Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I haven't time to wrte my Green post at the moment (I've been sick quite a lot and otherwise occupied these past two weeks). One or two things must be said though.
First, there are poor, developing nations that have neither the funds nor the infrastructure to care for their citizens. I would love to research nations one-by-one and write about those that are developing and those that are like Brazil:
"Speaking as the voice of the developing world," Brazilian President Lula da Silva gave a passionate speech where he scolded the developed world for not negotiating on climate change in good faith with poorer nations. He also said this conference is not about climate change, but about economic opportunities for the developing world."
Brazil is not a developing nation. It is, and for long has been, a corrupt nation. A nation that denies 98% of it's citizens the opportunity to rise above a level of poverty that no one in this country can imagine, even those who live in the Appalachians. In this country, we can choose to change our lives. Hard work, patience, creativity, faith, hope and often a hand up are all necessary. But in the United States of America, we can create lives for ourselves and our families.
In Brazil, particularly in the cities, many, many children live on trash heaps. Those who have families are fortunate as are those who live in favellas. Many children are left on their own, sometimes while they are just toddlers. They band together and survive but without the socializing influence of family and community, they become feral and very, very dangerous. There is a small middle class that is happy not to live as the poor do; mostly they are silent; the favellas are given a nice bright coat of paint just in time for Carnivale. And then there are the fabulously wealthy who have been known to hire death squads to kill homeless children as they sleep in shop doorways; one doesn't want to frighten the tourists away. Without the Church* and other charitable organizations, many, many Brazilians would be consigned to utter hopelessness.
Brazil is a beautiful country with abundant resources. But those who govern Brazil desire only their own wealth, their own comfort. Brazil and Mexico and Argentina and so many other developing nations need to look to their own misdeeds, to their own failure to acknowledge the dignity of the human beings who also just happen to be the citizens of their countries. Instead, Brazil is demanding handouts. And Europe and North America are planning to donate $100 billion to line the pockets of corrupt officials who go by many names but never provide a framework which will foster "domestic tranquillity and the common good"?! It's indecent! It's evil.
In the last paragraph of the article UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown sums it up beautifully:
"Without common action," extreme temperatures will create a new generation of poor with climate change refugees driven from their homes by drought, climate change evacuees fleeing the threat of drowning, the climate change hungry desperate for lack of food," Brown said. "Hurricanes, floods, typhoons and droughts that were once all regarded as the acts of an invisible god are now revealed to be also the visible acts of man.
That's their story and they're sticking to it. So nations have no responsibility for themselves. Instead, breathing causes all the problems that exist from warts to typhoons. CO2 makes up 4% of what we exhale with each breath. It's not a poison nor is it a pollutant. It's what causes plants to grow and actually helps filter harmful radiation. The world's climate changes because God created it to change: this is part of "the whole creation ...groaning in travail together." (Romans 8:22)
Evil men are perpetrating monstrous evil on the world. The truth is being revealed but most people I encounter are so steeped in the belief that simply living in a prosperous country is destroying the earth and that an apocalypse is just around the corner. God is no longer in charge. We are alone. Redemption is a lie. There are even those who trumpet: "It's too late to change! We're all doomed."
Yesterday I finally finished reading Sarah Palin's autobiography, Going Rogue: An American Life. I may have mentioned before that I like this woman. I will admit that I tend to like anyone who believes in baking cakes - cake may be my second favourite food, after butter. But when I learned her favourite verse of Scripture, I saw more clearly why I like her so much. Fallen Sparrow's often reminds me of this:
...God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.** (2 Timothy 1:7)
Our job is to be witnesses to the truth. God is in charge. We are not. It's as simple as that. We can wreck havoc with bombs but not with breathing. We must be good stewards of our world, we must not foul it with garbage and real poisons and pollutants (like hormones from birth control pills which actually harm fish), but we can exhale, without fear. Anything else is monstrous madness and we have been given the soundness of mind to know it. God has not created a zero sum game wherein my good prevents yours. Instead, he has given us a world full of abundance, of minds with the ability to care for the gift of this world and provide for our needs - both, at the same time. We must rouse ourselves and each from this silly dream and do our jobs as witnesses to the Truth.
* As in much of Latin America and most poor countries, many different Christian denominations minister to the needs of the poor. The Catholic Church is in the forefront (and everywhere else too) but my use of the term "Church" here includes all denominations.
** [for Nerds only] Translation from the King James Version. The RSV has "self-control" rather than "of a sound mind." Other translations use self-discipline, good judgement, sobriety, etc. Had I more time I'd conduct further research but for now, I'll depend on Liddell and Scott which includes them all but offers "soundness of mind" first. That translation is appropriate to this particular piece.
*** I can documentat the statements I've made in this post.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I've added advertisements after my posts. My big fear is that some thing I find utterly abhorent, like "Green" garbage or birth control will be advertised. Supposedly I can filter some of that out so we'll just give this a try. I may see if I can find more precise ads to replace these (like I saw an Ad for eCards from a community of the Poor Clares) and if any of you know of sources, please comment. This isn't to make money - at least not necessarily. Rather, it's to broaden things a bit.)
(NB: I don't know what happened there but this is the way it should have been.)
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
"They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger?
Will it be the next week, or the next year?
Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?
Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction?
Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?
Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.
Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of Liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.
Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."
---- Patrick Henry, given at the Second Virginia Conference, Richmond, Virginia on March 23, 1775 (the "Grant Me Liberty or Grant Me Death" speech)
You may have noticed the "Donations Now Accepted" button I placed in the right section not long ago. It was rather a scary thing to do even though I know other bloggers "rattle the tin cup" from time to time. Blogging is a gift and one doesn't charge for a gift. It makes no sense to me that I should charge anyone who wants to read my writing - at least not in this forum. But, times have changed and my tentative request for donations is now a genuine appeal.
I've been out on disability since July which has been fine because I've had some level of salary continuation and have been able to cover my bills. Now that is over and I've been trying to get straight answers from my firm re my relationship with them. If I am no longer an employee, I have access to the money I need to pay my December and January bills while I wait for my long term disability policy to begin (that begins as of 1/5/10 but won't be paid out until later in the month because firms and organizations don't do their jobs in a timely fashion). Those funds will also cover my move to Texas where the weather is warmer and easier on my joints, and the doctors I've encountered are focused on helping me get well rather than on just medicating me into a zombie.
If I am an employee of the firm, I must wait until they decide to release me and can't use the funds in my profit sharing account and those are the only savings I have left. After being out sick last year and paying the expenses so that I could make it through work this year (including $200+/week for taxis so I could get a little more rest on the way to and because I was so exhausted and in pain returning from work), I have no other savings left. I've been going back and forth for a while with my firm and may well need to have an attorney write them and get a straight answer. Fortunately, I have a friend who has been volunteered to help me.
Not too many years ago, I could just wait it out but I can't now. I'm already beginning to delay refills on certain prescriptions and visits to certain doctors - $10, $15 and $25 copays add up very quickly; I'm trying to avoid spending as much as possible. This will all be resolved: because I have a policy and needn't wait for SSI; I'm certainly in a more fortunate place than many I know. Right now though, I could use financial help.
So if my writing gives you anything good and you can afford it, I'd appreciate any donation you care to make. And if you do decide to donate, please know that I am very grateful. Of course if you don't decide to donate, you're still welcome. Please also keep me in your prayers, especially pray that I will have the courage to do the task that is before me this minute and not worry about anything else. I'll keep you updated and in my prayers.
Thanks so much.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
This article is important because it shows the attitude of those at the Copenhagen conference. I don't think most of them realize the evil they are representing, the evil they are playing with as children play with toys. The desire to control, to destroy millions of human beings, to prevent the birth of millions more, to make a world without people is madness and, at the same time, evil.
This is the revelation of what we have been asking God to heal in our world. Somehow being people who worship God, who thank God, who value God's gift of a land where God may be worshipped in peace is fighting this madness. The 40 days may be ending today but the job is only beginning; today, we have been shown the enemy and are asked if we will continue to fight.
Friday, December 04, 2009
It has been a bad day and I should be asleep but I did one last email check, found this article and realized I must post it. It's a response to why there are those who actually hate Sarah Palin.
I'm slowly making my way through her autobiography and I must say, I really like this woman. She asked God to make certain that she is always conected to Him, even if by just a string; that she would be a kite under His control. (I'll provide the exact quote when I have a chance.) How could I not like someone who has such an intimate relationship with God? And who's a mother and, often, has amazing style?
