Fr. Z explains Heroic Virtue

We live in this fallen world, in this vale of tears, with wounds to our intellects and will, constantly dealing with the world, the flesh and the devil.

We are called to holiness.  We are actually called to holiness in a heroic degree.  Let’s understand “heroic” properly.

The “heroism” to which we are called does not consist mainly in great or famous or dramatic acts or accomplishments.  It might include those, but it does not mainly consist of those.  Every person has the possibility of this sort of heroism, even if he does nothing spectacular.  When it comes to the causes of saints, very often people with more dramatic or famous lives comes to the attention of others, and therefore they are more likely to be the subjects of causes.

Living a virtuous life even in the tedium of routine or the obscurity of everyday living can be heroic.

Accepting God’s will, living in conformity with God’s will is the true test of a Christian.  That is the essence of “heroic” virtue, not what appears outwardly to be heroic (though that may also be heroic, as in the dramatic case of the martyr).

Furthermore, people don’t, except by a rare gift from God, instantly or easily attain the state of living a life of virtue heroically.  Virtues are habits.  Some virtues, the theological virtues, are infused into us by God with baptism and sacraments.  They “dwell” in us “habitually” (“dwell” and “habit” are etymologically related… think of a “habitat” where critters “dwell”).  Virtues are habits, good practices and attitudes which are in us to a degree that it is easy for us to do them rather than hard.  This usually takes time and maturity.  We don’t suddenly, except by a special grace, become virtuous.  It can take a whole lifetime and many stumbles along the way.

Read more

The Miracle of Life – A Meditation on Mystery and Beauty of Life as we March

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

The magnificence of life is really too wonderful too describe. But I found this description some years ago which summons reverence by its very ability to baffle the mind:

MIRACLE OF LIFE– Consider the miracle of the human body.  Its chemistry is just as extraordinarily well tuned as is the physics of the cosmos.  Our world on bothsides of the divide that separates life from lifelessness is filled with wonder.  Each human cell has a double helix library of three billion base pairs providing fifty thousand genes.  These three billion base pairs and fifty thousand genes somehow engineer 100 trillion neural connections in the brain—-enough points of information to store all the data and information contained in a fifty-million-volume encyclopedia.  And then after that, these fifty thousand genes set forth a million fibers in the optic nerves, retinae having ten million pixels per centimeter, some ten billion in all, ten thousand taste buds, ten million nerve endings for smell, cells that exude a chemical come-on to lure an embryo’s lengthening neurons from spinal cord to target cell, each one of the millions of target cells attracting the proper nerve from the particular needed function.  And all this three-dimensional structure arises somehow from the linear, one-dimensional information contained along the DNA helix. Did all this happen by chance or do you see the hand of God?

Today, many of us march for life, here in Washington, on the West Coast,  and in other communities. Today we ponder the great mystery that is expressed in the 139th psalm:

For it was you who created my being,  knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you for the wonder of my being…Already you knew my soul my body held no secret from you when I was being fashioned in secret….every one of my days was decreed before one of them came into being. To me, how mysterious your thoughts, the sum of them not to be numbered! (Psalm 139 varia)

Read more. Or watch a fascinating video.

Stories of people who have overcome enormous obstacles and who live full and rich lives

We must declare with great certitude that there is no such thing as a life not worth living. We say this not as some politically correct slogan but rather with firm conviction that every human life is willed by God. We were willed before we were made for the Scriptures say, “Before I ever formed you in the womb I knew and I appointed you…” (Jer 1:4). None of us is an accident nor are our gifts and apparent deficits mistakes. We exist as we are, the way we are for a purpose, a purpose for us and for others. We all have an irreplaceable role in God’s kingdom and show forth aspect of His glory uniquely. Every human life is intended and is worth living because God says so by the very fact that we exist.

