Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mental Prayer for December 10, My Own Best Interests

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: The grace to think clearly and calculate well about the most important thing in life.

The Idea and My Personal Application: Let's be cold-bloodedly businesslike about this challenge of Christ's. He won't mind. Christ asks me to dedicate my life and all my actions to helping bring the world to Him - no matter what my age, my talents, or my state in life.

1. Now, first of all, I don't have to do that much to save my soul.
2. People don't take religion that seriously now­adays.
3. Why mind other people's business?
4. This work for Christ might be very unpleasant. The Gospels speak of persecution, of being re­jected by the world. I know that the more sincerely people try to follow Christ, the more those statements come true in their lives.
5. It means hard work for the good of others, not for myself. That is a kind of a contradiction of everything people ordinarily believe and practice.

But on the other hand :

I. This is a most noble way to live, working toward a great goal instead of plodding along aimlessly.
2. This is a job I can't fail at in the long run. Christ's cause will conquer.
3. Best of all, our Leader has gone before us in our labor. His life has been a marvel to all suc­ceeding ages. Those who have followed His example have been the world's greatest men and women.

Well, what is my personal application, my personal response?

I Speak to God: Open my eyes to see my own real, best interests. Help me to think straight and choose well.

Thought for Today: "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?"
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Saturday, 1st Week of Advent

From: Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5a, 6-8

The Need for Good Shepherds

[35] And Jesus went about all the cities and villages teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. [36] When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. [37] Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; [38] pray therefore the Lord of harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

The Calling and First Mission of the Apostles

[1] And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.

[5a] These twelve Jesus sent out charging them, [6] "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [7] And preach as you go, saying, `The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.' [8] Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay."

35. The Second Vatican Council uses this passage when teaching about the message of Christian charity which the Church should always be spreading: "Christian charity is extended to all without distinction of race, social condition or religion, and seeks neither gain nor gratitude. Just as God loves us with a gratuitous love, so too the faithful, in their charity, should be concerned for mankind, loving it with that same love with which God sought man. As Christ went about all the towns and villages healing every sickness and infirmity, as a sign that the Kingdom of God had come, so the Church, through its children, joins itself with men of every condition, but especially with the poor and afflicted, and willingly spends herself for them" ("Ad Gentes", 12).

36. "He had compassion for them": the Greek verb is very expressive; it means "He was deeply moved". Jesus was moved when He saw the people, because their pastors, instead of guiding them and tending them, led them astray, behaving more like wolves than genuine shepherds of their flock. Jesus sees the prophecy of Ezekiel 34 as now being fulfilled; in that passage God, through the prophet, upbraids the false shepherds of Israel and promises to send them the Messiah to be their new leader.

"If we were consistent with our faith when we looked around us and contemplated the world and its history, we would be unable to avoid feeling in our own hearts the same sentiments that filled the heart of our Lord" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 133). Reflection on the spiritual needs of the world should lead us to be tirelessly apostolic.

37-38. After contemplating the crowds neglected by their shepherds, Jesus uses the image of the harvest to show us that that same crowd is ready to receive the effects of Redemption: "I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see now the fields are already white for harvest" (John 4:35). The field of the Jewish people cultivated by the prophets--most recently by John the Baptist--is full of ripe wheat. In farmwork, the harvest is lost if the farmer does not reap at the right time; down the centuries the Church feels a similar need to be out harvesting because there is a big harvest ready to be won.

However, as in the time of Jesus, there is a shortage of laborers. Our Lord tells us how to deal with this: we should pray to God, the Lord of harvest, to send the necessary laborers. If a Christian prays hard, it is difficult to imagine his not feeling urged to play his part in this apostolate. In obeying this commandment to pray for laborers, we should pray especially for there to be no lack of shepherds, who will be able to equip others with the necessary means of sanctification needed to back up the apostolate.

