"Christ lives, he has overcome death, he has overcome all these powers. We live in this certainty, in this freedom, and in this joy." (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 12 XI 2008)
"Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks the truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie." (Blessed John Paul II, Canonisation of Edith Stein, 11 X 1998)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

"i pray for life" - video about praying outside the abortuaries in London

There is a video that has just been released that shows interviews with some people who pray outside the abortuaries. I was fortunate enough to be involved in this project :-) There is also a website: iprayforlife.wordpress.com. Please see the message and video below:

Some call them brave, some call them crazy. Some wish they could do the same but are afraid.

They say about themselves: "ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things in an ordinary way."

By simple acts and true Christian testimony, bit by bit, they change the world and save human lives.
They know that "for the triumph of evil all that is necessary is that good people do nothing"

May the ranks of the defenders of life steadily increase! Do not lose heart!
This is a great mission entrusted to you by Providence. May God from whom every life takes its origin bless you.
(JP II, Kalisz 1997)

Recorded in London, Sept 2011

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Happy Birthday Mary, Mother of the Word Incarnate

Today the Church celebrates the birthday of our Blessed Mother, Mary Most Holy. I would like to share a passage from Verbum Domini on this occasion:
...I would like to mention Mary's familiarity with the word of God. This is clearly evident in the Magnificat. There we see in some sense how she identifies with the word, enters into it; in this marvellous canticle of faith, the Virgin sings the praises of the Lord in his own words:  "The Magnificat - a portrait, so to speak, of her soul - is entirely woven from threads of Holy Scripture, threads drawn from the word of God. Here we see how completely at home Mary is with the word of God, with ease she moves in and out of it. She speaks and thinks with the word of God; the word of God becomes her word, and her word issues from the word of God. Here we see how her thoughts are attuned to the thoughts of God, how her will is one with the will of God. Since Mary is completely imbued with the word of God, she is able to become the Mother of the Word Incarnate"." (Verbum Domini, B16)
That is why we so love our Mother. Thanks be to God that Saints Joachim and Anne gave us such a beautiful gift in their daughter.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Music with Meaning - No More No Less - MercyMe

I rediscovered one of my favourite Christian bands on Spotify and then again at WYD 2011 (they played some songs on the PA at the Love and Life conferences). This was the song that really touched me from the beginning. I love the second half so much, but the lyrics are superb. It reminds us that we can't be who we are not, we need to just go out there and let everyone know we are adopted sons of God, through Jesus Christ (Eph 1:5), and live in constant anticipation of going to our Heavenly home (my favourite part of the song is when they sing "Lord, I want to go home, nothing more and nothing less"). I remember reading a quote from Pope Benedict XVI talking about how Christians are in the World, but not of this world. We are all on a pilgrimage to our eternal home. Sing this song out loud and let everyone know who your Daddy is :-) Abba, Father, we adore you.

The lyrics are:

I'm not trying to hide anything
I wear it on my sleeve
I wear it on my sleeve
I'm not trying to be something I'm not
This is all I've got
This is all I've got
I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel
Just trying to be real
Trying to be real
I'm not trying to say follow me
I'm not the one who leads
I'm not the one who leads
Let me introduce myself to you
This is who I am
No more, no less
I am just a man who understands
Because of You I'm blessed
No more, no less
I'm not trying to prove anything
It's all about the change
It's all about the change
I hope you stare just long enough to see
The heart that's beating here inside of me
Beyond all the things you may think you know
I'm just a kid trying to make it home, that's it
No more, no less
Lord, I want to go home
Nothing more, nothing less

I would also like to share with you something beautiful that the Pope shared in the interview "Light of the World" about being human:
"{T}here does need to be a new realization that being human is something great, a great challenge, to which the banality of just drifting along doesn't do justice. Any more than the attitude that comfort is the best way to live, that feeling healthy is the sum and substance of happiness. There needs to be a new sense that being human is subject to a higher set of standards, indeed, that it is precisely these demands that make a greater happiness possible in the first place. There needs to be a sense that being human is like a mountain climbing expedition that includes some arduous slopes. But it is by them that we reach the summit and are able to experience for the first time how beautiful it is to be." 