If this past week has taught us anything it is that the human person is sacred and that life is something worth living and worth fighting for. There was death, but there was also heroism. There are also those who, despite serious injury, have fought to come back and seek recovery. Further, there are those who join them in the medical profession and in their families who also struggle and fight to bring them that healing. This is resilience, this is strength, this is the truth that life is worth living.

More text and video

Pope’s Saturday Homily for Nascent Human Life Vigil


Dear brothers and sisters,

With this evening’s celebration, the Lord gives us the grace and joy of opening the new liturgical year beginning with its first stage: Advent, the period that commemorates the coming of God among us. Every beginning brings a special grace, because it is blessed by the Lord. In this Advent period we will once again experience the closeness of the One who created the world, who guides history and cared for us to the point of becoming a man. This great and fascinating mystery of God with us, moreover of God who becomes one of us, is what we celebrate in the coming weeks journeying towards holy Christmas. During the season of Advent we feel the Church that takes us by the hand and – in the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary – expresses her motherhood allowing us to experience the joyful expectation of the coming of the Lord, who embraces us all in his love that saves and consoles.

While our hearts reach out towards the annual celebration of the birth of Christ, the Church’s liturgy directs our gaze to the final goal: our encounter with the Lord in the splendour of glory. This is why we, in every Eucharist, “announce his death, proclaim his resurrection until he comes again” we hold vigil in prayer. The liturgy does not cease to encourage and support us, putting on our lips, in the days of Advent, the cry with which the whole Bible concludes, the last page of the Revelation of Saint John: “Come, Lord Jesus “(22:20).

Dear brothers and sisters, our coming together this evening to begin the Advent journey is enriched by another important reason: with the entire Church, we want to solemnly celebrate a prayer vigil for unborn life. I wish to express my thanks to all who have taken up this invitation and those who are specifically dedicated to welcoming and safeguarding human life in different situations of fragility, especially in its early days and in its early stages. The beginning of the liturgical year helps us to relive the expectation of God made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, God who makes himself small, He becomes a child, it speaks to us of the coming of a God who is near, who wanted to experience the life of man, from the very beginning, to save it completely, fully. And so the mystery of the Incarnation of the Lord and the beginning of human life are intimately connected and in harmony with each other within the one saving plan of God, the Lord of life of each and every one of us. The Incarnation reveals to us, with intense light and in an amazing way, that every human life has an incomparable, a most elevated dignity.

Man has an unmistakable originality compared to all other living beings that inhabit the earth. He presents himself as a unique and singular entity, endowed with intelligence and free will, as well as being composed of a material reality. He lives simultaneously and inseparably in the spiritual dimension and the corporal dimension. This is also suggested in the text of the First letter to the Thessalonians which was just proclaimed: “May the God of peace himself – St. Paul writes – make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ “(5:23). Therefore, we are spirit, soul and body. We are part of this world, tied to the possibilities and limits of our material condition, at the same time we are open to an infinite horizon, able to converse with God and to welcome Him in us. We operate in earthly realities and through them we can perceive the presence of God and seek Him, truth, goodness and absolute beauty. We savour fragments of life and happiness and we long for total fulfilment.

God loves us so deeply, totally, without distinction, He calls us to friendship with him, He makes us part of a reality beyond all imagination, thought and word; His own divine life. With emotion and gratitude we acknowledge the value of the incomparable dignity of every human person and the great responsibility we have toward all. ” Christ, the final Adam, – says the Second Vatican Council – by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear…. by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. “(Gaudium et Spes, 22).

Believing in Jesus Christ also means having a new outlook on man, a look of trust and hope. Moreover, experience itself and reason show that the human being is a subject capable of discernment, self-conscious and free, unique and irreplaceable, the summit of all earthly things, that must be recognized in his innate value and always accepted with respect and love. He has the right not to be treated as an object of possession or something to manipulate at will, not to be reduced to a mere instrument for the benefit of others and their interests. The human person is a good in and of himself and his integral development should always be sought. Love for all, if it is sincere, naturally tends to become a preferential attention to the weakest and poorest. In this vein we find the Church’s concern for the unborn, the most fragile, the most threatened by the selfishness of adults and the darkening of consciences. The Church continually reiterates what was declared by the Second Vatican Council against abortion and all violations of unborn life: “from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care ” (ibid., n. 51).

