven to judge the earth. He is King of King and Lord of Lords. When you see Him in the manger, remember He sits at the right hand of God in heaven.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Lo, He Comes...

...In the Bleak Midwinter. If this doesn't give you goosebumps, you're deaf. Imagine what the angel choirs sound like when you can listen to heavenly music on earth.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

How to Act When the Culture has become the Wild West

I received this email today and, being a skeptic about these types of things, I checked them out. It's absolutely on target and I've linked to articles about the events. These are examples of incidents where citizens with guns prevented greater tragedy. Guns save lives! But if you don't have one, what do you do? Run, hide, fight according to the video at the end. My comments are in red.
Why don't we hear more about these public shootings?
A 1997 high school shooting in Pearl, Miss., was halted by the school's vice principal after he retrieved the Colt .45 he kept in his truck.
A 1998 middle school shooting ended when a man living next door heard gunfire and apprehended the shooter with his shotgun.
A 2002 terrorist attack at an Israeli school was quickly stopped by an armed teacher and a school guard.
A 2002 law school shooting in Grundy, Va., came to an abrupt conclusion when students carrying firearms confronted the shooter.
A 2007 (sic - correct year 2009) mall shooting in Ogden, Utah, ended when an armed off-duty police officer intervened.
A 2009 workplace shooting in Houston, Texas, (sic - this actually involved a bow and arrow attack and a fake handgun) was halted by two coworkers who carried concealed handguns.
A 2012 church shooting in Aurora, Colo., was stopped by a member of the congregation carrying a gun. Can you imagine how many people would have been killed if that person hadn't been armed. Look around your church on Sunday and think about an armed invasion by a gunman. 
At the recent mall shooting in Portland, Ore., the gunman took his own life minutes after being confronted by a shopper carrying a concealed weapon. (Mainstream media ignored the impact of this heroic young man's actions. He never fired a shot, but his resistance may very well have instigated the shooter's suicide. Where are the media accolades for his quick action and courageous defense of others?)

Why haven't most of you heard of these? The answer is simple. Mainstream media, radical idiots like Bloomberg don't dare make heroes of armed citizens because it CRUSHES every weak, pathetic argument they raise.
Here's a video developed to help people respond to workplace violence. It offers good tips for anyone in a crisis situation where a gunman starts opening fire. If I were in a store I'd head for the back away from the shots and look for an employee or delivery exit. Actually, it might be a good idea to check out the stores you frequent often so you know how they are laid out and how to get out fast.

More about Fr. Luke from Newtown

St. Rose of Lima prayer vigil for victims of chooting
The other day, I blogged about the Newtown, CT parish mourning for so many of the little children killed in the school massacre. I included a letter from the sister of parochial vicar, Fr. Luke, asking for prayers for her brother who has only been ordained a few years. In fact, he was ordained at St. Rose of Lima, the church that will bury many of the children. They are dealing with incredible pain in that parish and evil as well. Following all the publicity the parish received a bomb threat requiring evacuation of the church during last Sunday's noon Mass. The evil one is apparently not happy with a packed church!

There is something so providential about this young priest being there to comfort these families. He was ordained at the parish, an unusual situation since most ordinations occur at the diocesan cathedral. You can read about Fr. Luke's ordination and about his close connections to St. Rose of Lima in this article from the local paper:
Walking Confidently Toward Priesthood, Luke Suarez To Be Ordained At St Rose
And if you would like to send a message of consolation to him and to the pastor, Msgr. Robert Weiss, here is the address again:
St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church
46 Church Hill Rd.
Newtown, CT  06470 
May God bless and sustain all our priests. What a burden of grief they carry for their people. Pray for priests! Pray twice for bishops! Pray unceasingly for the pope!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Good-bye to Ireland, the Land that Loved Children

Remember how we got abortion on demand in the United States? It began with the hard cases in the states. There were clergy panels to rubber stamp abortions that were only allowed for rape, incest, and life of the mother. Then life of the mother included suicide and all a woman had to do was threaten suicide to get her ticket punched. It all became moot with Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton that legislated abortion in the first six months for no reason and the last three months for any reason.

And so it begins in Ireland. A friend and I visited the emerald isle in the early 90s and predicted Ireland's fall within 15 or 20 years. They were inundated with our horrible television. Promotion of the gay agenda was on the front page of newspapers. We talked to people all over the country eager for legalization of divorce and contraception. The one encouraging fact was that there were still  beautiful little children everywhere. Well, Ireland took the money when they joined the European and God and Mammon never have gotten along well.  I believe that accelerated the destruction which is well underway.

I am mourning tonight for that lovely country.

Ireland drafting legislation to allow hard case abortions

Apocalypse Now? Maybe Not!