Anyway, before I begin rambling, read the piece and let me know what you think.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Every one deceives his neighbor,
and no one speaks the truth;
they have taught their tongue to speak lies;
they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent.
Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit,
they refuse to know me, says the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:5-6)
We do it so early:
"Mom! May I have a cookie?"
"No, it's too close to dinner."
"Dad! May I pleeeez have a cookie? I’m so hungry!"
"Okay, but just this one time. And don't tell your Mother! She'd say it's too close to dinner."
Result: A cookie.
Learned: If one authority says No, another will say Yes! Keep going to authorities until the right one agrees.
Skill: Lie to yourself about the existence of authority so as to protect the secret that you are your own ultimate authority; you decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong.
Abby Johnson volunteered to escort women into the facilities in Bryan, TX, she interned with the group and, after college, began working for Planned Parenthood (PP) – an organization that she felt helped women and gave them alternatives, provided them with gynecological care and reproductive services such as birth control and, when absolutely necessary, abortion. But Abby believed that women should have choices so when her Southern Baptist church “felt there was a spiritual conflict in what [she] was doing” and when it and a nondenominational one told her she could not join, Abby and her husband made the sort of choice many, many self-respecting people make today, they began worshipping at an Episcopal church that welcomed them. “Though she was raised Southern Baptist… [she] just [began] to rationalize it. [She] didn’t want to leave these women without options, so [she began] to think [she was] doing the right thing, although it [didn’t] feel right.”*
Abby worked her way up to director of PP in Bryan, TX and found herself responsible for twelve service areas including contraceptives and abortions. At PP, Abby learned many things. She learned that non-sonogram guided, surgical abortions cost about $475, that the doctors who performed them were paid about $75, that other costs were minimal and so PP earned nearly $400 each for these types of abortions; medical (RU486) and surgical abortions brought in more money than contraceptive and healthcare services. Abby learned to reconstruct the pieces of dismembered babies on a tray to ensure there were no parts of the body left in a woman’s womb; it was dead tissue. When the economic climate changed she learned that there was no need to be concerned because abortions offset losses from contraceptive and healthcare services which were being used less frequently.
Eventually, Abby was told to increase the number of abortions because PP was unhappy with it’s balance sheet. When she mentioned that reproductive and women’s healthcare services were PP’s mission, she was told to focus on getting in as many abortions as possible. Doing so was simple. PP, which had previously provided abortions only on alternate Saturdays, began to provide medical abortions every day while it continued to provide surgical abortions only on alternate Saturdays. The more abortion was available, the more women came to have them. One day, a married couple came in planning to have an abortion because they said they could not afford to have more children. They wanted to know if the mother was pregnant with twins and when a sonogram revealed that in fact the mother was carrying two babies, they were elated and realized they couldn’t abort. Abby counseled them to trust that decision. After the couple left, she was asked if she had at least collected the fee for the sonogram – she had forgotten. Abby began to realize there was a problem with PP and she was right in the midst of it.
Then came the Saturday that Abby was asked to assist with a sonogram guided abortion. Those cost more and were more rarely performed. The mother was sedated and unaware of the drama playing out around her and her child. Abby’s job was to move the probe on the mother’s abdomen to locate the child in his mother’s womb. What she saw on the screen was astounding. Abby, the mother of a three year old child, saw a perfectly formed thirteen week-old baby; she had seen the same image while having a sonogram when she was twelve weeks pregnant with her own daughter. “What am I doing here!” she asked herself as the doctor inserted the instrument. As soon as it touched the placenta, the baby jerked, Abby jerked. Then she watched in horror as the tiny infant frantically paddled his feet trying to escape. Abby realized the baby was alive and desperately fighting for his life. The doctor brought the instrument up against the baby’s perfectly and delicately formed spine and turned on the suction. Abby watched the tiny spine crumple and then whoosh! The baby was gone. She dropped the probe.
Abby’s hand was resting on the mother’s abdomen and she realized, there was a life here and now he is gone. The doctor looked at her in anger because she had dropped the probe. Abby picked it up and told herself, “I will never do this again.”
* I felt it important to change Abby's quotes from second person to third person so that her words would be directly describing her own personal experience.
** Part III coming soon.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
I tend to forget that I can only do one thing each day. Then laundry day comes around and with it I inhale many puffs of various breathing meds & am ustterly wiped out by a task that I once did in an hour and a half, early in the a.m. before running off to do so much more. Today was laundry day (6 - 7 weeks since the last one) and I am exhausted. But then I read the Sisters of Life Advent meditation & realized I could share it without demanding too much more of myself. Here it is; may God bless every one of us:
Dear Coworkers of Life,
During Advent, in contemplation of Christ’s entrance into the world, one finds light in many unexpected and hidden places. The extraordinary is clothed with the ordinary, full of the mystery of the light that is Christ. We begin with the Holy Spirit, who will always point the way to Christ. We begin with a quote from Cardinal O’Connor, who spoke so beautifully of The Holy Spirit, Our Lady and the mystery of the Incarnation.
“The first Pentecost took place within Mary and the result of the first Pentecost was the conception of Christ in the womb.”
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you. The child to be born will be called the Son of God.” When Mary accepted Gabriel’s message with her “yes”, she received the Holy Spirit, and this moment, the first Pentecost, was the moment of the Incarnation. From that moment, when she received the Holy Spirit and Jesus Incarnate, she would see everything in light of Christ. Cardinal O’Connor continues, moving from Pentecost Sunday to the time of the Annunciation…
“So when we find them on Pentecost Sunday they’re still locked together in an upper room. It’s not until the Holy Spirit comes down upon them that they receive the courage and strength the fortitude, the perseverance and interestingly we are told in confirmation, in the sacrament of confirmation, the gift of reverence. That’s the gift that Mary received when the Holy Spirit came upon her. Henceforth nothing would again be casual or small. Everything with light invested overspilled with terror and divinity. So the apostles received that same gift of reverence…”
The Sisters of Life wear a medal of the Madonna of the Streets. On the back of the medal is inscribed the words “and nothing would again be casual or small,” a line from a poem by Father John Duffy on the Annunciation, The words speak of the moment that Christ came into the world and changed everything! He is the light that shines in the darkness!
“Once Mary conceived the Word beneath her heart, she comes to recognize as never before that not one thing had its being but through Him…nothing will ever again be casual or small, but everything with light invested…”
This mystery is meant to be carried out in us, the mystical Body of Christ. As Mary and the Apostles received the Holy Spirit, we can call on the same Holy Spirit to enlighten us and show us Jesus, growing in our hearts. We can utter our “fiats” many times through the day and His light will grow within us until we become so transparent that His light bursts through and touches the lives of those we meet. We nurture Him within us through prayer, little sacrifices, and especially through gratitude. When we receive Christ in the Eucharist, we carry him ‘beneath our hearts’ just as Our Blessed Mother carried Christ beneath her heart. By regularly receiving the sacraments, especially the sacrament of the Eucharist, we are strengthened and we come to see with the eyes of Christ, with His heart. The extraordinary is found in the ordinary.
What a wonderful season is Advent, the expectation, the silence, the growth. May we all be touched by the Holy Spirit and come to see that “nothing would again be casual or small.”
PS - The SOL make the best chocolate covered toffee I've ever eaten - even vbetter than I've had in England. If you have an opportunity to go to the Advent reception (a grand "thank you" celebration for all their helpers great & small) trays of it will be passed. Eat as much of it as possible. At this point, I don't think they sell it - though I hope I'm wrong. It's amazingly delicious.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I've been ill most of today but eventually felt up to checking my email and found one asking me to take a survey which involved reading some comments on a discussion forum. It seemsed harmless enough so I gave it a whirl and quickly paged through the comments only to encounter one that made me stop and realize it was time to begin to say some of the things that have come up for me during 40 Days for Freedom. What follows is the email that I wrote as a result. (NOTE: ital = quotes from Ms. Newman's site; bold = issues that stood out for me.)
We must accept that worshipping God in holiness and righteousness in this unique place is both a political* as well as spiritual issue because we are both citizens of a particular state and of the Kingdom of Heaven. Just as we cannot separate our bodies and souls, we cannot choose between our citizenship in both earth and the Kingdom of Heaven. As long as we live on earth and follow Christ, we will be citizens of both. And here, in this particular place, of all the places on earth, God has given us the grace to worship Him freely. And that matters! To us, personally and also to the world as a whole.
