Monday, May 31, 2010

Water is wet says Cardinal; everyone outraged

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec, reiterated the Church's teaching that abortion is a moral evil, and wrong in all cases. Everyone got their knickers in a twist. I don't understand why this is a controversy. Everyone knows that the Catholic Church teaches that abortion is always wrong and a grave sin. Are they upset that His Excellency actually spoke about morals in public? (That would be my guess). Read more here, and here.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Let Us Labor to Save Our Souls

An excerpt from St Alphonsus de Liguori's (1696-1787) book entitled "Preparation for Death" published in 1758 at the age of 62

 My brother, in this picture of death behold yourself and what you must one day become. "Remember that dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return". Consider that in a few years, and perhaps in a few months or days, you will become rottenness  and worms. By this thought Job became a saint. I have said to rottenness: Thou art my father: to worms, my mother, and my sister (Job 17:14).
All must end; and if, after death, you lose your soul all will be lost for you. Consider yourself already dead, says St. Laurence Justinian, since you know that you must necessarily die. If you were already dead, what would not desire to have done? Now that you have life, reflect that you will one day be among the dead. St Bonaventure says, that, to guide the vessel safely, the pilot must remain at the helm; and in like manner, to lead a good life, a man should always imagine himself at the hour of death. Says St Bernard, "Look to the sins of your youth, and be covered with shame". "Remember the sins of manhood and weep." Look to the present disorders of your life; tremble, and hasten to apply a remedy.
When St Camillus de Lellis saw the graves of the dead, he said within himself: If these return to life, what would they not do for eternal glory? And what do I do for my soul, who have time? This the saint said through humility. But my brother, you, perhaps, have reasons to fear that your are the fruitless fig-tree of which the Lord said: Behold, for these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and I find none" (Luke 13:7) You have been in this world for more than three years; what fruit have you produced? Remember, says St Bernard, that the Lord seeks not only flowers, but fruits; that is not only good desires and resolutions, but also holy works. Learn then to profit of the time which God in His mercy gives you; do not wait until you desire time to do good, when time shall be no more. Do not wait till you are told, Time shall be no longer; depart; the time for leaving this world has arrived; what is done, is done.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Are you prepared?

Where will you be, dear Christian, when the debt you owe is due? Will death find you ready, strengthened by the Sacraments? Or will it catch you unawares? If you knew you only have a few hours left on this earth, what would you do with them? This question came to me in the most personal and horrible ways. My mother, my poor dear mother, spent her last few hours on earth playing games on Working on getting my badge since she had already completed her own. She was in severe pain and had actually gone to the doctor's office because of it. He gave her some Motrin and told her to go to the ER if it got worse after giving her an EKG and determining she wasn't having a heart attack. Until the very last minute, she was in the computer room, my old bedroom, playing a game, while my dad sat alone in the kitchen, waiting for her to come out for dinner. They never did have dinner that night. As she emerged from the computer room, he knew straight away she was not well. He had seen that look before: the day his own mother died (which was Mother's Day. Thankfully the whole family was there so at least she spent her last few hours with family). The thought of my mother all alone, trying to ignore her immense pain, breaks my heart and the pain is unbearable.

If my mother was told she only have a few hours to live, would she have spent them playing Pogo? Maybe. Why not? She enjoyed those games but deep down I suspect she would have at least spent them with my dad and me and my children. She would have said her good-byes and made sure we knew everything. Since this didn't happen, my dad and I were are lost. Shocked and struck with grief, we hadn't a clue what to do. It was the sort of thing my mom took care of. (Thankfully my mother's brother and sister-in-law stepped in and helped).  I'm trying to remember the last time I saw her. And if I told her I loved or at least thanked her for the kind act she was providing me at the time, which shamefully I cannot recall what it was.

How will you have spent the last few precious moments of your life? St. James says our life is "a vapour which appeareth for a little while and afterwards shall vanish away." (James 4:15)  We all die, and like waters that return no more, we fall down into the earth (2 Samuel 14:14). St Alphonsus tells us that "there is nothing more precious than time; but there is nothing less esteemed and more despised by men of the world". This is what St Bernard deplores when he says "Nothing is is more precious than time, but nothing is regarded more cheaply. The days of salvation pass away, and no one reflects that day which has passed away from him can never return". Think of all those moments where we were just "killing time". It is gone, never to return. The hours you've killed will return to haunt you on your deathbed (if you should be so lucky).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Empire State Building honors Commies but not Saints (or Blesseds)

Bill Donahue petitioned the Empire State Building to light the building with blue and white in honor of her 100th birthday which is being commemorated by the US Postal Service by issuing a stamp featuring her. (see here and here). They refused. Without offering any explanation. Why? They honored some Chinese Communist who was responsible for the deaths of millions and 60 years of oppression of an entire nation. Sign the petition to support Bl. Mother Teresa.

My first question is why the hell would they honor a Communist Dictator to begin with. Fox News is the only news website that I could find that is covering this story. (not including independent blogs) What story? There's no story here. At least not according to the ESB spokesperson. Jeffrey Scott Shapiro did a little digging, as journalists are supposed to do. Some of his expericences:

This morning I called the Empire State building so they could explain why they decided to honor a communist state responsible for causing the death of millions of their own people, but not a Catholic nun who won the Nobel Peace Prize who spent 45 years saving lives. After all, at the time of her death, Mother Teresa’s charity was operating 610 missions in 123 countries.
Although I called several times, I could not reach Melanie Maasch, Director of Brand Development and Public Relations, but I did receive a call from Daniel Hernandez, a public relations representative working for an outside firm hired by the Empire State Building. Mr. Hernandez insisted that “there is no issue here,” and told me that his firm had been directed not to “comment on anything involving this story.”
I told Mr. Hernandez I disagreed with him that there was no issue here, and that in a free society like the United States it was the free press that decides whether or not there is an issue or a story to be written, not public relations officers.
“Obviously it’s an issue or I wouldn’t be calling you,” I told him during a telephone interview this morning.
“Who decides when to illuminate the building?”
“There’s a committee.”
“Who’s on that committee and how many people are on it?”
“I can’t tell you that.”
“Why? I’m just asking a general question about how the Empire State Building works.”
“I know, but you’re asking in relation to this story, the story about the lights, and as I told you, we’re not commenting on that story because we don’t feel there’s any issue here.”
“Don’t you think that’s kind of ironic?
“What do you mean?
“Well, you won’t respond to the free press about a story that accuses your organization of honoring a dictatorship. I mean, I kind of feel like I’m dealing with a dictatorship now. You’re telling me – a journalist – there’s no story as if you can dictate the news to the press and then you refuse to tell me anything as if you’re above explaining it.”
“I’m only telling you what I’ve been directed to say.”
“But there has to be an answer, there has to be a reason for all of this. Why can’t you just tell me and justify the committee’s position?”
“I’m only telling you what I’ve been directed to say.”
When Mr. Hernandez finally hung up, I stared dumbfounded at my BlackBerry Storm and wondered if I’d just lost contact with a spokesman for the Empire State Building management committee or the People’s Republic of China’s Central Committee. (read the full piece here).
 This is what I mean when I say we are heading to Hell in a Handbasket.

Who would YOU honor?