The silk painting, shown above, is by Ty Mam Duw, Poor Clare Colettines, Hawarden, WALES GB. Their website is here. Ty Mam Duw is Welsh and means The House of the Mother of God. Our Lady of the Pearl cherishes their friendship and is grateful for their many kindnesses and prayers. The image is used with permission.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Let the lowly hear and be glad,
“Glorious name, gracious name, name of love and of power! Through you sins are forgiven, through you enemies are vanquished, through you the sick are freed from their illness, through you those suffering in trials are made strong and cheerful. You bring honor to those who believe, you teach those who preach, you give strength to the toiler, you sustain the weary” (St. Bernardine of Siena).
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Friday, August 3, 2012
I am reading: The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S. Passages like Isaiah 58, Matthew 25, John 3:16-20, Job 29:11-17, Isaiah 61, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, the Beatitudes, and so many others are jumping off the page, causing me to realize that there is a hole in our Gospel and I am strongly convicted.
Jesus had an expectation that we – his followers – not the government - should feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, care for the sick, clothe the naked and give shelter to the homeless. That’s what he said. I assume he meant it.
“ . . . I could see that all across the world people were crying out in desperation to God for help, for comfort; widows, orphans, the sick, the disabled, the poor and the exploited. These millions of prayers were being lifted up to God, and we, each of us who claim to be His followers, were to be His answer. We were the ones who would bring the “good news” of Christ to the poor in their suffering. God has sent us. This was the good news of the gospel – good news indeed for the poor.” Stearns.
I WAS HUNGRY: 25,000 people die each day of hunger or its related causes – about 9 million people per year.
I WAS THIRSTY: As many as five million people die every year of water-related illnesses.
I WAS SICK: Three diseases alone – malaria, TB and AIDS – result in more than five million deaths per year and half a billion new infections, virtually all in the world’s poorest countries. AIDS has left 15 million children orphans.
Almost ten million children will be dead in a year, before they reach the age of five, caused by birth complication, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, neonatal (infant) illnesses, malaria, measles, AIDS, injuries, and other.
(Statistics from Hole in Our Gospel)
My concern is more for the poor in other countries where they are starving to death every day, where there is no clean water and they walk hours every day to haul water that is contaminated and is killing them, where little children have no clothes at all and others have only what they are wearing, where they live in unsanitary conditions on dirt floors or maybe with no shelter at all, where a tooth infection or wounds mean death and there is little to no medicine or medical help available, no food stamps, and no government support such as in the U.S. These people in poor countries are beyond desperate – they are a living tragedy, making some of our poor look rich. That being said, through World Vision, one may make contributions to help kids in U.S.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
"The challenge facing you, dear friends, is to increase people's awareness of the importance for society of religious freedom; to defend that freedom against those who would take religion out of the public domain and establish secularism as America's official faith. And it is vitally necessary for the very survival of the American experience, to transmit to the next generation the precious legacy of religious freedom and the convictions which sustain it."— Blessed John Paul II, 1995 Baltimore, Basilica of the Assumption
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
The tyrants of the world, throughout all centuries, do not have the final word. They are swallowed up by the message of God's love. In the story of the 1920's Cristero War, the Church canonized those who resisted through non-violence. The best way to battle the world is through the power of the cross.
Monday, May 28, 2012
On this Memorial Day, I am remembering the military who died for us on the battlefields of war as well as those who have come home to suffer with tragic wounds and loss of limbs. I am remembering my husband, who flew a B-24 in Italy during World War II. I also am remembering Saint Francis of Assisi, not as the saint he became, but as the young man he was when he went off to war. His greatest desire at that time was to become a knight and gain fame and glory.
In 1202, there arose a great war between the centuries-old enemies of Perugia and Assisi. Francis was 20 years old, and his father outfitted him in the finest attire to join in the battle. Francis was wounded and captured at the Battle of Collestrada. It was a massacre. Thomas of Celano, the early biographer of Francis, indicated that it was beyond measure. The hills were covered in blood. Assisi was beaten, and the slaughter was great. Assisi was appalled, and everywhere there was weeping and mourning for those who were lost – the brightest and the best, the old and the young, the noble and the common.
[War and its consequences are the same always, then and now. There will never be an end to war until people and nations learn to forgive each other. It is that simple and that difficult because true forgiveness requires a change of heart and only God and his grace can change a heart.]
The angels surrounded Francis during the Battle of Collestrada, and according to God’s plan, his life was protected and spared. Many from Assisi were taken prisoner, including Francis. He was held in prison for about a year, until his father ransomed him. He returned home and suffered a long illness.
