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  2. Laurie

    One life for another?

    I have a lot of non-Catholic family members & friends. Whenever someone approaches me and genuinely wants to know what the Roman Catholic Church teaches & why, I send them items by Fr. Tad. https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/science/ethical-issues/difficult-pregnancies-precarious-choices-and-the-absolute-value-of-innocent-live.html Difficult Pregnancies, Precarious Choices, and the Absolute Value of Innocent Live FATHER TADEUSZ PACHOLCZYK Some medical conditions can be made worse by becoming pregnant. Pulmonary hypertension, for example, is often exacerbated by pregnancy: the additional blood volume of the pregnancy burdens the mother's weakened heart and, in extreme cases, can result in heart failure and the death of both mother and child. Although direct abortion is sometimes counseled to pregnant women who face this life-threatening difficulty, such a choice can never be moral. In these circumstances, medical strategies which seek to care for both mother and child need to be pursued, as they often provide satisfactory outcomes for both. Recent advances in obstetrics and pre-natal medicine, along with so-called "expectant management" (close monitoring of a pregnancy with tailored interventions), have enabled an ever greater number of these high-risk pregnancies to be managed at least until the child reaches viability. Labor can then be induced or a C-section delivery can be scheduled. This ordinarily allows both mother and child to be saved. An April 2010 research study showed impressive survival rates for pregnant mothers with pulmonary hypertension. This was achieved by combining multi-specialty collaboration with planned and managed delivery. The results, published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (BJOG), indicated that all nine of the patients in the small study group survived along with their unborn children. Nevertheless, there are times when our best medical efforts to save both mother and child will fail, and we face the heart-wrenching situation where nature may have to take its course. In these circumstances, some ask: Wouldn't a direct abortion be permissible to save the mother (for example, a suction curettage procedure, a common form of abortion where the fetus is often dismembered and parts are evacuated from the uterus)? An analogy can help us grasp the unacceptability of direct abortion in a situation like this. Let's suppose that several firefighters enter a burning building to evacuate a child trapped on the 3rd floor. The firefighters discover that part of the building has collapsed onto the only stairwell, with heavy, immobile concrete girders blocking the passageway further up to the landing. There is only a small hole in the girders that the firemen would need to crawl through to get to the trapped child, but the passage is blocked by the body of a man who collapsed from smoke inhalation right in the crawl space where the firefighters need to go. He is wedged in there in such a way that his unconscious, but living, body cannot be moved aside or out of the way. As the fire pulses dangerously around them, it becomes apparent that the only way the firefighters might be able to quickly pass would be to take a saw and cut the body of the collapsed man into pieces, causing his death, and then pull out sections of his body until a passage large enough for them to pass through had been opened up. Clearly, the firefighters would be obligated to try everything else to save the child and the collapsed man (shifting his body this way or that, trying to rouse him from his unconsciousness, etc.) but they could never choose to directly kill him by cutting up his body, even for the very good reason of gaining access to the next floor and saving the trapped child. This example points towards an old adage sometimes cited by moralists: Better two deaths than one murder. Some might say that "murder" would not fit here, given that the term generally connotes a callous, wanton, and premeditated act of killing, instead of an urgent, emotional and difficult decision in the face of few or no alternatives. But even the strongest emotion and the greatest difficulties surrounding such cases must be focused through the lens of a similar affirmation: Better two deaths than the direct taking of an innocent life. Directly killing an innocent human being, even in the hopes of saving his or her mother, is an instance of engaging in an intrinsic – or absolute – evil, even if good may follow. By always repudiating the direct killing of the innocent, and acknowledging that this represents an exceptionless norm, we set in place the framework to safeguard human dignity at its root. Affirming this most basic norm leads us away from the injustice of playing God with other people's lives. These challenging "life of the mother" cases allow us to