The Prenatal Care Deception

No Price Too High

Deacon Alex Jones died a few days ago after a very sudden illness. He came to the Catholic Church from his life as a Pentacostal preacher in Detroit, where he pastored two churches. When he entered the Catholic Church, after serious study of the early Church Fathers, over half his congregation followed him. It was really quite remarkable. He found the center of the Early Church was not great preaching, or even the moving of the Spirit, but the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

May God bless him now with the Beatific Vision.

Dying – The Most Important Thing You Will Do in Life

Patrick Madrid said, “Dying is the most important thing you will do in life.”

Living Now

I live because You died,
Not in guilt,
But in the freedom of Love.

Choices are arrayed before me,
Multiplied by the days of my Life.
With the breaking
Of each New Day,
I rise forever
To choose You,

With the breaking
Of the Bread,
With the Lifting Up,
With the Cross before my eyes
I am a witness
Of the Resurrected One.

You Christ upon the altar,
You, Christ, living anew
In me,
Walk the Earth again
Leaving now my footsteps.

©2012 Joann Nelander

One Last Prayer

If I should die today,
What have I to say?
Perhaps just one last prayer.

Grant that my heart
Should leap and quicken,
Catching sight of You
Coming from afar.

With Your Father,
You have wooed, and waited,
Sent Your Spirit
Into my dry bones,
Raising me from dust
Once again
And, now, forevermore.

Here I am, my Hallowed three.
The Bridegroom cometh;
Come for me.

(c) 2012 Joann Nelander

Know Your Place in the Universe or You are Not God

Via First Things

REAL DEATH, REAL DIGNITY by David Mills

He was a dignified man suffering all the embarrassing ways a hospice deals with the body’s failure as cancer begins shutting down the organs. Dying in a hospice, you lose all rights to modesty as you lose control of your body. Few men could have found the indignities of those last few weeks of life more excruciating than did my father.

The man who was always in control depended entirely on the help of others, most of them strangers, most of them nurses’ aides, cheerful young women the age of his granddaughter. The man who was always doing something constructive could not move from his bed. The man who had always made his words count could not speak. The man who was always reserved could hide nothing, keep nothing to himself.

I did not want to see him there. This was what dying of cancer is like, and my father, being the man he was, took it like a man. It was the hand he’d been dealt, and he was going to play it, as bad as it was.

Though he died five years ago, in bookstores I still find myself starting to buy a book I know he’ll like, and thinking as I start to pull it off the shelf, “No, wait,” or deciding to ask his advice on a matter great or small, and thinking as I reach for my phone, “No, wait.” Every time I feel that sharp burning pain behind the sternum you get when your body panics and floods itself with adrenalin. The world has a hole in it and one that will never be filled in this life.

It is a great blessing to be with your father as he dies, though mercifully a blessing you will enjoy only once. I was sitting in his room at the hospice, my wife and children having run round the corner to get lunch, my mother having lunch with an old friend round another corner, my sister up the road at her job running a thrift store. He had, as far as we knew, as far as the doctors knew, weeks to live.

I had been there for a couple of hours, editing something on my laptop, focused on the work, when suddenly I knew, I don’t know how, other than Grace, that he was breathing his last. He drew in a short, hard breath. I knelt by his head and said, “Goodbye, dad.” He drew in a shorter, shallower breath, almost a half-breath, and then stopped.

I went to get the nurse, waving my hand toward the room because I could not speak. She came in, listened for a heartbeat, and I stood hoping I was wrong, that I’d missed something, that I was going to be embarrassed, till she shook her head at another nurse who had come into the room behind me.

Being there was, as I say, a great blessing. At least, it is a great blessing to be with your father when he dies if he died the way mine did. He did not die with dignity, as those who promote “death with dignity” define it, which means, in essence, to die as if you weren’t dying.

It is not dignified to be undressed and dressed by cheerful young women the age of your granddaughter. It is not dignified to waste away, to lose the ability to speak, to eat, to drink. It is not dignified for your children and grandchildren to see you that way. It is not dignified to die when death takes you and not when you choose.