There are cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with misleading motivations. With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism. This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being. So was Jesus in Mary’s womb, so it was for all of us in our mother’s womb. With the ancient Christian writer Tertullian we can say: ” he who will be a man is already one” (Apologeticum IX, 8), there is no reason not to consider him a person from conception.

Unfortunately, even after birth, the lives of children continue to be exposed to abandonment, hunger, poverty, disease, abuse, violence or exploitation. The many violations of their rights that are committed in the world sorely hurt the conscience of every man of good will. Before the sad landscape of the injustices committed against human life, before and after birth, I make mine Pope John Paul II’s passionate appeal to the responsibility of each and every individual: ” respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!”(Encyclical Evangelium vitae, 5). I urge the protagonists of politics, economic and social communications to do everything in their power to promote a culture which respects human life, to provide favorable conditions and support networks for the reception and development of life.

To the Virgin Mary, who welcomed the Son of God made man with faith, with her maternal womb, with loving care, with nurturing support and vibrant with love, we entrust our commitment and prayer in favour of unborn life . We do in the liturgy – which is the place where we live the truth and where truth lives with us – worshiping the divine Eucharist, we contemplate Christ’s body, that body who took flesh from Mary by the Holy Spirit, and from her was born in Bethlehem for our salvation. Ave, verum Corpus, natum de Maria Virgine!

Verbum Domini: Theologian Pope Releases Apostolic Exhortation On the Bible


It is addressed to the Bishops, Clergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful and considers “the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church”.

Pope Benedict XVI presents the depth of Catholic teaching on the Word of God in an accessible language which can be read and understood by all to whom it is addressed. It is masterful!

Verbum Domini is Masterful, Mystical, and Missionary. What is clear from beginning to end is that the current occupant of the Chair of Peter is a theologian of the highest order. He must have delighted his many students as “Professor Ratzinger”. This exhortation gives us all a chance to join them and be taught by this extraordinary Pope.

Read the article

Read Verbum Domini (PDF file)

Why the Sadducees didn’t believe in the Resurrection … and how Jesus set them straight!

The Resurrection: Sistine Chapel

Fundamentally, they rejected the resurrection due to the fact that they accepted only the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Now this is somewhat debated among scholars but for our purposes we can surely say that if something was not explicitly in the Law of Moses, they were unlikely to accept it. All the other Old Testament books such as the prophets, the historical books, the psalms, and the wisdom tradition were set aside by them as authoritative sources. They further claimed that, in these first five books, the resurrection of the dead was not taught. Most other Jews of Jesus’ time did accept the complete Old Testament, and teachings such as the resurrection of the dead which are set forth there, but the Sadducees simply did not. They were a small party within Judaism (Josephus said they were able to persuade none but the rich). Nevertheless they were influential due especially to their wealth and to the fact that they predominated among the Temple leadership. You can read more of them here: Sadducees

Hence the Sadducees arrive to poke fun at Jesus and all others who held that the dead would rise. They are no match for Jesus who easily dispatches their arguments. And Jesus uses the Book of Exodus, a book they accept to do it. In effect Jesus argument proceeds as such:

You accept Moses, do you not?
(To which they would surely reply yes)

But Moses teaches that the dead will rise.
(Jesus must have gotten puzzled looks but he presses on).

You accept that God is a God of the living and not the dead?
(To which they would surely reply yes).

Then why does God in Exodus identify himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, all of whom have been dead (for hundreds of) years? How can he call himself their God if they are dead?
Obviously they are alive, for he could not call himself their God, for he is not a God of the dead but of the living.

So they are alive to God. They are not dead.

