A post with no name

A post for the nameless babies killed by abortion

Today is the Feast of the Ascension. It is supposed to be a day of hope, a day to celebrate Jesus’ victory over death. Death has been conquered, and is a door through which we pass to eternal life… an eternity of unimaginable joy, where mourning turns to dancing, or of damnation and everlasting suffering.

With Jesus’ ascension into heaven, we begin the waiting period; we wait, as instructed by Jesus, for the Holy Spirit to descend upon us (so start your Pentecost novena tomorrow). And if our lives are not already oriented toward heaven, this would be a great day to re-orient. If the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not at work in you (all the baptized received these gifts), then it is time to see how you might exercise and grow them.

But before I had the chance to harness and indulge in the fullness and the joy of possessing this faith-filled hope, I happened to see the preview clip of some video footage taken by the Center for Medical Progress during their undercover investigation of the abortion industry. A judge had banned the footage from public dissemination, so I’m not sure how this clip was able to be released. No matter, because YouTube pulled the video.

Horrific Video of the Day
Center for Medical Progress’ undercover video of presentations and conversations at the National Abortion Federation conference/trade show 2014/2015

One article said the video was posted yesterday, but when I went to the youtube page, the upload date was early May. My point is that enough people saw the preview clip before YouTube removed the video for violating its terms of service. Abortion is that gruesome. The video is disgusting and difficult to watch, but it shows the real world of the abortion industry.

For now you can’t see the clip, but please head over to National Review, which has a good transcript of the admissions of abortion workers. (I do wonder why the video was not posted directly on the Center for Medical Progress website.) [UPDATE: Lila Rose / Live Action News has the video available for viewing. You’ll see why Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation have worked so hard to prevent the American public from seeing the undercover footage and the massive campaign to try to debunk CMP’s videos and discredit the work of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.]

When Cecile Richards makes public statements and in her videos to promote Planned Parenthood, she is full of doublespeak that echoes Satan tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden. But when these women speak to each other at their conference, they are more honest with themselves and each other.

Quote of the Day
from the video, which provides the public with an honest look at what the abortion industry talks about behind closed doors

Given that we actually see the fetus the same way, and given that we might actually both agree that there’s violence in here. …Let’s just give them all the violence, it’s a person, it’s killing, let’s just give them all that.
— Dr Lisa Harris, director of Planned Parenthood Michigan, at the National Abortion Federation Conference

Some Media Coverage of Center for Medical Progress’ Undercover Footage

Take Action

Sign the petition for Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood’s illegal sale of baby parts.

A prayer for conversion and intercession

May God have mercy on us and our country. May the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth. May we be freed from the snares of the devil. May we admit our ignorance, our selfishness, our hardness of hearts. May we repent of our killing of innocent children and lack of respect for the dignity of human life. May we have the courage to embrace the fullness of life. May we have the generosity to help others carry their burdens. May the innocents intercede for us.

To live in freedom

Quote of the Day

To live freely means to rid ourselves of the habits of slaves, just as the people of Israel were called to do at Mt. Sinai. To worship rightly, to honor parents and the sanctity of life, to deal honestly and justly with others — these are the virtues of freedom, the habits of free men and women. That is why God enjoined them in the Ten Commandments — to bind us in order to liberate us for goodness and for love.

That failure to live freedom excellently is what the Catholic Church means by sin. Sin, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, is an “abuse of freedom.” It is a slavish habit that weakens our capacity to love others and to love God. When we come to indulge those bad habits we come to see God as a limitation on our freedom, rather than the source and fulfillment of that freedom. — George Weigel, The Truth of Catholicism: Ten Controversies Explored

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Sirach 15:15–20

If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you;
if you trust in God, you too shall live;
he has set before you fire and water
to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.
Before man are life and death, good and evil,
whichever he chooses shall be given him.
Immense is the wisdom of the Lord;
he is mighty in power, and all-seeing.
The eyes of God are on those who fear him;
he understands man’s every deed.
No one does he command to act unjustly,
to none does he give license to sin.

Gospel: Matthew 5:17–37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses
that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment;
and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin;
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife –  unless the marriage is unlawful –
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow.

But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the evil one.”

Two Minutes to Virtue Mini Homily
Having a Loving Intention

Catechism of the Day: Man’s Freedom

CCC 1731–1733

Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.

