Saturday, January 19, 2019

Notes from the Marian Eucharistic Conference: Fr. Frank Pavone

We are praying to end the horror of abortion and for all who are at March for Life in the 50 States as well our nation's Capitol. And it's fitting to post my notes from Father Frank Pavone's lectures from last year's Marian Eucharistic conference. He formed Priests for Life and works tirelessly to protect the most vulnerable in our society--the preborn. He must meet with thousands of people each year and yet he remembered me from the time I met him in Chicago. So I was happy to give him a copy of BOUND, my small contribution to elevate the culture of life.  

Church and Politics

We have dual citizenship--heaven and earth--and have dual responsibility. We were created in the image of God; we belong to Him. You can be a prince, a lord, a king on earth but you are still subordinate to the King of kings, Judge, the Lord of lords--Jesus Christ.

In our Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers wrote about the right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. These rights come from God. The government is there to secure these rights. 

The fundamental human right is the right to life. The Supreme Court took away the rights of the children in the womb on Jan. 22nd, 1973 and this is why the Church focuses on it and has made it a day of penance. The role of the Church is to equip people to govern responsibly. If you cannot have life, then all other rights are moot. The Church protects life from conception to natural death. You can't be right about healthcare or education if you are wrong about abortion. To deprive one class of people of all rights by killing them off is evil. Why have we learned nothing from the horror of the Jewish Holocaust? Or Slavery? 

Mary, The Eucharist, and the Pro-Life Movement

Mary, the Mother of God had an unplanned pregnancy. The level of fear and surprise is unimaginable. "How can this be?" she asks the angel Gabriel. The angel explains it is God's choice. We have free will and there would be no virtue without it. Mary says Yes to God. "Fiat mihi!" Let it be done to me according to Your will. 

God chooses YOU. He's known you from all eternity. In BOUND, Joy says, "God chose me to be a mother." He is her only defense.

Women get abortions because they feel they have no other choice--it's the coercive power of despair. We give hope. Mother and child belong together. Abortion destroys all relationships. 

Some women have 25 abortions because they have psychological problems, the guilt from the first. They feel unworthy. It's a master trauma, this cycle of pregnancy followed by abortion.

Rachel's Vineyard is a healing center for post-abortive women and also men. They are speaking out, telling others they regret their abortion. They are silent no more.

The biggest argument pro-choice people say is that it's fine for you not to believe in abortion, but don't shove it down my throat. But when someone's choice kills another, it *is* our business. We wouldn't talk like that if we saw a child being abused or other crimes. 

Eucharist is a Sacrament of Faith. The consecrated Host looks, feels, tastes the same. In the hymn, Adore te Devote, St. Thomas Aquinas shows that 4/5 senses get it wrong. But our ears know. "This is My Body." In the smallest fragment, you have the entirety of Jesus. The size of something doesn't impact what it is. Mother Teresa said, "As we affirm our faith in the Eucharist, it trains us to see Jesus in the sick, the poor, the baby in the womb."     

The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Unity. Jesus is drawing everyone to Himself, so we are drawing closer to each other. Everyone receives exactly the same Person, the Risen Christ. He consumes us. The Eucharist brings humanity together. Abortion is diabolical. It severs the central relationship between mother and child. The shockwaves of abortion spread throughout the family--mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings--and to the community.

Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love. It is the most misused word. Eucharist restores the original meaning of this word. St. John, the evangelist points to the Cross. God loves us. He makes a sacrifice of Himself. To Love is to give ourselves away for the good of the other person. Abortion uses the other person for your own perceived good. "This is my body." Same words of Jesus but complete opposite meaning. It's about my will/my choice/my right. 

We are winning. Young people tend to be pro-life. Their first picture is an ultrasound of them in the womb. 

I have spoken before how the end of abortion is the new civil rights issue. Abortion targets Blacks and minorities disproportionately. This week's Catholic Miscellany published Being Pro-Life in the Face of Worst-Case Scenario by Sr. Pamela Smith. I hope that is what BOUND has accomplished.   

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Pro-Life Promotion

Michael and I started a novena on Monday and Amazon read my mind about doing a promotion for BOUND. If you need to buy multiple copies for your class, youth group, or book club, now's the time to buy. It can't get any cheaper. I'm also giving the e-book away for 99 cents on all platforms until Jan 23rd. Please share!!!

Here's the prayer copied from Roman Catholic Man. Today is Day 3: 

INTERCESSION: Mary, our Blessed Mother, we ask you to intercede on our behalf for your Son’s grace to soften the hearts and souls of the citizens of America. We pray that our society will develop a Culture of LIFE conscience that respects LIFE through all stages of LIFE from natural conception to natural demise.

MEDITATIONS: Have I ever been too embarrassed to speak up when family members, neighbors and work place members discuss the emotional effects an abortion has on both women and men? Could my voice have made a difference to save a life? Could I have provided any assistance or direction to a person in need?



O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life: Look down, O Mother, upon the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life. Amen (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 1995)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Happy New Year!!!

Hello there! I hope everybody had a wonderful holiday and feeling rejuvenated in the New Year. Max has returned to Ave Maria but I'm still listening to and singing Christmas music, learning to play a couple of new carols. Our tree is up and I enjoy watching the cats play with the ornaments. Cards too. Perhaps this tree will last till Candlemas!