Francis' carefree days of youth were over, and the road to his conversion rose up before him as he sought to find his way. As a teenager, he had been a spendthrift, a dreamer, a rich, spoiled kid, indulged by both parents. Then, during the years following his release from prison, he learned to listen to the voice of the Lord and was transformed. This Memorial Day, I am reminded that Francis was chosen by God to lead us into the way of peace and to mirror the Christ, the Son of God living God.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
HHS Mandate is a violation to the Constitution of the U.S., Bill of Rights, Article 1. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE PRESS AND THOSE WITH OTHER AGENDAS. Keep your eye on the ball, folks. The issue for all citizens of the United States concerning HHS is NOT contraception. The issue is NOT women’s health. The issue is Constitutional rights – specifically Article 1 of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. Anything that you hear or read (particularly from the Obama administration or the liberal press) trying to make this other than a Constitutional issue is a lie. Article 1 of the Bill of Rights states:
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.
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life has composed an ecumenical Novena for the defeat of the HHS Mandate, which began on Wednesday, March 14th. (Begin your novena when received, even though beginning late.) You may find the novena online. It is also pasted below.
NOVENA - http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/2012/novena/#more-737
LOCATIONS FOR NATIONAL RALLY - http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/locations/
WEBSITE FOR NATIONAL RALLY - http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/
1. March 14 Statement on Religious Freedom and HHS Mandate. Link to statement from United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, March 14, 2012
2. On February 5, 2012 Father Sammie Maletta delivered a Homily at St. John the Evangelist Parish in St. John, Indiana. This Homily addressed how President Obama is threatening our Religious Freedom and declaring war with the Catholic Church. Please take a few moments to listen. No one sums it up quite like Father Maletta. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ltTd81XpDnc
3. But this is not just a Catholic issue. The issue is for all faiths, including Jews, Muslims. The issue is for all citizens of our country. The greater good of this suffering and evil is that it has brought about unity in Christian faiths and unity of God’s people in this country. I’ve read articles and listened to videos from leaders of all faiths - from Baptists, Lutherans, Jews and others – in opposition to the HHS Mandate and support of the Catholic Church’s stand. For example, this weekend, Anglican pastor Fr. Kevin Miller preached a home run of a homily, lighting a fire under his congregation at Church of the Resurrection in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Listen here: http://www.churchrez.org/sermon/the-wrecking-ball/
4. The eroding of our Constitutional rights goes beyond this country. The eyes of the world are upon us. I truly believe our country was called by God to greatness and to live more perfectly, as a nation, his plan for all peoples. We are another Promised Land. President Regan said that we are the last best hope of mankind on earth. In the same speech, President Regan quoted John Winthrop (1630), saying “We will be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”
5. Regan also said: We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago in that little hall of Philadelphia. In the days following World War II, when the economic strength and power of America was all that stood between the world and the return to the dark ages, Pope Pius XII said, “The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind.” http://www.originofnations.org/books,%20papers/quotes%20etc/Reagan_The%20Shining%20City%20Upon%20A%20Hill%20speech.htm
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Link to statement from United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, March 14, 2012. Also, copied and pasted below:
March 14 Statement on Religious Freedom and HHS Mandate
A Statement of the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
March 14, 2012
The Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, gathered for its March 2012 meeting, is strongly unified and intensely focused in its opposition to the various threats to religious freedom in our day. In our role as Bishops, we approach this question prayerfully and as pastors—concerned not only with the protection of the Church's own institutions, but with the care of the souls of the individual faithful, and with the common good.
To address the broader range of religious liberty issues, we look forward to the upcoming publication of "A Statement on Religious Liberty," a document of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. This document reflects on the history of religious liberty in our great Nation; surveys the current range of threats to this foundational principle; and states clearly the resolve of the Bishops to act strongly, in concert with our fellow citizens, in its defense.
One particular religious freedom issue demands our immediate attention: the now-finalized rule of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would force virtually all private health plans nationwide to provide coverage of sterilization and contraception—including abortifacient drugs—subject to an exemption for "religious employers" that is arbitrarily narrow, and to an unspecified and dubious future "accommodation" for other religious organizations that are denied the exemption.
We begin, first, with thanks to all who have stood firmly with us in our vigorous opposition to this unjust and illegal mandate: to our brother bishops; to our clergy and religious; to our Catholic faithful; to the wonderful array of Catholic groups and institutions that enliven our civil society; to our ecumenical and interfaith allies; to women and men of all religions (or none at all); to legal scholars; and to civic leaders. It is your enthusiastic unity in defense of religious freedom that has made such a dramatic and positive impact in this historic public debate. With your continued help, we will not be divided, and we will continue forward as one.