I can see the appeal of “death with dignity” and programs like those offered in Oregon and the Netherlands, where doctors will help you leave this world at the moment of your choosing, without fuss or bother or pain. I do not want to die and I really, really do not want to die the way my father did. I would find the indignities as excruciating as he did, and I have no confidence I would deal with the pain as bravely as he. I would not want my children to see me so pathetic.

“Death with dignity” seems to offer not only an escape from pain and humiliation but a rational and apparently noble way to leave this life. You look death in the eye and show him that you, not he, are in control. All “dying with dignity” requires is that you declare yourself God. Make yourself the lord of life and death, and you can do what you want. All you have to do, as a last, definitive act, is to do what you’ve been doing all your life: Declare yourself, on the matter at hand, the final authority, the last judge, the one vote that counts.

But you are not God, and, the Christian believes, the decision of when to leave this life is not one He has delegated to you. It is not your call. The Father expects you to suffer if you are given suffering and to put up with indignities if you are given indignities. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord. And that, as far as dying goes, is that.

This is not, from a worldly point of view, a comforting or comfortable teaching. It is one much easier for Christians to observe in theory than in practice, and to apply to other people than to themselves. In practice, we will want to die “with dignity.”

My father was an engineer, not a philosopher. I’m not sure if he read a theological book in his life. The questions that interested me bemused him. But he knew who he was and what he was called to do, a condition others would put in a theological language I suspect he thought was unnecessary. He was dying. That was his job, and he would do it as well as he could.

Lying in a hospice bed, in the very last situation he would have chosen for himself, my father taught me that to die with dignity means to accept what God has given you and deal with it till the end. It means to play the hand God has dealt you, no matter how bad a hand it is, without folding. It means actually to live as if the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, and in either case blessed be the name of the Lord.

It’s dignity of a different sort than the corruptingly euphemistic slogan “death with dignity” suggests. There is a great—an eternal—dignity in accepting whatever indignities you have to suffer to remain faithful to God and to do what He has given you to do. A man can be humiliated and yet noble, and the humiliations make the nobility all the more obvious. My father died with dignity, though the advocates of euthanasia and the clean, quick, controlled exit might not think so.

Here my father held a line he probably did not recognize, a line that protects the vulnerable. He would never have said this, and would have thought the idea pretentious. But by living as if his life was not his to give up he also declared in the most practical way possible that the lives of the vulnerable are not for others to take. There are only a few steps from declaring that a man may choose to be killed to choosing death for those who cannot choose for themselves. The vulnerable are protected by those who refuse the choice.

The man who chooses the timing and meaning of his own death has looked death in the eye and shown him that he is in control—but only by giving death what he demands even sooner than he demands it. That, presumably, is a deal death will take. My father, lying in the bed by the window in a hospice he would never leave, offered death no deal at all.

David Mills is deputy editor of First Things.

List of Islamic Terror Attacks

List of Islamic Terror: Last 30 DaysThis is part of the list of Islamic terror attacks maintained by TheReligionofPeace.com. During this time period, there were 136 Islamic attacks in 25 countries, in which 1015 people were killed and 2992 injured. (TROP does not catch all attacks. Not all attacks are immediately posted).

Source: List of Islamic Terror Attack

Abortion Debate: Trent Horn vs. Professor Cecili Chadwick

When Does a Human Life Begin?

Jesus , Savior in Repose

O, my Jesus, 
In gentle and humble repose upon the altar,
Wrap Your arms about me.
My body yearns for Your embrace. 

Only Your Humanity can unlock 
The treasure trove of grace, 
You hold in store for me, 
A repentant sinner,
Grace, You purchased for me 
By Your coming to Man as Man, 
In Your weakness and poverty and might.

You called Yourself,"Son of Man",
And by Your obedience, 
Suffering and Death upon the Cross, 
Showed us True Love.

All Holy, All Human, All Love, All God,
Son and Servant of God, 
Benefit and Benefactor of Man,
Apply the fruit of Your Saving Death
To my humanity,
To the glory of God,
And the continuous deification
Of my poor, desirous body and soul.

