Hope~A Blog on Prayer and Reflection
15 November, 2016
This election was probably the ugliest in history. The candidates were ugly and that, in itself, is bad enough but what is worse is the ugliness and hatred brought out in its aftermath.
Throughout my life, I have always tried to help the downtrodden. I spent years volunteering with people with AIDS. Among these people were black, white, veterans, gays, Latinos, drug addicts, wealthy and poor. I voted for Donald Trump so I have been called a racist.
I have always been a person who would take from myself to help another but I feel it is time we stop giving free everything to people who are adept at working the system and begin helping those who are truly in need; like the elderly who have to choose between food or medication. I have been called uncharitable.
I don’t want refugees left out in the cold with no food or shelter. I want that we help them but I also believe that we need some type of screening so that we are not, while helping the good, bringing in those who want to harm us. I have been called unchristian.
All my life, I have had friends who are gay. I wept when we lost friends to AIDS. I sat with those who were grieving when they lost loved ones. I love our gay friends. I have been called homophobic.
I am opposed to abortion. I am pro-life. I hate the fact that a late term (or any term) baby can be aborted; that their tiny bodies whose hearts are beating can be literally ripped apart and thrown into a garbage pail and there is no remorse for this brutal action. But this is not brought up when I am being chastised.
I am Catholic and I want the right to worship freely as a Catholic and not be told that I must change my religious beliefs to suit the system. I will not apologize for that.
I have seen some ugly posts and ugly actions in regard to this election. Here’s what I have not seen:
I have not seen Liberals admit that Margaret Sanger (the woman who started Planned Parenthood and who was much admired by Hillary Clinton) began Planned Parenthood as a means to cleanse the earth of who she believed to be undesirables. (“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.” ~ Margaret Sanger)
And while they are screaming for Donald Trump’s organization to be investigated, I have not seen Liberals admit that Hillary Clinton is dishonest and donations to the Clinton Foundation have mysteriously found their way into the Clinton’s pockets.
I don’t understand how any Catholic can justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate but I will have to answer to God for my soul, not theirs. Neither will I bring my soul to the level of name calling and intentionally hurting people whose opinions differ from my own. If I loved you before this election, I love you today.
I just find it so ironic that those who want equality, togetherness and fairness are the ones who are protesting, rioting and using words; cruel words and name calling to get their point across.
Perhaps God has had it with the anti-God society and decided to step in and give us a change for at least four years?
11 August, 2016
“Religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” to expand abortion.
“The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights,”
“In order to expand worldwide access to abortion, deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”
With the upcoming election, there is much discussion on abortion. For me, it is difficult enough to hear a non-Christian’s pro-choice views but when I hear a pro-abortion view spew out from the mouth of a Christian, I find it cringe worthy.
Let me be clear. I claim to be neither a theologian nor a scientist but I am a Catholic Christian who respects the sanctity of human life from beginning to end, and I am saddened by men and women who call themselves Christians but are in favor of abortion.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly teaches:
“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”
(Full article below)
For those who argue that an embryo is not a life, perhaps this article from Princeton University (along with all its attached links) will help paint a clearer image:
"Development of the embryo begins at Stage 1 when a sperm fertilizes an oocyte and together they form a zygote." "Human development begins after the union of male and female gametes or germ cells during a process known as fertilization (conception).
Life Begins at Fertilization with the Embryo's Conception
Abortion is an intrinsic evil:
Combining the above information, Saint John was very clear when he wrote:
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.
1 John 1: 5-7
We go through lie facing challenges and making choices. We help or we ignore. We forgive or we remain in a place of non-forgiveness. We set our priorities and, in doing this, we either put God at the top of our list or we become quite adept at making excuses for being luke warm and placing Him at the bottom. Either way, there will come a time, be it sooner or later, when we will have to face our God. He is our judge. He is a loving, generous and forgiving God but we should never ignore the fact that He is a just God. When my time comes, I’ll have much to answer for. I make no excuses for my sins but I know that He watches me sees that each day is an adventure in working to become better. I trust in His love and forgiveness so I am not afraid to face Him but I would be absolutely afraid if I had to explain why I was in favor of, or had any part in, the killing of an innocent baby. If you are among those whose mantra is, “I am Christian but I am pro-choice,” please rethink your chant. Pray about it. Reflect on it. Research the horrors of abortion. Watch graphic abortion videos on You Tube. Consider the body parts of aborted babies that are thrown in trash bins behind abortion clinics. Research Margaret Sanger who said in regard to blacks, immigrants and indigents:"...human weeds,' 'reckless breeders,' 'spawning... human beings who never should have been born (http://www.dianedew.com/sanger.htm ). Come to understand that when a woman says, “I have a right to choose what I do with my body,” that it is not her body whose head is being jammed with a scissors. Take a few minutes to read this: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/abortiontypes/
And if, after you have considered each of these points and are still not convinced that abortion is wrong, remember John’s words, “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”
I and my pro-life brethren are praying for you.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76
2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"77 "by the very commission of the offense,"78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:
"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."80
"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."81
2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.
Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."82
2275 "One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival."83
"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."84
"Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity"85 which are unique and unrepeatable.
“America you are beautiful…and blessed…. The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless. If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life.”
~Saint John Paul II~
copyright Marilyn Nash 2016
12 October, 2015
“By its nature the recitation of the rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life as grasped by the heart of her who was closer to the Lord than all others”
~Pope Paul VI~
Lately I have been hearing many people say things like, “It takes only twenty minutes to pray the Rosary,” or “I pray ten rosaries every day.” I can’t help but wonder how it is possible to do this and give the prayer its deserving meditations. The Rosary is not a string of beads which was created to be held as each Mystery is announced and each Our Father and Hail Mary is quickly recited. The Rosary is Sacred Scripture on a string. I truly believe that one decade prayed slowly, and with a depth of meditation upon its mystery, is more valuable than a full rosary prayed mechanically.