begin acknowledging some of our own limitations, and the mystery of God's greater Providence, in the realization that we may not be able to "manage" or "correct" every difficult medical situation we face. Pulmonary hypertension, for example, is often exacerbated by pregnancy: the additional blood volume of the pregnancy burdens the mother's weakened heart and, in extreme cases, can result in heart failure and the death of both mother and child. Although direct abortion is sometimes counseled to pregnant women who face this life-threatening difficulty, such a choice can never be moral. In these circumstances, medical strategies which seek to care for both mother and child need to be pursued, as they often provide satisfactory outcomes for both. Recent advances in obstetrics and pre-natal medicine, along with so-called "expectant management" (close monitoring of a pregnancy with tailored interventions), have enabled an ever greater number of these high-risk pregnancies to be managed at least until the child reaches viability. Labor can then be induced or a C-section delivery can be scheduled. This ordinarily allows both mother and child to be saved. An April 2010 research study showed impressive survival rates for pregnant mothers with pulmonary hypertension. This was achieved by combining multi-specialty collaboration with planned and managed delivery. The results, published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (BJOG), indicated that all nine of the patients in the small study group survived along with their unborn children. Nevertheless, there are times when our best medical efforts to save both mother and child will fail, and we face the heart-wrenching situation where nature may have to take its course. In these circumstances, some ask: Wouldn't a direct abortion be permissible to save the mother (for example, a suction curettage procedure, a common form of abortion where the fetus is often dismembered and parts are evacuated from the uterus)? An analogy can help us grasp the unacceptability of direct abortion in a situation like this. Let's suppose that several firefighters enter a burning building to evacuate a child trapped on the 3rd floor. The firefighters discover that part of the building has collapsed onto the only stairwell, with heavy, immobile concrete girders blocking the passageway further up to the landing. There is only a small hole in the girders that the firemen would need to crawl through to get to the trapped child, but the passage is blocked by the body of a man who collapsed from smoke inhalation right in the crawl space where the firefighters need to go. He is wedged in there in such a way that his unconscious, but living, body cannot be moved aside or out of the way. As the fire pulses dangerously around them, it becomes apparent that the only way the firefighters might be able to quickly pass would be to take a saw and cut the body of the collapsed man into pieces, causing his death, and then pull out sections of his body until a passage large enough for them to pass through had been opened up. Clearly, the firefighters would be obligated to try everything else to save the child and the collapsed man (shifting his body this way or that, trying to rouse him from his unconsciousness, etc.) but they could never choose to directly kill him by cutting up his body, even for the very good reason of gaining access to the next floor and saving the trapped child. This example points towards an old adage sometimes cited by moralists: Better two deaths than one murder. Some might say that "murder" would not fit here, given that the term generally connotes a callous, wanton, and premeditated act of killing, instead of an urgent, emotional and difficult decision in the face of few or no alternatives. But even the strongest emotion and the greatest difficulties surrounding such cases must be focused through the lens of a similar affirmation: Better two deaths than the direct taking of an innocent life. Directly killing an innocent human being, even in the hopes of saving his or her mother, is an instance of engaging in an intrinsic – or absolute – evil, even if good may follow. By always repudiating the direct killing of the innocent, and acknowledging that this represents an exceptionless norm, we set in place the framework to safeguard human dignity at its root. Affirming this most basic norm leads us away from the injustice of playing God with other people's lives. These challenging "life of the mother" cases allow us to begin acknowledging some of our own limitations, and the mystery of God's greater Providence, in the realization that we may not be able to "manage" or "correct" every difficult medical situation we face. Here's a whole list of bioethics articles by Fr. Tad: http://www.madisoncatholicherald.org/bioethics/list And here are some videos: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=fr+tad+pacholczyk+
  3. Laurie

