<blockquote>All thanks and gratitude arise to dance before Your throne.
All praise and honor bow with swelling heart to glorify my God.
Make me a vessel overflowing,
A chalice full of grace willing for the good,
Desiring but one All Holy Love.
© 2013 Joann Nelander</blockquote>
Our country is a miracle. Our freedoms are precious. Our future is uncertain.
” Because power corrupts, societies demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.” – John Adams“I thank God this Thanksgiving. I pray that the spirit of our fore-bearers still lives, leading us to take responsibility for our Country.State of the Nation 1776
The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their Houses, and Farms, are to be pillaged and destroyed, and they consigned to a State of Wretchedness from which no human efforts will probably deliver them. The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this Army—Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission; this is all we can expect—We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Country’s Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions—The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.
Extract from General George Washington’s General Orders, 1776
“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” – John Adams
” Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams
This beautiful “Marriage Exhortation” was given to every couple, just before pronouncing wedding vows in the United States until 1969.
My dear friends: You are about to enter upon a union which is most sacred and most serious. It is most sacred, because established by God himself. By it, he gave to man a share in the greatest work of creation, the work of the continuation of the human race. And in this way he sanctified human love and enabled man and woman to help each other live as children of God, by sharing a common life under his fatherly care.
Because God himself is thus its author, marriage is of its very nature a holy institution, requiring of those who enter into it a complete and unreserved giving of self. But Christ our Lord added to the holiness of marriage an even deeper meaning and a higher beauty. He referred to the love of marriage to describe his own love for his Church, that is, for the people of God whom he redeemed by his own blood. And so he gave to Christians a new vision of what married life ought to be, a life of self-sacrificing love like his own. It is for this reason that his apostle, St. Paul, clearly states that marriage is now and for all time to be considered a great mystery, intimately bound up with the supernatural union of Christ and the Church, which union is also to be its pattern.
This union, then, is most serious, because it will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate, that it will profoundly influence your whole future. That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and its failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes. You know that these elements are mingled in every life, and are to be expected in your own. And so not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death.
Truly, then, these words are most serious. It is a beautiful tribute to your undoubted faith in each other, that recognizing their full import, you are, nevertheless, so willing and ready to pronounce them. And because these words involve such solemn obligations, it is most fitting that you rest the security of your wedded life upon the great principle of self-sacrifice. And so you begin your married life by the voluntary and complete surrender of your individual lives in the interest of that deeper and wider life which you are to have in common. Henceforth you will belong entirely to each other; you will be one in mind, one in heart, and one in affections. And whatever sacrifices you may hereafter be required to make to preserve this mutual life, always make them generously. Sacrifice is usually difficult and irksome. Only love can make it easy, and perfect love can make it a joy. We are willing to give in proportion as we love. And when love is perfect, the sacrifice is complete. God so loved the world that he gave, his only-begotten Son, and the Son so loved us that he gave himself for our salvation. "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
No greater blessing can come to your married life than pure conjugal love, loyal and true to the end. May, then, this love with which you join your hands and hearts today never fail, but grow deeper and stronger as the years go on. And if true love and the unselfish spirit of perfect sacrifice guide your every action, you can expect the greatest measure of earthly happiness that may be allotted to man in this vale of tears. The rest is in the hands of God.
Nor will God be wanting to your needs; he will pledge you the life-long support of his graces in the Holy Sacrament, which you are now going to receive.
CS Lewis : “At the very worst the issue is made clear the fog of religion and convention wisdom is lifted and the position and number of both armies can be observed and real shooting is made possible."
O happy confession! I went just this morning. Life begins again with renewed hope for the coming days, maybe, many years, or, perhaps, only moments. I just need to go forward, open to life and, most of all, charity, giving it, as best I can with apologies to match my failures.
A powerful instinct, certainly not reserved for me alone, tells me that the grave in not the end. If it were, what a mockery the sacrifices of caring and struggle, war, family, and country, if it were, I can see why the practical atheist and agnostic would advocate for the convenience of death in the womb, the rallying cry of the pragmatic "progressive" society, planning to bring forth only as much life as it can use. If no resurrection of the dead, why the fuss to perfume our living corpses. Blessed be the grave, bring it on, O happy holocaust!
My sad suppositions terrify me. Give me that candle to carry into the darkness and the holy regard of those praying for the dead. I am not alone in desiring eternity, and the company of the living forever. It is the sun that comes up every morning and the hope that can only be fulfilled in One who is more than matter, and yet, matter does testify by it very existence, in its coming to be, and, so my hope is that He that brought it forth, love me into the infinity of His Being.
1. THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.
2. The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.
3. I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!
“Higher than the Mountains”, a book of poetry and prayer. It is a respite for your quieter moments. It is for those who “are anxious and worried about many things” and who now desire “the better part”, the something, or Someone, clothed in the ordinary, hidden in your heart. While drawing from my life experience as wife, mother, nurse, and artist, I also find inspiration all about me, though it is in the stillness that I listen best. Then my own voice fades away, but not until I speak my heart to God. In solitude, the world does seem to stand aside for the whisper or thunder or just the beating of my heart.
Fifty years ago today, a giant died. His legacy survives as does the memory of love, stuggle, and faith he left to us. C.S. Lewis loved Christ and Christianity and never stopped delving into their depths.
