Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Look no further!
I think the rhythm and rhyme of this verse by Mary Daly simplify the task immensely. We've been working on it for the last couple of months. The oldest children have nearly the whole thing memorized now.
I've made some minor changes (improvements, I hope); click on the post title for the original.
by Mary O. Daly, modified
Part I: Historical Books
Genesis -- when we began;
Exodus is when we ran;
Leviticus is priestly lore.
Numbers tells the sons we bore;
With Deuteronomy, we close
The tale of Moses, whom God chose.
(The Pentateuch is these books' name;
The Jewish Torah is the same.)
Then Joshua said, "I serve the Lord.
Through all my house, he is adored."
(And Jericho fell by the shout of his men
For the praise of God was strong in them.)
Soon the Judges led in war, in peace,
Deborah among them, and Gideon with fleece.
And a loyal heart with Naomi trod,
Ruth came to Judah, and to her God.
Two books of Samuel the prophet we hold
In two books the stories of Kings are told
Two more Chronicle the housing of the ark
In Solomon's temple, with seraphic spark!
There Ezra the priest, copier of books,
became a great author the way it looks!
And Nehemiah spoke at length,
"The joy of the Lord is my strength."
Though trouble for Jews is ever the tale,
Still God sends heroes that never fail.
So Tobit was healed by the angel's craft,
And Judith took sword on her people's behalf.
And Esther with beauty and wits and prayer
Protected her people from Haman's lair
And finally (twice) the Maccabees sons
Gave limb and life for the chosen ones.
Part II: Holy Wisdom
But to worship God as He is revealed
Takes holiness more than sword and shield.
So Job is the teacher for those in sorrow,
The Psalms give praise; the Proverbs borrow
from Solomon. And Ecclesiastes writes
There's time for everything, days and nights,
And birth and death, and mourn and dance,
And build and break, and plans and chance.
There's time for love in the Song of Songs.
Then, lest we forget the rights and wrongs,
We seek deep Wisdom in Solomon's prayer
We go to her house and breathe her air.
Last, but not least (did the Jews forget?)
Ecclesiasticus* ends the set
Of the books of widsom the Bible gave
While the prophets taught how God will save.
Part III: Prophetic Words
Isaiah has words of comfort;
Jeremiah speaks of grief;
His Lamentations move the heart;
Baruch is wise though brief.
Ezechiel gives warning
and knits to life dry bones
Daniel sees Judgement,
the wrath and the thrones.
Hosea speaks of love
and promise of return;
Joel foretells the Spirit
to pour into hearts that yearn.
Amos speaks of famine
not of bread but the Word;
Obadiah warns Edom
of heaven's wrath incurred.
Babylon's prophet is Jonah
(he rode in the fish -- but how?).
Micah speaks of an end to war
when sword shall turn to plow.
"The Lord," says Nahum
"will break the yoke,"
And Habakkuk waits
for the vision's stroke.
And Zephaniah teaches us
that God will rest within
While Haggai preaches
a final end to sin.
Zechariah warns the shepherd,
"Stay beside my flock!"
Malachi, the final prophet,
speaks of the marriage lock
And teaches that in the latter days
we'll see a new Elijah
To reconcile men with sons
before the great Messiah.
These 46 books tell the ancient story
Of our faithful God and all his glory.
Part IV: The New Testament
Countless ages come and go
The plan of God seems very slow
But in the Father's perfect way,
Jesus was born and slept in the hay.
Then he grew to be healer, teacher, and friend
Til he died for love, but it wasn't the end,
For he rose in glory and sent one gift --
the Spirit of Truth -- the Gospel Lift.
So Matthew wrote for the Jews in Rome
And Mark was brief for those at home
Luke wrote for gentiles, healing and kind
While John grew old with tales to wind.
The Acts of believers next are told,
'Specially of Paul, who, brave and bold
Traveled the sea lanes, end to end
and wrote his letters to many a friend.
To the Romans he wrote that all works for good
And twice to Corinthinans how love's understood.
Then: 'You Galatians are crazy! Faith is the way!'
To Ephesians: 'Praise God, and live in the Day.'
