Wednesday, October 31, 2012

God, Politics and Santa Claus

Friends of Faith:
I figured if we were tired of politics, it must be time for Santa Claus.

I learned several important lessons growing up: God is everywhere and knows everything (and so is Santa Claus.)
With God all things are possible (Mk 10:27): and if you don’t believe (in God or Santa Claus)—you won’t receive (heaven or presents.)

And in order to prove that you believe, you must DO (work hard) for what you believe—hard work, I thought, especially as a little girl; but even harder work, I have realized, as I have grown up.
“You know the commandments.” (Mk 10:18-19) A clear set of common sense rules to live by. A clear reward if we choose to live by them. And a clear punishment if we don’t: it probably isn’t a coincidence that a lump of coal could easily symbolize the fires of hell.

As a little person, the choices didn’t really seem that difficult, or even that tough. I had to work (and play) within the boundaries my parents, and God, as our Father, set—to receive what is most important for every little child—their parent’s (and the promise of God’s) love.
It was always Christmastime at our house—the Christmas of love, as a child the equivalent of Santa love, as I grew older the knowledge that I am always loved. Love had both a long memory, and much forgiveness—just like the love I more and more grow to desire from God.

Back then, I didn’t know it, but everything I did was a choice—a choice of choosing between rights. Mom and Dad’s commandments were pretty clear (and very much in line with God’s commandments). If we disobeyed we had to ask both their forgiveness (and do a penance for them) and do something for God (an extra prayer, often asking God’s forgiveness thru confession.) It was a great life lesson, both because we knew our boundaries and because we learned the discipline and hard work of choosing right truths.
I did have a choice, but when I chose to disobey, to take the easier way out, or to choose what seemed like more fun, or less work, I also had to face the consequences of that wrong choice (sin). And the pain of those poor choices was much more difficult than the work of right ones.

Santa Claus love, represented my parent’s love, and like God’s love, always won out in the end.
As an adult, the choices may seem more difficult, but our eternal parent, God, is just as clear with his commandments, His rules, His disciplines, His boundaries and His promise of love.

God’s consequences are much bigger than my parent’s consequences. Almost as if, growing up, means I have to grow up to a higher standard—God. The choice is no longer for Santa Claus presents, the choice is now for eternal presents. And life keeps getting shorter, because thru the reality of living I now realize that our time here on earth isn’t forever—in fact, it isn’t even my choice—it could be over in a second and when it is over, I will no longer have the opportunity to choose: in God, politics or Santa Claus gifts and rights.
Maybe that is what God means by saying he is the power over principalities (Eph 6) and the reason he gives us the hope that regardless of what the principalities do he is always in control and the final judge. (Lk 12:1-7)

The commandments: A clear set of common sense rules to live by. A clear reward if we choose to live by them.
And the political ads are like the Christmas ads growing up – Santa Claus ads which showed what would happen (toys or a lump of coal) (heaven or earth) if I didn’t/don’t work for the right beliefs and choices. (Choosing right was and always will require money, work and difficult discipline—they won’t be easy or free!!)

Someone said to me this week that the political ads looked like an ad for the Catholic/Christian Church.
I can’t and won’t disagree: We are being asked to choose: to give up money, for work and to be disciplined: to choose God’s design for marriage, protection for life, and obedience to Him vs. lifestyles of promiscuity, greed, homosexuality, abortion (murder) and the freedom to choose these wrong and sinful behaviors.  (Gal 5:18-25)

And these right choices may mean we have to work harder and sacrifice here on earth to receive what we desire of God, heaven, just as we worked for, and sacrificed for, our parents and God when we were younger, so that we can always receive what each of them promised: a Santa type present—only received because we believed, and because we acted as if we believed. (Gal 5:1-6)
The freedom to choose is only a right when we are obeying God’s laws. The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to live [just] as he lived.” (1Jn 2: 3-6)

God is very clear on both the commandments and the consequences. Who will we obey, who will we choose—in the politics of both heaven and earth?
Heavenly Father, your gifts are far greater than any we have ever received from Santa Claus. Help us to do the hard work you require in our vocations (marriage, celibate, or single), in our families and in our choices for you. Thank you for your forgiving and ever “present” love. Amen.

If we believe in God, all things are possible. Make them possible this week,

Friday, October 26, 2012

Social Justice and Human Rights Letter to Editor

(Written by my husband, Stan)
Lately the political talk is about Social justice and Civil and Human rights issues.

The greatest social justice and human right IS the right to life! Without life, no other right is necessary or applies.

At the end of our lives we will have to account for our actions (or lack of action).