In a world convinced that He has forgotten us, a world filled with despair, the USA proclaims that the Kingdom of Heaven is actually coming into being. We are a visible, physical place that others long for because they long for freedom but true freedom is following Christ and only here can we even begin to follow Him with our bodies and minds and souls. Here, in this place, we can be evidence that Christ's freedom is real. Not perfectly - it's still earth - but perhaps just enough.
* Political: of citizens or the state, civil, civic
Dear Ms. Newman -
I'm concerned about some of the things I've read on your site and wanted to bring them to your attention (in no particular order).
I ask my minority friends, how do you think that $318 million dollars could have improved your life in East St. Louis? I stand before you, to ask for your vote and support in this election — not your money — just your VOTE on November 2, 2010. The Democrats have USED YOUR SUPPORT TO STAY IN POWER AND ENRICH THEMSELVES AT YOUR EXPENSE, while at the same time, allowing your living conditions to continue to get worse. Is there ANY WAY I could POSSIBLY do less for you that the Democrats have done for you in the last 30 years?
One of the biggest problems that exists in US govt is this doing things for us. Americans are supposed to be a self-governing, self-supporting people who do things for themselves at the local level and send representatives to State & Local Assembles/Congress/the White House/etc to serve us. The service is limited by the US and State Constitutions. The worst thing any politician can do is tell us that he/she is going to do things for us.
The America of today is not the America of my childhood. Our problems have become more complicated, and our ability to solve them has diminished markedly. Our country needs NEW leaders. The culture of corruption that has taken over our nation’s Capitol is a threat to all of us. Honesty and integrity in government has gone by the wayside as our elected officials serve only those with money to spend, and who can buy whatever they want from our legislators and leave the rest of us to pay the bill.
WE are the ones who are paying the outrageous taxes brought on by the exceedingly poor management of our tax dollars. Government waste has gone far beyond outrageous. Government corruption is a rotting, bloated cow that will poison all of us if we do nothing and IT MUST STOP!! The trillions of dollars that are being wasted, spent on bailouts, bailouts that were opposed by the voters who were IGNORED by our so-called REPRESENTATIVES, have put our country in terrible jeopardy.
It should be against the law to vote on a bill that you have not read. Would you personally sign a contract that you yourself have not read? No, of course not!! Why then, should it be OK to vote on a bill, representing your constituents, that you haven’t read, that will spend millions, if not billions of OUR tax money? That’s not representation, that’s malfeasance of office ... and JERRY COSTELLO SUPPORTED THE BAILOUT AND VOTED FOR IT!!
We will never have the America of our childhoods but the founding fathers gave us (all the citizens of the US) the tools to solve the problems we face. Again, it's not a matter of leadership because we lead ourselves. It's a matter of doing it on the local level and govt is involved as little as possible. It's not that our tax $$ have been badly spent, it's not even the failure to read the bills (though that's important), it's that we are being taxed on every level and govt thinks it can take from us whenever it pleases. Representatives/servants, on the other hand, do the job they've taken on and must really convince us to allow them to spend any of our money. we need no new leaders but willing servants/representatives. With leaders, we have people telling us what to do. With reps/servants, we determine what to do.
What do you think is going to happen to us when the COMMUNIST CHINESE stop buying our debt? Think about that for just a minute
I wish politicians would think about this issue. I wish they would also realize that if they get out of the way, Americans can figure out ways to pay down the debt and go from being a borrowing nation to one that lends. The same is true about healthcare - we can figure it out.
Overall, we need the minimum amount of govt interference. We need reps/servants who will actually work on dismantling the Unconstitutional megalith our govt has become. We need to return responsibility to the states, enforce our immigration laws and control our borders, support our friends and stand up to our enemies and be clear on which is which - we need to realize that the country that came into being because we wanted to worship God in freedom still exists and be that country.
I am looking for reps/servants to support for 2010 throughout the country. I will give my $$ to those who convince me that they will actually represent me. I haven't got a great deal but there are many like me and together, we've got the ability to take this country back. If you want our support, please take a good look at the language you use (we will believe what you say - we've been taught that lesson well) and most importantly, discover what we actually want. Your site, while discussing some very important issues, represents more nanny govt. We're adults. We do it for ourselves. We'd be proud to help you serve us if that's the job you believe you've been given. But take an honest assessment of yourself: if you're a do-gooder with a plan or even just the determination to fix things for us, please don't run. Too many of those in office today began that way. We don't need more. I'll be following your campaign.
PS - I'll have Pt II of Abby Johnson's story in a day or two. God bless.
Friday, November 27, 2009
I'm going onto permanent disability and for the next several weeks, I shall be going through some financially tight times. So I've decided to add a donate button. I have no doubt God will care for all my needs - He always has. And this might be one way He chooses to do so. If you feel so inclined, I'd appreciate any donations you'd care to make. Thanks. Drusilla
Thursday, November 26, 2009
God of light and life's creation,
reigning over all supreme,
daunting our imagination,
prospect glorious yet unseen:
Lord, whom earth and heaven obey,
turn towards this house today!
God of justice in our nation,
Fearing neither rich nor strong,
Granting truth its vidication,
Passing sentence on all wrong:
Lord, by whom we die or live,
Hear, and as you hear, forgive.
God the Father, Son, and Spirit,
Trinity of love and grace,
Through your mercy we inherit
Word and worship in this place:
Let our children all their days
To this house return with praise!*
I encountered this hymn for the first time this morning during my morning prayers and thought it sums up the prayers we are presenting to the Lord during these forty days. And then I read a meditation by Fr. Richard Veras in the magazine, Magnificat and wanted to share a portion of it as well:
"Our sense of our unworthiness is not something to shun or ignore or get over. It is the very thing that allows us to experience wonder before the unimaginable gratuitousness of God. A culture that convinces us that we are the ones who independently make things happen in our lives and we are the ones who deserve all the credit for our accomplishments is a culture that attempts to rob us of God by eclipsing him behind our self-afirmation.
"This Thanksgiving let us go even deeper into the awareness that Someone is loving us. Let us be thankful for the very fact that we are chosen: chosen to exist, chosen to be baptized, chosen to know Christ in our lives. Why should God have chosen us? The less able we are to answer that question the more able we are to live a profoundly joyful thanksgiving."
I do not think it a coincidence that so many came to this land seeking a place to worship God in holiness and righteousness, to worship God in peace. I believe that that desire and our living out of it, even in slipshod, inept fashion as is often the case, have, along with the rule of law, made this the land it is: this is not Latin America. Yes there is poverty here but not the sort that is found just south of our borders. One of the greatest mistakes Americans make is to romanticize Latin America. There is great beauty in those countries but also great institutionalized corruptions and extreme, habitual cruelty. America is unique and we can either give thanks to God for His great gift - or not.
May God bless us all and teach us all to love Him and give Him the praise, honour and gratitude due Him. Have a blessed Thanksgiving day.
* © Michael A. Perry
Sunday, November 22, 2009
"Hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
who have eyes, but see not,
who have ears, but hear not.
Do you not fear me? says the LORD;
Do you not tremble before me?
I placed the sand as the bound for the sea,
a perpetual barrier which it cannot pass;
though the waves toss, they cannot prevail,
though they roar, they cannot pass over it.
But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
they have turned aside and gone away.
They do not say in their hearts,
`Let us fear the LORD our God,
who gives the rain in its season,
the autumn rain and the spring rain,
and keeps for us
the weeks appointed for the harvest.'
Your iniquities have turned these away,
and your sins have kept good from you.
For wicked men are found among my people;
they lurk like fowlers lying in wait.
They set a trap;
they catch men.
Like a basket full of birds,
their houses are full of treachery;
therefore they have become great and rich,
they have grown fat and sleek.
They know no bounds in deeds of wickedness;
they judge not with justice
the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper,
and they do not defend the rights of the needy.
Shall I not punish them for these things? says the LORD,
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?"
An appalling and horrible thing
has happened in the land:
the prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests rule at their direction;
my people love to have it so,
but what will you do when the end comes? (Jeremiah 5:21-31)
What do we do when the end comes? What do we do when we’ve been pushed to the very edge and don’t know the only way out? Isn’t that the fear we avoid facing for as long as possible, all our lives if we’re “lucky”? And isn’t that the current word on the street that most of us hear?
