Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A New Experiment: What the Church Really Teaches on Socialism

I don't usually link to sites such as TFP Student Action because so often they are soliciting for funds. There are certain causes I believe in supporting but many sites seem to be part of the increasing the numbers of mail in my inbox & I don't want that to happen to you. This post doesn't ask for money & provides information that every Catholic ought to know. Namely, what the Church really teaches on socialism & those ideologies that are similar to socialism (i.e. fascism). There are links to excerpts of what the Holy Fathers have said from Pius IX in Nostis et Nobiscum to Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est. Every Pope in-between is included because, as Blessed John XXIII  said, “No Catholic could subscribe even to moderate socialism” He goes on to say:

“Pope Pius XI further emphasized the fundamental opposition between Communism and Christianity, and made it clear that no Catholic could subscribe even to moderate Socialism. The reason is that Socialism is founded on a doctrine of human society which is bounded by time and takes no account of any objective other than that of material well-being. Since, therefore, it proposes a form of social organization which aims solely at production; it places too severe a restraint on human liberty, at the same time flouting the true notion of social authority.” (Mater et Magistra, n. 34)

It always comes down to obedience. Will we be obedient to ourselves or obedient to the teaching of the Church? Will we see what is before our eyes or pretend that there is no attempt to make the America a socialist country? Whom will we obey? Whom do we follow? To whom is our allegiance? Yep, it's a matter of obedience. Click the links in the TFP article. Read all of the encyclicals noted on the page that tells us what the Popes have taught. Pray for enlightenment & to be obedient. It's hard to change, I who have changed so much know that. (I used to believe in socialism lite until I read what the Church teaches & decided to obey.) Now all Catholics in the USA, all Catholics in the world must decide whether to obey. We must become radically different people. We must become people of charity & love. We must give up believing that we can write a cheque or have taxes deducted & there ends our commitment to the poor because the state will handle everything. That is not charity. It is not obedience. That is an attempt to avoid discomfort. That is socialism, sometimes lite, sometimes totalitarian communism.

A New Experiment: My Miracle

each Wednesday, I'm supposed to inject myself w/ methotrexate, a chemo therapy drug that is a treatment on it's own & a part of the chemo treatment I have every 6 - 12 months. the problem is that I forget. it is just so odd to intentionally stab myself even though it usually doesn't hurt. it's icky but it's also something I must do. except, I am somethimes 1 - 3 days late & every so often, I miss an entire week. I know it's important & that left to myself I don't do very well so this week I asked God to remind me, then I forgot about it. yesterday morning I awoke & one of the large plastic bags that have the word "chemo" in large, bright yellow letters which my pharmacy uses to hold my tiny vials of medicine was propped up against my lamp on my nightstand. it held syringes & swabs so I assume it was one of the bags from the drawer where I keep my supplies. but last month, I cleaned that drawer so that all the syringes were in one bag & all the swabs were in the box of alcohol swabs. I may have missed a bag but it would have been down at the bottom. when I opened the drawer, everything was packed tightly as it had been the previous week. perhaps, I "walked in my sleep" (it wouldn't have been walking far) but I've never walked in my sleep before while taking this medicine. in fact, it knocks me out & getting my muscles to work so I can get up for any reason, even an emergency, requires so much effort, it wakes me & even awake, I must force each movement & look like Frankenstein in an old black & white film: I am always aware when I must get up after taking my sleeping medicine. needless to say, I didn't forget to stab myself & take my medicine yesterday. and however the bag got there, I plan to simply accept it as one of those small miracles God provides & not worry about whether He woke me w/o my knowing it or sent an angel or saint (or came Himself) & placed the bag there. He reminded me. that's what I asked Him to do & that's what He did. God is very good.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Snippets

The big issue this week is abortion. Partly, because I've been voluntold to assist the pro-life group at my parish but also because, as time passes, I find the issue of abortion is more & more important. As a nation, we must end abortion. Corruption is the #1 issue facing our country & abortion is the most corrupt act in which we engage. If it is acceptable to destroy babies in their mothers' wombs, then it is acceptable to commit any crime, engage in any sort of lawlessness - each of us may do anything we please. If we do not end it, abortion will destroy us.

