O Rex Gentium

In a year I have a new readership base. The O Antiphons are my favorite preparation to Christmas and I wanted to share these short posts I have from previous years. Please check back through the rest of the week for a new reflection each day. Minor edits have been made.

O King of the nations,

and their desire,

the cornerstone making both one:

Come and save the human race,

which you fashioned from clay.

Between Genesis chapter 1 and 2 we have the great accounts of how God created the human race.  Whether you believe that we were originally created from clay or not, There is no doubt that we are fashioned from our beginning by God.

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know.

Psalms 139: 13-14

It is not that we are born and forgotten but that we are loved even greater because we are created in the image and likeness of God. While people will often remind us that we are male and female, all different ethnicities and different, it does not diminish our value as human beings.

Being made in the image and likeness of God, comes from our very souls. Our souls are created to live on after our bodies decay. Our souls are immortal, they have a definite beginning and will have no end. This is similar to God who is eternal, He has no beginning and he has no end.

That being said St. Augustine reminds us “that our hearts are restless, until we rest in thee, O Lord.” This echos the greatness that every person is created in, from natural conception to natural death.

With two days until the vigil, please pray for those who have passed and are able to fully see the greatness of God this Christmas.

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O Clavis David

In a year I have a new readership base. The O Antiphons are my favorite preparation to Christmas and I wanted to share these short posts I have from previous years. Please check back through the rest of the week for a new reflection each day. Minor edits have been made.

O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel;

you open and no one can shut;

you shut and no one can open:

Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,

those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

The Key of David actually doesn’t remind me to look backwards but rather to look forwards.

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Matthew 16: 18-19

Jesus himself knew that he was coming to be the covenant for many. He knew his death would be opening of the gates of Heaven for all. Growing up, the church I went to incorporated icons into the liturgical seasons. Although this isn’t the exact icon that would be present at times in our parish, the story it tells is the same. Our resurrected Savior has come, and he is also raising those who have already died to their new lives. Traditionally, it is believed that Adam was the first person that Jesus raised to this new life.

Those who died in faith prior to the death of Jesus were held as prisoners in their death. They were not held in Hell as we think of it, but they were not allowed to enter Heaven either. The faithful departed existed in a “lesser hell” that one priest explained to me was like a huge waiting room at the doctor’s office and the wait just kept getting longer and longer. They were waiting for their Diving Physician to render the final blow on death.

So too now we wait for him to come again. We wait for a time of peace, joy, hope and love. We wait for a place where we hear this:

“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God]. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.” The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.”

Revelations 21: 3 – 5

Come O Key of David, for we wait anxiously for you.

A Ripple Effect

This time of year often encourages both sides of the abortion debate to look at precedence, necessity, legality, current and future effects of abortion. A great blog post has been written by Dr. Timothy Shaughnessy over at Truth and Charity. Dr. Shaughnessy is a doctor and professor of Economics at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.

The math person in me looks  at the numbers which Dr. Shaughnessy presents makes my little math brain turn.

The problem is clear: in 1945 there were almost 42 workers for every Social Security recipient, but now one recipient is funded by only three workers. Of course, post-boomer generations have fewer births, and thus have to support more retirees, because so many of them are aborted (about 52 million in the US since Roe v. Wade). Compare this with the fact that in 2010 there were about 157 million workers paying to support 53 million Social Security recipients.

“Some Economic Consequences of Abortion” – Truth and Charity 1/17/2012

I look at the numbers in comparison, in 1942 the numbers looked like this 42 : 1, today they look like this 3 : 1. In seventy years the work force has depleted 14 times, that’s a total of 1400 percent. Yes, that includes the American population becoming stable after the Baby Boom and Vietnam War. Yikes!

At this point according to www.numberofabortions.com  53,483,681 abortions have been preformed in the United States alone since Roe V. Wade in 1973. This website bases their estimates on numbers from the Guttmacher Institute and the Center For Disease Control. These are numbers that I understand and that also shock me.