Well, the day isn't over, but so far the world has not ended. I'm baking bread in anticipation of another day to eat it and going off to the crisis pregnancy center for my first day of volunteering after a long "sabbatical." I expect all the women who come for help and the babies they carry have a full future ahead, God willing. Remember the scripture says nobody knows the day or the hour -- not even the Mayans.

Jesus is Nigh

Advent light increases as the Lord of Life draws near.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Whitewash on Benghazi

None of this is surprising. Did anyone think that "our savior Obama" would take any heat?

The Wretched Absurdity of the Benghazi Report

Benghazi Whitewash Report

Four Scapegoats Resign over Benghazi (Hint: Hillary isn't one of them.)

Advent: The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns

Are you ready to welcome him? You still have almost a week to prepare. And what better way to welcome him than as a little child. I love to listen to children's choirs. Their sweetness and innocence speaks a special love for the baby Jesus coming at Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Prayer: The Catholic Response to Evil

This email was forwarded to me by a friend. While you are writing your Christmas cards, how about including one for the priests and parishioners in Newtown at St. Rose of Lima Church. Nearly half of the murdered children were from their parish. Wouldn't it be wonderful to send an outpouring of love to the priests and parishioners so they know the mystical body of Christ is united with them as they suffer. God bless you all in these last days of Advent. I've highlighted the address in the email below:
All of you, I am sure, have heard so much about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. Many of you have received emails from me about my younger brother, Father Luke Suarez, who is a priest at St. Rose of Lima parish, a Catholic church just down the road from Sandy Hook Elementary. He, and his pastor, Monsignor Weiss, arrived at the school within moments of the shooting, and have been caring for the community ever since....

Bluebirds in Winter

I am sitting at the office window watching four bluebirds fluttering around the two birdhouses perched on fence posts next to the row of pine trees. I've never seen them this late in the season and it got me interested in the migratory patterns of bluebirds.

Here's what I discovered. Bluebirds are considered "partial migrants." They tend to migrate to the southern portion of their breeding range, but some won't migrate at all instead staying to winter together in flocks. While their diet is about 68% insect, bluebirds will switch to berries and other plants when bugs are scarce. Virginia is within their year-round habitat and I am absolutely delighted that these colorful little feathered friends have decided to stay.

As a matter of fact, they offer a positive example for us humans. They mate for life. If we were as faithful at these sweet little birdies, we would have many fewer problems in our culture. The greatest guarantor of healthy (physically and mentally) children, is the intact family.

If you are having problems in your marriage, please get help. Divorce is a cultural disaster. Statistics show that parental divorce shaves four years off the lifespan of children (even adult children). And it is more likely that the children of divorce will themselves grow up and divorce. As the saying goes, the best things parents can do for their children is love one another. And I'm not talking about mush-love, that sparkly "feeling" accompanied by candlelight and romantic music. Love is an action verb and here are a few of its qualities: sacrificing, suffering, dutiful, hard-working, forgiving, faithful....  Love can be fun and games, but it also involves pain and anguish. Those who want only the first part should go to the video arcade.

As for my birdies, I'm smiling and thanking God for what I will think of as a "bluebird moment," one that involves being surprised by joy.

We're All Going to Freeze to Death!

Global warming is a crock. And the latest data shows that there's been no warming for the past fifteen years. In fact the planet is actually cooling. Now watch for the Chicken Littles to develop a new sky-is-falling scenario to keep the funds rolling in. If you actually have something between your ears, this comes as no surprise. Natural fluctuations in weather have been observed since, well, we first started observing and recording the weather.

Chilling Climate Change News 

A Two-fer: Advent Music and Some Inspiring Sisters

Advent is a good time to ask, "What does the Lord want of me? How is He calling me? For what is this Advent season preparing me?" Have you ever considered a priestly or religious vocation? Advent is a great season to think about it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pat Buchanan Puts the Finger on the Problem

"Since the news first came in Friday from Newtown, we have argued about guns in America and mental illness, but heard little about the moral sickness of our society." Read more....

Guns save lives. In our increasingly violent society, where many appear to have no conscience, the right to self-defense is a no-brainer. More real cases here

Israeli class with teacher.

Wait for the Lord... hope for He comes! Maanatha, Lord Jesus.

Monday, December 17, 2012

From Bobby Jindal a Shocking Disappointment

Governor of Louisiana calls for over-the-counter sale of birth control

One more betrayal of women, especially the young. Chemical birth control is linked to cancer. Younger and younger women are experiencing more aggressive forms of breast cancer. A peer of one of my daughters whose mom had the doctor put her on the birth control pill at fourteen or fifteen ended up with double breast cancer in her early twenties. She's just one of the legion of young women damaged by these powerful drugs PRESCRIBED TO HEALTHY WOMEN FOR NON-MEDICAL REASONS! Talk about a war on women.

Are You Awake?

