Gloria spoke about her own spiritual journey, how the weekly Mass brought unity. She was aware of this as a little third-grader. She recalled a time, when as a 12-year-old she was involved in a food fight. Sister Carmelita was very unhappy with the behavior of the kids, even though they had cleaned up the mess, and made every child involved in the food fight admit their guilt in the classroom. Then instead of teaching religion she brought the kids to Adoration at the Cathedral's lower chapel. There, Gloria had a mystical experience--she felt consumed by a Holy Fire. It did not burn and it did not hurt. Later that day, when Sister spoke about preparation for confirmation, Gloria said she wanted to become Catholic. The sister told her she needed to get permission from her parents. Well, Gloria, went home and *told* her parents she was going to be Catholic. Her parents were very supportive but made sure she understood that she was to live her life as a Catholic by hearing Holy Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation, praying the rosary, fasting on Fridays. It was actually her Baptist grandmother who taught Gloria all the Catholic devotions. Gloria's mother was Methodist, very involved in her church. One can imagine her pain and sorrow over not having Gloria with her. But she never complained and helped Gloria to practice her Catholic faith. Eventually all Gloria's sisters converted to Catholicism as well, but her parents remained Protestant.
|Morning Prayer by Andre-Henri Dargelas|
Gloria believed everything the Catholic Church taught. But once, while reciting the Creed, she heard an interior voice saying: Are you lying? I am the Giver of Life, yet you do not defend the most innocent life. This made Gloria hungry for what the Church teaches about marriage and sexuality. She read the papal documents such as Casti Connubii and Humane Vitae and began to appreciate God's plan for the human race.
I love that we are hearing the account of creation in Genesis right now at Daily Mass. I love catching it on EWTN every morning. Let us make man in *our* image! Male and female He created them. Gloria reminded us that they are to become one flesh and bear fruit. The family is the icon of the Holy Trinity. Sex is holy! We have to rediscover this truth. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has redefined marriage, framing it as unjust discrimination but its language obscures the truth. The Civil Rights movement was about equal treatment for blacks and whites. The states had, in the past, added the non-essential element of race to prevent inter-racial marriage, and it was rightly struck down (Loving v. Virginia). However, with the recent redefinition of marriage, the courts have removed an essential part of marriage, that it is only between one man and one woman. To say that two men can marry and two women can marry strips the meaning of marriage--which in all cultures is for the begetting and raising of children--the reason for marriage. The family is the cornerstone of society and as goes the family, so does society.
It's not easy! We are fallen and we fail to love properly. That is why we have broken marriages. Even Moses recognized it and allowed for divorce, but Jesus reminds us: from the beginning it was not so. Jesus restores marriage. Christian marriage is free, faithful, fruitful, and forever. We must uphold this ideal.
Gloria spoke about the tremendous pressures placed on women to be like men. But denying our feminine nature isn't liberation; it's bondage. Instead of supporting women because they are the bearers of babies, employers would prefer they contracept and if it fails, abort the child. From a young age, a girl begins to see her body as inherently flawed because motherhood is no longer considered honorable. Fertility is treated like a disease. An enemy. And the child is pitted against the mother and father. The family is clearly under attack. It is the icon of the Holy Trinity and Satan hates it so he tries to stamp it out. Now more and more people do not know whether they are male or female. Even children are given hormones for gender dysphoria. This is child abuse.
Gloria encouraged us to speak the truth, no matter what the cost. She left the corporate world to devote herself to the pro-life cause. Imagine her sorrow at not being able to have children. She prayed. She prayed for the desire to go away. But the Lord wanted her to carry it. It was 15 years of pain she offered up. She was sorely tempted to use artificial methods to achieve pregnancy. Didn't the Lord say to be fruitful and multiply? But the ends never justify the means. She went to Lourdes with her family. A year later--her little miracle was born! She said Mary is a real mama--when you take a dip in the waters of Lourdes, there's no need to do laundry.
Gloria shared many more stories. Her father was in the audience. He must be so proud of his little girl grown up and building the Kingdom of God! And her mother? A saint in heaven! God bless them.