It seems to me if we have not defended the unborn by casting our vote for the party which allows less abortion in this country then we have misguided priorities. We must defend life from the womb to the tomb. There is no greater obligation than to defend the helpless unborn child's rights.

This economy is a result of a culture of death that has killed 55 million consumers through abortion since 1973. Can we expect God to favor a country that kills His children in their mother’s womb and calls it legal? God’s most innocent creation depends on our vote! 

And Planned Parenthood?? It should be called Planned no-parenthood. It's the business that does abortions not mammograms!

I have heard Abby Johnson share her story of when she worked for Planned Parenthood and I encourage all to go to her website for more information. Abby Johnson tells the truth about Planned Parenthood:

When I hear comments that it is the "mother’s right to choose" the response will and should always be "It is the Babies right to choose".

The other comment I hear often is "What about rape and incest cases?" Answer: Less than 2% say they became pregnant as a result of rape or incest.  Source: The Alan Guttmacher Institute, Perspective on Sexual & Reproductive Health, Sept. 2005

Testimonies from some individuals report that when they aborted their child it doubled the anxiety of the rape/incest and they felt even more violated because of the abortion. Others reported that by having the child they found forgiveness and healing from the assault.

In closing this letter I believe that as an independent business owner I should have the right to decide what kind of benefits I provide my employee's and for a President to dictate to me that I will provide a service which is intrinsically evil denies the personal religious freedoms on which this country was founded.

Be it Republican or Democrat no person on this earth has the right to make legal the killing of a baby or forcing another human to pay and provide the service (Obamacare) to kill an innocent child. Or to provide birth control (which has abortifacients in it.) The Obama administration has rescinded the Mexico City Act, partial birth ban, late term abortion bans etc in order to honor previous campaign pro-choice promises.  It is time to stop forcing taxpayers to provide funding for abortions to Planned Parenthood and Obamacare policies.

Religious freedoms are under attack by the Obama administration that violates the most basic human right. 'the right to be born"!

If you have not yet voted, or are uncertain as to which party to vote for in this election because you don't like either candidate, I encourage you to vote for the ticket that supports "less evil." In this election that would be the Romney/Ryan vote.

We will be held accountable for our actions (or lack of action)!

Please God, bless America.


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Reward of a Servant

Friends of Faith:

It is human nature to want to be paid for our jobs; and rewarded for doing what is right—treats and stars when we were little, a paycheck when doing our jobs, or rewarding ourselves with a pair of shoes, a great meal or a glass of wine.  We sometimes expectreturned “favors” from those we have helped in the past and like the disciples request (or even demand) a “reserved seat in heaven.”
He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?" They answered him, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." …Jesus said to them, …but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared." Mt 10: 35-36, 40

But as Jesus said to his disciples, the power, the seat on his right and the seat on his left, is not for Him to give—that will only be judged by the supreme God on the final day. And only he knows what he has prepared, and what we have given of our hearts.
I have come to realize that happiness doesn’t come from instant gratifications or even from the things that “instantaneously gratify” me (like fast food and a drive thru) but rather from the smiles I receive for doing something for someone that isn’t used to receiving, or because someone else has received God’s miracles which we often take for granted:  life, health, happiness, or forgiveness.

How many times have I expected respect, praise or some type of power just like the disciples “expected” to become the authority by having a place reserved in heaven? But Jesus was quick to remind them (and us) that it is the “least” among us who will be rewarded.
Jesus summoned the Twelve and said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mk 10: 42-45

Our prayers are not supposed to be demands with expectations, but rather praise and thanksgiving for all that we have been given, and an invocation for grace (instead of complaint) to accept the sufferings that are a result of our human choice to disobey (sin) in the Garden of Eden.
Heavenly Father, You are the ultimate power and I am Your servant. Help me to see and to not overlook those who are in need of a helping hand. May I have the humility to step forward and selflessly give my time, talents and treasure so that others may come to know the love, hope and the strength which only You can give. Thank you for the opportunities this week to see You in the miracles of innocent children, the smiles of spouses who are working to make their marriages as God designed, and the elderly who so joyously looked forward to the Eucharist. Amen.

Do we ask to receive and serve to be served? Or do we serve those who serve us—our parents, our employees, and our students—by being selfless children, employers and teachers?
Do we demand or assume our place is “reserved” in heaven, or are we constantly serving others as Christ served us—til death do us part?