In these last days of Advent it isn't too late to wake and prepare for the coming of the Lord. One of the images of Advent is the wise virgins waiting with their lamps for the coming of the bridegroom. This Advent hymn features the wise virgins so quick to awaken to their Lord's coming. May we imitate their watchfulness.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

More Storm Clouds of Persecution Gather

My parents talked about the want ads they saw growing up saying, "Irish need not apply." And of course the history of Jim Crow laws and segregation is a well-known part of our history. But if you think persecution and civil rights violations have disappeared, reflect on the increasing discrimination against people of faith who refuse to bow to the immoral spirit of the age. Employment doors, more and more are slamming in the face of Catholics and other Christians who refuse to cooperate with intrinsic evil. The latest "Catholics need not apply" assault is in the state of of Maine. In November the state approved same-sex "marriage" and is mandating that notary republics who perform marriages may not refuse to perform same-sex ceremonies for any reason. According to LifeSiteNews:
any notary public who performs marriages may not refuse to perform a same-sex “marriage” for any reason, upon pain of being charged with a human rights violation, according to Maine’s secretary of state.

A Little Latin for Gaudete Sunday

Remember Julius Caesar's famous statement, "Veni, Vidi, Vici!" It was the statement of an arrogant man who became a tyrant who came to a bad end. But the words are more appropriate to the Advent of our God. Jesus came as a little babe in the fullness of time. He saw the possibilities in all men made in His image and likeness. And He conquered sin on the cross. Rejoice, you has come Emmanuel.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Commentary from the Virginia Gun Owners Coalition

Tragedies Like Connecticut Do Not Occur in Israel 

Yesterday's tragedy in Connecticut left us all breathless as we mourned with the families of the innocent children along with the school faculty who were gunned down by an evil murderer. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the dozens of families who have empty beds in their homes tonight as a result of the evil which has impacted their lives. As a person who has friends who were impacted by the shooting at Virginia Tech, these incidents anger me greatly. They anger me because they do not have to occur. Look at Israel, for example. Israel never has school shootings, while an average of twenty mass shootings occur in America every year. What is the difference? Israel doesn't have "gun-free" zones. Israeli teachers carry firearms and know how to use them. If the four adults who were heartlessly murdered in the principal's office in Connecticut had been allowed to carry concealed firearms they may have been able to stop the killer before he murdered another twenty innocent children. In light of this, VGOC will be seeking a sponsor for a new law which will allow school teachers to carry concealed firearms which would provide a first line of defense in schools before a shooter has the opportunity to murder as many helpless students as we saw yesterday. Stay tuned for more details on our "Students Protection Act" and legislative sponsor developments.

I'm Sick of the Gun Control Gang

I received this from an internet friend whose son is a highway patrolman. Think of how different things would have been during these mass shooting sprees if somebody had been armed and trained. 

God Bless Those Sidewalk Counselors...

...saving babies lives and saving women from a lifetime of heartbreak. God bless you dear ones.

These dedicated folks have saved 316 babies since they began sidewalk counseling in Hagerstown, MD six years ago and the abortuary business is down 50%. Sidewalk counseling works! And abortionists and their minions hate it! Every person who leaves the abortion business testifies to the impact of sidewalk counseling. Even one person praying the rosary quietly means everyone inside is on edge and the abortions take longer. Not to mention the depressing effect of having clients walk out. Every time that happens it emphasizes what a bloody business it is and presses the guilt button. If you've never been out to an abortion mill, join the spring 40 days for life. Your prayers make a difference!

Are You Filled with Wonder?

Advent is a time to reflect on the promise of a Savior. What a loving God who cares for His creation enough to send His own Son to pay the ransom to restore all things in Him. Does this not fill you with wonder? And yet how ungrateful we are, like the Israelites in the desert who grumbled and complained. They were punished by having to wander for 40 years. Only then did their children enter the promised land.

Will you enter the promised land - the heavenly Jerusalem? Or are you trading an eternity of joy with God for the passing allurements of this world. Will you stand with Mary at the cross or will you stand with politicians and earthly leaders believing in their false utopias purchased with the blood of the innocent? Advent is a time of repentance. Don't delay. Jesus is waiting for you in the confessional.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Why?...Rachel is Weeping for her children and will not be comforted

The Connecticut elementary shootings can't be described as anything but unadulterated evil. Rachel is weeping for her children and will not be comforted because they are no more. Lord, please help those suffering families as they bury their loved ones.

Advent Song

I thought this lovely song expressed the longing of our hearts for our Savior to come and dispel the darkness, to end the waiting and fill us with His hope.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Every Valley Shall be Exalted and Every Mountain Made Low

Have you ever taken a trip out west and had to pass from the valleys over the mountains? I remember a  harrowing ride over the Big Horn Mountains pulling our camper. Fortunately we were advised by a friendly lady working at a service station to take the "easier" path. It make me wonder what the "harder" way was like.