I once had a friend tell me that, when she prays the Sorrowful Mysteries, she always finds herself weeping by the time she comes to The Crucifixion. This is because she places herself in each mystery and experiences it as she prays. If we are merely “reciting” the Rosary, we are missing its beauty and the opportunity to walk through the life of Jesus with His mother.
We also have been given the Fruits and Virtues of each mystery. By focusing upon each fruit, we are lead to more reflective prayer. An example is the first Joyful Mystery. Its fruit is humility. Contemplating Mary’s humility can lead us to examine our own pride and, hopefully, our need to become more humble.
We are given endless gifts in the prayer that is the Rosary but we they are gifts which remain unopened when we rush through the prayer without taking time for reflection.
So I ask that, today, before you begin praying your Rosary, lie it down before you and look at it. You will see that it begins and ends with the cross. All beads lead us to Jesus through Mary. As you pick it up to begin your recitation, do it with the intention of praying slowly and with focus upon each mystery. I guarantee that you will find greater depth and peace, in its prayer, than you have known when praying it in twenty minutes.
Copyright Marilyn Nash ~ 12 October, 2015
23 December, 2014
Entering a crude and cold stable, I see a manger. It is primitive in its construction and layered with hay. An older bearded man kneels beside it and a beautiful young girl leans over looking into it. From where I stand, I see no child in this manger but a blinding light radiates forth. The young woman nods to me in a way that calls me to come closer. With each step I take, the light becomes brighter until I reach it and am able to look into it to see a child. What child is this? I am certain that He is the most beautiful child the world has ever known. His mother’s name is Mary. She looks at Him with adoration and tenderness. “Mary, may I hold Him?” She leans in, gently lifts Him and places Him in my arms. He is warm and calm; a peaceful child, and at that moment I know who He is. He is the Christ Child; the child the prophets spoke of, the Son of God. I held Him close to me. Although I felt great joy, it was bittersweet for I sensed a sadness to come. As babies do, He held onto my finger with one hand and raised the other as he moved His tiny feet. These tender little hands and feet would one day be pierced with nails. I lifted Him upright, caressed His head and kissed His face. This face would one day express agony to a degree no one before Him had ever experienced. His Head would be pierced with thorns. As I laid Him back into His bed, I looked at His shoulders; tiny baby shoulders and, in a vision, I saw these shoulders carrying the weight of the world. His shoulders would carry the cross and He would do this willingly for me. He would do this so that I would be given the opportunity to live with Him eternally in His Father’s kingdom. I looked up at Mary and as I looked into her eyes, I saw a sadness and I knew that she knew the road ahead would not be an easy road for Jesus. From the crib to the cross. But for now, He is her child. He is her beautiful new born child.
During this wondrous time, may we keep our focus upon this child.
27 November, 2014
The dictionary defines Thanksgiving as “the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.”
It defines Eucharist as “the giving of thanks; thanksgiving.”
The word “Eucharist” is a transliteration of the Greek word eucharistia, which is itself a translation of the Hebrew word berekah. All three words have the meaning of thanksgiving, or praise for the wonderful works of God.
Reflecting upon the definition and translation, we come to understand that each time we receive the Eucharist, we are giving thanks to God. Although Thanksgiving is a day set aside for giving thanks for our blessings, it is celebrated once a year. We, as Catholics celebrate Thanksgiving each time we receive the Eucharist. Just think about this. The Eucharist offers us the opportunity, not only to receive the body and blood of Jesus, but to thank Him for offering it to us. Is there a greater gift?
So, on this Thanksgiving Day, I would like to give thanks for all the beautifully obvious blessings I have been given beginning with the selfless mother and aunt who raised me and, now, watch over me from beyond the veil, for a loving and loyal husband, a brother and his family who have always included us and treat us as their own. I give thanks for family near and far and for friends who are just as much family as those with whom we share blood. I am grateful for a warm home, food on our table and caring neighbors, for those with whom we worship; our church family, and for our wonderful architecturally “round” church which I refer to as my womb. While we often complain about events and politics in this country, I am grateful that we are free and allowed to express our discontent. In a world where so many have so little I am thankful for all I have and, with that thanks, I ask forgiveness for the times I forget about blessings and become ungrateful. I give thanks for forgiveness. The litany goes on and I am in gratitude for that.
On this Thanksgiving Day, and every day, I give thanks for the greatest blessing of all; my God and the opportunity to receive Him in the Eucharist.
I would like to close with a most beautiful prayer written by Saint Maximilian Kolbe which, I feel, expresses gratitude in a most reverent and glorious way .
In order to show me close up how ardently Thou lovest me, Thou comest from the purest delights of Heaven down to this dirty, miserable earth, spend Thy life in poverty, adversities and sufferings - finally to hang, despised, ridiculed and overwhelmed with pain, between two thieves on the shameful gibbet. By sacrificing Thyself in this horrible way, Thou hast redeemed me, O God of love! Who could have imagined it?
But that was not enough. Thou saw that, from the time when Thou pourest out these proofs of Thy immense love, nineteen centuries would pass before I appeared on this earth. Thy heart could not tolerate the thought that I should have to nourish myself solely on memories of Thy great love. Thou remained here on this small earth in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar and Thou come and unite Thyself with me - truly, under the form of food………and Thy Blood flows in my veins, Thy soul, O incarnate God, permeates my soul, strengthens and nourishes it. What a miracle! Who could ever have imagined such a thing? What more could Thou hast given me, O God, than Thyself to be my own possession?
~ Saint Maximilian Kolbe ~
Wishing a blessed Thanksgiving to all.
Copyright Marilyn Nash, 27 November, 2014