Dear Friends, I just heard from Shawn Carney and David Bereit of the national 40 Days for Life leadership team, and I am VERY excited about what they shared with me:

http://2012definingmoment.com

In 2012 — the 40th year of legalized abortion in America — we have unprecedented opportunities to save lives, impact eternal souls, and restore our nation … And you are invited to attend a one-time-only teleconference and web simulcast event this Tuesday night, April 24, at 9 PM Eastern (8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific) that will reveal how the rest of this year can be a DEFINING MOMENT for our efforts to end abortion. During the FREE event (which you can attend by phone or via the web) you’ll discover:

The stunning results of this spring’s 40 Days for Life — the most successful campaign EVER — and how these accomplishments point to even bigger victories in the months ahead … Why the rest of 2012 is crucially important, and how the pro-life movement is positioned to achieve massive, life-saving success on multiple fronts … The groundbreaking strategic initiatives about to be unleashed to help mobilize more people, change more hearts and minds, and save more lives than ever before … How YOU can help make a profound impact on ending abortion, right in the community where you live … and some exciting surprises!

This is the great news we’ve been waiting for, and there’s no charge to attend — however there are limited spaces available, so REGISTER NOW at:

http://2012definingmoment.com

On that page, you’ll also see a short, three-minute video that Shawn and David made for us at the U.S. Supreme Court, explaining what’s about to happen. This is going to be GREAT, and I hope you can join me on the teleconference or web simulcast Tuesday night!

For Life,

Disciple

A friend sent this video to me. Thought I’d share it with you. It’s called Test of Fire, made by Catholics Called 2 Witness (cc2w.org). Watching this makes me want to go out and vote right now!

Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? Some things are more important than high gas prices or a faltering economy. They are life, marriage and freedom. This November, Catholics must stand up and protect their sacred rights and duties.  Please share this video with your friends! Visit www.cc2w.org for more details.

October Baby, Every Life Is BeautifulWent to see October Baby last night, loved it! I’ll tell you more about that later. Part 2 of the rally post will be up later also (see rally post Part 1). Right now I’m too pooped to do much more than this. I’m emotionally drained. Why? Because after Mass this morning (yes, I’m keeping my commitment to attend Daily Mass; pray for me!) a friend stopped as I knelt making my thanksgiving after Holy Communion. She was on her way out the door and wanted to tell me that abortions were in full swing over at Planned Parenthood, so we headed over there.

They’re usually closed on Saturdays but they were closed a lot this past week; they sure made up for lost time today. Their parking lot was packed. So sad. But a church had adopted the day as part of 40 Days for Life, so we had the sidewalk covered with prayer volunteers while there were women inside making the worst decisions of their lives. And ending the possibility for some lives to ever reach the point of making any decisions at all. Ever.

40 Days for Life, Pray to End Abortion

There were women outside the abortion mill, waiting for sisters or daughters or friends who were inside. Many years ago I was one of those women sitting in a car while a friend went inside to make the worst choice she ever made. Strange, isn’t it, how people always call it a “choice” but my friend didn’t feel like she had a choice at all. She felt trapped and terrified and horrible.

I haven’t seen her in years now. Don’t know how she manages to look into the eys of the kids she already had, knowing that there was another one who they will never know. Who she will never know. Who will never know what it means to live or breathe or exist outside the womb that held him until the moment the abortionist tore him apart and vacuumed him out of what should have been the safest place in the world for a little baby waiting to be born. Waiting to be held. Waiting and imagining the face that goes with the voice he’s been hearing as he grows. Never imagining the awful fate that awaits him.

God, have mercy on us. Forgive us the horrible evil that people do in our world. Your world. You have made us for Yourself, You have given us Life and offered us Love and Truth and Goodness and Beauty. And we have chosen to rip each other apart. We have chosen evil and sin and death instead. God, forgive us! Have mercy on us all. Amen.