In Advent we hear over and over the passage from Isaiah 40 about the valleys being raised up and the mountains and hills being brought low. Think of it. What an easy path we would have if the road stretched out before us like a broad, flat ribbon all the way to the horizon.

That is what John the Baptist, Advent's herald, offers us. Repent and prepare the way of the Lord. Does that mean we'll never have a difficulty? Of course not. But once we unite our will to God's, even the challenges take on a different prospect. We see the rose more than the thorns and taste the honey more than we feel the bee's sting. That's why the Roman martyrs could go into the arena singing and Miguel Pro could stretch out his arms in the sign of the cross and cry out "Viva Cristo Rey" as the soldiers fired. It explains how a person dying of a painful disease can comfort his grieving family. Faith makes "the crooked straight and the rock places plain." Advent is almost half over. Are you using it to increase your faith? If you stick with St. John the Baptist, he's show you must decrease, Jesus must increase.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray for Us

I have always loved the tender messages of the Blessed Mother to her "little son," Juan Diego. She called herself his mother and promised that she had him wrapped in the folds of her garment. Doesn't that remind you of little ones who hide themselves in their mommies' skirts? What a good reason for a mother to wear a skirt instead of pants - so much easier for children to wrap themselves up in their mothers' protection. And don't we desperately need that protection today? North Korea just had a successful missile launch and are close to having a warhead that can reach our west coast. The Middle East is boiling over with violence. The whole world is groaning with lust and hate.

 It sure makes me want to hide in Mother Mary's skirts and listen to her say, "Am I not here, I who am your mother?"

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

The ACLU Never Sleeps in their Zeal to Promote Intolerance....

against Christians. They will gladly promote atheism anywhere anytime.

Free Speech vs. Sound of Silence

Why not send the grinches at the ACLU a Christmas card. Enclose a prayer. It's becoming an annual rite and who knows what impact all those prayers can achieve against the enemies of God? Heap those burning coals of the Holy Spirit on their heads and pray for the graces of conversion to move their hard hearts. Don't forget to wish them a "Merry Christmas."

A Good Question

Where is the Vatican document Vocatio Vir Christi?

A priest once told a friend of mine that the crisis in the Church won't be solved until women come down off the cross and men climb up. What exactly did he mean? I think Leon Podles got it right when he wrote The Church Impotent: the Feminization of Christianity. He devotes his last chapter to "The Future of Men in the Church." 

Christianity is a manly religion, one that requires struggle and discipline. St. Ignatius, in his spiritual exercises, envisions the battlefield where the army of Christ and the army of Satan gather. And think of all the martyrs who stood up boldly against incredible evil.

 But often the manly aspects of the faith are almost invisible. In some churches the only man in the sanctuary during Sunday Mass is the priest. And what a ridiculous sight his parishioners suffer in a congregation where everyone holds hands at the Our Father. There, behind the altar, Father stands hand in hand with his harem of helpers.

I agree that there is a crisis of masculinity in the Church. When more of our clergy start acting like men, perhaps we will begin to see its resolution.

Advent's Hero: St. John the Baptist

Last Sunday's homily focused on St. John the Baptist, the shining light of the Advent season. John, the precursor, fasts and prays in the desert. How many of us would be content to eat locusts and wild honey and wear John's rough garments? He gives us the guidebook to follow saying,  "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord.'" John is not "the one;" he is merely the "voice," the megaphone, as Father described him, urging us to prepare our hearts for Him.

Is it any surprise? Remember, John is the first to recognize Jesus and honor Mary as the tabernacle of the Lord when he leaps in the womb of Elizabeth. It is he who is the first evangelist (after Mary) enlightening his mother Elizabeth and preparing her to receive the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Like Mary, John magnifies the Lord pointing him out to all who will listen. "There is the lamb of God; I am not worthy to unfasten the strap of sandal." He sends his own apostles away, redirecting them to the "Lamb of God," the one whose way he has prepared.

"He must increase; I must decrease," says John. There is no self pity in that statement, only the recognition that when the bridegroom arrives, the best man fades into the background. John takes us to the Jordan where we are washed in the waters of baptism, repenting of our sins in preparation for the coming of the Christ, the Savior of the world. So come to Jordan's banks and "hear the Baptist's cry announcing that the Lord is nigh."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Egypt's Arab Spring followed by Hellish Sharia Summer

Remember all the hype about the Arab Spring when Mubarak was kicked out and the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi took over? Obama, the king of hope and change had this to say at the time, “We saw in those protestors the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world from Deli to Warsaw, from Selma and South Africa. And we knew that change had come to Egypt and to the Arab world." Well, it looks like the change is a move to a radical Islamic state where Sharia law, not the U.S. idea of democracy, will prevail. You know...the kind of law that cuts off people hands for theft, beheads women for fornication, etc. Wow!