'From my heart,' dear Philippians, 'endless thanksgiving,'
-- plus a word about Jesus and humble living.
Then to Colossians, on faith, angels, friends,
Twice to Thessalonians, preparing for ends.
Two for Timothy, though he was young
One each for Titus and Philemon.
Paul's letters amaze us, from chains or free
Yet others wrote of the mystery:
One to the Hebrews on sacrifice,
the priesthood of Jesus, and its price.
"Be doers of the word," says James in his letter,
"Follow God and His Church," exhort two from Peter.
Three letters from John speak of God and his love,
While Jude confirms authority from above.
You who read this Revelation knowing my word is true,
Guard your hearts through tribulation; I will come for you.
* Note: Ecclesiasticus is also known as the book of Sirach
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Jennifer over at Conversion Diary wonders, How would you know? She offers one of the most thoughful and thought-provoking responses I have seen to this question.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
So how might one teach evolution in science lessons, say to 14 to 16-year-olds? Many scientists, and some science educators, fear that consideration of creationism or intelligent design in a science classroom legitimises them.This sounds very reasonable to me. Note that Prof. Reiss very clearly says that he does not consider creationism or intelligent design theories to be scientifically valid. All he says is that if students have issues with evolution -- say because their parents are into creationism -- it makes a lot of sense for their biology teacher to discuss their concerns with them.
For example, the excellent book Science, Evolution, and Creationism published by the US National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine, asserts: "The ideas offered by intelligent design creationists are not the products of scientific reasoning. Discussing these ideas in science classes would not be appropriate given their lack of scientific support."
I agree with the first sentence but disagree with the second. Just because something lacks scientific support doesn't seem to me a sufficient reason to omit it from a science lesson. When I was taught physics at school, and taught it extremely well in my view, what I remember finding so exciting was that we could discuss almost anything providing we were prepared to defend our thinking in a way that admitted objective evidence and logical argument.
So when teaching evolution, there is much to be said for allowing students to raise any doubts they have (hardly a revolutionary idea in science teaching) and doing one's best to have a genuine discussion. The word 'genuine' doesn't mean that creationism or intelligent design deserve equal time.
However, in certain classes, depending on the comfort of the teacher in dealing with such issues and the make-up of the student body, it can be appropriate to deal with the issue. If questions or issues about creationism and intelligent design arise during science lessons they can be used to illustrate a number of aspects of how science works.
What does it say to the student when the teacher merely pooh-poohs their concerns or dismisses them without discussion? It seems to me that the most likely two outcomes are
- the student decides the teacher is clueless -- therefore the science is suspect, or
- the student decides his parents are clueless -- therefore their religion is suspect
Members of the Royal Society do not agree; many called for Reiss's resignation from his position as the Society's Director of Education. It doesn't seem to much matter that what Reiss actually said and what they imagine he said are two different things.
Cross-posted with Unity of Truth.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Bobbie Hallman was attempting to carry out a simple task — make a poster from an ultrasound image.And there's more! Read the rest here: TheCatholicSpirit.com - Poster for prayer service saves a life
She ended up saving the life of an unborn child.
... people standing in line nearby began to look at the ultrasound pictures, too. Eventually, the pictures found their way back into the hands of the pregnant employee.
“She looked at them individually again and she said, ‘I can’t abort this baby.’ ” Bobbie said. “She said, ‘I was thinking about aborting this baby. I thought it was just a tissue. And, look at this.’ She was pointing to the fingers and the eyes.”
Monday, January 26, 2009
It was in Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) that Pope John Paul coined the terms "culture of death" and "culture of life" that have since become common parlance. He explains:
we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the "culture of death" and the "culture of life". We find ourselves not only "faced with" but necessarily "in the midst of" this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life. (n. 28)Among the many valuable insights that the Holy Father offers are the following:
- The culture of death is that which offers death as a "solution" to societal problems. It is like "curing" illness by killing the patient.
- God did not make death ... Death came into the world as a result of the devil's envy (n. 7)
- The culture of death "is actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic and political currents which encourage an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency." In other words, instead of focussing on each human being as a person made in God's image, the focus becomes what can this person do -- the value of his life becomes dependent on his ability to do something.