The end is very near.
There’s no way out.
I was recently privileged to meet Abby Johnson the young woman who quit her job as director of Planned Parenthood in Bryan, TX. One of the many things she had to say is that PP employees are brainwashed to believe that they will not be able to get another job elsewhere once they work for PP because “they do abortions.” They are told that there is nowhere to go. Told only PP cares about them. To find a church to attend, Abby herself had to change denominations because she worked for PP. Then the day came when she knew she could not stay any longer. And she found herself begging God, What can I do? Where can I go?
I have taken the phrase “Storming the Gates of Hell” as a sort of tag line for the Forty Days for Freedom movement. After reading and hearing all the “Be afraid! Be very afraid!” posts and emails and admonitions, it seems appropriate. A couple of years ago, Fallen Sparrow pointed out to me that in regards to “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”* we must remember who is attacking whom. When presented with that passage, whether from Catholic, Baptist or Anglican perspectives, the message was always that (cue deep scary voice) the Gates of Hell were attacking but don’t worry, they won’t overcome us. Ultimately, though many might fall in battle (including my family), (cue deep scary voice) the Gates of Hell would themselves be overcome. But on that day, Fallen Sparrow told me that the Church was supposed to be on the attack against those huge, more horrific than the Black Gates of Mordor , nightmare gates that I knew were really out to crush me and that got me thinking about what gates are and what they do.
Gates allow access into and out of an enclosed place. If gates are to prevail, they can only do so by being inaccessible, unassailable. Either one can’t get in or one can’t escape. If the construction is bad or enough of the wall is destroyed, gates may fall down. But as for attacking – that has more to do with the really bad horror movies I saw as a kid than reality. Gates don’t attack. They look scary. They look impregnable. Still, in any heavily fortified enclosure gates, as the Witch King of Angmar realizes, are always the weakest point. So, the weakest point of hell will not prevail against Christ’s Church. Hmmmm. In a flash I knew I’d had it backwards. There were no ominous Gates out to get me but merely my fertile and wounded imagination working overtime. And as for the real gates of hell…
On the day Abby Johnson asked God what to do and where to go, she looked out the window and saw two women who had come to pray for women having abortions and for those who work in the abortion industry.** They were a familiar sight. People came to pray whenever abortions were being performed. She got in her car and drove two houses down the street to the Campaign for Life office where she was welcomed with great joy. (To be continued.)
* Matthew 16:18 (Taken from the King James Version. I’d be happy to discuss my translation choice if anyone so desires. You may email me or leave a comment.)
** Abortion is an industry and I will address that further n the next part of Abby’s story.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I believe that our prayers and sacrifices are making a difference. I believe that our elected representatives are speaking up and representing us. I believe we have reason to hope. I believe we are doing the work necessary to become citizens who thank God first:
Fallen Sparrow & I had lunch w/ a mutual friend today. FS & I said let's say grace & our friend was pleasantly surprised and joined us in saying grace at a public restaurant in front of all those people. Perhaps he'll suggest grace next time and get into the habit of saying grace at every meal.
What if we do that next? What if we say grace before every meal whether in public or private (but especially in public)? I understand that might be difficult for some who have business meals but it still might be possible. And if it is possible, if we can be a nucleus of people who encourage others to thank God by thanking Him ourselves, wouldn't that be lovely?
What do you all think?
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Between twitter hackers and computer excitement (hd wiped out - lost everything) and two (2) new roommates moving in at about the same time, it has been an amazingly busy several days with little time for writing but perhaps that's not so bad. Thoughts have had free flow and I'm beginning to know what I want to say.
Often, I find myself radically at odds with the world around me. There is that which is obviously wrong and that which is almost going in the right direction but is off, just enough, so that it's obvious it will not reach the goal. And then there is that which has no real goal in mind but only likes to be with the "winning" team. I certainly have no patent on all or much of anything that is right. All I have is what I might call an interior compass that pokes at me when things are off and it's been poking and jabbing a lot recently. We know there are some major problems in our country and can delineate what many of those problems are. But those problems are too often with others and not with ourselves. And that's deadly. Because even if we do "fix" the problems within our government and schools and families we will have only replaced one set of problems with another; joyless puritanism could easily replace sterile licentiousness in our culture.
In my current reading of the Bible as if it is one book (and I didn't even skip through the Wisdom of Solomon - a dreary read), I am in the midst of Isaiah, "the Book of Consolation," which consists of the chapters numbered 40 and higher. God's people, who have been in exile, are coming home. When I studied the Book of Isaiah, exile had come as a result of Israel's failure to care for widows and orphans and the strangers in their midst. Studying under Anglicans in the mid 1990s, Isaiah was a book about the results of social justice first and then idolatry. Certainly both are central themes but this time I discovered another theme that permeates the book and cannot be escaped: Israel's lack of gratitude. It is their failure to thank God that leads them to idolatry: Israel must be grateful to the living God so as to withstand the immense temptations to idolatry that surrounded them in every other country and culture. It is their failure to thank God that leads them to social injustice: Israel must be grateful to God so as to remember that they came from no people and God has made them His people, that they were once wanderers in need of help and God helped them. Unless Israel remains mindful that all they are and have comes from God, unless Israel is faithful in thanking God, they will return to idolatry and social injustice and exile.
The Civil War was fought to determine whether the Union would be preserved. We are in a war now, not to preserve our Union but to determine what kind of people we will be. Thus far, this war has been dramatically different and I beg you to plead with God that it continue without anymore violence than we have already experienced. This country has much in common with pre-exilic Israel. We were founded as a place to worship God in peace. Our Constitution and our laws exist so as to prevent governemnt from interfering with us worshiping God.* How we worship HIm varies to a greater or lesser extent depending upon our religious faith, but even the founding fathers would have admonished us to thank God at all times and in all ways. To thank Him for preserving us. To thank Him for endowing us with such bounty. To thank Him for giving us a home where we can worship Him in peace. And if we are to win this war, I mean really win it, we must become The People Who Thank God. Though the world think us crazy, we must thank God. Whatever the cost, we must thank God. Regardless our denominations and other differences, we must thank God.
Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him and made him many.
For the LORD will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.
"Listen to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go forth from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples.
My deliverance draws near speedily, my salvation has gone forth, and my arms will rule the peoples; the coastlands wait for me, and for my arm they hope.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die like gnats; but my salvation will be for ever, and my deliverance will never be ended.
"Hearken to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of men, and be not dismayed at their revilings.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my deliverance will be for ever, and my salvation to all generations." (Isaiah 51:2-8)
* It is silly to imagine that the founding fathers would have had any patience with the argument that what is worshipping God to one person is, to another, a woman's right to choose and that the latter must take precedent. The founding fathers were steeped in Natural Law: any woman who sought to kill her own child would have been considered, at best, mad, at worst, possessed.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
When he encounters death, Gilgamesh, the tragic hero of the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest pieces of literature man has written, realizes there is only one thing to do, make a name for himself while he is here on earth. So the great Sumerian king builds cities and monuments so that even though he will die, he will not be forgotten. This idea of making a name for oneself is one of those things that accompanies being human; when human history begins, we are concerned, even consumed with this desire to continue even after death.
In Genesis this human desire is addressed in a profoundly different way: Abraham is convinced he will have no heir since Sarah, his wife, is barren. But God promises that Sarah will, in fact, bear him a son, that Abraham's name will be known for all times, that he will be the father of a great nation, that they will be a light to all the nations. Here, for the first time, we see how God responds to the human desire to make a name for ourselves.
The House of Representatives passed the Pelosi-Reid healthcare bill this evening even though three Democrat congressional leaders said they could not guarantee the amendments to prevent funding abortions would be in the final bill on which the Senate will vote. They passed it even though it provides for "end of life care" (death panels) and governmental oversight of medical decisions and jail time for those who choose not to participate and the wholesale distribution of suffering and death. They passed it knowing it is bad law. They passed it knowing it is unconstitutional law. They passed it knowing it is illegal and wrong.
Many of our elected officials have promised to fundamentally change healthcare in the United States. They have promised to redistribute wealth by taking our money and giving it to others as an act of law, without our consent. They have promised to fundamentally change the United States itself. These people have promised to make names for themselves. Names that will outlast their deaths. Names that will go down in history and never be forgotten.