The errors of Russia? Abortion and the law

Could this represent the errors of Russia spreading through the whole world as warned by Our Lady at Fatima? Notice the beacons of Portugal and Poland (although abortion has subsequently been legalised in Portugal (2007) and is now available on demand up to 10 weeks). Currently Poland seems to be standing alone in this fight and is beginning to come under pressure from European courts. Please click on the image below for a larger view. The red areas show places where 30% or more of the total pregnancies are terminated by abortion and the blue of Poland represents an abortion rate of below 2%. The darkest reds represents places where more than two-thirds of all pregnancies are terminated by abortion.

I would like to quote a brief extract from Evangelium Vitae by Bl JPII:
The future of society and the development of democracy depend on the rediscovery of the innate human and moral values no one, no majority, and no state can create, modify, or destroy. There is a need to recover the relationship between the civil and moral law. "In no sphere of life can the civil law take the place of conscience or dictate norms concerning things outside its competence " (Dominum Vitae, III). The purpose of civil law is to guarantee an ordered social coexistence in true justice. For that reason it must ensure that in the first place the fundamental right to life of every innocent human being is respected. The legal toleration of abortion and euthanasia can in no way be claimed to be based on the respect for the conscience of others, precisely because society has the right and the duty to protect itself against abuses that can occur in the name of conscience and under the pretext of freedom. Any government that refused to recognise these human rights would not only fail in its duty; its decrees lack any biding force." (from The Encyclicals in Everyday Language by Fr Joseph G Donders) 

Mensch amendment: Christians being forced from public life in Britain!

Not long after the Catholic adoption agencies were forced to close, we now have an amendment that wishes to prevent "faith based" counselling. There is a very good piece at Cranmer discussing this issue. It concludes as follows:

The Mensch amendment is not only ill-conceived and badly thought through; it is fundamentally un-conservative, intolerant, illiberal, and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 9 of which provides a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This includes the freedom to manifest a religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance, subject to certain restrictions that are ‘in accordance with law’ and ‘necessary in a democratic society’. 
Mrs Mensch is proposing that inter alia Christians may not counsel on the matter of abortion because this is ‘necessary in a democratic society’. She thereby disregards the Established Church and the constitutional position of the Monarch and her bishops. She sets aside that the majority of the country professes some adherence - however residual - to the Christian faith. And she appears to be oblivious to the fact that the whole fabric of society is constructed upon Christian precepts. 
The question of abortion is profoundly divisive: it is a moral issue. But there is no such thing as ‘neutrality’ in morality: human beings may not conveniently be detached from their gender, beliefs, lifestyle or culture. Counselling is not the mere impartation of information: we have computers for that. Counselling involves empathy and the outcome is clarity and guidance. Why should people of faith be specifically barred from providing enlightenment? Why, if it is deemed necessary and expedient for women to have ‘the right to choose’, may they not have the right to choose whence they receive the information by which they may arrive at that choice?

I recommend you have a look at the whole piece and start writing to your MP's as soon as possible so that Christians are not put into local exile in Britain.

The blogger uses the title "Archbishop Cranmer" out of respect for the long deceased Archbishop Thomas Cranmer of the Church of England who was executed during the reign of Mary 1. He was a leader of the English Reformation and assisted Henry VIII with the justification for his divorce. Under King Edward Cranmer pushed through many reforms to the Church of England. The blogger is "is one of the wittiest conservative thinkers out there, whether in the UK or the USA." (Rabbi Yehuda Hausman, The Musings of Rabbi Hausman (2011)). I must state that I personally do not agree with Archbishop Cranmer's points of view 500 years ago, but do sympathise with the blogger on some points.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Pope Benedict XVI on rediscovering the path of beauty

On Wednesday B16 said something so profound and touching about beauty. I felt this was very special as I had just recently had my breath taken away by my visits to Museo del Prado during WYD 2011 (see previous post).
Courtesy of Vatican Radio here is an excerpt:

“there are artistic expressions that are true paths to God, the supreme Beauty, indeed they help nurture our relationship with Him in prayer. These are works that are born of faith and express faith. One example of this is when we visit a Gothic cathedral; we are enraptured by the vertical lines that shoot up towards the sky and draw our eyes and our spirits upwards, while at the same time, we feel small, and yet eager for fullness ... Or when we enter a Romanesque church: we are spontaneously invited to recollection and prayer. We feel as if the faith of generations were enclosed in these splendid buildings. Or, when we hear a piece of sacred music that vibrates the strings of our heart, our soul expands and helped to turn to God."