Conceive in me thoughts, words and deeds, 
Which bring to fulfillment our Father's plan 
For my life and eternity,
So, that purged of all Sin and concupiscence,
I might shine with radiant joy,
Hidden and secure in Your Heart, 
As does Your Virgin Mother, Mary.
"Be it done to me according to Your Word."
Amen.

Copyright 2011 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

IN BAPTISM

The flood waters of heaven
Pour over me.
Your Death holds me fast,
Drawing body and soul,
Down in Your Dying.

Flood gates open,
And yet, the sea parts.
By Your Spirit I pass over.
The soul that gives life to my body,
Now rises,
Your Spirit, giving Life to my soul.

More than a corpse
Raised from the dead,
I rise a priest, a prophet and a king,
Betrothed and free to be
What You would make of me.

copyright 2015 Joann Nelander

What happens when I die?

What happens when I die?

Jesus , Savior in Repose

O, my Jesus, 
In gentle and humble repose upon the altar,
Wrap Your arms about me.
My body yearns for Your embrace. 

Only Your Humanity can unlock 
The treasure trove of grace, 
You hold in store for me, 
A repentant sinner,
Grace, You purchased for me 
By Your coming to Man as Man, 
In Your weakness and poverty and might.

You called Yourself,"Son of Man",
And by Your obedience, 
Suffering and Death upon the Cross, 
Showed us True Love.

All Holy, All Human, All Love, All God,
Son and Servant of God, 
Benefit and Benefactor of Man,
Apply the fruit of Your Saving Death
To my humanity,
To the glory of God,
And the continuous deification
Of my poor, desirous body and soul.

Conceive in me thoughts, words and deeds, 
Which bring to fulfillment our Father's plan 
For my life and eternity,
So, that purged of all Sin and concupiscence,
I might shine with radiant joy,
Hidden and secure in Your Heart, 
As does Your Virgin Mother, Mary.
"Be it done to me according to Your Word."
Amen.

Copyright 2011 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Inheritance

“It is finished.
Into Your Hands,
I commend my spirit.”
The Tree of Eden,
Poison swallowed,
By the Tree of Golgotha.

Christ, the New Adam,
Mankind begun anew,
Fellowship restored and more.
Freed from the husks of pigs
Returned to the Father’s House.
Witness the death of Death.

Lay Your Head upon my lap,
That I may hold You,
Rock You,
Cradle You in my arms.
I arrange Your Hair,
And wash the Blood,
Clinging to You,
Mourning over You,
As Mother Mary.

Open side of Jesus
Receive me.
Hide me,
In the cave of Your Heart.
I throw off my idols.
My sin is finished,
Nailed to Your Cross.

“It is finished,”
My war against You,
The burden and the price,
Life born in Your dying,
And swaddled in faith’s dark night.

The Church born
From Your pierced side.
As a fountain for the Ages,
Spilling forth
The wine of Crushed Grapes.

New Day!
Eternal Spring!
“Into Your Hands,
I commend My Spirit.”
Love has the last word.

Copyright 2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Nigeria: Islamic jihadists abduct 30 teenagers : Jihad Watch

Here is a salient passage on this issue from a Shafi’i manual of Islamic law:

 

<blockquote>When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph considers the interests … (of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner’s death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy. (Umdat al-Salik o9.14)

A revered Islamic jurist, Al-Mawardi, agrees with ‘Umdat al-Salik:

As for the captives, the amir has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first, to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale or manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. (Al-Ahkam As-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance), 4.5)

“Nigeria: 30 teenagers abducted in northeast,” AGI, October 26, 2014 (thanks to C. Cantoni):

(AGI) Maiduguri, Oct 26 – A large group of teenagers, as well as numerous 11-year-old girls, were kidnapped in Nigeria on Sunday, with Boko Haram the most likely culprit. “The insurgents grabbed young people, boys and girls, from our region”, said Alhaji Shettima Maina, the village elder of Mafa.