    Active vs Contemplative

    I took the liberty of putting numbers & brackets above to make my responses clear. For [#1] -- - Thank you, your clarification regarding not going home to a community, and not having a community as resonating with you in your discernment, makes sense. I think some are fed, in a crucial way, by communal life. Others are not. I see now that you are using the word "solitude" in some sense as "not having a community & communal obligations." In that sense, I now understand what you are saying, and I think I get what you mean. For [#2] --- I think we might both agree that solitude can be defined a few different ways. I was coming much more from a sense of internal & prayerful solitude, knowing that any person of holiness must crave, cultivate, and have this. Mother Theresa & Pope John Paul II jump out as beautiful examples of this kind of solitude & centeredness in Christ, deep in the midst of themselves, no matter whom they were with or what they were doing. I think this kind of solitude is essential to anyone who desires to be a consecrated virgin, but it is also crucial to anyone in any vocation who desires to be holy. (This gets back to my example of the apostolic sisters with whom I lived in Rome. They had days of "solitude" where they took themselves apart, but because they ran a home for female students, they had to rely on inner solitude more than external silence to feed their souls.) What I was trying to emphasize earlier is that any true vocation must have this type of solitude. The degree to which the person interacts with others is another kind of solitude (in that hermits have little interaction and active religious sisters have a lot). Whereas if we are talking about solitude in regards to communal life or the lack of it, what I was trying to say is that a woman might or might not be drawn to a community, but at the end of the day, that would just be one piece of her discernment. Being a woman who could be happy & fulfilled in communal life does not mean she isn't in fact called to be a consecrated virgin in the world. I know a number of CVs who could be quite happy in community. They don't actually have the same need for the same degree of solitude that you & I both seem to have. That adaptability to potential communal life, though, doesn't mean they don't have a vocation to be a CV. Quite differently from you, most of the CVs I know discerned first with active religious orders, not contemplative ones. I think what is more crucial to the vocation is solitude in the sense of #2. In the sense of #1, a CV might fall on the spectrum closer to a contemplative nun or hermit or closer to the apostolic religious. But just because could be happy in communal life doesn't mean she wouldn't make a good consecrated virgin in the world.
  4. mzkto

    One life for another?

    Yeah, that's right. Get over it. and thanks for the support. not. Catholics or non-Catholics. People are mean. Everyone with their head in the bubble that serves them well. The church and it's teachings are flawed, yet many think they are superior because they support what fits their ego. I am going with my heart. My heart tells me what I need to know. I am still looking for a passage that explains this situation where God tells us we have to lay down and die for another. Rethinking my whole Catholic upbringing and what it really means. The few on this page remind me of my mother in law...full of hate, waiting to take anyone down instead of trying to support them or help. In her case, lying, cheating to get her way...BUT she goes to mass every morning..that's what's important.
  5. Anomaly

    One life for another?

    Oh. So your daughter’s life is more important than your unborn grandchild’s life. I too have grown daughters, and can appreciate that perspective
  6. mzkto

    One life for another?

    That would be my point. Why is one life more valuable than the other? Why would the unborn child's life--a life we cannot guarantee to be a happy one, a healthy one, or without abuse, be the more valuable life to spare? I love children and this happens to be my daughter. My daughter whom I love more than anything is ill with kidney disease and has been treated for 10 months so far and was starting to show big improvements in her health when she discovered she was pregnant. Yesterday, her doctor told her proceeding with the pregnancy could speed up the kidney disease causing renal failure. If any of you have children, you may see another point of view. Losing your child so that one may (possibly) live. There is also the possibility of birth defects with the disease with the strong prednisone and medicine my daughter has been taking. The kidney specialists told her over and over to not get pregnant but it happened. I am not against babies in any way. What I am against is someone telling me my daughter's life is not important to the Catholic Church-only the baby that may or may not survive and may or may not have a life with defects and struggles to live with.
  7. BarbaraTherese

    Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality

    Saint Bonaventure (1221-1274), Franciscan, Doctor of the Church "The Soul’s Journey into God" https://www.amazon.com/Saint-Bonaventure-Souls-Journey-into/dp/B074ZTJ69R How wonderful are your works, Lord! The beauty of things in the variety of light, shape and color, such as the heavenly bodies and minerals, stones and metals, plants and animals, clearly proclaims the attributes of God. Their order in the book of creation clearly indicates the primacy, sublimity and dignity of the First Principle and thus the infinity of his power. In this way order itself leads us most clearly into the first and highest, the most powerful, wisest and best. Whoever, therefore, is not enlightened by such splendor of created things is blind; whoever is not awakened by such outcries is deaf; whoever does not praise God because of all these effects is dumb; whoever does not discover the First Principle from such clear signs is a fool. Therefore, open your eyes, alert the ears of your spirit, open your lips and apply your heart (Prv 22:17) so that in all creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and worship, glorify and honor your God lest the whole world rise against you. For because of this “the whole world will fight against the foolish” (Wis 5:21 Vg.). On the contrary, it will be a matter of glory for the wise, who can say with the Prophet: “You have gladdened me, Lord, by your deeds and in the work of your hands I will rejoice. (Ps 91[92]:5). How great are your works, Lord! You have made all things in wisdom; the earth is filled with your creatures.” (Ps 103[104]:24). (From Daily Gospel.org) Vincent's Quote of the Day - St Vincent de Paul Society Quote of the Day – June 22 "Let us abandon ourselves to the Providence of God and be on our guard against anticipating it" (II:499). Divine Providence Catholic Catechism http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p4.htm Scroll down to "V. GOD CARRIES OUT HIS PLAN: DIVINE PROVIDENCE "
  8. Reading 1 2 Chr 24:17-25 After the death of Jehoiada, the princes of Judah came and paid homage to King Joash, and the king then listened to them. They forsook the temple of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and began to serve the sacred poles and the idols; and because of this crime of theirs, wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem. Although prophets were sent to them to convert them to the LORD, the people would not listen to their warnings. Then the Spirit of God possessed Zechariah, son of Jehoiada the priest. He took his stand above the people and said to them: "God says, 'Why are you transgressing the LORD's commands, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have abandoned the LORD, he has abandoned you.'" But they conspired against him, and at the king's order they stoned him to death in the court of the LORD's temple. Thus King Joash was unmindful of the devotion shown him by Jehoiada, Zechariah's father, and slew his son. And as Zechariah was dying, he said, "May the LORD see and avenge." At the turn of the year a force of Arameans came up against Joash. They invaded Judah and Jerusalem, did away with all the princes of the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus. Though the Aramean force came with few men, the LORD surrendered a very large force into their power, because Judah had abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers. So punishment was meted out to Joash. After the Arameans had departed from him, leaving him in grievous suffering, his servants conspired against him because of the murder of the son of Jehoiada the priest. He was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. Responsorial Psalm Ps 89:4-5, 29-30, 31-32, 33-34 R. (29a) For ever I will maintain my love for my servant. "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations." R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant. "Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him, and my covenant with him stands firm. I will make his posterity endure forever and his throne as the days of heaven." R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant. "If his sons forsake my law and walk not according to my ordinances, If they violate my statutes and keep not my commands." R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant. "I will punish their crime with a rod and their guilt with stripes. Yet my mercy I will not take from him, nor will I belie my faithfulness." R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant. Alleluia 2 Cor 8:9 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich. R. Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel Mt 6:24-34 Jesus said to his disciples: "No one 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. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." - - - Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner. source
  9. CatherineM

    One life for another?

    How about if the mom needs a heart transplant and her child is her only match. She’ll die without the transplant. The child is 12 years old. Do we kill the child so the mom can live? if you think a rape is violating, an abortion is even more so. It’s physically, emotionally, and spiritually more damaging. Why re-injure a child who’s already been devastated?
  10. Anomaly

    One life for another?

    I am not inclined to debate Catholic policy. But what about according to you? Are some lives more valuable or less equal?
  11. Not A Mallard

    Drop a word, keep a word (GIF edition)

    Two Face
  12. Not A Mallard

    Drop a word, keep a word

    laser blast
  13. Yesterday
  14. mzkto

    One life for another?