When we are baptized into the Body of Christ, the promise Isaiah speaks is fulfilled: God writes our names on the palms of His hands. We need no longer make names for ourselves. That job is done. In Christ, we are given a Name we cannot create for ourselves. We are called as Christ's own forever; we are given Christ's Name for our very own.
We must respond to the House of Representatives. This must not go unaddressed. But we must also stop to consider that many of those politicians who voted to harm us, to harm the sick and elderly, to slaughter infants in their mother's wombs and to use our money to pay for it all are Christians and all of them are children of God. They do not leave off being Christians because they refuse to follow Christ. They do not leave off being Christian because they choose to follow their own way. Baptism cannot be undone. But we can choose damnation.
And so we must look at this and remember, choosing damnation means that we do not see that our names written on the palms of God's hands. Choosing damnation means we are left alone, desperately trying to make names for ourselves. We either accept the Name of Christ or we erect filthy monuments on the backs of slaves and infants and the weak. One may look back and say, I made that. But the monuments we construct to ourselves are ugly and destructive.
Please, please, please pray that those who voted for this bill that they know will cause great harm will hear that God is calling them by name; pray that they will repent. Pray for this nation, pray for those who are frenetically embroiled in trying to make names for themselves. And pray for those who seek to follow Christ, to accept the Name that is above every name. Pray that we will be faithful and will endure until the end.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
I have no photos of my mother. She died when I was so young. I survived with my life, with the clothes on my back - alone, abandoned, left in God's care. And God has done well. God has done very well. I might be a bitter, cruel woman intent on exacting revenge on a world that stole so much from me. Instead I am happy, joyous, full of life and wonder and gratitude. I know God loves me. I know people love me. I know my parents' faith was not in vain; my legacy is Christ Himself and He has been, is, will always be everything they wanted for me and so much more.
But sometimes, especially since my health has declined, I miss them. I miss them so much. I miss Marmar in particular. There are days I just barely drag myself through and I wish she was here with me. There are nights, such as tonight, when I can't sleep and I long for her presence. Several years ago, a friend gave me a Madonna and Child medal that I wore on a silver chain about my neck. When I felt nervous or lonely, I fingered it. Sometimes friends would glance over at me and see it balanced on my nose - I don't know why I'd do that, I just did. It comforted me and actually did remind me of my mother. I no longer have that medal.
Yesterday I went to D.C. After the rally, we were invited to stop by our representative's offices and I wanted to pay a visit to Nancy Pelosi. Many others did as well and I found myself straggling along behind several new friends. As I walked, I felt I wanted to give her something and wished I had brought a Miraculous Medal for her. Then I remembered the medal around my neck. At first I was appalled to think of giving it to her. But then I knew, she really needs a mother far more than I do. So I decided if I got in and if there was an opportunity, I'd give it to her.
We weren't allowed to just go into the Speaker's office. We were told to keep against the right wall and wait; she wasn't accepting visitors. Some said they wanted us to go away but we had come to visit her and weren't leaving. When told we could leave notes for the Speaker on a table, we began to write. I asked one of the many armed guards if I might leave the speaker a gift? I showed them my medal and asked if she would get it. They were hesitant. My new friends said she wouldn't appreciate it. But I asked, does she need it? They replied, Yes. Yes, she did need it. I wrote my note and waited.
Finally they allowed us to go into the office four at a time and sign the guestbook. When it was my turn, I asked the young man behind the desk if I the Speaker would receive the medal. He said he'd take it and pass it on. His demeanor was one of disdain, distance. Someone said the staff hadn't been prepared for this and I quite believed it just looking at that young man's closed demeanor. I took off my medal, handed it to him and told him about losing my mother and being given the medal as a reminder but that I thought Speaker Pelosi needed a mother more than I did. I asked him to tell her about it.
She does need it. She so badly needs it. I miss my medal, it's abscence is a searing pain. But neither Marmar's nor Our Blessed Mother's love are in that medal. I miss only an accustomed reminder. But what does Nancy Pelosi miss? How hard her heart must be?
I keep thinking and having the impression that she doesn't care, that she no longer values her soul. I keep having the impression that the thing to do is let her and those like her go the way they've chosen; to leave them to God's mercy and give my energy to those who simply don't know what to do in this bizarro world version of the United States.
Fasting means going without. It's been pretty easy for me to go without that chocolate as long as I don't think about it. It is not so easy to forget my medal; I feel exposed. But if that's what it takes to become the kind of person who does her part to care for the immense gift God has given me as a citizen of the United States, then I'll fast from my medal.
And I remain a hopeful beast: I'll hope God uses it to touch some person's life. Our Mother is exceedingly capable and the Sacred Heart is on the back of the medal so it's just chock full of reminders, of powerful blasts of God's love. And the Holy Father blessed it when he came to New York so there's even more powerful goodness waiting to call someone, maybe many someones back to life.
"Lord God, have mercy on what you have fashioned, have mercy on the children of men, have mercy on you own image." from the Apocalypse of Paul (4th Century)
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 FOURTH STREET NE WASHINGTON DC 20017-1194 202-541-3100 FAX 202-541-3166
USCCB NATIONWIDE BULLETIN INSERT
Tell Congress: Remove Abortion Funding & Mandates from Needed Health Care Reform
Congress is preparing to debate health care reform legislation on the House and Senate floors.
Genuine health care reform should protect the life and dignity of all people from the moment of
conception until natural death. The U.S. bishops’ conference has concluded that all committeeapproved
bills are seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience, and do not provide
adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor. The bills will have to change or the
bishops have pledged to oppose them.
Our nation is at a crossroads. Policies adopted in health care reform will have an impact for good or
ill for years to come. None of the bills retains longstanding current policies against abortion funding
or abortion coverage mandates, and none fully protects conscience rights in health care.
As the U.S. bishops’ letter of October 8 states:
“No one should be required to pay for or participate in abortion. It is essential that the
legislation clearly apply to this new program longstanding and widely supported federal
restrictions on abortion funding and mandates, and protections for rights of conscience.
No current bill meets this test…. If acceptable language in these areas cannot be found,
we will have to oppose the health care bill vigorously.”
For the full text of this letter and more information on proposed legislation and the bishops’ advocacy
for authentic health care reform, visit: www.usccb.org/healthcare.
Congressional leaders are attempting to put together final bills for floor consideration. Please contact
your Representative and Senators today and urge them to fix these bills with the pro-life amendments
noted below. Otherwise much needed health care reform will have to be opposed. Health care reform
should be about saving lives, not destroying them.
ACTION: Contact Members through e-mail, phone calls or FAX letters.
To send a pre-written, instant e-mail to Congress go to www.usccb.org/action.
Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.
Full contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at House of Reprsentaties & senate
MESSAGE to SENATE:
“During floor debate on the health care reform bill, please support an amendment to
incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights.
If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”
MESSAGE to HOUSE:
“Please support the Stupak Amendment that addresses essential pro-life concerns on abortion
funding and conscience rights in the health care reform bill. Help ensure that the Rule for the
bill allows a vote on this amendment. If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill
should be opposed.”
WHEN: Both House and Senate are preparing for floor votes now. Act today! Thank you!
Posted by heirsinhope at 11/04/2009 11:01:00 PM
Henry asks, "How can we who claim to love Christ not love what He loves?" That's my question too. And, like any five year-old, I have more questions:
Is it coincidence that so many groups of people came to this country to worship God freely? Is it a coincidence that Maryland was founded by Catholics who wanted to worship God freely? Is it a coincidence that Rhode Island and Pennsylvania and Massachucetts and New Jersey - in fact the original thirteen colonies were settled as "plantations of religion" or "holy experiments" or by entrpreneurs who worked to promote the prosperity of the church? Was the Holy Spirit doing something? Was God perhaps bringing His children together for some purpose? And if so, as their heirs, have we any responsibilities today?
Perhaps I should just ask the obvious question: does Christ love our nation?* And if so, are we required to love what He loves?
In this video, Rep. Foxx speaks of reasons for us to be afraid. I'm not suggesting we should be afraid of anything except the damnation of our souls. I do ask, does this matter to us as Christians? Does it matter in terms of loving what Christ loves?