“They took all boys aged 13 plus, and all girls aged 11 or more. According to our information, 30 young people were abducted in the last two days”, he said. . .</blockquote>

 

READ MORE via <a href=’http://www.jihadwatch.org/2014/10/nigeria-islamic-jihadists-abduct-30-teenagers?utm_source=Jihad+Watch+Daily+Digest&utm_campaign=e08f11a0c6-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ffcbf57bbb-e08f11a0c6-123522481′>Nigeria: Islamic jihadists abduct 30 teenagers : Jihad Watch</a>.

#Albuquerque is Stilling Willing to Take Innocent Life

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.)

2 MC 7

“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.

PROTECT ABQ WOMEN & CHILDREN APPLAUDS ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL J. SHEEHAN

PROTECT ABQ WOMEN & CHILDREN APPLAUDS ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL J. SHEEHAN, ARCHDIOCESE OF SANTA FE, FOR COMING OUT IN FULL SUPPORT OF THE PAIN CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ORDINANCE

09/27/2013

Statement by Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan on Late Term Abortion

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Friday, September 27, 2013– – IMMEDIATE RELEASE

—Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan has issued the following statement:

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe congratulates the grass root efforts of so many to place a late term abortion ban on the ballot of the City of Albuquerque. This achievement demonstrates the people’s will to defend life.   As Archbishop of Santa Fe, I encourage all the people of Albuquerque to support the proposed ordinance to ban late term abortion after the 20th week. These children are able to feel pain and suffer greatly when aborted.   The campaign to pass this proposal will bear much fruit. First, if the ordinance passes, it will protect children. Second, the energy, time, and resources dedicated to the campaign will educate the public. I daily meet people who are shocked to know that New Mexico permits late term abortion. The public will be educated as to the reality of what is happening in our State.  New Mexico now attracts those seeking late term abortions from around the Country because of the lack of laws. During this campaign many people will learn the immorality of abortion and some children’s’ lives will be saved by the education of their parents.  I hope the State Legislature will pass a Statewide Bill banning late term abortion, given the support in Albuquerque.   Please join me in supporting this effort with energy, time, and resources. Together we can get out the vote on November 19, 2013.   Most Rev. Michael J. Sheehan Archbishop of Santa Fe

via PROTECT ABQ WOMEN & CHILDREN APPLAUDS ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL J. SHEEHAN, ARCHDIOCESE OF SANTA FE, FOR COMING OUT IN FULL SUPPORT OF THE PAIN CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ORDINANCE – PROTECT ABQ WOMEN & CHILDREN.

#Choice,#Life, #Abortion, #Morality–Life after #Death?


"And because the homicides involved in abortion are ”little murders” – the kind of private, legally protected murders that kill conveniently unseen lives – it’s easy to look the other way." "Cardinal Francis George said recently, too many Americans have ”no recognition of the fact that children continue to be killed [by abortion], and we live therefore, in a country drenched in blood. This can’t be something you start playing off pragmatically against other issues.” Archbishop Charles Chaput
"And because the homicides involved in abortion are ”little murders” – the kind of private, legally protected murders that kill conveniently unseen lives – it’s easy to look the other way."
"Cardinal Francis George said recently, too many Americans have ”no recognition of the fact that children continue to be killed [by abortion], and we live therefore, in a country drenched in blood. This can’t be something you start playing off pragmatically against other issues.”
Archbishop Charles Chaput

 

So much has already been written on life, choice and abortion. What is important is life and truth, not my opinion or anyone else’s. The women having abortions are as much victims of the Big Lie as are the innocent fetuses they choose to abort. Politics, consumerism, relativism etc. reign like gods with promises of life after death, but in their world it is the fetus that must die in order for life to be lived as a selfish society deems happy and liberated.
Bishop Martino’s response to the social argument, “As wrong as abortion is, I don’t think it is the only relevant ‘life’ issue that should be considered when deciding for whom to vote.” He wrote:

This reasoning is sound only if other issues carry the same moral weight as abortion does, such as in the case of euthanasia and destruction of embryos for research purposes. Health care, education, economic security, immigration, and taxes are very important concerns. Neglect of any one of them has dire consequences as the recent financial crisis demonstrates. However, the solutions to problems in these areas do not usually involve a rejection of the sanctity of human life in the way that abortion does. Being “right” on taxes, education, health care, immigration, and the economy fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life. Consider this: the finest health and education systems, the fairest immigration laws, and the soundest economy do nothing for the child who never sees the light of day. It is a tragic irony that “pro-choice” candidates have come to support homicide – the gravest injustice a society can tolerate – in the name of “social justice.
#Life 
lionessblog.com

Prayer for a Dying Friend

Please pray for Deacon Ken Hill who is now facing his last hours:

We commend to Thee, Lord, the soul of Thy Deacon, Kenneth Hill, and we pray Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, that as in mercy to him Thou became man, so now Thou would be pleased to admit him  to the bosom of Thy patriarchs. Remember, Lord, he  is Thy creature, not made by strange gods, but by Thee, the only living and true God; for there is no other but Thee, and none can equal Thy work. Let his soul rejoice in Thy presence, and remember not his  former iniquities. For although he has sinned, yet he  has always firmly believed in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; he has had a zeal for Thy honor, and faithfully adored Thee as his God, and Creator of all things. Remember not, Lord, we pray Thee, the sins of his youth, but according to Thy great mercy, be mindful of him in Thy Heavenly glory. Let the heavens be opened to him, and the angels rejoice with him. Let the archangel St. Michael, whom Thou didst appoint the chief of the heavenly host, conduct him. Let the holy angels come out to meet him, and carry him to the city of heavenly Jerusalem. Let blessed Peter the apostle, to whom God gave the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, receive him. Let St. Paul the apostle, who was a vessel of election, assist him. Let St. John the beloved disciple, to whom the secrets of Heaven were revealed, intercede for him. Let all the holy apostles, who received from Jesus Christ the power of binding and loosing, pray for him. Let all the saints and elect of God, who in this world have suffered torments in the name of Christ, intercede for him; that he may be admitted into the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with Thee and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

May Mary the most merciful Virgin Mother of God, kindest comforter of them that mourn, commend to her Son the soul of this His servant , that through her maternal intercession, he may overcome the dread of death and, with her as guide, joyfully reach his longed-for home in the heavenly fatherland.R. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph

To thee I have recourse, St. Joseph, Patron of the dying; and to thee, at whose blessed death watchfully assisted Jesus and Mary, by both these dearest pledges I earnestly recommend the soul of this servant  in the sufferings of his last agony, that he may by your protection be delivered from the snares of the devil and from eternal death, and may merit to attain everlasting joy. Through the same Christ our Lord.R. Amen.

Must Read – Long before Becoming a Bishop

ARCHBISHOP AQUILA: 40 Years of the Culture of Death

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I went to college in 1968 with the idea of becoming a doctor, like my father. College campuses in the late ‘60’s and throughout the 70’s were places of turmoil. I didn’t practice my faith much in the first three years of college and I certainly never imagined that the Lord would one day make me a bishop.

I spent my first three years of college working as a hospital orderly and assisting in the emergency room, at a university student health center and in a hospital in California during summer break.

When I began the job, I hadn’t thought much about human suffering, or about human dignity.

But during my employment in hospitals, something changed. At that time, some states had approved abortion laws that I wasn’t even aware of. Because of those laws, when I was in college I witnessed the results of two abortions.

The first was in a surgical unit. I walked into an outer room and in the sink, unattended, was the body of small unborn child who had been aborted. I remember being stunned. I remember thinking that I had to baptize that child.

The second abortion was more shocking. A young woman came into the emergency room screaming. She explained that she had had an abortion already. When the doctor sent her home, he told her she would pass the remains naturally. She was bleeding as the doctor, her boyfriend, the nurse and I placed her on a table.

I held a basin as the doctor retrieved a tiny arm, a tiny leg and then the rest of the broken body of a tiny unborn child. I was shocked. I was saddened for the mother and child, for the doctor and the nurse. None of us would have participated in such a thing were it not an emergency. I witnessed a tiny human being destroyed by violence.