    According to the church, there is no reason to abort a baby, even if the mother is a child herself who has been raped against her own will at the hands of a pedophile during a violent act of sex.
  15. John the Baptist, whose birth we celebrate, is unique among the saints of our calendar (apart from the Blessed Virgin Mary), in that we celebrate his birth as well as his martyrdom. From earliest times, a saint's 'heavenly birthday', was the date chosen to remember them. But John is different. In the verses before those read today, the birth of John the Baptist has been announced by the angel Gabriel to Zechariah, who was performing his duties as a priest in the Jerusalem Temple. Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, are an old couple who have never had children, in the same way that Isaac was miraculously given to Abraham and Sarah in their old age. This child is the gracious gift of God, not only to his aged parents, but to all of God’s people. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit and will prepare the way of the Lord by inspiring people to turn away from their sins and to prepare their hearts for the coming of the promised Messiah. We read today that Elizabeth's neighbours and relatives rejoice with her because God has shown her mercy in the birth of a son. But they are confused when she tells them that his name is to be John, which means “God has been gracious.” Zechariah has been unable to speak since Gabriel appeared, because, unlike Mary, he doubted the angel's word. But when he writes on a tablet “John is his name” all are amazed. People ask, “What, then, will this child be?” We now jump to the last verses of the chapter, which explain that John will become strong in spirit living in the desert until it is time to show himself to the people of Israel. It is the language of faith that sees and expresses these things. It is faith that recognizes God at work in the created order, in the calling of Israel to be God’s people. It is faith that recognizes God at work in the giving of the Law and in the words of the prophets and above all, in the Word made flesh in Jesus, God’s Son. It is faith that sees God’s hand at work throughout human history, guarding and guiding and going before us into the future. There is reason enough to declare this day a solemn feast, because it reminds us of God’s faithfulness, of God’s gracious gifts to us in the past and God’s sure promise to us for the future. But the story of John the Baptist has more to say to us. John is, before all and above all, a witness to Jesus, the Christ, and he has much to teach us about what it will mean for us to be witnesses of Christ in our own day. John is a powerful despite his unusual manner and dress. He attracts a large following, even before Jesus comes to him to be baptized. He is a charismatic figure who draws attention from the most powerful people in the land, both religious and secular. And yet he makes a profound and meaningful choice. He steps out of the limelight to accept a lesser role. He is there, not to make a name for himself, but to witness to another. His own success and popularity are unimportant to him; he wants no fame or fortune. His purpose is to testify to one who is greater than himself. Both John and Our Lady were careful always to point away from themselves and to Jesus, the heart and source of our Christian faith and relationship with God. We too are called to be voices, temporary voices which God will use to prepare the way in our generation. We are the voice for this time and for this place. Our role is temporary, but it is essential. Without the voice, people will not hear. To be a witness requires that we know what we are, and what we are not. We are not Jesus. We are simply voices, calling out to get people ready, to prepare them to meet him when he comes. Our purpose is not to draw attention to ourselves, but to him. We are to point people to Jesus. John embodies a reminder that when we examine our conduct, as Catholic Christians are called regularly to do, we should always ask whether we are acting to the glory of God and in the best interests of others, as well as properly caring for ourselves. In the current leadership of another nation we can see, almost daily, the dangers of constant self-commendation, the appropriation of others' achievements and (sometimes ludicrous) boasting, all motivated by a desperate need for approval at any cost. John reminds us that giving credit and space to others, sometimes even acknowledging that someone else might better do, or have, something we value, is a Gospel virtue. It also brings greater peace and opportunity to build our relationship with God. This feast reminds us of our role, to be witnesses to Jesus in our own day Today we remember blessed John the Baptist, who reminds us what an extraordinary calling this is.
  16. Anomaly

    One life for another?

