Friday, January 22, 2010

On This Saddest of Days

A Prayer for Abortion Victims

Holy Mother of God and of the Church, our Lady of Guadalupe, you were chosen by the Father for the Son through the Holy Spirit. You are the Woman clothed with the sun who labors to give birth to Christ while Satan, the Red Dragon, waits to voraciously devour your child.

So too did Herod seek to destroy your Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and massacred many innocent children in the process. So today does abortion killing many innocent unborn children and exploiting many mothers in its attack upon human life and upon the Church, the Body of Christ.

Mother of the Innocents, we praise God in you for His gifts to you of your Immaculate Conception, your freedom from actual sin; your fullness of grace, your Motherhood of God and the Church, your Perpetual Virginity and your Assumption in body and soul into heaven.

O Help of Christians, we beg you to protect all mothers of the unborn and the children within their wombs. We plead with you for your help to end the holocaust of abortion. Melt hearts so that life may be revered!

Holy Mother, we pray to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart for all mothers and all unborn children that they may have life here on earth and by the most Precious Blood shed by your Son that they may have eternal life with Him in heaven. We also pray to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart for all abortionists and all abortion supporters that they may be converted and accept your Son, Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior. Defend all of your children in the battle against Satan and all of the evil spirits in this present darkness.

We desire that the innocent unborn children who die without Baptism should be baptized and saved. We ask that you obtain this grace for them and repentance, reconciliation and pardon from God for their parents and their killers.

Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite power of merciful love. May it put an end to evil. May it transform consciences. May your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of hope. May Christ the King reign over us, our families, cities, states, nations and the whole of humanity.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary, hear our pleas and accept this cry from our hearts!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn, Pray for us!

Our Lady of Guadalupe, we turn to you who are the protectress of unborn children and ask that you intercede for us, so that we may more firmly resolve to join you in protecting all human life. Let our prayers be united to your perpetual motherly intercession on behalf of those whose lives are threatened, be they in the womb of their mother, on the bed of infirmity, or in the latter years of their life. May our prayers also be coupled with peaceful action, which witnesses to the goodness and dignity of all human life, so that our firmness of purpose may give courage to those who are fearful and bring light to those who are blinded by sin. Encourage those who will be involved in the March for Life; help them to walk closely with God and to give voice to the cry of the oppressed, in order to remind our nation of its commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all people. O Virgin Mother of God, present our petitions to your Son and ask Him to bless us with abundant life. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, in You we adore the eternal origin of all life. Born of God the Father before all time, You were born of the Virgin Mary in time. In Your humanity and Person You sanctified motherhood from the first instant of conception through all stages, for our salvation. Recall all people to these divine blessings to appreciate the unborn as person and to enlighten every human being coming into this world. In Your mercy avert Your just anger from the enemies of life, to allow God's infants to give Him glory and to be crowned with the heavenly life of grace. From the cross You called, "Behold your Mother." Amen

Loving God, I thank you for the gift of life you gave and continue to give to me and to all of us. Merciful God, I ask your pardon and forgiveness for my own failure and the failure of all people to respect and foster all forms of life in our universe. Gracious God, I pray that with your grace, I and all people will reverence, protect, and promote all life and that we will be especially sensitive to the life of the unborn, the abused, neglected, disabled, and the elderly. I pray, too, that all who make decisions about life in any form will do so with wisdom, love, and courage.
Living God, I praise and glorify you as Father, Source of all life, as Son, Savior of our lives, and as Spirit, Sanctifier of our lives. Amen

Prayer for the Helpless Unborn

Heavenly Father, in Your love for us, protect against the wickedness of the devil, those helpless little ones to whom You have given the gift of life. Touch with pity the hearts of those women pregnant in our world today who are not thinking of motherhood.
Help them to see that the child they carry is made in Your image - as well as theirs - made for eternnal life. Dispel their fear and selfishness and give them true womanly hearts to love their babies and give them birth and all the needed care that a mother alone can give.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever, Amen.

For the Right to Life

O heavenly Father, strengthen us against the mounting forces of anti-life; enlighten those who walk in this deadly way that they may see the enormity of their sin and return to the generous observance of the divine law. We pray, too, for mothers, that they may prize the great privilege of motherhood; and that they may bring up their children in the holy love and fear of God, thus saving their own immortal souls and furthering the honor and glory of their Maker. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Pray for us, St. Gerard, protector of the mother and her unborn child,
that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ!

~~ from "Prayers for Today," published by Leaflet Missal Co.

Prayer for life by Pope John Paul II

O Mary, bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life:
Look down, O Mother, upon the vast numbers
of babies to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed
by indifference or out of misguided mercy.
Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of life
with honesty and love to the people of our time.
Obtain for them the grace
to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude
throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely,
in order to build,
together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God,
the Creator and lover of life.