Every life is beautiful, Go see October Baby, in theaters now

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has courageously stood his ground and refused to recant his faith in ChristAs of March 5 the ACLJ is reported to have denied the rumors that Pastor Youcef had been hanged. Now that was a few days ago. Does anybody have a reliable update? And I’m keeping him in my prayers and especially remembering him in my Daily Offering and at Daily Mass. Please keep this courageous and faithful pastor in your prayers, too, as well as all others who are persecuted for faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.

The American Center for Law and Justice’s sources in Iran confirmed Saturday that Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is in fact alive, and rumors that he was to be executed over the weekend were false.

Photos surfaced on the Internet Saturday, allegedly showing a blindfolded Nadarkhani facing execution by hanging. These photos are outdated and false, the ACLJ reported Saturday.

Although Nadarkhani is still alive, the ACLJ does still believe that Iranian courts have issued an execution order. In the past, Iran has not informed the public of an execution, oftentimes dropping the prisoner’s executed body on the family’s doorstep.

Read the full story:
Youcef Nadarkhani Has Not Been Executed; ACLJ Denies Rumors http://www.christianpost.com/news/youcef-nadarkhani-has-not-been-executed-aclj-denies-rumors-70837/

40 Days for Life, Praying, Fasting, Keeping Vigil, to End Abortion in our World

My favorite time of year is not spring or summer or fall or winter. It’s Lent. I enjoy Advent and Christmas. And Easter, of course. But Lent is the season I look forward to all year. Especially since I started participating in the 40 Days for Life campaign to end abortion. There are two campaigns per year, one in the fall and one in spring. The current campaign coincides with Lent, as it did last year. This is a time of penance, fasting, prayer and alms-giving (don’t forget the alms-giving!), and spending time in peaceful prayer vigil out on the sidewalk during these forty days is a wonderful way to enter more fully into the spirit of the Lenten season. Continue reading

Seek First the Kingdom, by Donald Cardinal Wuerl(I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m writing a series of posts as I read a truly important book that was released at the end of 2011, not long before the infamous HHS Mandate was announced. The following is the first installment in the series. All excerpts are taken from Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living Our Faith, by Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Our Sunday Visitor, 2011, Kindle Edition. Get the book from Amazon. Preview or buy the Kindle version.)

Most Christians have prayed the Lord’s Prayer. As a young Methodist my parents helped me memorize it and we prayed it every Sunday as part of our worship service. As a New Ager I used a form of it in a daily meditation (don’t laugh, or do laugh, but know that I was earnestly searching for truth even if I had no idea how or where to find it). Later as a Buddhist I opened each and every meditation session with the words “Our Father” because I never could accept the atheism of Buddhism. I suppose over the years I gave some thought to this idea of praying to “Our Father”. But I gave almost no thought at all to what it meant to pray that His kingdom would come, even though I said those words, too, every time I said the rest of the prayer. I didn’t even know what the kingdom was.

So what is the kingdom? Is it a metaphor and nothing more? I will allow the Cardinal to speak to that himself:

In the course of this book we will consider the kingdom in some detail. We’ll look at Jesus’ sayings, the apostles’ doctrine, and the tradition of the Church. What we’ll see is that Jesus was not simply speaking symbolically when he announced the kingdom. This was not just a preferred metaphor. He was urgent and specific about what the kingdom was and what it wasn’t, who was in it and who was outside it, and about how one could get in it and stay in it. His kingdom had distinguishing characteristics.

If he had been speaking metaphorically, it would have been an ill-chosen metaphor, since it brought suspicion and persecution upon him, his apostles, and many followers down through the ages. The Romans did not fear a metaphor. Nor did the Persians. Nor have any of their successors in the business of the persecution of Christians. These earthly powers killed Christians because they knew the Christians were serious about a certain king and his kingdom, and they considered that kingdom a threat to their own. God’s kingdom was serious business.