Regardless of numbers, there is no means that I can justify the necessity or desire for an abortion. I do not know what weight my voice will bear. I am not a mother, I have never been pregnant, I never have been in a situation where an abortion “may” be an option. However, I am a woman, I desire to be a mother, I feel confused about why women seek abortion as their option. What I do know will be the rest of my blog post.

1.     Life begins at conception. There is an entire field of science devoted to the study of the embryo in bilateral animals. This includes animals who are mammals, birds, fish and most insects. They all agree that the embryo is alive at fertilization. That being said, two humans can only have a human offspring. Their embryo/fetus is human as well.

2.     Merriam – Webster defines abortion as the following

1 : the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus: as
a: spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation — compare miscarriage
b : induced expulsion of a human fetus
c: expulsion of a fetus by a domestic animal often due to infection at any time before completion of pregnancy — compare contagious abortion
2:monstrosity

http://www.Merriam-Webster.com – Abortion (Emphasis mine)

3.      Blessed Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae states the following:

To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin” (Jn 8:34).

Having the ability to make the legal choice to have an abortion does not remove the alignment of the act. Just because something has been labeled as legal does not mean that it is the termination of an unprotected life is any less grave.

4.     To claim to be pro-life is not only to say that you are against abortion but you respect life in all forms from natural conception to natural death. Situations such as IVF, Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, Death Penalty, and Do Not Resuscitate Orders also need to be addressed. (and perhaps in another blog post)

5.     There are other options besides abortions. There are agencies and people in the United States who are devoted to helping women who have “unwanted” pregnancies. These include two online resources are www.adoption.com and www.birthright.org. There are those who are willing to pay for the expenses of adopting a child.

I am only one voice and there is so much that can be said about abortion.  So I leave you with this from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.

CCC – 2270

P.S. At the conclusion of writing this blog post 53,483,828 abortions have been preformed in the United States.

Call to Arms

Lately I’ve been busy with a myriad of different youth events, NCYC, Thanksgiving suppers, service events, classes, meetings, planning and stuff. A lot of it is busy work but it is busy work I enjoy, most of the time, however there are issues that get brought up that require some more immediate attention. Things get set aside, projects delayed and occasionally there are times that spur you to action.

There is one woman who has set out to make difference. “The Guiding Star Project is the next stage of the pro-woman movement. Join us in creating holistic, comprehensive centers nationwide that provide support for natural means of family planning, fertility care, childbirth, breastfeeding, and family life.” Her dream is beautiful and has a true purpose.

I love getting their updates and knowing what they are working on. I think their work is valuable and is in direct opposition to the “Culture of Death” that has permeated first world countries to the core. I was shocked to find this as a Facebook update today.

We were contacted today by one of our friends in Ohio who brought to our attention that the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) is now promoting an ad Campaign sponsored by the local abortion provider Preterm. The movement called “My abortion, My life” seeks to “Help people see abortion for what it is: a normal and necessary part of women’s reproductive lives and health.”

The Guiding Star Project (emphasis mine)

“A normal and necessary part of women’s reproductive lives and health?” First may I be so bold to ask what makes abortion normal of any woman’s life? Google, “define abortion” and this is what you find

a·bor·tion/əˈbôrSHən/

Noun:

1. The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy.

2. A miscarriage.

It is debatable that abortion by its secondary definition is normal. By normal I include circumstances such as illness of the mother, pre-exsisting conditions, and unknown reasons leading to a natural end to human life. There is pain and suffering in the result of a miscarriage but through the whole duration of a pregnancy that ends in a miscarriage there is dignity of human life and design.

The primary definition of abortion, “the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy” (emphasis mine) is where we can call for an honest look at abortion. I am also looking at the syntax used in these definitions.

Thesaurus.com lends me some help, the synonyms for deliberate include the following: advised, cold-blooded, designed, meticulous, planned, predesigned, premeditated, reasoned, scrupulous, thought out, voluntary, and willful.