- There exists a tremendous contradiction between the solemn affirmation of human rights on the one hand, and the practical attacks against the fundamental right to life in the very same societies.
- Among the roots of this contradiction are subjectivity, a false notion of individual freedom opposed to proper solidarity, and secularism.
- "the heart of the tragedy being experienced by modern man [is] the eclipse of the sense of God and of man ... when the sense of God is lost, there is also a tendency to lose the sense of man, of his dignity and his life" (n. 21)
It is from the blood of Christ that all draw the strength to commit themselves to promoting life. It is precisely this blood that is the most powerful source of hope, indeed it is the foundation of the absolute certitude that in God's plan life will be victorious. ...Finally, he calls every Christian to work for the culture of life:
In effect, signs which point to this victory are not lacking in our societies and cultures, strongly marked though they are by the "culture of death". (n. 25-26)
To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop. A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized. Only respect for life can be the foundation and guarantee of the most precious and essential goods of society, such as democracy and peace.The battle lines are drawn. Which side will we choose?
There can be no true democracy without a recognition of every person's dignity and without respect for his or her rights.
Nor can there be true peace unless life is defended and promoted. (n. 101)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Read more and pick up images here.
"Whoever saves one life saves the world entire." - Schindler's List
The beautiful theme for Mr. Obama's Presidential Inauguration is taken from Abraham Lincoln, "A New Birth of Freedom." Lincoln had some very compelling things to say about Freedom.
"Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."
He also said: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."
The freedom to live is the most fundamental freedom, without which we could have no other freedoms. And thus a new birth of freedom in our country needs to be broad enough to include and protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us; most notably the disabled, the elderly, and the unborn.
Please join us in celebrating this year's beautiful inaugural theme in this more complete way. On Inauguration Day, January 20th, please use these images to encourage others to remember the important connections between life and freedom. Images can be used to replace profile pictures (on Facebook, (on Flickr, Twitter, etc.) or to highlight the theme on your blog via sidebar picture or background image. Please pass it along by linking back to this page.
"Sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so that their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them." - Susan B. Anthony
Monday, January 19, 2009
After assisting at Mass in the morning, we got lunch and then hung around in Portland for a while. The reason? The pro-life Roe v. Wade memorial rally, of course!
Usually, the rally is held in Salem, but this year, the organizers -- Oregon Right to Life -- decided to move it to Portland. What a great call! Veterans told me they had never seen anything like it in Oregon. Past years, some 500 or so had shown up to the rally outside the state Capitol.
This year, we had around 7,000!! The largest pro-life rally in Oregon history!
The rally began with the tolling of a bell once for each million babies killed by abortion. I am not usually into this sort of thing, but I found myself weeping as the slow, deep tolling made me grasp more deeply just how huge is the number of lives devoured by abortion. And this didn't even count all those innocents abroad who are victims of abortion export by IPPF and others.
But I digress ...
ORTL had a dynamic lineup of speakers, beginning with Archbishop John Vlazny of the Archdiocese of Portland who opened with prayer and then spoke of the importance of the life issues and of stopping FOCA. He said that life issues -- like abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, and assisted suicide -- are not only "faith" issues but ethical issues, just like stealing or hurting others. That it is science, not faith, that shows that human lives begin at conception. And that while there are many social issues we should be concerned about, abortion "dwarfs" all the others. Finally, he called on us all to work tirelessly to reverse these unjust laws, saying "our voice is needed now more than ever." The crowd reacted with cheers and roars of approval as he made all these points.
The Archbishop was followed by several other speakers, including Esther Riplinger, who spoke about how abortion hurt her and about how she found healing, state Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, who spoke about the need for pro-life citizens to contact and educate their representatives in government, and pre-med student Jennifer Salame (a homeschool graduate!) who called on youth to make this struggle their own. Pastor Dale Ebel finished out the lineup with a wonderful personal story of choosing life, and ended the rally with prayer.
Lots more photos are posted at 50 million lost, and there should be transcripts of the speeches up there soon.