In this connection Paul VI reminds us: "the responsibility for spreading the Gospel that saves belongs to everyone--to all who have received it! The missionary duty concerns the whole body of the Church; in different ways and to different degrees, it is true, but we must all of us be united in carrying out this duty. Now let the conscience of every believer ask himself: Have I carried out my missionary duty? Prayer for the Missions is the first way of fulfilling this duty" ("Angelus Address", 23 October 1977).

1-4. Jesus calls His twelve Apostles after recommending to them to pray to the Lord to send laborers into His harvest (cf. Matthew 9:38). Christians' apostolic action should always, then, be preceded and accompanied by a life of constant prayer: apostolate is a divine affair, not a merely human one. Our Lord starts His Church by calling twelve men to be, as it were, twelve patriarchs of the new people of God, the Church. This new people is established not by physical but by spiritual generation. The names of those Apostles are specifically mentioned here. They were not scholarly, powerful or important people: they were average, ordinary people who responded faithfully to the grace of their calling--all of them, that is, except Judas Iscariot. Even before His death and resurrection Jesus confers on them the power to cast out unclean spirits and cure illnesses--as an earnest of and as training for the saving mission which He will entrust to them.

The Church reveres these first Christians in a very special way and is proud to carry on their supernatural mission, and to be faithful to the witness they bore to the teaching of Christ. The true Church is absent unless there is uninterrupted apostolic succession and identification with the spirit which the Apostles made their own.

"Apostle": this word means "sent"; Jesus sent them out to preach His Kingdom and pass on His teaching.

The Second Vatican Council, in line with Vatican I, "confesses" and "declares" that the Church has a hierarchical structure: "The Lord Jesus, having prayed at length to the Father, called to Himself those whom He willed and appointed twelve to be with Him, whom He might send to preach the Kingdom of God (cf. Mark 3:13-19: Matthew 10:1-10). These Apostles (cf. Luke 6:13) He constituted in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which He placed Peter, chosen from among them (cf. John 21:15-17). He sent them first of all to the children of Israel and then to all peoples (cf. Romans 1:16), so that, sharing in His power, they might make all peoples His disciples and sanctify and govern them (cf. Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:45-48; John 20:21-23) and thus spread the Church and, administering it under the guidance of the Lord, shepherd it all days until the end of the world (cf. Matthew 28:28)" ("Lumen Gentium", 19).

1. In this chapter St. Matthew describes how Jesus, with a view to the spreading of the Kingdom of God which He inaugurates, decides to establish a Church, which He does by giving special powers and training to these twelve men who are its seed.

5-6. In His plan of salvation God gave certain promises (to Abraham and the Patriarchs), a Covenant and a Law (the Law of Moses), and sent the prophets. The Messiah would be born into this chosen people, which explains why the Messiah and the Kingdom of God were to be preached to the house of Israel first before being preached to the Gentiles. Therefore, in their early apprenticeship, Jesus restricts the Apostles' area of activity to the Jews, without this taking from the world-wide scope of the Church's mission. As we will see, much later on He charges them to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19; "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:16). The Apostles also, in the early days of the spread of the Church, usually sought out the Jewish community in any new city they entered, and preached first to them (cf. Acts 13:46).

7-8. Previously, the prophets, when speaking of the messianic times, had used imagery suited to the people's spiritual immaturity. Now, Jesus, in sending His Apostles to proclaim that the promised Kingdom of God is imminent, lays stress on its spiritual dimension. The power mentioned in verse 8 are the very sign of the Kingdom of God or the reign of the Messiah proclaimed by the prophets. At first (Chapters 8 and 9) it is Jesus who exercises these messianic powers; now He gives them to His disciples as proof that His mission is divine (Isaiah 35:5-6; 40:9; 52:7; 61:1).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Mental Prayer for December 9, One Man's Answer to Christ's Call

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask : To be inspired to imitate the generous answer of St. Thomas More to the call of Christ.