    I'm confused, mzkto Are you saying that all life is equally valuable on a philosophical level, or is life value determined by societal usefulness, or is life valued differently based on a understanding what a God/religion says? (I’m asking to maybe discuss, I’m not a Catholic here to argue.)
  17. The Birth of John the Baptist (Isaiah 49:1-6; Acts 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66, 80) The fact that God gave Zechariah and Elizabeth's child the name "John" is most significant. It was considered to be the father's privilege to name his child, and the fact that God Himself chose a name for this child shows that John was indeed to be, as we would say, "God's man". As you heard in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth He has made mention of my name. The name ‘John’ means ‘The Lord has been gracious’ and it leads us to anticipate that, in His Providence, God would subsequently be gracious to His Chosen People through John. John’s background fostered the development of his distinctive character: he was born into a provincial priestly family and, as he came to know more and more of what went on in the side-wings, so to speak, of the priestly society in Jerusalem -- above all concerning the wealth, luxury, pride and venality of leading families -- the more indignant and alienated he felt: The child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived (by preference) in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel. In the desert we are told that: John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. (Matthew 3:4) When he did, at last, appear publicly to Israel he seems to have preached strongly against the lives of luxury, trappings of wealth, and quest for money and power which characterized the upper echelons of priestly society in Jerusalem; and equally the pride which motivated so many Scribes and Pharisees in their search for influence and public esteem. These things so disgusted John that, on noticing certain figures coming to witness or avail themselves of the baptism he was giving by the Jordan, he burst out: You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. In this respect, John was indeed the culmination of the prophets of old who had so often, over the centuries, castigated the sins of Israel; and how often would Jesus Himself have to hear His opponents claim, ‘We have Abraham as our father’! All that, however, was what John himself, as it were ‘picked up’ in the course of life, he was not directly taught such attitudes of disgust and anger. For his ‘formation’ given by his priestly father we must look at the Benedictus where St. Luke pictures for us an elderly father and priest, who has -- ever so recently – come, through suffering, to a very real and personal awareness of and reverence for the God of Israel. Moreover, this is an Israelite and a priest who has heard from his wife all about Mary and the Child she was carrying, and we can well imagine him musing in the presence of his son about the great goodness and majesty of Israel’s God, in His dealings with and purpose for His People: The oath he swore to Abraham our father, to grant us that, freed from the hand of our enemies, we might worship Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days (Luke 1: 73-75), and about his own son’s part to play in God’s plan because he, John, had been the first to experience the grace of God’s gifted Saviour when, even though being still in his mother’s womb, he had leapt for joy at his Saviour’s presence as his mother joyfully greeted Mary’s arrival. And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. (Luke 1:76-77) However, even that was not the whole of John, for though his family background and personal gifts conspired to make him both significant and remarkable, it was his subsequent vocation from God that rendered him quite unique. God did not only "make his mouth a sharp sword" against the Lord's enemies, but he was also "honoured in the eyes of the Lord" to the extent that he was called to begin to "bring back Jacob to the Lord", which is why, as we all heard in the first reading, John went about the region of the Jordan: Preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And here we must take most careful notice of John. He offered a baptism, an immersion, for the forgiveness of sins, but only to those coming forward for that baptism with the sincerity of their repentance backed up by evidence of good works done: Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Such was John’s insistence: they had to stop standing on their dignity by thinking "we have Abraham as our father" or "we are Levitical priests”, or again, “we are learned scribes or holy Pharisees"; instead they had to show the truth of their sorrow for past sins by their present efforts at righteousness. John would also give advice to those who asked him for guidance on what sort of fruit for repentance they should bring with them: “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same." Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?" "Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely, be content with your pay." (Luke 3:11-14) Only if and when they had produced fruit worthy of repentance, would John baptize them with, immerse them in, water; whereupon, they then could they go to the Temple and perform there the many cleansing ceremonies with right dispositions and so hope to receive the grace of God attached to those ritual ablutions. John however, was fully aware of the limitations of the baptism he himself was offering, and therefore, as a true forerunner of Jesus, he used to speak to those who were truly repentant about the One Who was to come: I baptize you with water. But One more powerful than I will come, the thongs of Whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. In this way, St. Luke tells us: With many other words, John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them. In his personal life style John differed greatly from Jesus. Jesus did not live in the desert, although it was in the desert where He first conquered the Devil. Jesus did not wear a garment of camel's hair, nor was His food locusts and wild honey although there were times when He had nowhere to lay His head, times when He was exhausted by lack of food and water. Jesus once referred to the obvious contrast between Himself and John saying: John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' (Luke 7:33-35) In his teaching, however, John was indeed a man after Jesus' own heart. Just as we heard God say of David in the second reading, so too it could be said of John that he was, for Jesus: A man after My own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.' It would appear that John did not mention the One who was to come to the unrepentant ‘brood of vipers’; and, in that respect, we call to mind the later words of Jesus to His disciples (Matthew 7:6): Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. We also recall the way Jesus used to speak only in parables to those who were not sufficiently well-disposed or well-prepared: This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand." In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' (Matthew 13:1015) People of God, for many in the Church today John the Baptist is unknown and unappreciated and it is a mystery to them why he has such prominence in Mother Church's liturgy for only he -- together with Peter and Paul -- of all the prophets and apostles, has both a vigil and a solemn celebratory Mass and Office. Mother Church cannot forget what God has given her to preserve for His children, given her for their future nurture, enlightenment and fulfilment. John, therefore, has a most important lesson for us children of Mother Church, a lesson and a teaching which makes him little regarded today by many who like to follow trends rather than seek truth. John was not overawed by religious authority and power because he feared God first – having learnt that from his earliest years listening to his father’s vibrant and heart-felt words -- and, as one sent on his mission by God, he demanded signs of authentic repentance, otherwise, without such signs he would not baptize the proud and prestigious, the luxurious and sinful ones, who might come to him: You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. As Mark's Gospel (1:14-15) tells us, Jesus picks up from where John left off: After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," He said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Today it is popularly considered that the approach to Jesus should be made as easy as possible, with the result that His call to repentance can easily be watered down and His teaching not so much adapted as adulterated, while the Blood of Christ is splashed around like water in the ‘Asperges’ when the sacraments are given to those who gladly proffer a show of words or tears but withhold substantial obedience. This is all to Mother Church's great loss: not because harshness, rigidity, are good in themselves, but because reverence and ‘fear of the Lord’ are absolutely essential if anyone is to draw close to God. John the Baptist was providentially sent by the Father to prepare the way for His Son because God alone can show His love for and bestow His mercy on His People, not any ‘man of God’ making emotional play with human words; and God will only show His mercy and love, in and through His beloved Son, to those whom reverence prevents from abusing that love and mercy, from mocking His most-beloved, and only begotten, Son. When reverence and fear of the Lord inspire in us the discipline of good works, when -- eschewing any quick fix -- they lead us to watch and wait dutifully and humbly for the Lord, and, above all, when such dispositions gradually constrain us to seek God first and self last in all our longings and aspirations, all our endeavours and commitment, then can we hope to become true disciples of Jesus, and by His Spirit further the coming of God’s Kingdom.
  18. mzkto