As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach.

The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.”

Questions of the Day

  • What are you choosing?
  • Do you want what God wants?
  • Does death (sin) have dominion over you?
  • Are you looking for or wanting a license?
  • Do you walk in freedom?

In love, destined for adoption

9-days-bwlogoDay 9 Intercession

For God’s peace to fill the hearts of all who travel upon the path of adoption.

Scriptures of the Day

Romans 8:14–17

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Ephesians 1:3–6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.

Galatians 4:1–7

I mean that as long as the heir is not of age, he is no different from a slave, although he is the owner of everything, but he is under the supervision of guardians and administrators until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were not of age, were enslaved to the elemental powers of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Prayers of the Day
From Prayers for the Family by Kevin Nelles

For Motherhood

Loving God, who alone knows and understands the heart of a woman, I lift up in prayer blessed motherhood, the channel of all human life. As our Lord Jesus Christ himself came through the woman, may we acknowledge and honor the exalted gift of motherhood, as mothers love and serve their husbands and children.

Through the intercession of Holy Mary, Mother of God, may all women receive into their hearts the Divine call to motherhood, both natural and spiritual, and find their joy and identity in this calling.

May the prayers of the Blessed Mother be a beacon of light to all women, leading them on the path to discover true beauty, serve with humility, give of their own hearts and bodies, confound the darkness, and blind the evil ones with the light of feminine grace.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Divine Lover and ennobler of all women, who reigns forever and ever.

Amen.

For Fatherhood

Eternal God, originator of Fatherhood, I offer up to you the blessed office of Father. May the men who occupy this dignified place protect and care for their children and wives with valiant honesty, heroic chastity, noble humility, and stern sobriety.

Ignite a fire in the hearts of men, O God, so that they may respond to the Divine call to fatherhood, both natural and spiritual, and model themselves after the holy example of Blessed Joseph, Father of the Universal Church.

Through his intercession, may fathers e strengthened to flee from sin, subdue their flesh, wrestle with the powers of corruption, banish the darkness, and obtain victory over hell and its agents.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, sanctifier of all men, to the glory of God the Father.

Amen.

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That sinners may return

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Day 8 Intercession

For an end to the use of the death penalty in our country.

Question/Quote of the Day

Even if the death penalty were always imposed without error, should we support its use? We teach that killing is wrong by responding with mercy and justice, not more killing. We don’t want a government that kills when society can be protected fully by the bloodless means of life imprisonment. By fostering a spirit of vengeance, which should have no role in the administration of justice, the death penalty contributes to the increasing disrespect for human life in our culture. —  A Catholic Response to the Death Penalty

Scriptures of the Day

Matthew 5:7:
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

James 2:12–13:
So speak and so act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Psalm 51:3–19
Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;
in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.
Thoroughly wash away my guilt;
and from my sin cleanse me.
For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your eyes
So that you are just in your word,
and without reproach in your judgment.
Behold, I was born in guilt,
in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, you desire true sincerity;
and secretly you teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me with hyssop,* that I may be pure;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
You will let me hear gladness and joy;
the bones you have crushed will rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins;
blot out all my iniquities.
A clean heart create for me, God;
renew within me a steadfast spirit.
Do not drive me from before your face,
nor take from me your holy spirit.
Restore to me the gladness of your salvation;
uphold me with a willing spirit.
I will teach the wicked your ways,
that sinners may return to you.
Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God,
and my tongue will sing joyfully of your justice.
Lord, you will open my lips;
and my mouth will proclaim your praise.
For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it;
a burnt offering you would not accept.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.

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Resources

Trust in God’s plan

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Day 7 Intercession

May those who long for a child of their own be filled with trust in God’s loving plan.

Scriptures on Waiting

Psalm 25:1–5

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,
my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be disgraced;
do not let my enemies gloat over me.
No one is disgraced who waits for you,
but only those who are treacherous without cause.
Make known to me your ways, LORD;
teach me your paths.
Guide me by your fidelity and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 33:20–22

Our soul waits for the LORD,
he is our help and shield
or in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
May your mercy, LORD, be upon us;
as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 130:5–6

I wait for the LORD,
my soul waits
and I hope for his word.
My soul looks for the Lord
more than sentinels for daybreak.
More than sentinels for daybreak,

Prayer of Trust in Divine Mercy

Diary of Saint Faustina #949

Let the doubting soul read these considerations on Divine Mercy and become trusting.

