Advent Day 8: A Spirited day

From today’s first reading (Is 11:1-10):

The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.

Is 11:2-3

The Holy Spirit dominates the day’s readings. This quote from the great prophet Isaiah is where we get the classic seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah prophesies here, as he often does, about the coming messiah. Wow! What a lineup of characteristics we would like to call our own! And we can! Anyone in God’s good graces can call upon the same generous Spirit to strengthen us in all these ways (and those separated from God…get to confession!). But, how often do we do so? The Holy Spirit has been called the forgotten person of the Trinity. Probably because we much easier relate to the Father and the Son and can picture them more clearly in our mind’s eye and in art. The Spirit is depicted as fire or a dove, or even wind (try to draw that!), but rarely anthropomorphized. Yet, we should not be putting Him in third place or neglecting Him altogether. Jesus sends the Spirit to enlighten us. We should call on Him often to do just that. Who couldn’t use more wisdom or understanding or knowledge or counsel or courage or piety or fear of the Lord?

From today’s psalm (Ps 72):

Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

This is the people’s response, although it does not appear verbatim in the psalm itself. But it does express the sentiment of the entire chapter quite well. Peace comes when all the earth acknowledges the Truth: God Himself. Certainly, we can recall Isaiah prophesying about the Prince of Peace. But when we think of peace associated with God, we naturally associate this concept with the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us that this is one of the many fruits of the Spirit. But there are many other connections made in Scripture between peace and the Spirit (see here). Even in the pseudo-religious realm, certainly you have seen Christmas cards with a dove carrying an olive branch above “Peace on Earth” (inspired by the story of the Flood — see Gen 8:11). So, when frustration, distress, anxiety, or discord enter in, call first on the Spirit for relief. Ever ready to shower His gifts upon us, find comfort and strength in Him. If it is an injustice that is troubling you, note that justice and peace are linked in today’s response. Let Him possess you and pray fervently that He will do the same for the persecuted — and the persecutors.

From the second reading (Rom 15:4-9):

Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction,
that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have hope.

Rom 15:4-5

It should go without saying that the Bible must have a preeminent place in our lives. Reading of or listening to the Word of God is an indispensable part of day to day living. How else do we get to know Jesus (just ask St Jerome)? In doing so, though, we must invoke the same Spirit who inspired the sacred authors to give us the gift of understanding (see how this all ties together?). Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation from Vatican II, required reading before any serious Bible study, says this about the Spirit and the Bible:

Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.(1) In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (2) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, (3) they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. (4)

Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore “all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).

Dei Verbum, 11

Paul tells us that from Scripture we receive endurance, encouragement, and hope. Just a few more fruits of the Holy Spirit we are all desperately in need of in these turbulent (an understatement) times.

From today’s Gospel (Mt 3:1-12):

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Mt 3:11c

Here, John the Baptist is speaking of his cousin Jesus. John’s baptism is one of repentance. Necessary, but incomplete. Christian baptism is so much more. But do we think of what baptism really entails? Certainly, we know that baptism makes us children of God by filling up with saving grace the empty space left by the sin of our first parents. For those with personal sin, it wipes that away, as well. But are we possessed by the Spirit that dwells within us? Are we on fire for our faith? Would that we be like Jeremiah:

I say I will not mention him,

I will no longer speak in his name.

But then it is as if fire is burning in my heart,

imprisoned in my bones;

I grow weary holding back,

I cannot!

Jer 20:9

or the apostles:

And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.

Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.

And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Acts 2:2-4

May our hearts and tongues be on fire for the Lord, and may we heed Peter’s words:

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope

1 pt 3:15

and remember Jesus’ promise:

do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say.

For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say

Lk 12:11-12

BP BARRON’S SERMON

HOLY SPIRIT RESOURCE (FREE!)

The Holy Spirit, Our Greatest Friend by Paul O’Sullivan

The Holy Spirit is a painting by Alfonso Garcia which was uploaded on March 30th, 2019.

God bless!

Advent Day 5: Peace or Picking up the Pieces?

From today’s first reading (Is 26:1-6):

let in a nation that is just,
        one that keeps faith.
    A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace;
        in peace, for its trust in you.
     …
the lofty city he brings down;
    He tumbles it to the ground,
        levels it with the dust.

Is 26:2-3, 5

Is it any wonder there is no peace in the United States and in much of the world? With so much injustice and so little faith and trust in God, how can we be surprised that peace eludes us? In this time in which we honor Jesus under the title of Prince of Peace and sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” let us pray all the more fervently for our prince to bring peace, “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:6).