The memory haunts me. I will never forget that I stood witness to acts of unspeakable brutality. In the abortions I witnessed, powerful people made decisions that ended the lives of small, powerless, children. Through lies and manipulation, children were seen as objects. Women and families were convinced that ending a life would be painless, and forgettable. Experts made seemingly convincing arguments that the unborn were not people at all, that they could not feel pain, and were better off dead. Read more:

LEST WE LOOSE HEART REMEMBER

LEST WE LOOSE HEART REMEMBER

“Over In A Sigh”–Life on Planet Earth

The Anchoress writes:

It’s good to remember that our time on earth is short.  — that, as Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton said, “we are made for eternity” and not just for our brief sojourn, here. Read more here.

Psalm 90

Our span is seventy years,
or eighty for those who are strong.

And most of these are emptiness and pain.
They pass swiftly and we are gone.
Who understands the power of your anger
and fears the strength of your fury?

Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart.

Death and Deceit in Benghazi-Timeline of 9-11 Attack Video

They must have been screaming for help and the Administration failed to listen before and after the attack. Where was the Administration……….off spinning.

Obama went to Las Vegas and turned a deaf ear to the intell community. I’m with the Apostle Paul; Galatians 5-12

Obama will probably mount an attack the day or two before the Election for an October surprise!

Born Alive

Some people measure life by size.  Others people know if it’s growing it isn’t dead. Most people believe, that if it isn’t dead it’s alive.

Birth, however, always delivers a person, not an abstraction….until it became necessary to spell it out in law:

Life to Me Means Christ, and Death is Gain

From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
Life to me means Christ, and death is gain

The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock. Let the sea rage, it cannot break the rock. Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the boat of Jesus. What are we to fear? Death? Life to me means Christ, and death is gain. Exile? The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord. The confiscation of goods? We brought nothing into this world, and we shall surely take nothing from it. I have only contempt for the world’s threats, I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, no desire for wealth. I am not afraid of death nor do I long to live, except for your good. I concentrate therefore on the present situation, and I urge you, my friends, to have confidence.

Do you not hear the Lord saying: Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst? Will he be absent, then, when so many people united in love are gathered together? I have his promise; I am surely not going to rely on my own strength! I have what he has written; that is my staff, my security, my peaceful harbor. Let the world be in upheaval. I hold to his promise and read his message; that is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!

If Christ is with me, whom shall I fear? Though the waves and the sea and the anger of princes are roused against me, they are less to me than a spider’s web. Indeed, unless you, my brothers, had detained me, I would have left this very day. For I always say Lord, your will be done; not what this fellow or that would have me do, but what you want me to do. That is my strong tower, my immovable rock, my staff that never gives way. If God wants something, let it be done! If he wants me to stay here, I am grateful. But wherever he wants me to be, I am no less grateful.

Yet where I am, there you are too, and where you are, I am. For we are a single body, and the body cannot be separated from the head nor the head from the body. Distance separates us, but love unites us, and death itself cannot divide us. For though my body die, my soul will live and be mindful of my people.

You are my fellow citizens, my fathers, my brothers, my sons, my limbs, my body. You are my light, sweeter to me than the visible light. For what can the rays of the sun bestow on me that is comparable to your love? The sun’s light is useful in my earthly life, but your love is fashioning a crown for me in the life to come.

Who Am. I?

You, Father God,
Revealed Yourself
To Your servant Moses.
“I am Who Am. ”

You are existence
In uncreated simplicity
And immaterial totality.
My thoughts and knowledge
Are without substance or form,
A mystery of being,
An image of Your Essence.

My prayer is a begging
To shape the me of me
Into the Person of Your Son,
That my “I am,”
Be as You Are.

May what I will be
Take Life
In Your Only Begotten One,
To make me
Fit for Familial Love,
When mortal life be done.