Divine Mercy, gushing forth from the bosom of the Father, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, greatest attribute of God,  I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, incomprehensible mystery, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, fountain gushing forth from the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, unfathomed by any intellect, human or angelic, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, from which wells forth all life and happiness, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, better than the heavens, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, source of miracles and wonders, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, encompassing the whole universe, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, descending to earth in the Person of the Incarnate Word,
I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, which flowed out from the open wound of the Heart of Jesus,
I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, enclosed in the Heart of Jesus for us, and especially for sinners,
I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, unfathomed in the institution of the Sacred Host, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in the founding of Holy Church, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in our justification through Jesus Christ, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, accompanying us through our whole life, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, embracing us especially at the hour of death, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, endowing us with immortal life, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, accompanying us every moment of our life, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, shielding us from the fire of hell, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in the conversion of hardened sinners, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, astonishment for Angels, incomprehensible to Saints, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, unfathomed in all the mysteries of God, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, lifting us out of every misery, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, source of our happiness and joy, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in calling us forth from nothingness to existence, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, embracing all the works of His hands, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, crown of all of God’s handiwork, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in which we are all immersed, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, sweet relief for anguished hearts, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, only hope of despairing souls, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, repose of hearts, peace amidst fear, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, delight and ecstasy of holy souls, I Trust in You.
Divine Mercy, inspiring hope against all hope, I Trust in You.

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Advance with a pure heart

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Day 6 Intercession

May those affected by pornography experience the Lord’s mercy and healing.

Questions of the Day

  • Why is pornography wrong?
  • Are you as concerned about what you put into your mind as you are about what you put into your body?
  • Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Quotes of the Day

From the beginning of creation, God’s beautiful plan for human love was inscribed on the human heart and in the human body. All men and women are created in the image of God and called to love. Jesus fully reveals our identity and vocation and shows us the way of love as a gift of self. The human body speaks a language of gift and communion and has great dignity. It should be treated with the greatest respect. As persons, we are meant to be loved and not used.

The virtue of chastity allows us to gain self-mastery in the area of sexuality. It is opposed to lust (which uses a person) and instead fosters genuine love for the other as a whole person. All of us are called to chastity. In marriage, chastity takes the form of faithful and fruitful love and includes the sexual expression of that love. While sin damages our relationship with God, our own selves, and others, it does not have the last word. Jesus redeemed us and makes it possible for us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit.

Create in me a clean heart

Sexual love is a gift meant for marriage alone. “Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], no. 2354). All pornography is immoral and harmful, and can never be justified, including within marriage. Using and/or producing pornography is a sin against chastity and against human dignity. It reduces the body to an erotic stimulant. It harms viewers and does “grave injury” to those involved in its production (CCC, no. 2354).

The sin of pornography needs the Lord’s forgiveness and should be confessed in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Its use is also often linked with other sins, especially masturbation but also adultery and the crime of human trafficking. Pornography objectifies people and brings hurt and pain. It is an illusory substitute for real relationships and intimacy, which in the end bring true joy.

Create in me a clean heart

Prayers of the Day

Saint Thomas’ Prayer for Purity

Dear Jesus, I know that every perfect gift, and especially that of chastity, depends on the power of your Providence. Without you a mere creature can do nothing. Therefore, I beg you to defend by your grace the chastity and purity of my body and soul. And if I have ever imagined or sensed anything that could stain my chastity and purity, blot it out, Supreme Lord of my powers, that I may advance with a pure heart in your love and service, offering myself on the most pure altar of your divinity all the days of my life.

For the Intercession of Saint Thomas to Obtain Purity

Chosen Lily of Innocence, pure Saint Thomas, who kept chaste the robe of baptism and became an angel in the flesh after being girded by two angels, I implore you to commend me to Jesus, the Spotless Lamb, and to Mary, Queen of Virgins. Gentle protector of my purity, ask them that I, who wear the holy sign of your victory over the flesh, may also share your purity, and that after imitating you on earth, I may at last come to be crowned with you among the angels. Amen.