“One nation, under God” has become a divided nation that believes and acts as if it does not need God, replacing Him with itself. This hubris, thinking we know better than God, in fact, dismissing Him entirely, will not end well for us. Our “lofty city” will tumble and be leveled — it is only a matter of time. Considering the blood-lust and perversion pervading the culture, do not be surprised if destruction comes sooner than you imagine.

One of the most chilling lines in Scripture quotes our Lord:

[W]hen the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

Luke 18:8b

Seemingly every week a news item tells of declining numbers of Christian believers in various places. We know that the Church remains with us till the end of time, but the Lord may find the faithful hard to come by when He returns. Let us be in that number.

Some Cheer for the Season

How This Ukrainian Song Became a Christmas Carol You Know and Love (be sure to watch the video of my favorite secular Christmas song)

Bonus: My fave version of the song: https://youtu.be/WSUFzC6_fp8 (viewed over 180,000,000 times)

God bless.

Advent Day 4: The Call

From today’s first reading (Rom 10:9-18):

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?
As it is written,
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!

Rom 10:13-15

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, “that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.” For lay people, “this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world.” (LG 35 § 1, § 2) “This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful.” (AA 6 § 3; cf. AG 15.)

CCC 975

So each of us is called by the Lord to be an apostle (from Greek apostolos, “person sent”). And not simply by the witness of our lives, although it is vitally important that we behave according to what we believe to avoid personal sin and scandal by example, but also by explicitly “announcing Christ by word.” The journey to belief comes in hearing the Gospel shared convincingly by the convinced. Are you convinced you can do this? If not, what is holding you back? Do you not know the faith well enough? Then learn. Are you too timid? Then ask the Holy Spirit for fortitude.

Jesus calls everyone to be holy and to share the Good News. Would that we all have “beautiful feet” that would just sparkle on our Judgment Day due to our tireless evangelization efforts. And is there a better and more obvious time to ease the Messiah into a conversation than during the run-up to Christmas? Don’t miss the opportunity to make a believer out of someone so he can call on the Lord in faith.

Peter preaching (c. 1370) by Lorenzo Venziano. c. 1370

God bless.

Advent Day 2: Amazing Amazing Jesus

Today’s Gospel (Mt 8:5-11), featuring Jesus and a centurion, is one of my favorite episodes in all of Scripture. This sentiment in me was heightened by its excellent portrayal in Zefferelli’s Jesus of Nazareth. Follow the link (and all embedded links and video) below for my past insights:

Jesus Healing the Servant of a Centurion by Paolo Veronese (1528-1588)

God bless.

Advent Day 1: The End is Near

Happy Advent! Let us use this time to prepare well for the coming of the Lord.

TODAY’S READINGS

In today’s reading from Romans (13:11-14) we read:

You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.

Rom 13:11-12

We have been awaiting the Second Coming ever since the culmination of the First Coming (see Acts 1:11). This is why we speak of Advent recalling the first Christmas, deepening our appreciation of Jesus in our midst (in the Eucharist — “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord” as our Responsorial Psalm [122] exclaims), and anticipating the Lord’s return at the end of time.

But, in particular, I wish to draw attention to the last line of the reading:

[P]ut on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

Rom 13:14

I have spent the year reading Divine Intimacy. Drawing heavily on Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, the frequent theme of the daily reflections is detachment. Draw near Jesus; put Him first. Let the dross of attachment to worldly things, even objectively good things, fall away (or be torn away — painful, but necessary) in order to make oneself fully available to the will of God. The Imitation of Christ draws often on the same sentiment, as do so many classic spiritual works. How much these writers must have contemplated the words of Paul we read today. How much we should contemplate these words, as well. When the hustle and bustle of the season causes us consternation, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” And when we begin to lose inner peace, know that God can provide it, just as He promised, through His prophet Isaiah (2:1-5), to bring peace on our troubled earth — a peace we can easily despair of ever occurring with any knowledge of history or current affairs:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.

Is 2:4

How is this peace to be achieved?

[L]et us walk in the light of the Lord!

Is 2:5

Yes, enlightened by the Lord, the God of truth, we may not change the world, but we will find “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil 2:7), thus giving an example that will attract all those we encounter who wish to know how we achieved it.