Hence Jesus dispatches their view. For us the point is to see how forcefully and clearly Jesus upholds the fact that the dead are alive in the Lord. He powerfully asserts an essential doctrine of the Church and we should rejoice at how firmly Jesus rebukes their disbelief in the resurrection of the dead. Rejoice! For your loved ones are alive before God . To this world they may seem dead, but Jesus tells us firmly and clearly today, they live. Likewise we too, who will face physical death will also live on. Let the world ridicule this, but hear what Jesus says and how he easily dispatches them. Though ridiculed, the resurrection is real.

Editor’s note: There are many living today who do not believe in the resurrection of the body, let alone that Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. The Catholic Church, along with 2000 years of systematic Catholic scholarship and superb theology, and the most successful philosophy of life that the world has ever known, remains the living the eye-witness to the truth of the Gospels, until Jesus comes again.

Those who, for whatever reason, fail to participate fully in all of the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church have a lot in common with the Sadducees. And that’s just … sad!

Images and significance of various types of trees, as mentioned in the Bible


The sycamore, the “ficus sycomorus,” belongs to the same family of the fig tree. Its name comes from the Greek “sicon,” fig and “moros,” blackberry bush. That is, the sycamore has leaves similar to the blackberry bush and fruit similar to the fig. In Jesus’ time there were a great number of sycamores in the Holy Land. Its wood was commonly used because it is harder than that of the fig tree. Today, it is a rare tree in the Holy Land. We can find sycamores in Jericho and in Gaza. One of them in Jericho is 15 meters high. Let us remember that the fig tree is never higher than 5 meters.

During the time of King Solomon, “the king made silver common as pebbles, and cedars plentiful as the sycamores of the lowlands” (I Kgs. 10:27).

The fruit of the sycamore was considered as humble food. It is confirmed by the prophet Amos, shepherd of Tekoa: I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets. I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores: but it was Yahweh who took me from herding the flock, and Yahweh who said, “Go, prophesy to My people Israel’ (Amos 7:14-15).

Read more

A reflection by Carmen Pate, 40 Days for Life


When a former abortionist and post-abortive woman, Carol Everett, was asked what turned her heart from death to life in Christ, she replied, “It was unconditional love” shown by a man who prayed daily for her in front of the facility where she worked.

He told Carol that “God had sent him” because there was someone in there that God wanted out. She left 27 days later and now serves as Christ’s ambassador to help others. We too have been sent by Christ as an ambassador to love unconditionally those God seeks to “get out” of their bondage and sin.

In his book, “Fishers of Men,” Dr. Sumner Wemp describes what it means to be an ambassador of Christ, the King of Kings:

  • God has chosen us (John 15:16)
  • We are sent into a world that is not our home (1 Peter 2:11)
  • Our walk must match our talk (1 Timothy 3:7)
  • We must abide in Him for daily instruction (John 15:5)
  • Know our purpose — to seek and to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10)
  • We are to reconcile others to God with His authority (Matthew 28:19-20)
  • Our service is to be grounded and rooted in love (Ephesians 3:17)

Pray that we each will walk worthy of the calling with which we were called!

—————————————————–
PRAYER
—————————————————–

Dear Heavenly Father, we are humbled that you have called us and appointed us to be ambassadors of Christ in a world that is not our home. It is a calling much higher and grander than our finite minds can imagine.

We pray that your Holy Spirit will empower us to walk worthy of the calling. We pray that You unconditional love will flow through us onto those who desperately need Your saving grace. In the name of Christ who is worthy, Amen.

Visit the official site blog

New 4D video: A window into the world of the pre-born

Watch the amazing video

Submitted by Doria2

Stem Cell Treatments and Catholic Teaching

As stem cell treatments have begun to generate some positive results, the Catholic Church has come out in opposition to the use of human embryonic stem cells, sometimes referred to as fetal stem cells, for research. In 2008, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement opposed to embryonic stem cell banking while in support of other treatments derived from cord blood stem cell research and similar scientific efforts.