It's been so lovely to have a High Mass for The Epiphany as well. Our priest has been giving such wonderful homilies, I wish I could share them all with you. But the biggest reason I've not been blogging is because I'm playing with a new book idea! Right now I'm just happily exploring, writing down the shiny bits. I love this stage for all its possibilities and I'm clearing my plate so that I can dive deep. Already my crankiness level is increasing whenever the real world intrudes into the imaginary. 

I played Saint Name Generator and there was a bonus of an inspirational word. Yay!!! I got St. John Houghton, the first of the English martyrs during Henry VIII's persecution. He really confirmed for me the new idea I'm playing with. And my word was Voyage :) Every new book is a journey!!! But maybe I'll make a physical one too--India! God-willing! I chose a second word just for fun and it was GO!

So, how's the New Year shaping up for you? What new things will you plunge into? What do you hope for this year? I hope you all are staying warm--the frigid fingers from the North keep encroaching into the South. I leave you with: Hail Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea. Our beloved Stella Maris. 


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Book Reviews in the STAR

I hope everybody is having a lovely Christmas holiday and enjoying some new books. It's always such a pleasure for me to compile a list of the best books for our parish newsletter. I've recruited Michael for this cause because he listens to many audiobooks. So please feel free to bring great books to my attention. I keep a running list because books never go out of style. I was delighted that the editorial director dressed up my bio with some quotes!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas Pictures

For seven years I've been admiring the decorations at the Sullivan Island's firehouse but we'd always be running a bit behind schedule for choir practice so never stopped to take pictures. Believe me, when you arrive at 10 pm for Midnight Mass, the children complain. But our kids are driving themselves Michael and I stopped to take a few pictures before practice. The moon has been so big and beautiful the past few nights and I can't help thinking how it's the same moon that Mary and Joseph looked at the night our Savior was born.

We have a tradition of eating out at Waffle House after Midnight Mass!

And to all a good night!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!

We just have a couple of hours of Advent left. No matter how this year has gone, whether we did well or poorly, we can each begin anew as we prepare room for the Christ-Child to enter our hearts. Come, Lord Jesus! God bless us one and all this wonderful Christmas season!!!

Below, a Lowcountry Christmas tree in the parish hall where we practice our music: Missa de Angelis and Puer natus in Bethlehem (one day I hope we can be as good as these monks who sing seven times a day). It was smelling so wonderful with the ladies arranging flowers/herbs for Christmas!!! And at home, the cats are really having fun with the tree all decorated.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Gaudete Sunday

Rejoice in the Lord always! Choir practice was merry before Mass (one of the best things about choir is that even in the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent, we are singing Gloria and Alleluias during practice. I feel the absence of Gloria keenly during Mass). 

I have to share the wonderful homily our priest gave on making a distinction between joy and pleasure. Pleasure arises in the body and it can affect your mind and soul. Just think how a good meal can make you feel. Something else I've discovered many years ago is that it's impossible to feel blue if you skip. I love the mind-body-spirit connection. Now joy arises in the soul. It is the feeling or expectation of something good. So you can see clearly the connection between pursuing goodness and joy. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. When we think and believe what is true, we open ourselves to joy. 

Human nature does not change. We are fallen, yet redeemed. We are made for truth, goodness, and beauty. Christmas isn't about presents under the tree. After the last present is opened, there's a dissatisfaction. Is that all there is? NO! Christmas is about the birth of our Savior who suffered and died on the tree. O Come, O Come Immanuel! Our organist reminds us that beginning Dec. 17, we chant the O Antiphons with the Magnificat during Vespers. This hymn is a poetic paraphrase of those antiphons.

Our priest also made a distinction between thinking and feeling. In our culture, people are trying to change reality based on feelings. There was a story about a man who wants to change his legal age to be much younger because he *feels* young. It reminded me of a man who had multiple surgeries so that he could look like a cat. This is beyond fantasy and role playing. It's a mental problem. What astounds me is that a doctor would mutilate a person in this way. This applies to the transgender movement as well. I don't know why I'm surprised--abortionists have been mutilating babies in the womb for a hefty fee. It seems that many doctors have lost their moral compass.

I read A Case of Need, an early novel by Michael Crichton written in the 1960s when he was still a medical student. It's classic Crichton--suspenseful--but it doesn't compare to his later works like Jurassic Park or Micro. Loved all the medical tidbits in the pathology lab just like I did all the flying minutiae in Code Name Verity. But I also learned how doctors' minds works, how they justify doing something evil. The story revolves around a young girl who dies from a botched abortion. Dr. Arthur Lee, a known abortionist (to the medical community, that is) is arrested and this is where our hero, Dr. John Berry, comes in. He's friends with Art and believes him when he says he didn't do it and sets out to prove Art's innocence. I believe this is the first instance of a pathologist-turned-amateur sleuth. We learn the motivations of all the others who could've done it and their secrets. A fantastic whodunit! However, I didn't quite follow how Berry figured it out who did the abortion until after it was explained. I probably need to re-read the last few chapters. Still, it won the Edgar!!! Imagine!!! An early novel. Read what Crichton himself had to say about it. Although this a pro-abortion book, I highly recommend those of us who are in the pro-life camp to take a look. Know thine enemy! This is the first rule of the Art of War. 

Anyway, even all the terrible things in the world cannot take away my joy. I'm singing, reading good books, anticipating reading many more (isn't that cover of Name Unspoken lovely?), sending and receiving Christmas cards, decorating, playing with kitties, keeping them away from ribbons, and enjoying my kids, who are home for just a little while! I hope you all are having a very blessed Dec.