St. Monica’s Dying

From the Confessions of Saint Augustine, bishop
Let us gain eternal wisdom

The day was now approaching when my mother Monica would depart from this life; you knew that day, Lord, though we did not. She and I happened to be standing by ourselves at a window that overlooked the garden in the courtyard of the house. At the time we were in Ostia on the Tiber. We had gone there after a long and wearisome journey to get away from the noisy crowd, and to rest and prepare for our sea voyage. I believe that you, Lord, caused all this to happen in your own mysterious ways. And so the two of us, all alone, were enjoying a very pleasant conversation, forgetting the past and pushing on to what is ahead. We were asking one another in the presence of the Truth–for you are the Truth–what it would be like to share the eternal life enjoyed by the saints, which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, which has not even entered into the heart of man. We desired with all our hearts to drink from the streams of your heavenly fountain, the fountain of life.

That was the substance of our talk, though not the exact words. But you know, O Lord, that in the course of our conversation that day, the world and its pleasures lost all their attraction for us. My mother said: “Son, as far as I am concerned, nothing in this life now gives me any pleasure. I do not know why I am still here, since I have no further hopes in this world. I did have one reason for wanting to live a little longer: to see you become a Catholic Christian before I died. God has lavished his gifts on me in that respect, for I know that you have even renounced earthly happiness to be his servant. So what am I doing here?”

I do not really remember how I answered her. Shortly, within five days or thereabouts, she fell sick with a fever. Then one day during the course of her illness she became unconscious and for a while she was unaware of her surroundings. My brother and I rushed to her side but she regained consciousness quickly. She looked at us as we stood there and asked in a puzzled voice: “Where was I?”

We were overwhelmed with grief, but she held her gaze steadily upon us and spoke further: “Here you shall bury your mother.” I remained silent as I held back my tears. However, my brother haltingly expressed his hope that she might not die in a strange country but in her own land, since her end would be happier there. When she heard this, her face was filled with anxiety, and she reproached him with a glance because he had entertained such earthly thoughts. Then she looked at me and spoke: “Look what he is saying.” Thereupon she said to both of us: “Bury my body wherever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern. One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be.” Once our mother had expressed this desire as best she could, she fell silent as the pain of her illness increased.
O God,
who console the sorrowful
and who mercifully accepted
the motherly tears of Saint Monica
for the conversion of her son Augustine,
grant us, through the intercession of them both,
that we may bitterly regret our sins and find the grace of your pardon.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
– Amen.

Come Forth

Call to me, loudly command,
When you call me forth
From the grave of my sin,
I rejoice.

When, on the Last Day,
You call me forth from the tomb,
From my burial rest,
I shall jubilantly rejoice.

With the saints,
And angels to cheer me,
Invite and speak my name,
Command, “Come forth!”
Death shall cower and fall away,
And the perfume of sanctity
Attend me.

My cloud of witnesses
Testify to Your many mercies
Showered and shown me.

Then shall my heart sing
And the feet of my testimony dance
To the music of Your Kingdom
And the song of Mary,
Who sang lullabies in my rest
Upon Your breast.

©2012 Joann Nelander

The Assumption of Mary

From the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus by Pope Pius XII
Your body is holy and excelling in splendor

In their homilies and sermons on this feast the holy fathers and great doctors spoke of the assumption of the Mother of God as something already familiar and accepted by the faithful. They gave it greater clarity in their preaching and used more profound arguments in setting out its nature and meaning. Above all, they brought out more clearly the fact that what is commemorated in this feast is not simply the total absence of corruption from the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary but also her triumph over death and her glorification in heaven, after the pattern set by her only Son, Jesus Christ.

Thus Saint John Damascene, preeminent as the great preacher of this truth of tradition, speaks with powerful eloquence when he relates the bodily assumption of the loving Mother of God to her other gifts and privileges: “It was necessary that she who had preserved her virginity inviolate in childbirth should also have her body kept free from all corruption after death. It was necessary that she who had carried the Creator as a child on her breast should dwell in the tabernacles of God. It was necessary that the bride espoused by the Father should make her home in the bridal chambers of heaven. It was necessary that she, who had gazed on her crucified Son and been pierced in the heart by the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in giving him birth, should contemplate him seated with the Father. It was necessary that the Mother of God should share the possessions of her Son, and be venerated by every creature as the Mother and handmaid of God.”