The USCCB statement on the subject of stem cells is grounded in two core beliefs:

  • Good cannot come from evil.
  • Human life begins at conception.

On the first belief, the USCCB asserts, “No commitment to a hoped-for ‘greater-good’ can erase or diminish the wrong of taking innocent human lives here and now.” The bishops go on to warn that the argument for a greater good could also be used to justify experimenting on those suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or other debilitating diseases in the hope of finding future effective treatments. Instead of condoning the destruction of embryos, the USCCB calls for a compassionate and committed response to these illnesses that promotes respect of all life.

To the second point, the USCCB notes that it is a biological fact that embryos are a separate beings from the moment of conception. Not only do they contain all genes necessary for human life, they are endowed with a DNA distinct from either parent. Although some may argue that a human life at this early stage of development is too small and weak to warrant protection, Catholic bishops respond that denying the dignity of humankind’s smallest members diminishes us all.

Read more at Suite101

Words of Wisdom: The Paradox of Our Times.

There are taller buildings… but shorter tempers;
Wider freeways… but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more… but have less;
We buy more… but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses… and smaller families;
More conveniences… but less time.
We have more degrees… but less sense;
More knowledge… but less judgment;
More experts… but more problems; More medicine… but less wellness.
We have multiplied our possessions… but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom… and hate too often.
We have learned how to make a living… but not a life.
We’ve added years to life… but not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back…
But we have difficulty crossing the street to meet the neighbors.
We’ve conquered outer space… but not our inner space.
We’ve cleaned the air… but polluted the soul.
We have split the atom… but not our prejudice.
We have higher incomes… but lower morals.
We’ve become long on quantity… but short on quality.
These are the times of tall men… and short character;
Of steep profits… and shallow relationships.
These are times of world peace… but domestic warfare.
These are days of more leisure… but less fun;
Of more kinds of food… but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes… but more divorce;
Of fancier houses… but broken homes.
We can choose to ignore these sad facts of life…
Or we can choose to make a difference.
Christ has no body on earth but ours,
He has no hands but our hands…
We have only one life, which soon will pass,
And those acts we perform for Christ
are the only that will last!
We must sacrifice ourselves for souls!
[ Author unknown]
Submitted by Bob Stanley

Choosing to deceive one’s self about abortion


In championing the pro-life position,
we simply say that between life and death,
there is no third thing.

You are either alive or you are not.

Abortion kills or it does not.

It is morally permissible or it is not.

There are simply some things
that do not admit of a “neutral” third position.

Between these two opposed possibilities,
there can only be “confrontation,”
distasteful as that may be to some sensibilities.

Read more

How we live each day of our lives culminates in an intense moment of truth at the time of death.


I recall the special graces associated with the passing of an aunt.

She was married but her husband preceded her into eternal life. She did not have children because she was always the caregiver of extended family.  She was in the process of dying a natural death in the warmth of the family home. It was not necessary that she be hooked up to machines; no intravenous drips of morphine or any other painkiller was needed.

We sat around her bed and conversed with her as she went in and out of consciousness.

Suddenly she said, “The room is filled with them. There is hardly enough room for all of them. Don’t you see them?  Angels are all over this room.”

I believed her because she was credible and the existence of angels is part of Catholic doctrine.

She continued, “Oh, John (her deceased husband) is here.  He is extending his hand to me. There are other family members too.  I see them.”  Then, speaking first person to her deceased husband she said, “Oh John, I want to go, but I will miss all these people. I am not quite ready please.”

This no nonsense woman of faith was utterly believable. It seemed the natural order of things for a good woman who served others selflessly all of her life.  We told her that we would miss her but we would be together again; it would be alright if she went to meet the Lord and her husband.

The next day, with her face illumined, she looked up as if acknowledging the presence of someone we could not see and then she closed her eyes and peacefully breathed her last.