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Scripture of the Day
Glorify God in Your Body: 1 Corinthians 6:12–20

“Everything is lawful for me, but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is lawful for me,” but I will not let myself be dominated by anything.

“Food for the stomach and the stomach for food,” but God will do away with both the one and the other. The body, however, is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body; God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take Christ’s members and make them the members of a prostitute? Of course not!

[Or] do you not know that anyone who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For “the two,” it says, “will become one flesh.”

But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.

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Resources

 

As Christ loved the Church

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Day 5 Intercession

For an end to domestic violence

Prayer for Broken Families (Kevin Nelles)

God our healer, we lift up to you in prayer all families who are divided or broken by human failure.

We ask that you draw forth the pains caused by divorce, infidelity, abandonment, and selfishness, as one draws out a poison, and begin the healing that is needed in the hearts of your people.

May the households of humanity be places of reconciliation, forgiveness, and peace.

Lord, restore broken relationships, inspire forgiveness in the wronged, and heal the restlessness and inner pains of those affected by familial brokenness to pray at all times for your will to be done, both now and in the future.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, by whose own wounds we are healed.

Amen.

Quotes of the Day

From The Biblical Vision of Marriage, Part 4

The view of a woman being subordinate and inferior to man is a result of the fall and a consequence of sin. The Holy Father refers to that as a disturbance of that original relationship between the man and woman….

…Man is not the true and living image of God when he abuses physically, emotionally; when there is an abuse of power; when there is ridicule of women; when he lauds the fact that he is a man over a woman; when he objectifies women. That is not a man living out his true authentic manhood, being made in the image and likeness of God.

From Love and Responsibility: Beyond the Sexual Urge
by
Pope Saint John Paul II

A person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.

The person—especially a woman—may be disillusioned by the fact that over time a man’s affection turns out to be only, so to speak, a cover for desire or even for an explicit will to use. Both a woman and a man may be disillusioned by the fact that the values attributed to the beloved person turn out to be fiction. Because of the dissonance between the ideal and the reality, affective love is sometimes not only extinguished but even transformed into affective hatred.

Scripture of the Day
Ephesians 5:21–33:  a most misunderstood and abused scripture passage

Wives and Husbands.

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

“For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.

Questions of the Day

  • Husbands and wives, do you know why God called you together?
  • Does the biblical vision of marriage have anything to offer us today?
  • What does it mean for women to be a female person made in the image of God?
  • What does an authentic feminine presence in the world look like?
  • Is it a sin to divorce a spouse who is physically and emotionally abusive, after many attempts at resolving the behavior in couple’s therapy have failed? Catholic Answer

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Resources

The culture of life: a life of abundance

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Day 3 Intercession

May all people embrace the truth that
every life is a good and perfect gift, and is worth living.

Scriptures of the Day

From the Old Testament: Genesis 1:26–31

Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth. God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth. God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 8

O LORD, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!
I will sing of your majesty above the heavens
with the mouths of babes and infants.
You have established a bulwark against your foes,
to silence enemy and avenger
When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars that you set in place—
What is man that you are mindful of him,
and a son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him little less than a god,
crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
put all things at his feet:
All sheep and oxen,
even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!

Gospel Message of the Day: John 10:10

A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.

Pope Saint John Paul II’s Prayer for Life

O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living,
to you we entrust the cause of life:
Look down, O Mother, upon the vast number of babies not allowed 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 the people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God, the creator and lover of life.

Quotes of the Day

The Inviolable Value of Every Human Life

213. Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual” [Christifidelis Laici 37].

— Pope Francis, Evangeilli Gaudium #213

The Goodness of Life

“Called … to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:28-29): God’s glory shines on the face of man

34. Life is always a good. This is an instinctive perception and a fact of experience, and man is called to grasp the profound reason why this is so.

Why is life a good? This question is found everywhere in the Bible, and from the very first pages it receives a powerful and amazing answer. The life which God gives man is quite different from the life of all other living creatures, inasmuch as man, although formed from the dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7, 3:19; Job 34:15; Ps 103:14; 104:29), is a manifestation of God in the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of his glory (cf. Gen 1:26-27; Ps 8:6). This is what Saint Irenaeus of Lyons wanted to emphasize in his celebrated definition: “Man, living man, is the glory of God” (Church Fathers: Against Heresies). Man has been given a sublime dignity, based on the intimate bond which unites him to his Creator: in man there shines forth a reflection of God himself.