Have a blessed Sunday.

NOTE: Please pray about the possibility of Congress using the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to make abortion illegal. It's a possibility I've only recently learned about & as I learn more, I'll post here, on my Facebook page & in my twitter feed; the latter is linked to this blog.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Wise Young Woman, an Excellent Site & Ways to Help Keep Children Alive

If you're willing to learn the painful facts about abortion, if you're willing to move from feeling abortion is wrong to participating in the fight to end abortion, watch this video:

read this site. First make ending abortion a regular subject of prayer. It needn't be anything formal: I literally plead w/ God to help us end abortion. Then speak w/ the pro-life group at your church. If you don't have such a group, begin one. Google "how do I begin a pro-life group" or "crisis pregnancy services in [insert your city/town]." You'll find a wealth of information & help.

There is so much everyone can do, from making donations to actually helping women who would otherwise choose abortion. Those of us who have never married but who long to be parents can help mothers raise their children by offering everything from financial support to mentoring to babysitting every so often so that single mothers can get out of the house. It may not seem the same but just try it. You'll soon discover the joy of helping a child to live & adults to be free from the burden of having killed their own child.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A New Experiment: Hell Loses Again

This is an excruciatingly amazing recount of God's grace; of how He even reaches into the hells that others try to create for us, the hells we are convinced we can never escape & brings us into the freedom & protection of His loving & forgiving embrace. God is so very, very good!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Snippets: Lesser Known Catholic Mystics

Physically, my health has been poor for some time (though you'd never know to look at me); I've had difficulty swallowing for months & have been on a mostly liquid diet. Spiritually, I'm experiencing an interesting time. I really don't know how to describe it. It's as if I'm on the verge of something. There's some writing I'm preparing to do that is dredging up memories, experiences, things that I once valued & thought were lost, more than I know how to express. For example, singing has always been a very important part of my life. As a child, when I first came to this country, I sat alone reading books & singing songs to God. I sang in school & church choirs & even studied opera as a young woman in New York. A life on the stage was not at all appealing to me so opera was soon ruled out but music was not; music has always been part of my prayer life. In looking through some of my writing, I was reminded that I had written a number of songs, prayers, psalms - I wanted to sing to God the music in my heart. Illness pushed music to the background but being a parishioner at an Anglican Use parish, where, week after week, we sing the Psalm in Anglican plainchant & where hymns are well-written & thoughtfully chosen has begun to reconnect me to singing as a central way to praise & pray to God. Last week, I bought myself a gift, a piano/keyboard; it arrived Thursday & a friend kindly came over yesterday & helped me set it up. I played a few chords but feel almost afraid of it. There is new music inside me, music born of my return to the Church & my deepening understanding of the gifts God has so generously bestowed upon me. It frightens me: only music or dance could express the longing, the gratitude, the love. Is it possible for a mere human to write of that love?

As a child, I found an old children's missal & hid it under my mattress along w/ a copy of The Song of Bernadette. The missal was definitely pre-Vatican II & out of date when I found it. I've been looking for online for something similar but haven't had much luck yet - all the missals I find in my price range are post-Vatican II. So I continue to look. Then today, my friend, Dawn Eden sent me a link to a post about Nellie Organ, whom I'd never encountered before. Her story touches something very deep inside me; another child who is friends w/ my Friend. I am almost envious because her life was not marred by sin as my life has been. Almost, but not quite. I will accept the life I've been given & trust my Friend to continue to be the Friend He's always been.

I have no idea what is going on or where any of it will lead. I know I will follow though, I must admit, it feels as if it is tearing me apart. I will follow. What else would I do? Where else could I go? I am like a young child riding on her Father's foot, clinging to his leg. This is where I belong, no matter where the trip takes me. This is where I am happy to be. And if I'm not particularly happy every moment, this is the only place that I have hope to become happy. And it's a great foot, big enough for many, many riders. And maybe I could work on uncovering the mysteries of the Holy Foot.

Oh yes, Dawn has a new book, My Peace I Give You, that is expected this spring. I was honoured not only to read it but to give feedback as she was engaged in writing. It promises to be a source of healing for many, many who have been abused or have abused themselves. Plan now to read it whether or not abuse has had any place in your life.