Read more

Tenor Andrea Bocelli Tells a True Story About Abortion (that almost killed him)

So, for this occasion I want to tell you a little story. This is how the story goes: A young pregnant wife has been hospitalized for a simple attack of appendicitis. The doctors had to apply some ice on her stomach and when the treatments ended the doctors suggested that she abort the child. They told her it was the best solution because the baby would be born with some disability. But the young brave wife decided not to abort, and the child was born.

That woman was my mother, and I was the child. Maybe I’m partisan but I can say that it was the right choice.

And I hope this could encourage many mothers that sometime find themselves in difficult situations in those moments when life is complicated but want to save the life of their baby. ….

Watch the video

Why do Christians focus their attention on Jesus’ death when it was really his life’s examples that “saved” us?

Q: Why do Christians focus their attention on Jesus’ death when it was really his life’s examples that “saved” us? Why focus so much on the crucification when it was his life that influenced western society, not death?

A: Your premise couldn’t be more wrong!
Without the crucifixion, Jesus’ human existence would have been essentially pointless, since no matter what else he might have achieved, if Jesus had not died on the cross, we (and all of mankind) would still be eternally and hopelessly enslaved to Satan, sin, and death. In short, knowing what we know (for sure) about God’s plan for our salvation, a Jesus who was never crucified would have been little different than any other man, no matter how well (or for what) he might have been otherwise remembered.

Inspiration from a friend

Live your life in such a way
that when your feet hit the floor in the morning,

Satan shudders & says…

Oh no…. he’s awake!!”

Submitted by Robert K.

Piercing the Darkness – Good Friday

Even a casual observer of American society can tell that there is a certain sinister chaos spreading throughout every aspect of public life these days. Naturally, as it filters through society it finds its way into our homes, families and personal lives as well. The reports of monumental breakups and takeovers, meltdowns, dysfunctions, cutbacks, disasters, protests, catastrophic events, scandals, and just plain moral chaos are, shall we say, legion, and it does not look like there will be any let up in the dismantling of our formerly decent society any time soon. Public officials and the movers-and-shakers of social communications long ago divorced American culture from authentic Christian values, and the result is that modern America has found itself first wandering then running down a very slippery slope to moral and social anarchy. The darkness has settled upon us.

This idea came home to me this week when I attended the 5th Anniversary Mass of Terri Schindler Schiavo at Ave Maria University in FL. How well I remember the horrible killing scene in Pinellas Park, FL in 2005 when the combined efforts of pro-lifers and some political allies were not able to stop the forward motion of such raw evil. From the Florida circuit courts all the way up to the US Supreme Court, the corrupt judiciaries refused to intervene and even ordered her killing, with impunity. The US Congress was almost laughably powerless to help. The utter uselessness of the bishop and clergy in the diocese where Terri was murdered was a microcosm of the Church Impotent rather than the Church Militant. The thousands of calls that the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation now gets in their attempt to stop other similar killings are an indication that this same darkness is now penetrating our society at an alarming level.

Every aspect of American society is touched by this chaos: the pervasive and unstoppable corruption in government, the major media, Hollywood, academia, healthcare, and even within our own churches! All of this corruption is multiplying the shadows over our society and penetrating into every aspect of personal and family life as we speak.

What I find most alarming, as an exorcist, is the spread of truly occult phenomena in our youth culture. It used to be that vampires had to go back into their coffins with the first streaks of dawn. Now handsome young vampires are sullying the covers of every gossip magazine and tantalizing prime time audiences with their evil – and teenage girls are just swooning for them…. Don’t be fooled: the vampire culture is the spawn of the Harry Potter culture that has washed over our youth for a decade and still seduces parents into thinking it is all just “harmless entertainment.” Kids dressing up as sorcerers, blogging about vampires, dabbling in Wicca – it’s just plain seductive and evil. Our Baptismal Promises demand that we “reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises,” and that includes demons, witches and vampires!