Seems all that hope and change isn't working out so well after all. The administration is doing a bang up job of destabilizing the Middle East. And we're about to send these guys 16 F-15 fighter jets - these to a man who has publicly declared he wants to "kill the Jews."

World War III anyone?

Morsi Declares Martial Law in Egypt

Morsi transforms Arab Spring into Egyptian nightmare

Gregorian Chant for Advent

Fr. Z has the literal and poetic translation on his website. Here's a small taste:

Creator of the starry height,
Thy people’s everlasting light,
Jesu, Redeemer, save us all,
Hear thou thy servants when they call. 
Thou, sorrowing at the helpless cry
Of all creation doomed to die,
Didst save our lost and guilty race
By healing gifts of heavenly grace.
Isn't it lovely?  Now don't you wish your parish would do some Gregorian Chant? 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ya Just Gotta Love the Religion of Peace!

Wonder if they printed names of people killed on the back. Talk about sickos!

What the Abortion Industry Fears Most

More and more abortion mill workers are fleeing the grisly business.

The Beginning of the End?

What's Happening on Catholic College Campuses?

The same thing that's happening on secular college campuses -- in fact there's a song that describes it - Anything Goes!

And here are a few illustrations:
Jesuit University Blog Cheers Gay Marriage  (Yup, anything goes at Jesuit Universities.) 
Dorm Sex? No problemo (The nerve of a student complaining about the anything goes lifestyle on campus.) 
And then there's the pro-Obama bias on Catholic campuses. (Anything goes when it comes to killing babies!) 
At DePaul pro-gay and pro-polygamy links A-okay!
If you didn't think things could get any worse on secular campuses, think again. Harvard has approved a BDSM club, (aka Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism). Maybe they'll sell whips and chains in the student bookstore. And for this, parents and students are spending $57 - $62 K?

It's time to rethink college. If you can't afford an authentically Catholic school think about local community college (living at home) so young people can develop a little more maturity before being thrust into the Sodom and Gomorrah life. You can get a decent education at many secular schools, but only if classes are selected with great care and professors are vetted to exclude intolerant liberals (is that redundant) who penalize students who won't tow the party line.

Will You Be Ready When He Comes?

Celtic Advent Carol by Joseph Martin

I've never heard this Advent carol before, but I like it very much. What a great  question for Advent! Will you be ready for Him when He comes?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Even liberals see the approaching train wreck!

Well, well, well....The Washington Post and the New York Times are lamenting the plummeting birthrate and its implications for the future of our economy.

U.S. Birthrate Plummets to lowest level since 1920
More Babies, Please

The facts of the demographic winter are finally getting through to the lame brains in la la land. No babies, no future! An aging population with insufficient replacement means not enough young workers to sustain retirees and create a booming economy.

Of course, the culture of death won't have much trouble with that -- just pass a law requiring everyone over 70 -- oh heck, 65 -- to check into the local exit clinic for a checkup. If they can still work, the docs will send them down one line for a temporary reprieve; if they can't -- off to the showers.

Of course, a shrinking population means fewer consumers and reduced needs: fewer homes, stores, gas stations, hospitals, schools, buses, trains, and planes, etc. Think of the empty storefronts and ghost towns. And horrors! Who will wait on Ted Turner at his favorite restaurants around the world when the population shrinks to his "ideal" of 500 million?

Then there's the drop that makes politicians blanch. Fewer people means less tax revenue. And with a population top heavy with revenue takers like the elderly vs. revenue creators like the young -- well -- the writing is on the wall -- and it's not good news. Pray to be steadfast under trial, because the trial is certainly coming. And even the liberals are starting to see the approaching train wreck. About time!

The Sound of Children's Voices... the sound of Advent waiting and Christmas joy.

Sing with your children as often as possible. Music speaks to the heart. Teach rounds. Sing in the car. Sing around the Advent wreath. Sing in the summer around a campfire. Sing nursery rhymes and lullabies to the babies. Play them classical music when they go to sleep. Play beautiful music in the background while they do their homework (and I don't mean pop tunes with lyrics, rap, or other brain-numbing musical junk food).

Chesterton once said that "Life exists for the love of music or beautiful things." Increase your joy with good music. And let the songs of Advent prepare you for the joy of Christ coming at Christmas. This song makes me feel the longing desire for the long-awaited Messiah.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Prayer to Mary Under Her Title of The Immaculate Conception

If you subscribe to the Magnificat Missal, you saw this portrait of Our Lady by Diego Velazquez in this month's issue. It is one of my favorites. It shows how deeply belief in Mary's Immaculate Conception penetrated the Church two centuries before it was declared in 1854 by Pope Pius IX. 

Often in religious art, Mary is looking up to heaven, but here her head is bowed in humility and reverence for God. Her gown is simple and the color muted. The only indication of her royalty is the crown of stars over her head and the gold trim on her mantle. This rendition of Mary seems to me to express her profound humility and modesty despite her exalted role as Queen of heaven and earth. May we learn from her to always desire God's will in our lives recognizing that everything we are and everything we have is by His grace. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Prayer to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception 
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 
did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son, 
we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, 
You did preserve Her from all stain, 
so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession, 
 to come unto You. 
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, 
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
God, world without end. 