He wove pictures with words that still live to challenge and excite the child and the seeker in us. “Aslan is on the Move.” Does not your hope soar?
First Reading for this day – 2 MC 7:1, 20-31
What has God said to both Jews and Christians in Maccabees about life? (Some Protestants do not have Maccabees in their Bibles, but they should note that the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, was enjoined upon the Jews to be celebrated only in Maccabees. John 7 tells of Jesus going up to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast. So Jesus concurred with the Jews and honored the injunction of Maccabees as given by His Father and recorded in holy writ.)
“Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother,
who saw her seven sons perish in a single day,
yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.
Filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage,
she exhorted each of them
in the language of their ancestors with these words:
“I do not know how you came into existence in my womb;
it was not I who gave you the breath of life,
nor was it I who set in order
the elements of which each of you is composed.
Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe
who shapes each man’s beginning,
as he brings about the origin of everything,
he, in his mercy,
will give you back both breath and life,
because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law.”
The response of this heroic woman’s son before his life was ended in accordance with an unjust law is also worth noting:
She had scarcely finished speaking when the youth said:
“What are you waiting for?
I will not obey the king’s command.
I obey the command of the law given to our fathers through Moses.
But you, who have contrived every kind of affliction for the Hebrews,
will not escape the hands of God.”
Our laws do not excuse us before God this day or on our particular judgment day, so our choices matter for our eternity. What we choose to do with our freedom matters in life and in death. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to choose wisely and form our consciences as though our eternity depends on it.
Pro-life Momentum Remains Despite Albuquerque Loss | SBA-List.
“Months ago, most Albuquerque residents had no idea their city had become a national hub for late abortion. Local pro-life activists took action to educate their neighbors and ended up gathering 27,000 signatures – more than twice the amount necessary – for a city ballot initiative to stop late abortion,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Planned Parenthood and other national pro-abortion groups, including Organizing for America, saw this spontaneous grassroots effort as a mortal threat and spent $1 million to defeat it.
“Despite being outspent four to one, pro-life grassroots activists were able to educate thousands of citizens about fetal pain and the reality of late abortion. This was no small feat in a deep blue city that chose Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by a 15-point margin.
“There remains growing national consensus that babies and women should be protected from dangerous late abortions after 20 weeks. Thirteen states and the U.S. House of Representatives have all passed similar protective legislation and the bill introduced this month by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) already has 40 Senate cosponsors. Polls show Americans are united in opposing this brutal practice and it is time the law reflects our natural recoil from this horror.”
H/T Mary’s Heel
The Exorcism prayer dictated by the Blessed Virgin Mary: August Queen
In the 1846, (Church approved) apparition of La Salette, experienced by two young children who were strangers to each other, the Blessed Virgin Mary tearfully told the children that:
“In the year 1864 Lucifer, together with a great number of demons, will be loosed from Hell; they will put an end to faith little by little, even in those dedicated to God… All the civil governments will have one and the same plan, which will be to abolish and do away with every religious principle to make way for materialism, atheism, spiritualism and vice of all kinds…. Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist [not necessarily the independent Vatican State within Rome – but who knows?]. The demons of the air [the media?] with the Antichrist will perform great wonders on earth and in the atmosphere, and men will become more perverted….Finally, I call on the Apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ [i.e. all Christians] who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in scorn and in silence, in prayer and in mortification, in chastity and in union with God, in suffering and unknown to the world. It is time they came out and filled the world with light…Fight children of light, you, the few who can see. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends….The Church will be in eclipse, the world will be in dismay…Woe to the priests and to those dedicated to God who by their unfaithfulness and their wicked lives are crucifying my Son again! ….The chiefs, the leaders of the people of God have neglected prayer and penance, and the devil has bedimmed their intelligence… And then water and fire will purge the earth and consume all the works of men’s pride and all will be renewed. God will be served and glorified."
On 13 January 1864, Father Louis Cestac (founder of the Congregation of the Servants of Mary, who died in 1868), accustomed to the goodness of the Most Blessed Virgin, was suddenly struck by a ray of divine light.
He saw a vision of demons swarming over the earth wreaking havoc. At the same time, the Holy Virgin appeared, saying that demons had indeed broken loose into the world and the time had come to implore her as Queen of Angels and to ask her to send legions of angels to fight and overthrow the powers of hell which had now been unchained.
Father Cestac addressed the Virgin with the following words:
O my Mother you who are so good, could you not send your angels without us having to ask you?
“No” the Virgin replied, “prayer is a condition established by God himself to obtain graces.” “Then, Mother”, said the priest, “would you teach us how we should pray to you?” And the Holy Virgin dictated this prayer ‘August Queen’ to him:
August Queen of Heaven and Mistress of the Angels,
You who have received from God the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan;
We humbly ask you to send the heavenly legions,
So that under your command they may:
- pursue the demons,
- combat them everywhere,
- crush their bold attacks, and
- drive them back into the Abyss.
"Who is like God?"
O good and tender Mother, you will always be our love and our hope.
O heavenly Mother, send the holy Angels to defend me and repel far from me the cruel enemy.
Holy Angels and Archangels defend us and guard us. Amen.