If I were anything other than a Christian, I would probably despair of the status of the culture all around us. Yes, there are movements fighting to take the culture and politics back, but most of these are just about political power and, if they have an effect at all, they will just install another version of corruption in place of the political devils they cast out.

The reason I don’t despair in the face of all this darkness, though, is because I remember that once-upon-a-time Evil had its Hour. I am not talking about sixty-minutes of willowy darkness. I am talking about the worst crime ever committed in history, the blackest deed ever known to man: the killing of the Son of God on Calvary. The corrupt politicians, clergy and laity of the day were all implicated in the crime. Worst of all, the devil was sitting back gloating at his masterpiece of evil.

But much to the devil’s surprise, evil did not win the Day…because at that very moment of deepest darkness, the Son of God did something utterly unforeseen and caught the whole wicked world unaware: He shattered the darkness and rose from the dead! Who would have imagined!

Ever after, those who persevere through Good Friday looking toward the joy of Easter Sunday find themselves immersed in the same eternal mystery of Light. Christ has pierced the darkness and given us Hope! We can sing the great “Te Deum” hymn with the greatest fervor now in every dark hour of our lives: “In you Lord is our hope – and we shall never hope in vain!”

Sincerely,

Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

Human Life International

Faith, Life, Suffering, Death – and the Goodness of God

I had a cousin, about a year older than myself. She was diagnosed with Childhood Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis (a very virulent form of the disease) when she was only ten. In the summers I used to go and stay a week or two with her family near the South Carolina mountains to be company for her. We gained a closeness that never seemed to leave the relationship over the years. She was among the most honest people I’ve ever known.

I recall talking to her in the months before she died  (it was becoming apparent that this was the case). We were both in our forties. In the conversation the subject of faith, God, heaven, etc. came up. She spoke with great tenderness about God. I remember asking her, “How is that you’ve been in pain and crippled for 35 years and yet speak so kindly of God?”

Her answer was very enlightening: ”I haven’t always felt this way about God,” she said. “There was a time when I would wake up in the morning and curse God.” But then her voice lowered and she added meekly, “That was before I knew He was good.”

Read more

Incoherent liberalism

If illegal aliens have rights, including the right to become citizens, it should be clear that the rights they are claiming here cannot be rights that flow to them through their citizenship. For they are emphatically not citizens. The people posting the ads on the bus, the immigrants earnestly asserting their “rights,” must be appealing then to some body of law quite apart from the positive laws, the laws that set forth the distinct rights that flow to citizens (such as the right to use the town library). Now what could that body of rights be if not – gasp! – a body of “natural rights”?

We insert the gasp because nothing has been more abhorrent to the Left in the academy or our politics in recent years that the notion of “natural rights.” As the line has gone these days, “natural rights” offer nothing more than an ideology to cover the patriarchal rule of white men. Natural rights imply an enduring human nature, but we know, they say, that “nature” is “socially-constructed” from one place to another, according to the vagaries of the local culture. Natural rights imply objective moral truths. But the Left claims to know that there are no moral truths that hold in all places, and so those “natural rights” are not truly rightful, you see.

This denial of moral truths has been critical to the Left in denying the ground on which the law may cast judgments, and impose restrictions, on those matters of personal freedom most dear to them: the right to sexual freedom and abortion. But stripped of the moral logic natural rights, that “right to abortion” becomes no more lofty than the right to use the squash courts at the Club. James Wilson, one of the most notable of the American Founders, raised the question: If we have natural rights, when do they begin? And his answer was: As soon as we begin to be. Which is why, he said, the law casts its protection over life “when the infant is first able to stir in the womb.”

Read the article

On cancer, gratitude and bead jars

Mark McKinnon was living a charmed life—until his wife Annie discovered she had an aggressive cancer. The Daily Beast contributor reflects on what her valiant battle with the disease taught him about how to live.

Read the post