Advent Music Should Trigger Our Awe Reflex

I've been posting a different Advent hymn every day and most that I've posted inspire me again when I replay them -- except for this one. Every time I listen to it, I like it less. It sounds like elevator music or something from a Sunday mega-church TV choir. I'm posting another version below as an antidote to its sugary sweetness. When the long-expected Jesus comes again he won't be accompanied by the Pillsbury Doughboy at His side. He will arrive surrounded by light accompanied by Michael the Archangel and his very big sword. Jesus will inspire "fear of the Lord" in the sense of awe among all those who see Him. They won't be swaying in Kumbaya style. They will fall to their knees either in reverent awe (the sheep) or terrifying fear (the goats). Which will you be?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Where's the Line to See Jesus?

Whose birthday is it anyway?

Smoking is Baaaaad....Unless it's Marijauna

Ya just gotta laugh! You know how baaaaad smoking is for you. Just ask liberals who have done everything short of criminalizing tobacco: banning it in restaurants and bars, taxing it up the kazoo, creating no-smoking zones around certain establishments, declaring smoke-free campuses, etc.

Well, I'm not a smoker and I hate the noxious stuff. I smile to remember our oldest at five seeing someone smoking and saying, "Smoking is so bad for you!" We trained our kids early and, while a few played with cigarettes a bit, none of them is a smoker today.

Having said that, however,

Imagine All That CCHD Money....

...going to worthy organizations instead of Alinsky community organizers working for abortion, same sex "marriage," and other intrinsic evils. I know a lot of crisis pregnancy centers that could do a lot of good with the millions CCHD spends on groups that advance evil!

Imagine What Would Happen....

...if more Catholics had the zeal of evangelist Ray Comfort who made the video below? How many people would we bring to Christ?

Salvation starts with acknowledging ourselves, our potential to be truly wicked. Be honest. Examine your conscience sincerely. How would you answer the questions in the video. Would you be willing to steal or murder if you knew for sure you would never get caught?

 G.K. Chesterton answered the question, "What's wrong with the world?" with a simple, but profound answer. "I am." St. Pius X said that "All evil in the world is due to lukewarm Catholics." Let's face it, we are all lukewarm; it's just a question of degree.

St. Teresa of Avila prayed to be a "burning furnace of charity." Imagine the change in the world if every Catholic on the planet became that "burning furnace" and, with St. Paul, heaped burning coals of love on our enemies. A world on fire with love of God that ignites a bonfire of charity...What an exciting thing to imagine!

And a little child will lead them...

...well not so little, but what a beautiful celebration of the Advent season. Those fresh young faces remind me of Jesus' admonition to the apostles to let the children come to him. Although, I suppose some of these young women are close to Mary's age when she said yes to the angel and some of the young men are probably close to St. John's age when he left his father's fishing boat to follow the Savior. Hope for the future is always embodied in the young. May God raise up many idealistic and zealous apostles to counter the cynicism and deadly lust of the culture of death.

This is a different version of the hymn posted here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

More on the Senate Vote on U.N. Treaty on Persons with Disabilities

I posted earlier this week about the U.N. Treaty on Persons with Disabilities. The Senate voted it down thank God since it had language that could be interpreted to allow abortion and also jeopardized U.S. sovereignty. C-FAM's Friday Fax had an interesting article on it today, well worth the few minutes to read. The Democrats are promising to reintroduce it in January so be prepared to fight this battle again.

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

On this feast of St. Nicholas I offer an invitation to Advent silence. Will you run around every day until Christmas worrying about all the pressures of the secular season or will you take a few minutes each day to remember who is coming on Christmas Day? Will you celebrate the Christmas tree and the gifts under the tree or the Christmas Savior, Emmanuel, the ultimate gift, the Lamb of God?

Come, Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Once in a Civilization Event...."

Will the 2013 "once in a civilization" comet herald the Second Coming next Christmas?

The last gigantic comet in 1680 didn't, but it sure gave folks a good scare:
[M]ost people throughout the civilized world, the learned as well as the multitude, feared that the end of all things was at hand. Every church in Europe, from the grandest cathedral to the humblest chapel, resounded with supplications, and in the province of New York a day of fasting and humiliation was appointed,in order that the wrath of God might be assuaged.
As Fr. Z says, "We could use more of that all the time and not just in moments of crisis."


So all you faithful out there, imagine that the end of the world is coming tomorrow. If you do that every day, one day you will be right because the world will definitely come to end for each one of us even if we aren't here for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ on a cloud of heaven.

Pray for the grace of final perseverance. In the end, that's all that will matter.