Last, but not least, Jesus concludes today’s Gospel passage (Mt 24:37-44) with these wise words:

[Y]ou…must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

Mt 24:44

I will never forget a talk in which the priest dismissed being overly concerned about the coming end of time but strongly reminded his listeners that the end of our time in this life is certain. I pray that that inevitability will not catch me unawares, but it doesn’t become an issue if we wake up each day as if it were our last being mindful that “human beings die once, and after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27). Easy to say until the troubles of the day and our own concupiscence and bad habits butt in — vigilance is required with the necessary assistance of grace.

Let us prepare well for the Eternal Word’s coming in the past, present, and future.

BP BARRON’S SUNDAY SERMON

An Advent Challenge

ADVENT RESOURCES

Catholic Link

Advent Playlist (save the Christmas music until 12/25)

FORMED Daily Reflections

Letters from Home daily reflections

BOOKS FOR THE NEW (LITURGICAL) YEAR

I’m excited about a couple of books I’ve added to my daily/weekly reading as we begin the new liturgical year.

I make it a point to read Scripture daily. Because we started Year A today in the lectionary, I will be reading verses and commentary from Matthew each day of the year. A deep dive into the tax collector turned evangelist.

I am kicking it off with The Gospel of Matthew by Mitch and Sri from the splendid Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series. I have two other commentaries I’m looking forward to getting into when I work through this one.

In addition, I have begun the final volume of John Bergsma’s The Word of the Lord series for Year A. This will also carry me through most Sunday’s of the year (I just purchased the Solemnities and Feasts volume to make sure I cover all those as well). I love his teaching style and his books. It promises to be a spiritually fruitful Church year.

The Light of the World (1851-1854) by William Holman Hunt

God bless.

Letters from Home

I’ll keep this one short, but I wanted to share a podcast that, frankly, I thought had gone away. “Letters from Home” is a daily offering from the St. Paul Center with a reflection on the day’s Mass readings. Always about 10-15 minutes long, they are frequently gems. Listen daily, before Mass, after Mass, or even (maybe especially) if you can’t get to Mass.

Today’s installment by Dr. Scott Hahn was particularly edifying. He brought out to me several aspects of the familiar story of the mother of James and John asking a favor for her sons. It’s this sort of exposition that I wish many priests would adopt in their homilies. Bringing out aspects of the familiar that are unfamiliar to the pew-sitter, along with practical applications for daily living, makes Scripture come alive and brings to new light the relevance of the Word.

Check out today’s reflection here. From this page you can link to places to subscribe on your smart phone.

Allow me to add a note of my own on the readings. I wonder how close a follower of Jesus these two brothers’ mom was. “She did him homage,” so she knew who He was first hand, through her sons’ witness, or, most likely, both. Since they came up to Jesus as a threesome, did they discuss this beforehand? Did the boys ask their mom to do this? Did she come up with it? If so, did they encourage her or attempt to dissuade her? Did she really understand Jesus’ response? Did James and John know what they were agreeing to?

We know Jesus is speaking of a chalice of suffering. But, I wonder, when James and John were “breaking the bread” after Jesus Ascension and offering the cup, now transformed into Christ’s blood, did they think back to this episode and how Jesus’ Passion and death gave us this chalice of salvation? They really held a “treasure in earthen vessels,” as Paul exclaims at the beginning of today’s first reading.

God bless.

Snakes and scorpions today; resources to exterminate

COLD-HEARTED CREATURES

What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?

Lk 11:11-12

A backhanded compliment from the Lord in today’s Gospel (Lk 11:1-13). More to the point, particularly in today’s culture, is the last verse in which He calls man “wicked.”

What do I mean? Well, I hope that no parent would give his child a venomous creature instead of a meal. But are we not feeding children poison just be giving them a “smart” phone or computer? Without close supervision and restrictions, the filth that can be allowed in on these devices is staggering.

What about the awful agenda that would expose even the earliest school children to sexual perversion? Are we, wittingly or unwittingly, giving over our most vulnerable minds to these snakes? Parents must be tuned in to what goes on in their schools and even their local libraries and bookstores so that their children might be protected at such a vulnerable age. Not to mention the horror show that is the transgender movement that targets younger and younger children.

Isn’t it interesting that Christ uses serpents and scorpions in His example. Of course, we know the serpent from the book of Genesis and how his tempting led to the downfall of our first parents and, as a result, the rest of humanity for all time. As for scorpions, we read in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, about the fifth trumpet blast opening a bottomless pit from which

Locusts came out of the smoke onto the land, and they were given the same power as scorpions of the earth.

They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or any tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

They were not allowed to kill them but only to torment them for five months; the torment they inflicted was like that of a scorpion when it stings a person.