A very cool postscript to this is that as we dispersed after the rally and got into the Max (light rail), a man in the train asked what had been going on. Someone told him, "a pro-life rally," and he answered, "Oh, cool!"
In Portland?!? Needless to say, I was / am shocked. In a good sort of way, of course!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
We of the Catholic faith certainly know that love of God is central to our tenets, this is the appealing part. It is hard to imagine a Catholic saying, "I am a Catholic in good standing but I do not love God." But the inspired scriptures tell us that whoever does not love his brother or neighbor does not and, indeed, cannot love God. This is the challenging part. The people of Jesus' day understood this and it was this understanding that prompted them to ask, "And who is my neighbor?" For all of us, and especially for Catholic legislators in every strata of government, it is necessary to declare, in conformity with the Natural Law and the teaching of the Catholic Church that, the pre-born child is our brother, our sister, our neighbor!
It may sound a little strong to state that legislators "hate" the pre-born child but hate is an absence of love and love means to wish another well. There is nothing about abortion that wishes the pre-born child well. The preservation of abortion "rights" is already an absence of love for the pre-born child but the passage of FOCA could be construed as nothing less than active and positive disregard, even hatred, for these our brothers and sisters. To paraphrase St. John, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' but votes for FOCA, thus showing a disregard for his pre-born brother or sister, he is a liar." Lots of things can be rationalized in government but I do not see any way in which any Catholic could rationalize or justify an affirmative vote for FOCA.
It is not necessary for your postcards to be as outspoken as this bishop but you do have an obligation to participate in this concerted effort to show love for the tiniest and most defenseless of our brothers and sisters. President-elect Obama made it very clear, prior to the election, that he would happily sign FOCA and the millions of Catholics who voted for him hopefully did so for reasons other than this promise and certainly not because of it. It seems to me that it is particularly incumbent upon these same voters to make it clearly known to their representatives that their vote may not in any way be taken as a sign of support for FOCA.
Therefore, he says:
I strongly urge all who have a glimmer of concern for the lives of pre-born children to engage themselves in this postcard campaign.
See here and here for more on the postcard campaign.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our country recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world. We also underscore our dedication to heeding this message of conscience by speaking up for the weak and voiceless among us.
The most basic duty of government is to protect the life of the innocent. My Administration has been committed to building a culture of life by vigorously promoting adoption and parental notification laws, opposing Federal funding for abortions overseas, encouraging teen abstinence, and funding crisis pregnancy programs. In 2002, I was honored to sign into law the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which extends legal protection to children who survive an abortion attempt. I signed legislation in 2003 to ban the cruel practice of partial-birth abortion, and that law represents our commitment to building a culture of life in America. Also, I was proud to sign the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004, which allows authorities to charge a person who causes death or injury to a child in the womb with a separate offense in addition to any charges relating to the mother.
America is a caring Nation, and our values should guide us as we harness the gifts of science. In our zeal for new treatments and cures, we must never abandon our fundamental morals. We can achieve the great breakthroughs we all seek with reverence for the gift of life.
The sanctity of life is written in the hearts of all men and women. On this day and throughout the year, we aspire to build a society in which every child is welcome in life and protected in law. We also encourage more of our fellow Americans to join our just and noble cause. History tells us that with a cause rooted in our deepest principles and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens, we will prevail.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 18, 2009, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Source Archived here.
Also see: “Thank You, President Bush”
Thursday, January 15, 2009
All the info is available online here.
Please contact your pastor to find out when your parish will be running the campaign: the USCCB recommends the weekends of the 24-25th Jan, and the two following. Offer to help if possible. People will be needed to do simple things like collecting the signed cards, addressing them, stamping and mailing.
If your pastor has not yet made plans for the campaign, this information will help you work with him to set it up.
If for some reason your parish is not planning to be involved, contact your diocesan Respect Life office -- find that info here.
It is also possible to order the postcards yourself or download the PDF and print a set (or several).
More info on FOCA, including downloadable bulletin inserts / ads can be found on the main USCCB FOCA page.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The Catholic bishops of the United States have designated January 22 as a special day of prayer and penance in reparation for the massive killing that has resulted from the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision (handed down January 22, 1973) which permitted abortion throughout pregnancy.