Oh yes two, it seems I'll be undergoing another round of chemo soon. Prayers for that & for everything in my life these days.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

A New Experiment: Ezekiel 22

This morning, I first read:

Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then declare to her all her abominable deeds. You shall say, Thus says the Lord GOD: A city that sheds blood in the midst of her, that her time may come, and that makes idols to defile herself! You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and defiled by the idols which you have made; and you have brought your day near, the appointed time of your years has come. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mocking to all the countries. Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you, you infamous one, full of tumult. "Behold, the princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you. You have despised my holy things, and profaned my sabbaths. There are men in you who slander to shed blood, and men in you who eat upon the mountains; men commit lewdness in your midst. In you men uncover their fathers' nakedness; in you they humble women who are unclean in their impurity. One commits abomination with his neighbor's wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; another in you defiles his sister, his father's daughter. In you men take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and increase and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; and you have forgotten me, says the Lord GOD. "Behold, therefore, I strike my hands together at the dishonest gain which you have made, and at the blood which has been in the midst of you. Can your courage endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you? I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it. I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you through the countries, and I will consume your filthiness out of you. And I shall be profaned through you in the sight of the nations; and you shall know that I am the LORD."

My eyes focused on the words, "bloody city," and I thought, 'abortion'! Then I read the New Jerome Biblical Commentary: "sheds blood: This accents the violence committed against others by the powerful, which will lead to all the other offenses listed in the following verses."

Ezekiel 22 continues at verse 23:

And the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, say to her, You are a land that is not cleansed, or rained upon in the day of indignation. Her princes in the midst of her are like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in the midst of her. Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst of her are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed for them with whitewash, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, `Thus says the Lord GOD,' when the LORD has not spoken. The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery; they have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without redress. And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; their way have I requited upon their heads, says the Lord GOD."

In our time, we tend to focus on one or two issues often because we can't take in all the information that comes our way. It's important to remember that the five Catholic non-negotiables: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning & any attempts to redefine marriage, are the minimum from the Church's social teaching to which we must assent in order to be in communion w/ the Church. But, they are not the limit of those crimes that cry out to God for vengeance. In fact, another crime that cries out to God is violence on the part of those in power against those being governed, those over whom one has power: it's as if Ezekiel 22 is a foreshadowing of the servant role that government is supposed to exercise.

At least 500 longshoremen stormed the Port of Longview about 4:30 a.m., broke out windows in the guard shack and — as longshoremen wielding baseball bats and crowbars held six guards hostage — others cut brakelines on box cars and dumped grain, according to Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha.

"We're not surprised," Duscha said. "A lot of the protesters were telling us this in only the start."

We live in a time when there have been calls for violence against members of the tea party & against those who don't agree w/ the people in power. Not long ago, the tea party was accused of using violent rhetoric. Now, those in power & those who feel they have the protection of the powerful (such as some union leaders) are calling out for violence against those who disagree w/ them.* And, some are responding to those calls (the article cited is only one instance; there are others).

Perhaps they don't know that their sins cry out to God. Natural law precludes taking a few men hostage while vandalizing & destroying the property of those with whom one disagrees. Perhaps they don't have any understanding of natural law. Perhaps they don't know the difference between right & wrong. We ought not be surprised, if one can kill a baby in his mother's womb, then it's easy to rationalize engaging in violence against adults & private property. We must pray for those who call others to violence & for those who engage in acts of violence. We must engage in acts of penance on their behalf because they are sorely in need of a change of heart.

Things changed with Christ. We became empowered to suffer on behalf of others, just as He did. We can "stand in the breach." There are many in our country who desperately need Christ's love & peace. Please, please, please, offer up prayers & sacrifices on behalf of all who use violence against the weak: on behalf of those who have & provide abortions & on behalf of those who call out for violence & lawlessness.

* I must be honest, a fringe group of persons involved w/ the Tea Party speaks of violence. Once in awhile, I visit their blogs & remind them that violence is not to be countenanced. Others make regular visits & engage such foolish people in long debates. I salute them but haven't the energy to wage such battles regularly.