The Book of Genesis affirms this when, in the first account of creation, it places man at the summit of God’s creative activity, as its crown, at the culmination of a process which leads from indistinct chaos to the most perfect of creatures. Everything in creation is ordered to man and everything is made subject to him: “Fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over … every living thing” (1:28); this is God’s command to the man and the woman. A similar message is found also in the other account of creation: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (Gen 2:15). We see here a clear affirmation of the primacy of man over things; these are made subject to him and entrusted to his responsible care, whereas for no reason can he be made subject to other men and almost reduced to the level of a thing.

In the biblical narrative, the difference between man and other creatures is shown above all by the fact that only the creation of man is presented as the result of a special decision on the part of God, a deliberation to establish a particular and specific bond with the Creator: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26). The life which God offers to man is a gift by which God shares something of himself with his creature.

Israel would ponder at length the meaning of this particular bond between man and God. The Book of Sirach too recognizes that God, in creating human beings, “endowed them with strength like his own, and made them in his own image” (17:3). The biblical author sees as part of this image not only man’s dominion over the world but also those spiritual faculties which are distinctively human, such as reason, discernment between good and evil, and free will: “He filled them with knowledge and understanding, and showed them good and evil” (Sir 17:7). The ability to attain truth and freedom are human prerogatives inasmuch as man is created in the image of his Creator, God who is true and just (cf. Dt 32:4). Man alone, among all visible creatures, is “capable of knowing and loving his Creator” (Gaudium et Spes 12). The life which God bestows upon man is much more than mere existence in time. It is a drive towards fullness of life; it is the seed of an existence which transcends the very limits of time: “For God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity” (Wis 2:23).

— Pope Francis, The Gospel of Life #34

Question of the Day

  • How does God see me?
  • How do I see God? Do I know my Heavenly Father, my Creator?
  • Do I know God’s love?
  • How do I imitate God’s love?
  • In what area of my life do I most need God’s loving, tender touch?

Teaching on Human Beings

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  • Read about Man made in the image of God, man having body and soul, man being created male and female (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 355–384)
  • Read about The Dignity of the Human Person (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1700–1715)

Be made clean

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Day 2 Intercession

May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion
find hope & healing in Christ.

Quote of the Day

I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.

— Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life #99

Questions of the Day

  • What do you want?
  • Where do you hurt?
  • Do you want to be healed?

Scriptures of the Day

From the Old Testament: Isaiah 8:239:3

First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.

From the Gospels

When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately. — Matthew 8:1–3

And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed [him], crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!” When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. — Matthew 9:27–30

He was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. — Luke 13:10–13

Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”Mark 2:2–5

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”Mark 5:25–34

Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.”John 8:4–11

From the Psalms: Psalm 130

A song of ascents.

I
Out of the depths I call to you, LORD;
Lord, hear my cry!
May your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, LORD, keep account of sins,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness
and so you are revered.

II
I wait for the LORD,
my soul waits
and I hope for his word.
My soul looks for the Lord
more than sentinels for daybreak.
More than sentinels for daybreak,
let Israel hope in the LORD,
For with the LORD is mercy,
with him is plenteous redemption,
And he will redeem Israel
from all its sins.

Hymn of the Day
I heard the voice of Jesus say

Prayer of the Day

To Jesus the Healer

Lord Jesus, you opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick, forgave the sinful woman, and after Peter’s denial confirmed him in your love. Listen to my prayer, forgive all my sins, renew your love in my heart, help me to live in perfect unity with my fellow Christians that I may proclaim your saving power to all the world. — New Saint Joseph’s Prayer Book #190

To Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Lord, Jesus, you choose to be called the friend of sinners. By your saving death and resurrection free me from my sins. May your peace take root in my heart and bring forth a harvest of love, holiness, and truth. — New Saint Joseph’s Prayer Book #191

Trust in God’s Mercy (USCCB)

Gracious Father,
I thank you for the mercy you have shown in forgiving my sins and for the peace that comes from being reconciled with you and with your Church.
O God, you are faithful, and you never abandon those who hope in you. I know that my redemption from sin and death has been purchased at the cost of your Son’s blood. In return for this priceless gift, I resolve today to renew my trust in your unfailing mercy.
In times of doubt, when painful memories of past sins threaten to destroy the peace you have given, let the power of your Holy Spirit cast out all self-condemnation and give me greater confidence in your word of pardon.
Teach me to encourage others so they, too, may seek your tender compassion and come to know your peace, which nothing can take away.
I pray this in the name of Jesus, your Son, in whom you have restored me to life. Amen.