Yes, serious. Then and now. I can’t tell you how serious I have gotten about my faith since I first heard about the HHS Mandate and the ramping up of attacks on religious freedom here in the U.S. This past Friday I bought myself an early Easter gift to celebrate my 16th anniversary of being received into Holy Mother Church: a brand new beautiful Daily Roman Missal, first one I have ever had. With that purchase I also made a commitment to attend Daily Mass. It’s part of my preparation for what I see coming, part of my putting on the whole armor of God, diving deeper into discipleship, getting ready to do my part for the kingdom. For my King. To do that I need, among other things, to understand more fully what the kingdom is, because, as Cardinal Wuerl writes:

[I]n our own day the kingdom is often misunderstood and misconstrued, even by Christians. Some do try to dismiss it as a metaphor — a symbol of what the world would be like if more people would be nice to one another. People should be nice to one another; but the kingdom of God is not reducible to niceness. Others bring it up when they want to suggest that Christians are secretly disloyal to the current regime — that the Christian “kingdom” is somehow a code word for theocracy.

In every election year, it seems, we find the kingdom suffering violence and taken away, far away, from its original intention. Political parties and candidates like to claim, or strongly suggest, that their agenda is the valid way to apply the Gospel in the world. When they do, secularists will then step forth to argue that religious people have no right whatsoever to “impose” their beliefs by speaking up in public.

We should be prepared for this; and as Christians we should be prepared to give an answer to both errors, to make the necessary distinctions, and to call people to account for their use and misuse of the kingdom of God.

I often deal with personal attacks on the Church and myself from people I interact with online and in person, and get a fair share of honest (if misinformed and confused) questions and (sometimes) accusations from friends and family. These confrontations are happening with more and more frequency. All the more reason to learn more about my faith, to practice my faith, to live my faith, at a deeper level than ever before. This is why I’m studying the faith, as, indeed, I was before, but with renewed fervor. Why I’m returning to my earlier practice of attending Daily Mass. Why I’m reading this book. And why I’m sharing it with you.

I hope you’ll join me as I seek to learn more about the kingdom and about our role in that kingdom. And I hope you’ll pick up a copy of your own and share it with your family and friends. We need all Christians and all people of good will to stand up and speak out now, to do what is right. To do that, we need to know what is right. First things first. I’ll share what I learn with you here on the blog, both as I continue to read Cardinal Wuerl’s book and as I continue to grow in discipleship.

Please pray for me and know that I am praying for you. Peace be with you, now and always.

Seek First the Kingdom, by Donald Cardinal WuerlSeek First the Kingdom was published on Dec 2 2011; in light of recent events (the HHS Mandate, among other things), it could not be more timely and strikes me as being prophetic. I downloaded the Kindle version tonight after seeking in vain for it in stores around Birmingham for two days. I’m still reading the foreword by Mary Ann Glendon, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, but I can already tell you, as I had suspected, this is an important book. (Brief video at end of post or watch on YouTube.)

I’m going to write about the book here and post it (as opposed to writing about it and never getting the writing out of rough draft stage on my laptop) as I read it because we need the guidance of our bishops now. We need to remember, when it’s tempting to allow ourselves to get caught up in political action and issues and arguments and worry, that Jesus told us something that we tend to forget. Or neglect. He told us to seek first the kingdom of God and that then all these things that we need will be added unto us. But we have to put first things first.

And we have to do our part to build up the kingdom, too. We cannot let ourselves fall for our ancient enemy’s new (old) trick: telling us that we have to keep our Catholic Christian selves to ourselves and in our Church on Sunday and out of the public square and out of our public lives. No matter how many people are going around proclaiming the good news that Christians are being shoved out of sight and out of mind, it just isn’t true. Because we are not going to let it be true. We can’t afford to let it be true. But it will be, if we don’t stand up and speak out and speak truth, in love but firmly. And for us to speak the truth with love and firmly, we have to be united with Christ. We have to get serious about our faith. We have to know our faith. And we have to live our faith.

Because if we don’t live our faith, we are going to lose it. That’s something we cannot afford to do. And the world can’t afford for us to lose our faith either: If we lose, the world loses, too. We need more Christian witness now, not less. We need faithful, loving, informed, intelligent Christian witness.

Get this book. Get ready. Get to it!