    One life for another?

    QUOTE: "I hold that human life from conception is not some accident flowing from human sexuality, but that human life from conception is created by God and comes from God within the context of human sexuality" Let's take a case where an 11 year old little girl is walking down the street, gets abducted, raped and becomes pregnant. This isn't some accident flowing from human sexuality??? Then it's mandatory for this innocent child to go through with a pregnancy and ruin, her life because a monster decided to force this act of violence and sin on her? Even if she gives it up, she is a CHILD who will never be looked at the same by her peers. She will always be known for this years later. Is she expected to go into hiding, give birth, and then resume childhood and forget this ever happened? There is no way I can believe that God holds her or her parents responsible if they terminate a pregnancy that would ruin lives in order to allow one, possibly one with a"bad seed" that will grow up to ruin other lives. Again, I can not find these situations in the Bible. Monsters and pedophiles have now muddied the waters and I will NEVER believe, Catholic or not, that God isn't more understanding that that!
  19. BarbaraTherese

    Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality

    VESPERS Friday 22nd June 2018 Short Reading James 1:2-4 My brothers, you will always have your trials but, when they come, try to treat them as a happy privilege; you understand that your faith is only put to the test to make you patient, but patience too is to have its practical results so that you will become fully-developed, complete, with nothing missing.
  20. little2add

    Drop a word, keep a word

    blast off
  21. Reading 1 2 Kgs 11:1-4, 9-18, 20 When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she began to kill off the whole royal family. But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash, his son, and spirited him away, along with his nurse, from the bedroom where the princes were about to be slain. She concealed him from Athaliah, and so he did not die. For six years he remained hidden in the temple of the LORD, while Athaliah ruled the land. But in the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carians and of the guards. He had them come to him in the temple of the LORD, exacted from them a sworn commitment, and then showed them the king's son. The captains did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each one with his men, both those going on duty for the sabbath and those going off duty that week, came to Jehoiada the priest. He gave the captains King David's spears and shields, which were in the temple of the LORD. And the guards, with drawn weapons, lined up from the southern to the northern limit of the enclosure, surrounding the altar and the temple on the king's behalf. Then Jehoiada led out the king's son and put the crown and the insignia upon him. They proclaimed him king and anointed him, clapping their hands and shouting, "Long live the king!" Athaliah heard the noise made by the people, and appeared before them in the temple of the LORD. When she saw the king standing by the pillar, as was the custom, and the captains and trumpeters near him, with all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, she tore her garments and cried out, "Treason, treason!" Then Jehoiada the priest instructed the captains in command of the force: "Bring her outside through the ranks. If anyone follows her," he added, "let him die by the sword." He had given orders that she should not be slain in the temple of the LORD. She was led out forcibly to the horse gate of the royal palace, where she was put to death. Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD as one party and the king and the people as the other, by which they would be the LORD's people; and another covenant, between the king and the people. Thereupon all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. Jehoiada appointed a detachment for the temple of the LORD. All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the royal palace. Responsorial Psalm Ps 132:11, 12, 13-14, 17-18 R. (13) The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling. The LORD swore to David a firm promise from which he will not withdraw: "Your own offspring I will set upon your throne." R. The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling. "If your sons keep my covenant and the decrees which I shall teach them, Their sons, too, forever shall sit upon your throne." R. The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling. For the LORD has chosen Zion; he prefers her for his dwelling. "Zion is my resting place forever; in her will I dwell, for I prefer her." R. The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling. "In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David; I will place a lamp for my anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon him my crown shall shine." R. The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling. Alleluia Mt 5:3 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. R. Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel Mt 6:19-23 Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. "The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be." - - - Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner. source
  22. JoshKicks