Find Help and Hope Now

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59 million had no choice

9 Days for Life – Day 1

Fact of the Day

The estimated number of babies killed in the womb in the United States since 1973 is 59 million. We have to say estimated, because not every death is accounted for. With the increase in use of the kill pill (self-aborting through medication), it will become even more difficult to know how many babies’ lives are ended prematurely in the name of “choice.”

Making a Choice for Life

9-days-2017-day1bToday, January 21, 2017, we begin the Novena for Life. Meanwhile, many will gather in Washington, DC, for the “Women’s March.” Organizers of the “Women’s March” have made clear that anyone who believes that unborn children deserve to live and have legal protection are not welcome. The organizers are not really for women or for choice. To be for choice would respect those who choose life. God is pro-choice. It’s called free will. Without free will, without choice, there can be no love. Love is a choice.

What is the choice that organizers of the “Women’s March” promote? The choice to kill. The choice of Cain. The choice of self. The choice of death. Concupiscence enables us to follow Eve, fooled by the deceiver, the devil. But God’s grace is greater. Death was never part of God’s plan for us. It came about through sin. God’s mercy is at the ready, and love can prevail. Love dies only to self. Love chooses life.

Further, as science and technology develop, the lie that “it’s just a blob of tissue being removed from your body” becomes more difficult to sell. That’s why, at March for Life Birmingham 2017, the heartbeats of two unborn children were played over the loudspeaker at the rally. As people who have bought the lies of the culture of death — as Eve did, when she allowed the deceiver to twist God’s words —encounter truth, seeds of conversion are planted.

Questions of the Day

  •  How can we build a culture that supports women & respects life?
  • Am I the kind of person a woman could come to if she found out she were pregnant and needed loving support and encouragement?

Meditation of the Day: Gospel of Life #77

77. This new law also gives spirit and shape to the commandment “You shall not kill”. For the Christian it involves an absolute imperative to respect, love and promote the life of every brother and sister, in accordance with the requirements of God’s bountiful love in Jesus Christ. “He laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 Jn 3:16).

The commandment “You shall not kill”, even in its more positive aspects of respecting, loving and promoting human life, is binding on every individual human being. It resounds in the moral conscience of everyone as an irrepressible echo of the original covenant of God the Creator with mankind. It can be recognized by everyone through the light of reason and it can be observed thanks to the mysterious working of the Spirit who, blowing where he wills (cf. Jn 3:8), comes to and involves every person living in this world.

It is therefore a service of love which we are all committed to ensure to our neighbour, that his or her life may be always defended and promoted, especially when it is weak or threatened. It is not only a personal but a social concern which we must all foster: a concern to make unconditional respect for human life the foundation of a renewed society.

We are asked to love and honour the life of every man and woman and to work with perseverance and courage so that our time, marked by all too many signs of death, may at last witness the establishment of a new culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and of love.

— Pope Saint John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, 1995

Scriptures of the Day

Then the LORD asked Cain, Where is your brother Abel? He answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” — Genesis 4:9

Indeed for your own lifeblood I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from a human being, each one for the blood of another, I will demand an accounting for human life. Anyone who sheds the blood of a human being, by a human being shall that one’s blood be shed; For in the image of God have human beings been made.  — Genesis 9:5–6

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, unlike Cain who belonged to the evil one and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous. Do not be amazed, [then,] brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. Whoever does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him. The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. — 1 John 3:11–18

Prayer: May every child know the Father’s love

Abba, Father. Forgive me for the times I followed Eve and fell into the devil’s trap of lies. Forgive me when I chose a lesser good, when my sin lead to death and separation from you. I beg for your mercy on me and my nation. Through the Precious Blood of Jesus, save us from the culture of death and grant us the abundant life found in your truth and which you greatly desire to give us. May all your children know and embrace your love.

Voices for Life: Stories of abortion survivors

Gianna Jessen

Melissa Ohden