Rev 9:3-5

How can someone say he is sealed by God when allowing all manner of evil to infect his mind and the minds of those he is charged to protect and to lead to eternal life? It is vital to be aware that these are the end times, because Christ has come and we are in the period of awaiting His final return. Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour. (Mt 25:13)

Thus, parents and all those who have substantial interaction with our young people would be wise to carefully consider and steadfastly heed Jesus’ stern warning a little further along in Luke:

He said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur.

It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.

Lk 17:1-2

The activists, and even the simply neglectful, will suffer the most in eternity unless they convert and repent.

Jesus follows this admonition to those who are aware of the problem:

Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him…

Lk 17:3

So, we also have a responsibility to call out evil when we see it and actively do something to stop it. It is not easy. The repercussions in a world gone mad can be harsh. But it can be done, Jesus assures us:

Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.

Lk 10:19

We have a responsibility to the truth. And, ultimately, the truth will set you free (Jn 8:32b).

HELPFUL BOOKS IN THE CULTURE WAR

All of these I recently obtained and am eager to get to. Each will be helpful in fulfilling the responsibility I just mentioned. Click through to read more about them and to purchase.

Sexual Identity: The Harmony of Philosophy, Science, and Revelation edited by John DeSilva Finley, from Emmaus Road (2022)

Made This Way: How to Prepare Kids to Face Today’s Tough Moral Issues by Leila Miller and Trent Horn, from Catholic Answers (2018)

Speaking for the Unborn: 30-Second Rebuttals to Pro-Choice Arguments by Steven A. Christie, M.D., J.D., from Emmaus Road (2022)

Persuasive Pro-Life: How to Talk About Our Culture’s Toughest Issue by Trent Horn, from Catholic Answers (2014); a second edition should be coming out later this year

God bless.

Endless curiosity, Buona ventura, and extremism

CALL ME MR. CURIOUS

Daniel Lord, S.J. was much better known to a different generation. A recent article reminded me of him and caused me to seek out his last book, one that he wrote after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. It is not a sad book at all, and contains no mention of his condition.

Anyway, I came across this wonderful thought of his. I have spent some time thinking of eternity. It was heartening to me, and will be heartening to anyone who has concerns about what Heaven will be like, particularly the idea that it will be boring.

Heaven is the place where human curiosity will be eternally stimulated, always satisfied, and never satiated … [I]t gives me a thrill to know that what curiosity I have is hardly more than an appetizer for the eternity that lies ahead.

Daniel A. Lord, S.J. Letters to my lord (New York: herder and herder, 1969), 98, 102

It will be like roaming the most awesome library conceivable and having direct access to Truth when questions arise. As a book lover, and one with an unabated hunger for knowledge, that is certainly heavenly.

ST. BONAVENTURE

Today is the Memorial of St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (and cardinal). I recall reading some of his work in my Master’s program and being very impressed. I have a renewed interest now that I belong to St. Bonaventure parish. I recently picked up The Works of Bonaventure and am awaiting a biography (there don’t seem to be a lot of these, as I could only find the one). We do know he was a biographer of Francis of Assisi whose order Bonaventure joined. He also was a dear friend of Thomas Aquinas, whose order, the Dominicans, I hope to one day be fully professed in. Coincidentally, Bonaventure was born the year Dominic died: 1221.

St. Bonaventure, ora pro nobis!

ON EXTREMISM

I have been reading some comments on a conservative news/opinion website that I like. I have grown increasingly disturbed by so many folks speaking favorably about abortion there, some favoring restrictions and some opposed to any restrictions, but defenders of life from conception are hard to find. Particularly disturbing are those weighing in who speak of extremists on both sides. There is, essentially, no extreme pro-life position, save the possibility of those who believe that the pregnant mother’s life may not be saved for any reason (see this article for a proper Catholic perspective and go to NCBC regularly or subscribe to its newsletter for reliable information on Catholic moral teaching on all the challenging issues).

I know that any comparison with Naziism is fraught, but, considering the widespread acceptance of abortion today, is it so difficult to understand how so many Germans could go along with such a murderous regime knowing, or at least strongly suspecting, the killing of Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, and the physically and mentally handicapped?

Science, as well as Christianity, tells us that a unique human life is present at the moment of conception. Many Americans believe life in the womb, at least for some period of time, is Lebensunwertes Leben (“life unworthy of life”) — a Nazi designation for the segments of the populace which according to the Nazi regime had no right to live.

This is “progress”?

God bless.

The New Sodom, No Apologies, and the Good Samaritan

NEW SODOM

How Isaiah begins his writings, as proclaimed in today’s first reading:

Hear the word of the LORD,
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!