Blessings in Christ,


Monday, October 15, 2012

Introspection or If God Looked In

Friends of Faith:

If God looked into me what would he see?
I have often said that what I write each week is really an introspection of my own, an examination of my own conscious. (And as usual I continue to be amazed by the “coincidence” of the Sunday gospel readings as they pertain to these introspections.)
I cannot write without seeing inside myself, without seeing my own inability to change the things about myself that from the “outside” look or seem to contradict the very things I write.
In one of those “wide awake” nights this weekend I wrote the following: “Sometimes we have to answer the tough questions and make tough choices, but often times it is not the choosing that is difficult but rather executing those choices. And our choices are these:  right or wrong, good or evil, heaven or hell, saint or sinner.
Only God can know me (and your) personal inner struggles, in our thoughts and in our prayers, as we seek to continually face the challenges which will allow the Spirit of God (our conscious) to guide us and change us for Him.
I am pretty sure, for some, my writings sometimes seem like a “bull in YOUR china closet;” meaning the ideas they contain seem to try to beat you, or break the very ideas that you hold nearest and dearest to your own heart.
It is humanly difficult to “break” or have “broken” a sin of the past by the Spirit who gives us the gifts of wisdom, understanding and awe at God’s greatest desire for our lives—to remain the innocent child he created.
I am also reminded with an ever growing humility, that I have been given something many others have not, and that is the gift of a great husband, a great friend. It is a gift to know that not only does Stan pray for me, but he is equally committed to God’s ultimate goal for us. We are blessed with joy in our marriage, and to share the knowledge that our intentions for each other are “right” and that we are willing to serve and be served by each other, for life, freely and faithfully. (This is God’s design for marriage.)
So, I pray, with the hope of God, that you understand where my writing comes from—not from a desire to change you, but from my own introspection, my own experience, my own sins and my own struggles to choose God—every time. It comes from a desire to change myself, so that I will be as He designed me to be—created in His likeness, a holy child of God.
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother." He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Mk 10: 17-22
I do have one other desire and that is that every one of us would share heaven together.
Yet God’s own words this Sunday pointed out: Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Mk 10:23-25
God did not say it would be easy to be human, because as humans we are sinners.
I know that I will often be challenged, emotionally and spiritually, with the failings of culture and our society.  And I struggle in my writings to contain my patience, anger and judgment of others. But I also know that I must become what I believe and that I am called to share my beliefs. (Blessed Pope John Paul II, The New Evangelization)
Therefore, my introspections are often challenging: a growing realization that I have been given unique gifts, and that I must use these gifts; but the more I use them, the more I am challenged by them: to change the wrongs in myself, before I point out the wrongs of others.
And of course this creates the challenge that I may be ostracized for sharing my thoughts, just as many of God’s followers were outcast.
So it is with great hope I continue Mark’s gospel: “They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God." Mk 10: 26-27
So here is my abbreviated and concentrated short examination of conscious (and long prayer) for myself this week—
God blesses me with an abundance of food: I choose to be healthy. Help me not eat everything I see, but instead to seek His true food, the Eucharist, at every opportunity.
God blesses me with an abundance of earthly wealth: I choose to be humble and thankful, making my decisions based on WWJD and not about money or gain for myself. Help me to give up control and seek opportunities for others without a “pat on the back” for giving away my time and treasures.
God blesses me with the opportunity to attend church: I choose to put God’s time first. Help me to focus on prayer and see church time as a privilege and an opportunity rather than as an obligation.
God blesses me with a talent to write: I choose to write about how God’s teachings influence my religious conscious, with the prayer that God’s voice in life and death issues will be heard above the culture of materialism. Help me to be guided and protected by the Spirit, and help my words to be charitable and tolerant. May I always write faithfully on God’s design for marriage (one man and one woman) and in expressing the need to vote for the protection of innocent, voiceless children and the freedom to make decisions based on my religious conscience. Amen.
“I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.” Wis 7:7-11
May my own introspection guide you to see God’s Spirit in your life this week,
Blessings and thanksgiving for each of you who hear my heart,


Monday, October 8, 2012

In the Beginning

Women of Faith:

In the beginning… things always seem fresher, clearer, more easily definable, and it was easier to bear the burdens and sacrifices of our initial commitment.
So, it is good to look back at the beginning, because the beginning reminds us what our intent and purpose was before we were influenced by others, before we tired, and before our self-discipline was challenged.

In the beginning… our commitment is to lose weight so that we will be healthier; our commitment to God in baptism is to love, honor and serve him—as innocently and as trusting as a child; and our commitment to our spouse in our wedding vows is to overlook their faults and to love and serve them unconditionally and faithfully until death do us part.
In the beginning ….marriage was created as man and woman to be helpmates and partners of each other …. The LORD God said: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him."….. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called 'woman, ' for out of 'her man' this one has been taken." That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.” Genesis 2:18-24

In the beginning, children were esteemed precious, a gift from God, to be protected and received by all Christians. “The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said … And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” Mt 18: 1-5 “For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Mk 10: 13-16
Yet 3,000 innocent children will die today without a voice. Babies killed by abortion. Nearly ¼ of ALL pregnancies ended--over 50 million since abortion was legalized in 1973. (In comparison 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.)