You can see the full list here http://thesaurus.com/browse/deliberate

One last call to Google for help, define murder.

mur·der/ˈmərdər/

Noun: The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

Verb: Kill (someone) unlawfully with premeditation.

The only difference between abortion and murder, by the definitions, is a question of legality. Murder is legally wrong while abortion is protected by Roe v. Wade, 1973.

Regardless of where you stand on the position of abortion, I think we can agree that an abortion is a serious choice that requires a lot of thought and preparation. I do not know of a single woman who has entered into a clinic seeking an abortion on a whim. The choice of whether a person seeks an abortion or not takes thought and time.

I agree with Preterm’s stance that abortion does need to be discussed in an open forum. That is all I agree with Preterm about. However, to call an abortion a “natural and necessary” part of a woman’s life absolutely disgusts me. Abortion by its very nature dares to end a life with a variety of different implements or chemicals by changing a woman’s body to end a pregnancy in a horrific nature.

Here are some of the folks I have mentioned.

The Guiding Star Project:

Website: www.theguidingstarproject.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheGuidingStarProject

My Abortion My Life

Website: http://www.myabortionmylife.org/

Rachel’s Vineyard: Catholic Counseling for Post Abortion

Website: www.­rachelsvineyard.­org

Sad Day

Blogs are great. I can be completely anonymous, keep things bottled up and only share the tidbits that are juicy, scandalous or just plan cool. However readers would find themselves being completely deluded by a master storyteller. Well lucky for you I am not that great of a storyteller. I have a life and in that life really amazing things and really cruddy things happen and occasionally at the same same time. I know that I promised a post on the Catholic Liturgy but that got placed on the back burner for a little bit.

The name of this post really seems to put the day into perspective. Yesterday wasn’t good. At the same time I can’t say it was bad. I had many moments of great laughter and joy and more moments of profound humility and sorrow. All in all, I had a sad day.

Yesterday my world got considerably smaller. I lost a giant of a man who truly influenced my life in many many ways. On September 8, 2011, my grandfather passed away.

He is a great man with a heart of gold, stories for any occasion, and a love for the outdoors. He taught me how to play cribbage, golf and learn to enjoy the wisdom that anyone has to share. He is amazing and in a short post, I cannot share everything that my heart is processing. I am in full fledged grief and I am finding consolation that I can even say that.

While there is a lot I can share about my grandpa, as I am sitting here writing this, I can’t help but think of Mary presenting Jesus in the Temple and the prophet Simeon speaking to Mary.

and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and you yourself a sword shall pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Mark 2:34-35

At this point Jesus was only 8 days old and being prepared for Circumcision. All the events and visits surrounding His birth were still fresh in Mary’s heart. Things that she would “treasure in her heart” forever. Events that during Jesus’s persecution, torture and death, although Mary too was suffering, she could hold onto as a tangible reminder of the happiness she had with her Son. It doesn’t mean that at those times when Mary’s heart was sore with the pain only a mother could feel. These memories gave her a gentle reminder that there was a reason for His suffering.

My heart also yesterday was crushed. After seeing someone I loved dearly crushed by dementia and other illnesses, he passed away. I suffer now but find that the memories of fishing, walking the road to the mine gate, sitting in the golf cart and listening to his wild stories while playing cards offer me a peace that couldn’t be from anywhere other than the heart of God. My grandpa wasn’t destined for the rise and fall of many but was destined to be my grandpa as I was to be his only grandchild.

While it’s true that I am hurt emotionally and I’m pausing occasionally as I scrounge for some kleenex, I have a restless joy and hope. I know that he is no longer suffering and that he has seen the face of God and borne witness to his life. I have faith that he is in Purgatory because his sins have been forgiven through Extreme Unction. There is nothing else I as a Catholic can do but pray for him and have masses offered for him in order to enter Heaven sooner. The ball is in my court and it is up to me and my family who are living to do the dirty work now.

I am sure that I will have more peace after the funeral, which will be sometime next week. I thank my family and friends for their support and prayers. Rest assured that you all have mine as well.

Requiem en Pacem Grandpa.