Your hands are full of blood!
Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim…

Is 1:10, 15b-17a

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, quoting St. Bernard, that the Bible is “not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living” (108).

The Letter to the Hebrews says, “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow…” (4:12).

Yes, the Word is alive. Isaiah’s admonition certainly applied to the Chosen People of his day who had gone astray and were under grave threat from Assyrian aggression.

Just so, the prophet’s message applies to the world today — in spades. We have the benefit of the coming of the Messiah, yet the sins of the world multiply such that even the most decadent citizens of the two infamous cities of the Old Testament mentioned above would blush.

Consider what Jesus had to say about those places that rejected His message:

Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Mt 10:15

First, we must pray for conversion of hearts, starting with our own. And then pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit who, we are promised, will not abandon us in times of trouble:

When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say.

For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.

Lk 12:11-12

As the song says, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” What (who!) is love? God. And God is truth. And God is life. These are inseparable. And pastoral. A culture of hate, relativism, and death, needs the Lord as much as ever. May we never shy away from being the instruments, the messengers (apostoloi), that our Christian baptism calls us to be. In this challenging calling, we can be heartened to know Christ is with us, leading the way by word and example (from today’s Gospel):

[W]hoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Mt 10:38-39

NO APOLOGIES FOR MARY

But apologetics, for sure. This conversation between Matt Fradd and Tim Staples regarding the four Marian dogmas was providentially recommended by YouTube. I thought I knew a good bit about biblical defenses for the Marian dogmas, but Mr. Staples had me exclaiming “Wow! I never heard that before!” multiple times. I urge you to check out the video. Absolutely rock solid and worthy of hearing, studying, and passing along to friends, doubters or not. It also inspired me to order his book.

By the way, Matt Fradd and Trent Horn should be subscribed to by every Catholic who enjoys podcasts and YouTube and wants to grow in faith and knowledge. These men are doing yeoman’s work in the fields of our Lord.

YESTERDAY’S SERMON

Bishop Barron once again knocks it out of the park with an angle on the Good Samaritan story I’ll bet you never heard. He is a master at opening new horizons on familiar Bible passages. Word on Fire, his ministry, is another one to subscribe to.

Also, his books of sermons are worthy reading, including his latest, already in my library, and available cheap.

Sodom and Gomorrah afire (1680) by Jacob de Wet II

God bless.

The Immaculata and moms in need

MARY’S HEART

Today’s Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary always follows the day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Just as it was particularly fitting that the Solemnity fall on a Friday, the day Jesus heart was pierced, so it is fitting that this special Marian feast fall on Mary’s special day, Saturday, in which her own pierced heart was united to her Son in His tomb. A good day to thank Our Lady for her provident care and intercession as we rejoice in life’s victorious battle yesterday. Let’s pray together here.

This prayer of gratitude honors many aspects of the Blessed Mother’s life. To ponder her life as portrayed in the Gospels, anticipated in the Old Testament, and what happened after her Dormition, check out this excellent comprehensive list of Scripture passages having to do with her. Another opportunity for a wonderful Bible study and contemplation.

Although it is an open theological question as to whether or not Mary died, I favor the idea that she would have given up her spirit just as her Son did. And like Him, she would have gotten it back in short order. It would not have been appropriate for that immaculate heart, so burning with love and compassion for us, would be stopped for long.

MOMS IN NEED

This is a time for great joy for all those who have bemoaned the federal legalization of abortion in our land and have worked, prayed, and donated to see it come to an end. Yet, the work continues in earnest. Certainly, at a state level, to make it illegal everywhere. But this will only come when hearts of stone become hearts of flesh and a Culture of Life, from conception until natural death, reigns supreme. We continue to work and pray for that.

Imperative, as well, is to even more earnestly demonstrably put the lie to the calumny that those in the pro-life cause care nothing about moms, children, and families once birth occurs. Prayer and fasting always, of course, as well as being a listening ear and an encouraging voice. But we must lobby even more strenuously for state assistance to crisis pregnancy centers, adoption programs, employment assistance, and other resources to assist the families that chose life, to live with dignity and the opportunity to have a full and fulfilling life. Any money that was going to Planned Parenthood and other despicable organizations must be transferred to entities that serve to build up families.

In addition, and in fact primarily, it is up to us individually to support this cause through volunteer efforts, donations of goods, and financial support. If you have not made it a regular practice to materially support pro-life causes, begin now! We Catholics must talk the talk AND walk the walk. This is true accompaniment.

Mary Consoles Eve

God bless.