~~ Pope John Paul II
Encyclical Letter "The Gospel of Life"
Given in Rome, on March 25,
the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord,
in the year 1995.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Anniversary of Death

So, one more year has gone by, and what have we done?

Not enough, once again. And as if abortion still being legal was not enough of failure, we (pro-lifers and conservatives) have let a senate election in Massachussetts eclipse our cause in media coverage. The one time of year the liberal media outlets will actually listen to us and give us equal airtime...and we let it slip away. And even Fox News has given us less of a voice. Quite frankly, I am disgusted with the events of the last week. No doubt I am happy there is not another Kennedyesque cariacature in the Senate. I am glad that the current health care reform bill may fail (although I believe we do need a better system, I am against it happening in this form). But I am angry at people I know and know of who abandoned the pro-life cause this week to campaign for a senator...WHO IS NOT EVEN IN THEIR STATE!!!!

As we recognize the anniversary of death, let us all resolve to not let our pursuit of letting people know that ALL human life is valuable and deserves the right to be protected. Especially that of the most innocent.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tiny Treasures Tuesday

William-- I swear, never was there a baby who laughed so much or so easily. Will is eager to catch up to his brother and sister and at the rate he's going it will happen soon! He is pretty fast as a crawler and loves games of peek-a-boo with Joey. He is also happy to see DJ Lance open up that boombox on Yo Gabba Gabba. The kids don't see that show often, but for some reason it's a real giggle fest for Will. He is also testing out his new chompers (4 on top, two on the bottom) on EVERYTHING. Too bad he's a bit too young to get the "No Biting Friends" song on YGG.

Joseph-- Joey is now crazy about Toy Story. Even more so now that he has figured out how to work the 9 inch portable DVD player his grandparents got the kids for Christmas. He calls the movie "Buzz" after Buzz Lightyear. So now we have "Dor-dees" (Cars), "Dee-dahs" (101 Dalmatians), "Momo" (Finding Nemo), and "Buzz" in case you are keeping score at home! He is now saying "backpack" and "map" which he learned from Dora and "choc-o-latte" (spelling the way he says it)the Spanish word for chocolate. He learned that one from guess-who? Dora! as well.

Shelby-- Shelby is having a rough winter. Being that we have been having record cold temps and it's been very dry (this week is the exception)her eczema is acting up. Thank you God for elodel cream. I don't know what we did before it. She is lathered up every morning and night in baby oil and lotion and also an appliction of the cream once a day. I will say this, for itching so much, she is rare to act like it hurts her like we know it does. She is more interested in jumping on the trampoline or since the weather has been nice the last few days going outside to investigate.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Your Parish--a choice or a resignation?

Faith and Family Live had a priest address the question of whether you were obligated to attend your neighborhood church or the church of your choosing. His answers were very interesting and he addressed the idea of "parish shopping."

For me this is certainly a hot-button issue for many reasons. Twice in my life I have first hand experienced being in a parish where I felt my "spiritual needs" were not being met. The first time I was a child and had very little say in the matter until my parents had finally had enough of the parish and we found sanctuary elsewhere. In reality the first parish was closer but not by a whole lot. My parents had very definite reasons to leave the first parish which I will not address as that is private information I do not have permission to disclose. The original church was one my parents had helped to found and the separation was painful. The architechture was unorthodox (something I could get over) and the worship was, for me, less than spiritually fulfilling. You could not quietly pray before mass because people, grown adults, were talking out loud. I learned a lot when I was there about listening for God as the quiet voice amidst all the banging noises. It was and is a parish that would be considered "liberal" by most standards. The parish we joined afterward had a very different feel to it. It was older, much more traditional, and most of the ministries felt more like ministry and less like a social event. Ironically, it was there that a charismatic (both in personality and Catholicism) youth minister named Ralph Poyo ignited many young minds, including my own. He was a wonderful example of how traditions within the church could, for the most part, peacefully co-exist.

When I went off to college, I utilized the local Newman Center. There was a church relatively close by but you needed a car to get there and I had none. When I did go though, it was with a heavy heart. I found what at first appeared to be a melding of contemporary and traditional mass/Catholicism but came to realize it was more of a hodge-podge of things thrown together and the right hand never seemed to know where the left was much less what it was doing. On top of all of this my boyfriend at the time (now my husband), not Catholic, felt VERY uncomfortable there. He received judgmental stares when he did not go up to receive communion, the priest never looked him (or me for that matter) in the eye when he greeted us or shook our hands, and people rarely offered their hand to him or even a greeting during the Sign of Peace.

A few miles down the road was a small Catholic church that was much more traditional where we found ourselves welcomed, where the priest remembered our names and offered to bless Jeff after mass privately since he was uncomfortable receiving a blessing during communion, and parishioners were warm and inviting. We were sad to leave it when we moved.