Lo, He Comes...

...With Clouds Descending

This Advent hymn portrays the second coming of Christ at the end of the world. It is one of the three "comings" we meditate upon during the season of Advent. The first is Jesus coming 2000 years ago, incarnate in the womb of Mary and born at the stable in Bethlehem. The second coming is the one we celebrate every day at Mass when He is physically present among us in the Eucharist. Every day during Mass we celebrate the entire life of Christ in a re-presentation from his incarnation to his passion, death, and resurrection. Alleluia! His third coming is the one we await at the end of the world. Like the Israelites of old we anticipate the day of Judgment when every tear will be wiped away and every wrong will be righted. Oh, let us make sure we stand with the sheep on that day and not the goats. Don't lose heaven for the world. It's a bad trade!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Atheists Want to Shut Down Congressional Prayer Caucus

The title is redundant. Atheists believe their god,
Nothing, made everything. Pretty dumb!
Ah tolerance and diversity...what a beautiful thing -- except for Christians, which is why the American Humanist Association is trying to shut down the Congressional Prayer Caucaus. You wonder if these folks who incessantly talk about the "separation of Church and state" ever read the Constitution. Here's what the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Do you see anything there requiring a "separation of Church and state"? Not at all; those words don't exist in the Constitution. They were in a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote making the point that "the wall of separation" protects people of faith from government, not vice versa. Do you see anything in the free speech designation making an exception of religious speech? NO! The First Amendment essentially says, "Government, keep your hands off the right of the people to practice their faith freely and without interference." And members of Congress have the same rights as other citizens. If some of them want to pray together that God's will be done in Government, GET OVER IT, ATHEISTS! And as the joke says, celebrate your own high feast day on April Fools' Day!

One more word on the First Amendment. It also protects the right of children in state schools to write poems and speeches that mention God, wear t-shirts with religious messages (if any message shirts are allowed), draw pictures with Christian images, sing Christmas carols, have Bible study clubs, etc. Every parent whose children's rights are violated should fight tooth and claw. There are plenty of public policy legal groups to help and they are successful. Go here and here. Let's put the irreligious, leftwing fringe on the defensive for a change.

Great Article About Ken Cuccinelli

Check it out at American Thinker.

And then, if you live in Virginia, sign up to be a delegate at his website. It will be great fun in Richmond next May joining thousands of other enthusiastic Republicans. I call myself an "independent Republican" these days because I refuse to fall in line behind RINOs and establishment hacks who have no principles except "vote for Republicans." When I think of some of the Democrat wannabees in the Republican party like Dede Scuzzyfuzzy (never can remember her name), Arlen Specter (no loss when he left), Olympia Snowe, John McCain, Scott Brown (I didn't cry when he lost.), etc. it makes me sick. I wonder what percentage of the party is "Democrat lite". At some point if that's all the Republican Party is, it really isn't worth saving. Will they go the way of the Whigs?

Anyway, join the principled conservatives' party and be a delegate for Ken! And when you hear people say Republicans have to be more like Democrats to win, remember that Mitt Romney was one of the biggest RINOs of all. The reason we don't win at the national level is that the party always puts up Democrats lite. In local elections principled conservatives often win. paraphrase G.K. Chesteran, here's my take on it, "Conservatism hasn't been tried and found wanting, it's been found difficult and left untried." It's much easier to buy votes with the promise of more and more goodies (unsustainable in the long run) than to engage people in intelligent debate and help them realize that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Sooner or later you gotta pay and the longer you wait the bigger the compulsory service charge!

What Hymn is more Appropriate to Advent than the Magnificat

And whose Magnificat is more beautiful than Johann Sebastian Bach's.

Mary is central to the Advent story. Her Magnificat announces the great blessing to her cousin Elizabeth. And doesn't this recording sound like the heavenly angels are singing with Mary to magnifying the Lord? Close your eyes and imagine the scene as she greets Elizabeth and overflows with rejoicing at the glory coming to Israel and all mankind through her.
My soul doth magnify the Lord.And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; 
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 
Because he that is mighty,hath done great things to me;and holy is his name.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Pope Decrees....

Catholic charities must always act in accordance with Catholic teaching

Now the question is -- will they follow the decree? Remember a few years ago (2008 to be exact) when Catholic Charities of Richmond

Artificial Wombs are Coming

One of the most chilling books ever written, in my opinion, is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It has become even more chilling as its grim view of the future has moved from imagination into reality. In the brave new world, the two purposes of God's gift of sexuality are torn apart. Women never give birth, that happens in baby factories. The sex act is for pleasure alone and promiscuity, even orgies, are common. The culture offers entertainment with drugs (Soma) and virtual reality movies where the viewer experiences everything on the screen (feelies). Thinking about it reminds me of Sartre's novel Nauseau where living things all descend to one pulsing, unformed, nauseating blob

How far away is the brave new world? It's here. We are closer than ever to babies created in labs by scientists and raised in machines with no human interaction at all.