Second, we wish to clarify what this debate is—and is not—about. This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the Church's hand and with the Church's funds. This is not about the religious freedom of Catholics only, but also of those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block. This is not about the Bishops' somehow "banning contraception," when the U.S. Supreme Court took that issue off the table two generations ago. Indeed, this is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is instead about the federal government forcing the Church—consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions—to act against Church teachings. This is not a matter of opposition to universal health care, which has been a concern of the Bishops' Conference since 1919, virtually at its founding. This is not a fight we want or asked for, but one forced upon us by government on its own timing. Finally, this is not a Republican or Democratic, a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American issue.
So what is it about?
An unwarranted government definition of religion. The mandate includes an extremely narrow definition of what HHS deems a "religious employer" deserving exemption—employers who, among other things, must hire and serve primarily those of their own faith. We are deeply concerned about this new definition of who we are as people of faith and what constitutes our ministry. The introduction of this unprecedented defining of faith communities and their ministries has precipitated this struggle for religious freedom. Government has no place defining religion and religious ministry. HHS thus creates and enforces a new distinction—alien both to our Catholic tradition and to federal law—between our houses of worship and our great ministries of service to our neighbors, namely, the poor, the homeless, the sick, the students in our schools and universities, and others in need, of any faith community or none. Cf. Deus Caritas Est, Nos. 20-33. We are commanded both to love and to serve the Lord; laws that protect our freedom to comply with one of these commands but not the other are nothing to celebrate. Indeed, they must be rejected, for they create a "second class" of citizenship within our religious community. And if this definition is allowed to stand, it will spread throughout federal law, weakening its healthy tradition of generous respect for religious freedom and diversity. All—not just some—of our religious institutions share equally in the very same God-given, legally-recognized right not "to be forced to act in a manner contrary to [their] own beliefs." Dignitatis Humanae, No. 2.
A mandate to act against our teachings. The exemption is not merely a government foray into internal Church governance, where government has no legal competence or authority—disturbing though that may be. This error in theory has grave consequences in principle and practice. Those deemed by HHS not to be "religious employers" will be forced by government to violate their own teachings within their very own institutions. This is not only an injustice in itself, but it also undermines the effective proclamation of those teachings to the faithful and to the world. For decades, the Bishops have led the fight against such government incursions on conscience, particularly in the area of health care. Far from making us waver in this longstanding commitment, the unprecedented magnitude of this latest threat has only strengthened our resolve to maintain that consistent view.
A violation of personal civil rights. The HHS mandate creates still a third class, those with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values. They, too, face a government mandate to aid in providing "services" contrary to those values—whether in their sponsoring of, and payment for, insurance as employers; their payment of insurance premiums as employees; or as insurers themselves—without even the semblance of an exemption. This, too, is unprecedented in federal law, which has long been generous in protecting the rights of individuals not to act against their religious beliefs or moral convictions. We have consistently supported these rights, particularly in the area of protecting the dignity of all human life, and we continue to do so.
Third, we want to indicate our next steps. We will continue our vigorous efforts at education and public advocacy on the principles of religious liberty and their application in this case (and others). We will continue to accept any invitation to dialogue with the Executive Branch to protect the religious freedom that is rightly ours. We will continue to pursue legislation to restore the same level of religious freedom we have enjoyed until just recently. And we will continue to explore our options for relief from the courts, under the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws that protect religious freedom. All of these efforts will proceed concurrently, and in a manner that is mutually reinforcing.
Most importantly of all, we call upon the Catholic faithful, and all people of faith, throughout our country to join us in prayer and penance for our leaders and for the complete protection of our First Freedom—religious liberty—which is not only protected in the laws and customs of our great nation, but rooted in the teachings of our great Tradition. Prayer is the ultimate source of our strength—for without God, we can do nothing; but with God, all things are possible.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The New York archbishop recommended the following seven pointers:
1) Remembering that even those who boast of their secularism have an innate longing for the divine; the first step of evangelization must be to keep the quest for God alive.
2) "Be not afraid" -- confident, without being triumphalist, since it is the power of God who sends his people to evangelize.
3) Knowing that the new evangelization is not about presenting a doctrine or belief-system, but a Person, whose name is Jesus.
4) Nevertheless, this Jesus is the Truth. Hence, evangelization is linked to catechesis.
5) An evangelist must be a person of joy -- someone who smiles.
6) The new evangelization is about love -- the love of God made concrete in service.
7) Finally, martyrdom. A reminder that the Church is now peopled by those who are suffering persecution for their faith, and that these martyrs give impetus to the new evangelization.