    Thomas Merton Bible study

    Welcome aboard! You've come to the right place.
  23. JoshKicks

    I am going to be a dad

    Congratulations, man!
  24. JoshKicks

    Drop a word, keep a word

    Leave Off
  25. BarbaraTherese

    One life for another?

    I am Catholic and coming from the Catholic Teaching. I hold that human life from conception is not some accident flowing from human sexuality, but that human life from conception is created by God and comes from God within the context of human sexuality. I think and hope I have said it right. Abortion "is unchanged and unchangeable. Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his successors . . . I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church" (Evangelium Vitae 62). https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae.html Murder (of the innocent in this instance) is a crime and a crime can never make for a good end. The crime itself is murder and is criminal and remains a crime and criminal and nothing can change that. Here is a spot on Catholic statement from what I thought was a rather unlikely source: "Also missing in the ends/means ethics discussion is an understanding of the Providence of God. God did not simply create the world, populate it with people, and then leave them to muddle through on their own with no oversight from Him. Rather, God has a plan and purpose for mankind which He has been bringing to pass through the centuries. Every decision made by every person in history has been supernaturally applied to that plan. He states this truth unequivocally: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do” (Isaiah 46:10-11). God is intimately involved in and in control over His creation. Furthermore, He states that He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). A Christian who lies on a resume or aborts a baby would be violating God’s law and denying His ability to provide for a family and preserve a mother’s life if He purposes to do so. Those who do not know God may be forced to justify their means to an end, but those who claim to be children of God have no reason whatsoever to break one of God’s commandments, deny His sovereign purpose, or bring reproach to His Name." https://www.gotquestions.org/ends-justify-means.html (The Providence of God is Catholic Doctrine)
  26. Sponsa-Christi

    Active vs Contemplative

    From outward appearances, I do have a fairly "active" life. I have a demanding full-time job that can involve a lot of pastoral interaction with the people I serve. And I try to make myself available to be of service to the diocese in other ways even outside the parameters of my day job. But, I go home to solitude, which does provide a lot of very helpful silence that I likely wouldn't have if I was a member of an apostolic religious community. So I'm not saying all CVs need a literal certain number of solitary hours per day. I was trying to compare and contrast the general character of my life vs. a life where "community" was a major emphasis. Maybe my experiences won't resonate with absolutely everyone, but I'd guess there are probably some common threads with CVs in general. And honestly, I would strongly discourage a woman who wasn't spiritually drawn to solitude on at least some level from discerning a vocation to consecrated virginity. This is for a couple of reasons: 1. a CV is going to de facto have a lot of solitude in her life almost basically no matter what, so you need to know how use it fruitfully and have it not be a routinely terrible experience; but more importantly: 2. the core of a vocation to consecrated virginity is a call to a distinctively spousal relationship with Christ, and you need a lot of quiet time with God to nurture this. Being a CV can be really, really hard! And having your prayer life in order is what will make or break a CV's vocation. It's the difference between being a fruitful spiritual mother or winding up as a lonely spinster. If a woman for whatever reason was chronically unable to find time or space in her life for a great deal of prayer and a sufficient amount of silence (however much "sufficient" truly means for her), for her own well-being it really is best she not become a CV. Like Laurie, I'm also writing these things out of sincere concern for potential future CVs--a lot of this is what I wish someone would have told me ten years ago when I was preparing for my own consecration.
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