* This question is not asking, does Christ only love our nation and no other? Nor is it suggesting that if Christ loves our nation then we never commit sins or make mistakes or foul things up. It's simply asking if Christ loves our nation.
** I'm off to DC because Pelosi's HC bill is more than a tax hike. It's a means to distribute death and suffering amongst us all. Pray for me. I'll keep you all in my prayers.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
I have a serious query: How can we hope to love the City of God if we don't love and cherish this city, where God has placed us now? Is it even necessary to love and cherish this city? Is loving and cherishing this city incompatible with longing for the City of God?
I'd love any answers, reflections, thoughts, ideas on this. There is the question Jesus asks, if we are not faithful in small matters how can we be faithful in large? Is that applicable?
Thanks for pondering this question with me.
PS - I'm heading down to DC tomorrow to join Thursday's peaceful protest against the Pelosi HC "reform" bill. Please pray for me, particularly since it's been a rough two weeks: searching for a new roommate and not feeling at all well. But I think, if I can make it, I must.
Monday, November 02, 2009
Sunday, November 01, 2009
It has been a long day Three of 40 Days for Freedom, much of it quite lovely though exhausting, and I'm squeaking in just under the wire. I'm making this post because it speaks to why 40 Days for Freedom is so important. What actually does happen if people just walk away? What if people say, No, I will not participate any longer? What if we close ourselves off from each other?
When I think of the work we are asking God to prepare us for, that is it. That we will say Yes! That we will continue to engage and hope and struggle through these difficult times, these times that so many find so dark. We know, wherever our Lord is, darkness is not dark to him, the night is as bright as rhe day. The question is, will we share that fact with those who don't know? With those who are growing more and more despondent?
Saturday, October 31, 2009
This clip is important whether or not one political. In fact, I don't see any difference between the political and spiritual. The spiritual warfare we fight has been on the physical plain since the Garden and was consumated on the Cross. We battle powers and principalities who use wicked men and women to kill infants and the sick and elderly, who use wicked men and women to try to take from us our freedom to worship God in holiness and righteousness.
So I recommend this clip and if you feel so moved, join us in Washington, DC this Thursday, Nov. 5th at noon. Wouldn't it be awesome if a group of us descended on the Capitol and prayed for our nation and for ourselves, that we might cherish the gift that God has given us, that He might heal us. If I'm well enough, I'll be there.
Friday, October 30, 2009
It is my intent to post each day for the next forty days. Today, I have been writing a post on prayer but can't get it ready before the end of the day. I may not like the feel of it but I must obey reality as much as everyone else. My joints aren't at all happy and I am terribly, terribly tired. God tends to take as He please from me, so perhaps this is the way He wants me to spend day one.*
Oh, and for those who haven't done so, I want to recommend my post on hope. Enduring, I'll stick with you no matter where you take me sort of hope is what we need.
Meanwhile know that I am praying and fasting and soon, resting for the remainder of the day. We'll see what tomorrow brings. God bless us all.
*It's certainly my pleasure and my honour that God does so. I belong to Him, what else would I want?
Thursday, October 29, 2009
So many Catholics and other Christians fail to interact in the public forum. But when power is vested in the citizens, the public forum is the primary place in which government occurs; we cannot expect a representative govenment to be responsive to us if we remain silent. And, we cannot expect a representative government to be responsive to us if we limit our interchange to those who are like us: those who belong to my faith, those who belong to my particular tradition within my faith. We can only keep the freedom to worship God if we actually participate across all levels of society. We must do real things in the real world such as speak our minds. The Internet is a powerful tool for doing so, if we know how to use it. So here's a question:
Poll: Would You Support Jim Demint for President if Nominated by the GOP in 2012?
Please vote based on what you know of Jim DeMint. If you don't know who Sen. DeMint is, here is his site site which includes videos of his speeches before the Senate and the press. Also, read his voting record (just scroll down). He's impressive on life issues and conservative issues in general.
Please click the link and vote yes or no. The poll is anonymous and is only being used amongst a few bloggers to determine the amount of support there is for Senator DeMint.
Posted by heirsinhope at 10/29/2009 02:56:00 PM
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
After air and water, food is the first, most basic thing we need in order to survive. Most of us love it, and well we should. Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven as a feast. In the developed world, most of us do not understand the power the word feast conveys. But if you’ve ever been hungry, you do.
When I was a girl there were locks on the food cupboards and refrigerator. Eating food was a crime except when, what and in the amount my foster-father determined. Until I began working at the age of twelve, I was hungry most of the time. Having a sick digestive tract made it all the worse because I often vomited and so lost what I ate. The only snack I was offered was raw apples. I just happen to be one of those rare people who are allergic to raw apples, they cause me to have asthma attacks. But my foster-father didn’t believe in allergies, at least not for me, so I gave my apple to one of my foster brothers. Vomiting meant I should “rest my stomach” so I was given two saltine crackers and a cup of clear broth.
You must understand, when I say I was hungry, I don’t mean I was politely interested in food, I was terribly, terribly hungry with a swollen stomach and thin limbs. I was very underweight, couldn’t sleep, had headaches all the time, was anaemic. I tried to feed myself by making pancakes by adding water to the flour and salt that were left out in canisters on the counter – without butter or oil, they just stuck to the pan in lumps. On those rare occasions that the cookie jar was left on the counter, I’d try to take just one or two so there wouldn’t be a noticeable diminution but always found myself sneaking back and eating as many as I could – once or twice, nearly the entire jar.* A few times I found the pantry unlocked and was mesmerized by all the food. It was beautiful and I always spent a few moments just looking at it and smelling it. You’d be amazed at how wonderful a raw potato smells or how delicious a hard green banana can be. Once I ate an entire tin of tomato aspic because, for some reason, I thought it would be the least missed item. But finding a jar of cookies left on the counter or the pantry unlocked were rare so I usually ate dry dog food. It was the only food kept in an unlocked cupboard. When my foster-mother found some in my pocket, I told her I was using it to train the dog. I even created an advertising campaign in my mind: Crispy Treats! Packed with nutrition and flavour! I could never come up with a jingle though.
When I did begin working, I spent a good amount of what I earned on food for myself and my foster-siblings. There were many lunch and ice cream cone treats. I bought snacks. And I ate – sausages on a roll, pastrami sandwiches, Hostess pies and Snowballs, candy bars, avocados, corn chips, bananas – food, amazing food. And, after my foster-mother died, for a year or so, when I was Cinderella, I was given the keys to the food cupboard and expected to keep the food safe. It is only now that I have begun to realize how horrid that was. The cruelty of giving me keys to the food and expecting me to remain hungry and to allow my foster-siblings to go hungry is unspeakable. I had reason to loathe them, to despise them, but not to starve them, just to wish they’d go away and leave me alone.
There was always plenty of food. Each day, we’d watch my foster-father eat whatever he wanted. He’d regularly bring home donuts and cake and all sorts of goodies for himself and his wife. But only small amounts of them trickled down to us. After my foster mother died, there were times when my foster-father would leave on business trips without having done the marketing. There would be no food in the house and we didn’t know when he would return. But the lack wasn’t a lack of money. It was a failure to use his money to feed us. When he left us alone, my foster brothers stole food and eventually, so did I. I went shopping. Put food in the basket just as if I was making a regular shopping trip and then bagged it in an unwatched corner. After bagging, I’d push the cart to the back and ask to use the lavatory. The manager would graciously watch my groceries. I’d spend the time in the toilet begging God not to be caught. Then I’d come out, thank the manager and take my groceries home.
I tell you this bit from my childhood to stimulate your own elemental needs and longings for food. Food is beautiful. Very beautiful. So why not give some favourite bit of beautiful food up? Giving up food is the usual meaning of the concept of fasting. It would be foolish, with no preparation, to go on a juice or water fast. But what about giving up one favourite food? Coffee or orange juice or your morning muffin or dessert? Those who are sick should be very careful about giving up food. Instead, we can perhaps substitute some food that has the same nutrition for a food that we love or forego a treat we don’t need. (I’ve decided to freeze the huge slab of chocolate I got for my birthday – I can wait 40 days to finish eating it.)