There is no "neighborhood parish" where I live now. In fact, our county only has two and they are almost 40 minutes to 1 hour away. So, I travel into the adjoining county to a parish only 20 minutes away. A beautiful and historic parish, it is one of the few that melds a fairly diverse population of Catholics well. There are members of many ages and stages there and several couples of mixed religions. Two of our three children have been baptized there (the one who wasn't was baptized at my parents' church) and we recently celebrated Joey's Godmother's wedding there. Jeff has always felt comfortable there which is very important to me and we have made good and close friends while still being members of a fairly large parish.

The point I am finally coming around to making is that it is a luxury that I, myself, and Catholics in America have to be able to choose which parish we would like to worship in. That being said, prayer should lead one to decide if they should try and help change a close by parish that is not "meeting their needs" or find a new parish. Before I complain about something at my current parish or any parish, I stop and take a moment and pray for those in prison who do not have a true parish to worship in or those overseas in non-Christian countries forced to practice in a home. Those in the hospital in small dioceses who may not be able to receive communion if they become sick or shut-in. Christ is present in the Eucharist in all parishes even if they allow girls to be altar servers or the priest invites children out to a Liturgy of the Word. If the parishioners are welcoming and see everyone as part of Christ's body or are openly hostile to outsiders, Christ is present in the Eucharist. We are blessed to live in a prosperous (and yes, I know about the recession) country where churches flourish.

For a slightly different perspective on this, last year Jen posted a blog about mass in the vernacular. Again, realizing that Christ is always present in the Eucharist, if we are in a foreign country or something has happened that the Spanish mass is the only one we can attend, "I don't speak the language" is not an acceptable excuse. So next time you consider bemoaning something at your church, perhaps the old Catholic stand-by of offering it up would be a better use of your time than complaint and then pray. If you are meant to be the light that changes things, do it, if not, God will let you know!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bless them that persecute you; bless, and curse not Romans 12:14

It might just be my theme for 2010 and I've had to use it so far.

My brother is in the military. He is a Marine. He will most likely be deploying this year. My family sends me a LOT of those pray for military chains. A LOT of them. And I'll be honest, I pray every day but I don't always forward them. But this week, for some reason, I did. And I added a little note to say a prayer for my brother and his wife. I only sent it to a select few, people I know who pray and who, for the most part have military backgrounds. People were very generous in their responses until I got the last one.

This one was from the only active military person I sent to. Her father was in the military, her ex-husband was, her son is graduating from a military academy this spring and she is active duty. She asked me to never send her one of these again. She went on to tell me that the "whole military thing is really overblown" that soldiers "like to be deployed" and that "many are never in danger." In addition she added she was "not sympathetic" to military or military families and that "military spouses stick together" (although she and her husband did not) and all of them "know what they are getting into when they get married." She went on to say how her mother had weathered several deployments and how she herself had been deployed and it was all okay and for me "not to take this the wrong way," because I am a "really kind person".


I love this person, I really do and I pray for her every day. Life, hasn't always been kind to her. And the military that giveth so much to her also taketh so much away. She was held back two years in elementary school because of a learning disability (and moving every couple of years from base to base didn't help either). She is a middle child in a large family of almost all girls and seemed to get lost in the fray. She too went through long deployments of her father's as a child. Those things stay with you. She went through losing a very special boyfriend she thought she would marry if he wasn't going to college. After he was in an accident at the end of high school and decided to delay college he broke her heart and broke up with her. She joined the military to get away from him and everything else in the town she was living in and met her husband. Her husband was an officer. They lived everywhere and had three children. She also became Catholic because her husband is of Hispanic descent and was and she found a home in the Church. When her husband retired from the military they went back to school. Him to receive a masters, her to get her teaching certificate. They both graduated, but the US went to war and she had joined the reserves to get money for college and was activated. She was deployed although never to Iraq or Afghanistan but to neighboring countries where she worked a desk job. After returning about 3 years ago, she found the man she had married was not the man she loved any longer. She won't share details so all we know is her sons no longer see their father and her daughter has very limited contact and these were their choices. He wanted her to move out so she did. She quit her teaching job and joined the military active duty, moved to base and initiated divorce proceedings. In this time, her oldest son came to her (he is in the military academy) with the news that his girlfriend was pregnant. She found herself helping to support them as well as her other son in college and her daughter still in high school. More deployments followed and now she works a desk job in the military but hopes to have a classroom again when her time is up. And her son will graduate in May, be stationed somewhere far away with her new daughter-in-law (they will be married in May) and her grandson. Her divorce was final last year.

She is, I'm sure, battling fatigue for the military that has been ever present in her life and given her so much but at the same time asked so much in return. She lost her dream job, her marriage, her son's innocence all while reporting for duty every day. She feels as though the world is on her shoulders and I am so far away but would do anything to help move it if she would let me. She is also, I'm sure, scared for her son. And scared to let go. I mean, what mother isn't?