Will history say that the justices who legalized abortion under the Roe vs Wade decision were more murderous than Hitler? Will history say that we Christians allowed it to happen because we were afraid to be the voice of the unborn child. The argument has been “it’s the women’s right”! The answer is “It’s the unborn child’s right” to have the same right to be born as the mother did.
In the beginning our nation was created… “One nation, under God. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of Independence

And our founding father’s made this fundamental promise the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights. “Congress shall make no law disrespecting an establishment of religion, or by prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Yet, today the leaders of our country are disrespecting our religious conscience and prohibiting our free exercise of religion—by forcing public laws upon us that go against God’s commandments. Instead of God being allowed to be “the way, the truth and the life”--our power and our conscience—we will be publicly penalized for obeying His commandments, His laws, instead of theirs.

The HHS (health and human service) mandate which is a part of “Obamacare” dictates that ALL business must provide insurance coverage for their employees that will include abortion and contraceptive coverage--regardless of the employers religious belief/s that abortion and contraception are against God’s commandments.
Every social justice, religious, and non-profit business which serves the poor and homeless—like Christian hospitals and schools and Christian social service agencies (Catholic Charities & Lutheran Family Service)--will face tax penalties so severe that they will be put out of business if they stand up for their Christian religious “conscience” and go against public law. A Christian conscience which understands that every child is a gift from God, created in His image, from the moment of the miracle of conception.

As Christians will be rebuked for not taking a stand and speaking up as Jesus rebuked his disciples, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!” Lk 19: 40 What would it be like for stones to cry out? Imagine how the God of creation, the creator of marriage, and the God of new life, will deal with those who choose to ignore “right to life,” marriage and religious freedom issues which go against His commandments.
Heavenly Father, “You are the head of every principality and power.” Col 2:10 We pray for Your grace on all Christians who fight for You. Help us to remember that in the beginning You created marriage as one man, one woman; and in the beginning it was a blessing to have “a quiver full of children” (Ps 127:5) created by that union. Convert every politician and every citizen to the understanding that You are the real power and the truth and the giver of life. Give protection to the unborn; healing forgiveness and comfort to those who believed abortion was a choice; and bless all those who care for mothers and their babies. Amen.

This is a call to Christian action: To remember our beginnings under God.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Staying Focused

Friends of Faith:

With all the division of this world I often have a difficult time staying focused on my goal: God eternally in heaven. Does everything I do and everything I believe in—everyday—direct me towards that goal? (Eph 1:3-23)
I am personally pulled as to where I spend my time and money—how I honor God, serve our family, and accomplish the everyday tasks that seem to take on a life of their own. Am I putting my desires ahead of the plans God has for me? What is my focus?

“For this reason I kneel before the Father,, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love,  may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph 3:14-19
Christians (and non Christian believers) are divided by their personal beliefs, the beliefs of their neighbors, and God’s truths. Do I think I fully understand God’s truths, or do I continue to learn and discern God’s teachings thru the Church even when it is uncomfortable and might mean I have to change something I have professed or have unknowingly done wrong in the past?

"There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Mk 9: 38-42 (Oneness, Eph 2: 11-22) (Unity, Eph 4: 1-4)
This country (and therefore each of us) is pulled between life issues (abortion & redefining marriage) and money/economics. Am I willing to stand up for life first—choosing God over money?

“No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Lk 16:13 &Mt 6: 24
Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. James 5:1-6

The world is divided by war and conflict, conflicts of people who want to become God by gaining power over more people. Does my focus rest on using my talents and treasures to serve others (the poor, the broken, the needy), or do I look to gain power because I have these same talents and treasures?
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. Mk 9: 43

Heavenly Father, You have created us ALL in Your image, therefore we are ONE in You. Help me to act as ONE for you—honoring you each day by my presence in Your house, and by giving You a presence in ours. Help me to focus every minute of my day on reaching Your heavenly height, the common goal. Be a part of every decision and every priority I set throughout my day. Thank you for the many gifts and talents you have created in me, help me to use them wisely for your glory. Amen.
Where has your focus strayed from God’s promise? What choices are you making that meet your needs, not his; that choose money over life; that use talents and treasures to gain power?

Our goal should be that we each help each other get there together. Undivided and Focused!
Stay focused on God, stay focused on heaven,