Therefore, we at Priests for Life invite you to prepare spiritually for that day by joining a Novena that starts on Monday, January 14 and concludes on the 22nd. We invite you to say the prayer below each of those days, and to let us know through this form that you have committed to say it.
Prayer of Reparation (Spanish version -- En Español)
God and Father of Life,
You have created every human person,
And have opened the way for each to have eternal life.
We live in the shadow of death.
Tens of millions of your children have been killed
Thanks to the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
Father, have mercy on us.
Heal our land
And accept our offering of prayer and penance.
In your love for us,
Turn back the scourge of abortion.
May each of us exult in hearts full of hope
And hands full of mercy
And work together to build a culture of life.
We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Cross-posted with the love2learn blog.
Monday, January 12, 2009
When you sponsor a child (they also have programs to help the elderly), you receive a packet with a photograph and other information about the child and his family. The monthly sponsorship amount is small by US standards (about $30 -- for a family of five, a single meal out could easily cost that amount). But it makes a huge difference to the child and his family. Generally, the money pays for books, uniforms, and other school expenses, and may even cover food and other basic needs.
As CFCA said in a recent newsletter, it doesn't take a lot of money to make a big difference. Rather, it takes a moderate amount used in a way that makes sense for the individual and family situation.
We have friends who have sponsored children through CFCA, and every two to three years a couple comes to our parish to make a presentation about the organization. Last year, we began sponsoring a child. Because I am ethnically Indian, we chose to sponsor an Indian child, and we selected a boy near the age of our two oldest.
We have received regular letters from your sponsored child and special labels so that we could write back. (This process may involve a CFCA translator if you do not speak the same language.) We recently received a beautiful Christmas card from our youngster.
What I especially like:
* they work with the family, and not just the child in isolation
* they emphasize building a relationship with your sponsored friend, whom you commit to sponsor through the end of his education
* the projects do not take a "one size fits all" approach but are tailored to the specific situation
* the focus is long-term rather than an "instant" band-aid approach
* It fits in very well with what Pope John Paul the Great said about "adoption at a distance".
True parental love is ready to go beyond the bonds of flesh and blood in order to accept children from other families, offering them whatever is necessary for their well-being and full development. Among the various forms of adoption, consideration should be given to adoption-at-a-distance, preferable in cases where the only reason for giving up the child is the extreme poverty of the child's family. Through this type of adoption, parents are given the help needed to support and raise their children, without their being uprooted from their natural environment. (The Gospel of Life, n. 93)
CFCA is a very reputable charity. If you are looking for a way to help those much less well-off, this could be a wonderful fit for you.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Father Richard John Neuhaus slipped away today, January 8, shortly before 10 o'clock, at the age of seventy-two. He never recovered from the weakness that sent him to the hospital the day after Christmas, caused by a series of side effects from the cancer he was suffering. He lost consciousness Tuesday evening after a collapse in his heart rate, and the next day, in the company of friends, he died. My tears are not for him--for he knew, all his life, that his Redeemer lives, and he has now been gathered by the Lord in whom he trusted. I weep, rather for all the rest of us. As a priest, as a writer, as a public leader in so many struggles, and as a friend, no one can take his place. The fabric of life has been torn by his death, and it will not be repaired...until that time when everything is mended and all our tears are wiped away.Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
A fine writer and thinker, among his finest pieces are
The economy took us all for a wild ride. Many of our dear friends and most steadfast donors suffered setbacks. Some lost their jobs. Some lost their retirement funds. Many lost their confidence.
And the financial knocks weren’t even the hardest. The pro-life and pro-family cause suffered setbacks, leaving many good people discouraged after a bruising battle.
We may indeed lose money (and we have). We may indeed lose battles (and we have). But we must not lose hope. Not now. Not ever.
Hear our patron, St. Paul. Now is no time for gloominess. No, he says, “Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Rom 12:12). Note that he doesn’t tell us to rejoice in fulfillment, but in hope and even in tribulation! St. Paul is a hard-nosed realist — and he’s telling us, with the firm conviction of a drill sergeant, to stop our grumbling and start rejoicing.
Read the rest here.