There will be better days for her. Days when she hopefully will be close to her grandchildren, have her classroom back, be mother of the bride, be at her son's wedding in May, and have real romantic love in her life. But until then, I know everything is NOT fine and she needs all the love and prayers we can send her way.

This incident reminded me that there will be protesters most likely when my brother deploys, there will be people who criticize me for working, there will be people who challenge me and my belief in God. But nothing I can do can be so powerful than to love these people who try to persecute me and pray for them and bless them all I can.

This friend was not trying to persecute me, as I've explained, I know there are reasons for her behavior, some of them very deeply rooted. I know she is hurting and will be for a very long time, but if I can do one thing for her and do it well I will. So I love her and I pray.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tiny Treasures Tuesday

William- could this little guy be any cuter? He has FOUR teeth coming in up top right now (in addition to the two already erupted on the bottom). He giggles and laughs constantly and loves to play peek-a-boo with his brother Joey.

Joseph- My Joey laugh for the week. I ask Joey if he wants to watch Mo-Mo (Finding Nemo) to which he replies, "no!" So then I turn to Shelby and ask if she wants to watch Spongebob to which Joey replies, "no!" Then, in every mother's moment of exasperation, I say, "Joey I wasn't asking you, I was asking Shelby (I had said her name when I asked her), is your name Shelby?" To which he replied, "no!" Joey's new year's resolution is to start sharing more. He could start by not ripping a toy out of his brother or sister's hands and telling them, "mine." Inch by inch, row by row...slowly but surely!

Shelby- Shelby is working very hard in her speech therapy. She has also learned how to unzip zippers. No pocketbook is safe! She continues to enjoy school and hate naps at home.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Name Blame Game

I have a few pregnant friends right now so all the talk is baby names, which we have already established is a favorite topic of mine.

Right now the debate raging in all of their households it seems is naming a child after a living loved one. My father has always warned against this. I'm not a huge fan either. I kind of like the Jewish tradition of naming after a deceased loved one and then, if you're not crazy about the name or if the baby is the opposite sex of the person they are being named for, using the first letter. I like using the name of a living relative for a middle name more.

Now, of course, for full disclosure, my son is named William and so is Jeff's brother, but we did not name Will for his uncle which is why he is Will and not Bill.

One reason I am not a huge fan of naming after a living relative is what the baby will be called. If a baby is named David after his grandfather David and is called David, that's great. I'm on board. However, if baby David is now going to be called Anthony because that's his middle name to differentiate him from his grandfather, that is where I see a problem. Why didn't we just name him Anthony David and David is still for Grandpa but is not used because it is the middle name?

I live in the southeast, here it is very common for parents to name their child one thing and call him or her something completely different. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for this. But it typically causes mass confustion either at school, the doctor's office or jobs. Some children don't even know their first name isn't the name they are being called. I know it sounds hard to fathom but it's true.

There are other complicating issues such as if another family member wants to name a child after the same person and you can't decide on different nicknames or if the person being named for doesn't want someone named after him or her.

Don't get me wrong, family names are great, but I definitely feel like I could not call a child by a name other than their first name and try to avoid conflict with my family over naming rights.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

For Some othe Bloggy Things

Check out my new blog chronicaling the journey to a healthier lifestyle: here. I hope to share what I am learning and learn from others as well!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tiny Treasures Tuesday

Willam- Mr. Will is cutting teeth. Lots of them. He's a pretty happy teether for the most part, for which I am grateful. Sure, he has his moments, but overall he's a happy boy. It's a good thing these teeth are coming in fast because he is desperate to eat real food. Not baby food, the stuff the big kids are eating. He got ahold of a partially eaten apple the other day and gnawed away. At least it was that and not a cookie! He is really on the go and quite fast now too. But, hey, if you had a brother and sister to keep up with you would be too.

Joseph- Joey got a haircut. Let me rephrase, Joey got a buzzcut. He is very cute, but of course, after we do it, we get record low temps! The seventies, long, I-look-like-a-girl locks are gone, but the cuteness is still there. Joey also got the chance to admonish his grandmother and great-grandmother this weekend. While he and Will were taking a bath together at Gigi's house, Great-Grandma didn't know Will is still prone to tipping over when sitting and when he did and went under for a brief second, Joey yelled, "Who's watching him!" (because, again, he's NEVER heard an adult say that before).

Shelby- Shelby went back to school yesterday. Her daily report said she had a great day. She seemed very excited to break out of the house especially since the cold weather keeps everyone indoors. The change in scenery and faces, I'm sure was quite welcome for her! We hope this week continues on a positive path.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

May you and yours have a healthy, happy and prosperous 2010!