So that’s my suggestion for today. Plan to give up a food. Doing so is a way of clearing a path within our selves for the Lord. We are so separated from our bodies – there are too many of us who live in fantastic worlds generated in our own minds, worlds with no connection with the real world God has made. Such are the people who would deprive us of freedom. But we aren’t deprived. We can choose to give up some food to help us make way for the kind of hunger that we need. Because we do need to be hungry – for freedom, the freedom God has provided us by giving us citizenship in this country, the freedom to worship Him in holiness and righteousness. We must be as hungry for freedom as the pilgrims, as our founding fathers, as Christ Himself: Didn’t he die for our freedom?
[I]f my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
* Please don’t think for one moment that I was a good little girl and ‘fessed up to my thefts. When the shout rang out, “Who ate all the cookies!” I kept my mouth closed and allowed one of my foster siblings to take the blame and the punishment.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
At the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen from December 7 through December 18, a treaty will be offered, in which signatories cede their sovereignty to a world government, one that does not yet exist and for which we will have no vote. First, and remember this, this is the United States so President Obama's signature is not enough to cede sovereignty, the treaty must be ratified by two-thirds of both houses of Congress. So we won’t immediately find ourselves ruled by the U.N. But his signature would send the message that many Americans actually want world government, that many of us want to give up governing ourselves and be governed by U.N. committees that we aren’t allowed to elect.
We live in a republic. It’s not a democracy though we do have a representative form of government. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a republic as a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law. We hold the supreme power. We govern ourselves. Our elected officials and representatives serve us. We, ourselves, are responsible for our public lives (and private too) within the boundaries of the Constitution of the United States of America. Though Catholics (and other Christians) are taught to obey the state, what do we do when we are the state? The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:
1915 As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life. The manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another. "One must pay tribute to those nations whose systems permit the largest possible number of the citizens to take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom."(1)
We live in the nation where “the largest possible number of the citizens  take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom.” That’s the gift God has given American citizens. And we are responsible to Him for what we do with this gift. We must decide whether we will be the light of the world, [a] city set on a hill or if we will set our light under a bushel. We must decide if we will let all see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven. This is a Catholic issue. This is a Baptist issue. It is a Methodist and Evangelical and Non-denominational issue. This is a Christian issue. This is an issue of what we are in our very essence, creatures whose work is to glorify God.
We are in a time of great anxiety and fear: there is much corruption in both parties; we are governed by bullies and thugs, by the greedy and the selfish and the envious. In fact, the exceptions are those who humbly serve us. Along with the freedom God has given us comes the responsibility to act to address the fraud and corruption that “are incompatible with the requirements of justice.”(2) Corruption is not a party issue, it is a human issue, an issue of original sin. I believe many of us want to act but we don’t really know what to do. From this day, I pledge to make this blog a place that points out actions we can take. Often, they will be things I myself am doing. We all know I’m sick so if I can do it, then practically anyone else can too. Fallen Sparrow is also working on this project with me (3) and in fact suggested the first act.
And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. (Matthew 4:2)
Let’s begin with a 40 Day Fast For Freedom. Let’s become hungry too. Hungry to do the jobs God has given us, to do the work for freedom. It’s quite simple: the United Nations Climate Change Conference begins on December 7. On October 30th, we begin 40 days of fasting, sacrifice and prayer for freedom. Our fast will culminate on December 8th, which Catholics and some other Christians celebrate as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We might pray the Rosary, or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or the Lord's Prayer, pray extemporaneously, or just set aside a period of five or ten minutes each day to pray the Psalms: Psalm 127 comes to mind first. But also Psalms 23, 51, 54, 55 and 138 through 143 come to mind as particularly appropriate. People might come together in groups to pray (and groups are a powerful way to battle fear).
Fasting and sacrifice can be just as simple. For those same 40 days, give up a an hour of TV to read Scripture. Spend time writing or calling your Congressman and Senators (4) instead of going shopping. Give up a favourite food or beverage. Choose something simple to do or give up for the next 40 days. Follow our Lord into the desert so that we might each be prepared to do the job of preserving the freedom He has given us. Copy the people of Nineveh whom our Lord praised.(5) Let’s join together as a nation in prayer, sacrifice and fasting humbly begging God to grant us what we need to reclaim and preserve our freedom.
Let us make a special offering of ourselves, through prayer and sacrifice, on November 3rd, election day. Several important elections are taking place that day throughout the country: governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey, a special Congressional election in New York State, a gay marriage ballot question in Maine, and countless local and municipal elections nationwide. Pray that God's will and a spirit of freedom guide the electorate in those races.
We have been promised freedom. The freedom to worship God in holiness and righteousness. That’s why the pilgrims came to these shores, for the freedom to worship God in holiness and righteousness. That’s why we have the first amendment to the Constitution, that we might be free to worship God in holiness and righteousness. And we know, if we think about it for the merest second, most of the world does not have such freedom. Most of the world is constrained to worship God as their states dictate. Why would we trust those who do not even allow their own citizens the freedom to worship God in holiness and righteousness with imposing a world government on us? How foolish we would be to trade the freedom God has given us for the tyranny of the United Nations.
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people,
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to perform the mercy promised to our fathers,
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath which he swore to our father Abraham,
to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
through the tender mercy of our God,
when the day shall dawn upon us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace." (Luke 1:68-79)
(1) The Catechism of the Catholic Church
(2) Please make further suggestions for prayers in the comments box.
(3) Others, who would like to participate, please email me @ allisurdatgmaildotcom (replace the usual)
(4) You can find your representatives at: http://www.govtrack.us/
(5) Matthew 12:41
Friday, October 23, 2009
Every few years, I read the entire Bible as if it is one book. Beginning with Genesis, I continue on through Revelations. It is a practice I began when I was just five, before anyone taught me that I was supposed to understand what I read before I read it. Perhaps that first experience of reading something that I couldn't understand very well prepared me to ignore my teachers much of the time, which is what I usually did at least until I became a wise teenager. They didn't make much sense and most of them didn't seem to konw God (my litmus test for wisdom). I tried to take the knowledge they could impart and use it to go my own way - I wasn't an easy child.
I strongly reccomend reading the Bible in this fashion as well as studying particular books, reading the lessons in the Divine office, reading and rereading particular, perhaps favourite passages - as well as reading Scripture any way you normally would. One finds the Bible is exciting, more exciting than any novel. It's a history of God's relationship with His people. The Bible shows us so much about them and how they are just like us. It is filled with human beings who are as wicked as we are, as good as we are, significantly better than we are - we can see that we are God's people; He has chosen to continue the story in our lives. The Bible belongs to us and we would be wise to listen to what God is telling us through it.
I am a very fast reader and usually make it through the entire Bible in a month to six weeks. Because my illness affects memory, concentration and other cognitive functions, it will probably take me two years or more this time - I began sometime last year and am only now at Isaiah. That seems to be a blessing because my limited focus is on one chapter or less at each reading and new things jump out at me, old favourites reveal new depths. Isaiah is one of my all time favourite books. A portion of the chapter I read this morning seems quite timely so here it is. Read and be refreshed. May God bless all those who come here.
 "I, I am he that comforts you;
who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
of the son of man who is made like grass,
 and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth,
and fear continually all the day
because of the fury of the oppressor,
when he sets himself to destroy?
And where is the fury of the oppressor?
 He who is bowed down shall speedily be released;
he shall not die and go down to the Pit,
neither shall his bread fail.
 For I am the LORD your God,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar --
the LORD of hosts is his name.
 And I have put my words in your mouth,
and hid you in the shadow of my hand,
stretching out the heavens
and laying the foundations of the earth,
and saying to Zion, `You are my people.'"
 Rouse yourself, rouse yourself,
stand up, O Jerusalem,
you who have drunk at the hand of the LORD
the cup of his wrath,
who have drunk to the dregs
the bowl of staggering.
 There is none to guide her
among all the sons she has borne;
there is none to take her by the hand
among all the sons she has brought up.
 These two things have befallen you --
who will condole with you? --
devastation and destruction, famine and sword;
who will comfort you?
 Your sons have fainted,
they lie at the head of every street
like an antelope in a net;
they are full of the wrath of the LORD,
the rebuke of your God.
 Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted,
who are drunk, but not with wine:
 Thus says your Lord, the LORD,
your God who pleads the cause of his people:
"Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering;
the bowl of my wrath
you shall drink no more;
 and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,
who have said to you,
`Bow down, that we may pass over';
and you have made your back like the ground
and like the street for them to pass over." (Isaiah 51:12-23)
We average, ordinary Americans have been given a priceless gift, American citizenship. As part of that priceless gift, we average, ordinary American ciizens have been given the responsibility to govern ourselves. As a child in grammar school, I was taught that this country is a democracy. That is not true. We do have a democratic form of government but actually, we are citizens of a republic.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a republic as a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law. The supreme power rests with us. We elect our representatives and they are responsible to us which is rather difficult to take in: we've been taught to obey the state. But it turns out, we are the state. So whom do we obey? Well we haven't been left to do exactly as we please. Our republic is a nation of laws and most particulary, we live within the boundaries of the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution is another priceless gift.
To be good Christians, we must accept the gifts God has given us. And the responsibilities that go along with them. If we don't, we fail to accept God's gifts; if we will not rule ourselves, we will be ruled by men such as this one*:
Let us remember that God does not give gifts because we are worthy of them but rather because He loves us, rather for the glory of His name, so as to make us able to "declare [His] glory among the nations." We haven't been doing so well at that one either but I honestly believe if we will govern ourselves as our founding fathers conceived, we will begin to declare His glory.
As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life. The manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another. "One must pay tribute to those nations whose systems permit the largest possible number of the citizens to take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom."**
* Video of Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton
** The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Para. 1
Posted by heirsinhope at 10/23/2009 12:25:00 AM
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I can't say it better (and I'm too tired to try):
Tomorrow, the FCC votes on "what it calls a "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" (NPRM) on Net Neutrality. In the event the NPRM passes, it will trigger a comment period in which the public will be allowed to file opinions.
"The Internet has become a powerful communications and economic force because it has been free from government interference. To make sure the power and promise of the Internet continues, we need to keep it free of government interference.
We oppose three basic threats to Internet Freedom:
- and any attempt by the United Nations to manage the Internet"
This concerns every one of us who uses the Internet. Please read this, sign the petition and follow the link (and try) to comment on the FCC's website. (I've tried all week and can never get through.) Thanks and God bless.
Posted by heirsinhope at 10/21/2009 10:31:00 PM
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Praying and fasting and suffering don't let us off informing ourselves and exercizing our responsibilities as citizens of the United States. So watch this video and really take in what he is saying - at the G20 conference, Obama ceded the sovreignity over our economy to the IMF. If you don't understand the terminology, do the research, ask questions, invest some of your frittering away time on becoming an awake and aware citizen and on learning what all this means to us as Americans and as Catholics.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
At [the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in] Copenhagen, this December, weeks away, a treaty will be signed. Your president will sign it. Most of the third world countries will sign it, because they think they’re going to get money out of it. Most of the left-wing regime from the European Union will rubber stamp it. Virtually nobody won’t sign it.
I read that treaty. And what it says is this, that a world government is going to be created. The word “government” actually appears as the first of three purposes of the new entity. The second purpose is the transfer of wealth from the countries of the West to third world countries, in satisfication of what is called, coyly, “climate debt” – because we’ve been burning CO2 and they haven’t. We’ve been screwing up the climate and they haven’t. And the third purpose of this new entity, this government, is enforcement.
How many of you think that the word “election” or “democracy” or “vote” or “ballot” occurs anywhere in the 200 pages of that treaty? Quite right, it doesn’t appear once. So, at last, the communists who piled out of the Berlin Wall and into the environmental movement, who took over Greenpeace so that my friends who funded it left within a year, because [the communists] captured it – Now the apotheosis as at hand. They are about to impose a communist world government on the world. You have a president who has very strong sympathies with that point of view. He’s going to sign it. He’ll sign anything. He’s a Nobel Peace Prize [winner]; of course he’ll sign it.
And the trouble is this; if that treaty is signed, if your Constitution says that it takes precedence over your Constitution (sic), and you can’t resign from that treaty unless you get agreement from all the other state parties – And because you’ll be the biggest paying country, they’re not going to let you out of it.
So, thank you, America. You were the beacon of freedom to the world. It is a privilege merely to stand on this soil of freedom while it is still free. But, in the next few weeks, unless you stop it, your president will sign your freedom, your democracy, and your humanity away forever. And neither you nor any subsequent government you may elect will have any power whatsoever to take it back. That is how serious it is. I’ve read the treaty. I’ve seen this stuff about [world] government and climate debt and enforcement. They are going to do this to you whether you like it or not.
But I think it is here, here in your great nation, which I so love and I so admire – it is here that perhaps, at this eleventh hour, at the fifty-ninth minute and fifty-ninth second, you will rise up and you will stop your president from signing that dreadful treaty, that purposeless treaty. For there is no problem with climate and, even if there were, an economic treaty does nothing to [help] it.
So I end by saying to you the words that Winston Churchill addressed to your president in the darkest hour before the dawn of freedom in the Second World War. He quoted from your great poet Longfellow:
Sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
Lord Monckton received a standing ovation and took a series of questions from members of the audience. Among those questions were these relevent to the forthcoming Copenhagen treaty:
Question: The current administration and the Democratic majority in Congress has shown little regard for the will of the people. They’re trying to pass a serious government agenda, and serious taxation and burdens on future generations. And there seems to be little to stop them. How do you propose we stop Obama from doing this, because I see no way to stop him from signing anything in Copenhagen. I believe that’s his agenda and he’ll do it.
I don’t minimize the difficulty. But on this subject – I don’t really do politics, because it’s not right. In the end, your politics is for you. The correct procedure is for you to get onto your representatives, both in the US Senate where the bill has yet to go through (you can try and stop that) and in [the House], and get them to demand their right of audience (which they all have) with the president and tell him about this treaty. There are many very powerful people in this room, wealthy people, influential people. Get onto the media, tell them about this treaty. If they go to www.wattsupwiththat.com, they will find (if they look carefully enough) a copy of that treaty, because I arranged for it to be posted there not so long ago. Let them read it, and let the press tell the people that their democracy is about to be taken away for no good purpose, at least [with] no scientific basis [in reference to climate change]. Tell the press to say this. Tell the press to say that, even if there is a problem [with climate change], you don’t want your democracy taken away. It really is as simple as that.
Do read the entire treaty. Here is a most relevant excerpt (I've left in their editorializing and emphasis since they're helpful):
38. The scheme for the new institutional arrangement under the Convention will be based on three basic pillars: government; facilitative mechanism; and financial mechanism, and the basic organization of which will include the following:
World Government (heading added)
a) The government will be ruled by the COP with the support of a new subsidiary body on adaptation, and of an Executive Board responsible for the management of the new funds and the related facilitative processes and bodies. The current Convention secretariat will operate as such, as appropriate.
To Redistribute Wealth (heading added)
b) The Convention’s financial mechanism will include a multilateral climate change fund including five windows: (a) an Adaptation window, (b) a Compensation window, to address loss and damage from climate change impacts [read: the "climate debt" Monckton refers to], including insurance, rehabilitation and compensatory components, (c) Technology window; (d) a Mitigation window; and (e) a REDD window, to support a multi-phases process for positive forest incentives relating to REDD actions.
With Enforcement Authority (heading added)
c) The Convention’s facilitative mechanism will include: (a) work programmes for adaptation and mitigation; (b) a long-term REDD process; (c) a short-term technology action plan; (d) an expert group on adaptation established by the subsidiary body on adaptation, and expert groups on mitigation, technologies and on monitoring, reporting and verification; and (e) an international registry for the monitoring, reporting and verification of compliance of emission reduction commitments, and the transfer of technical and financial resources from developed countries to developing countries. The secretariat will provide technical and administrative support, including a new centre for information exchange [read; enforcement].
We must do everything we can, more than we think we can to certain that this is not signed. We can and will cast off the evil and mischief that is being perpetrated by both parties in this country. And we must become vigilant so that it doesn't seep in again. But the evil that can be unleashed by a treaty that would deprive us of our sovreignity is unthinkable. This is truly scary stuff (and I don't scare easily). If you agree, start making a lot of noise. I've emailed and tweeted everyone I can think of. Please do the same. And don't stop. Make this the topic of conversation for as long as necessary. Let's make it clear that we refuse to become a party to any treaty on climate change without the full consent of the actual people of the United States of America.
We are not serfs. Our elected officials do not reign over us and take care of us since we're unable to care for ourselves. Neither are we blind. And we must not be silent. This climate change garbage has gone far enough. Let's pray, yes! And let's also use every talent God has given us, even if it's just a soft whisper, to do something about it!