I used to look forward to the invention of artificial wombs. Babies growing in the falopian tubes could be saved. Tiny miscarried little ones would have a fighting chance. But many immoral uses will this technology serve? It is more likely to further reduce life to the business of Dr. Frankenstein with his petrie dishes and test tubes helping "gays" have babies, perhaps cloned in the image of their parents. I feel nauseated to think of it.

Sometimes I think I've lived to long. My husband and I used to talk about the changes our grandparents  lived through - from the horse and buggy to the jet age. But they missed some of the worst realities. And now I think it is we who have seen the biggest changes from a time that revered the nuclear family to an age of almost unimaginable perversion.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Get Off to a Good Start

Pray Advent Well.  Did you know that the first candle lit on the Advent wreath represents Bethlehem? I never knew that until I read the article I've just hotlinked. How will that knowledge affect my prayers this first week? I won't know until I reflect on it, but it seems to me a lovely focus.

And don't start playing the Christmas music too soon; you could miss the beautiful humns of Advent.

Eat the Rich: Then What?

The video below is almost two years old and since then we've moved a lot closer to the economic cliff. If you aren't nervous, you should be....especially if you are dependent on government to take care of you. Because the nanny state is running out of goodies and the only way to prop things up is print more money which increases inflation. So if you think you're poor now, just wait until your weekly grocery bill is $600.00 and you're eating oatmeal and beans. As of today, the national debt is moving rapidly toward $16.5 trillion dollars. Every U.S. citizen's share of the debt is over $52,000. According to Thomas Schatz, President of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste:
The national debt has increased from $10.6 trillion to $16 trillion, or 50 percent, since President Obama took office. 
The national debt will increase from $16 trillion to $25.4 trillion in 2022, or 59 percent, under President Obama’s budget plans. 
Every man, woman, and child in the United States owes more than $50,000 as his or her share of the national debt. (Read the rest....)
This administration has a death wish for the U.S. and it is rapidly bringing it about. I sure don't want to hear whining from the Obama supporters when the inevitable happens.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel...

The season of waiting begins and we remember the long years of hoping for the fulfillment of the promise. The Israelites were always waiting. Abraham waited for the promised son. Jacob waited and worked for Rebeccah. Joseph's brothers waited for the grain to save them from famine. Joseph and his brothers' descendents waited in Egypt for hundreds of years until Moses was called to lead them out of slavery. The Israelites waited and wandered in the desert for 40 years because of their grumbling against God and his punishment. The Israelites waited and waited and waited for the Messiah and many, when He came, refused Him.

We are these same waiting, grumbling, sinful people called continuously by God to repentance and new life in Him. Advent is a time to reflect and anticipate the coming of the Messiah. How will we use this blessed season?  Do you have a plan for Advent? If not, what a great day to make one on this first Sunday of the season. What can you do to make this a holy time of waiting and anticipation?

Live Advent well and Christmas will bring you special rejoicing! May you have a blessed Advent!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Who Are the Book Banners?

Liberals demanding censorship. Ya just gotta laugh at their blatant hypocrisy. They criticize conservatives for fighting pornography. They, you see, are broadminded and conservatives are prudes. But depicting a traditional family -- horrors -- that must be banned. And of course they also want to rewrite and purge books of (check all applicable) male pronouns, non-inclusive language, all offensive terms including "niggardly," depiction of the nuclear family, mention of God or faith, pictures of Christmas trees, crosses, crucifixes (unless submerged in urine), images of Our Lady (unless covered in elephant dung or dressed in a bikini)...well, you get the idea.  And here's the latest

The Cave-In Begins...with Jesuit Schools, of course

Well, it didn't take long for the first Catholic institutions to begin caving in and rolling over under Obama's HHS contraceptive mandate -- led by the Jesuits, of course. Both Gonzaga University in Spokane and Xavier University in Cincinnati have announced they will comply with the mandate, but Spokane's president promises they will be very, very clear about Church teaching on contraception. (Now, stop that cynical laughing!)

We've all seen how Jesuit schools stand up boldly to the truth and never, never, never cooperate with intrinsic evils, well except for the V-monologues, and covering up crucifixes, oh, and occasionally a scandalous speaker. But they do all that because of their respect for honest dialogue. (Please...get up off the floor and stop that hysterical laughing. You are embarrassing yourself!)

Ah yes, the Jesuits. To say their name is to say it all. Betrayer, thy name is Jesuit. (My apologies to the two faithful Jesuits I know.) And to think my grandmother's brother, Fr. Edgar Zerlinden, was a Jesuit. He must be rolling over in his grave.

Move Over, Bro!

Siblings competing for space in the womb. This gives new meaning to the term "sibling rivalry." And you thought they were just blobs of protoplasm.