Saint Germanus of Constantinople considered that it was in keeping not only with her divine motherhood but also with the unique sanctity of her virginal body that it was incorrupt and carried up to heaven: “In the words of Scripture, you appear in beauty. Your virginal body is entirely holy, entirely chaste, entirely the house of God, so that for this reason also it is henceforth a stranger to decay: a body changed, because a human body, to a preeminent life of incorruptibility, but still a living body, excelling in splendor, a body inviolate and sharing in the perfection of life.”

Another early author declares: “Therefore, as the most glorious Mother of Christ, our God and Savior, giver of life and immortality, she is enlivened by him to share an eternal incorruptibility of body with him who raised her from the tomb and took her up to himself in a way he alone can tell.”

All these reasonings and considerations of the holy Fathers rest on Scripture as their ultimate foundation. Scripture portrays the loving Mother of God, almost before our very eyes, as most intimately united with her divine Son and always sharing in his destiny.

Above all, it must be noted that from the second century the holy Fathers present the Virgin Mary as the new Eve, most closely associated with the new Adam, though subject to him in the struggle against the enemy from the nether world. This struggle, as the first promise of a redeemer implies, was to end in perfect victory over sin and death, always linked together in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles. Therefore, just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part of this victory and its final trophy, so the struggle shared by the Blessed Virgin and her Son was to end in glorification of her virginal body. As the same Apostle says: When this mortal body has clothed itself in immortality, then will be fulfilled the word of Scripture: Death is swallowed up in victory.

Hence, the august Mother of God, mysteriously united from all eternity with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a virgin inviolate in her divine motherhood, the wholehearted companion of the divine Redeemer who won complete victory over sin and its consequences, gained at last the supreme crown of her privileges—to be preserved immune from the corruption of the tomb, and, like her Son, when death had been conquered, to be carried up body and soul to the exalted glory of heaven, there to sit in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the ages.

Death is Strong – Love Stronger

From a treatise by Baldwin, bishop of Canterbury
Love is as strong as death

Death is strong, for it can rob us of the gift of life. Love too is strong, for it can restore us to a better life.

Death is strong, for it can strip us of this robe of flesh. Love too is strong, for it can take death’s spoils away and give them back to us.

Death is strong, for no man can withstand it. Love too is strong, for it can conquer death itself, soothe its sting, calm its violence, and bring its victory to naught. The time will come when death is reviled and taunted: O death, where is your sting? O death, where is your victory?

Love is as strong as death because Christ’s love is the very death of death. Hence it is said: I will be your death, O death! I will be your sting, O hell! Our love for Christ is also as strong as death, because it is itself a kind of death: destroying the old life, rooting out vice, and laying aside dead works.

Our love for Christ is a return, though very unequal, for his love of us, and it is a likeness modeled on his. For he first loved us and, through the example of love he gave us, he became a seal upon us by which we are made like him. We lay aside the likeness of the earthly man and put on the likeness of the heavenly man; we love him as he has loved us. For in this matter he has left us an example so that we might follow in his steps.

That is why he says: Set me as a seal upon your heart. It is as if he were saying: “Love me as I love you. Keep me in your mind and memory, in your desires and yearnings, in your groans and sobs. Remember, man, the kind of being I made you; how far I set you above other creatures; the dignity I conferred upon you; the glory and honor with which I crowned you; how I made you only a little less than the angels and set all things under your feet. Remember not only how much I have done for you but all the hardship and shame I have suffered for you. Yet look and see: Do you not wrong me? Do you not fail to love me? Who loves you as I do? Who created and redeemed you but I?”

Lord, take away my heart of stone, a heart so bitter and uncircumcised, and give me a new heart, a heart of flesh, a pure heart. You cleanse the heart and love the clean heart. Take possession of my heart and dwell in it, contain it and fill it, you who are higher than the heights of my spirit and closer to me than my innermost self! You are the pattern of all beauty and the seal of all holiness. Set the seal of your likeness upon my heart! In your mercy set your seal upon my heart, God of my heart and the God who is my portion for ever! Amen.