Mental Picture: The fat, stubborn King Henry VIII of England in his private chamber, pleading with his chancellor and friend, Thomas More... "Come now, Thomas. Set aside your silly scruples about taking the oath of my supremacy over the Church. I don't want to have to be harsh with you as I have been with the others. Imagine you, a great scholar, in the Tower of London; you, my best friend, on the gallows. Listen to my call. I will give you even more power over all my subjects so that no one in all England will be great­er than you. The dukedom of Lancaster - it will be yours. Your son will marry Elizabeth and be the future king. Everything I have except the crown will be yours!" Thomas More lowers his head and closes his eyes. He seems to hear within himself the call of another King: "If you will be perfect, go, sell what you have and come, follow me. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself daily, take up his cross, and follow me...No one can serve two masters...He that is not with me is against me."

My Personal Application: We know which King's call Thomas More answered, for no son of his ever became king of England. And we do not call him Sir Thomas More, but Saint Thomas More. And I - which call am I going to answer? Is it that of the wortd of riches, selfishness, and ease? Or is it that of Christ my King to poverty of spirit, self-sacrifice, and zealous work for my neighbor? I cannot answer both calls. Which will it be?

I Speak to St. Thomas More: Saint Thomas, I thrill to your generous answer to Christ's call. Inspire me with your courage and your generosity to hear Christ's call to me. Obtain for me the grace to answer His challenge the noble way that you did, even if it means my death as it did for you.

Thought for Today: Which call will I answer?
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for December 8, Solemnity: The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

From: Luke 1:26-38

The Annunciation and Incarnation of the Son of God

[26] In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, [27] to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. [28] And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" [29] But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. [30] And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. [31] And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. [32] He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, [33] and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there will be no end." [34] And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no husband?" [35] And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. [36] And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. [37] For with God nothing will be impossible." [38] And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.


26-38. Here we contemplate our Lady who was "enriched from the first instant of her conception with the splendor of an entirely unique holiness; [...] the virgin of Nazareth is hailed by the heralding angel, by divine command, as `full of grace' (cf. Luke 1:28), and to the heavenly messenger she replies, `Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word' (Luke 1:38). Thus the daughter of Adam, Mary, consenting to the word of God, became the Mother of Jesus. Committing herself wholeheartedly to God's saving will and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally, as a handmaid of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son, under and with Him, serving the mystery of Redemption, by the grace of Almighty God. Rightly, therefore, the Fathers (of the Church) see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man's salvation through faith and obedience" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 56).

The annunciation to Mary and incarnation of the Word constitute the deepest mystery of the relationship between God and men and the most important event in the history of mankind: God becomes man, and will remain so forever, such is the extent of His goodness and mercy and love for all of us. And yet on the day when the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity assumed frail human nature in the pure womb of the Blessed Virgin, it all happened quietly, without fanfare of any kind.

St. Luke tells the story in a very simple way. We should treasure these words of the Gospel and use them often, for example, practising the Christian custom of saying the Angelus every day and reflecting on the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

27. God chose to be born of a virgin; centuries earlier He disclosed this through the prophet Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23). God, "before all ages made choice of, and set in her proper place, a mother for His only-begotten Son from whom He, after being made flesh, should be born in the blessed fullness of time: and He continued His persevering regard for her in preference to all other creatures, to such a degree that for her alone He had singular regard" (Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus," 2). This privilege granted to our Lady of being a virgin and a mother at the same time is a unique gift of God. This was the work of the Holy Spirit "who at the conception and the birth of the Son so favored the Virgin Mother as to impart fruitfulness to her while preserving inviolate her perpetual virginity" ("St. Pius V Catechism," I, 4, 8). Paul VI reminds us of this truth of faith: "We believe that the Blessed Mary, who ever enjoys the dignity of virginity, was the Mother of the incarnate Word, of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" ("Creed of the People of God", 14).

Although many suggestions have been made as to what the name Mary means, most of the best scholars seem to agree that Mary means "lady". However, no single meaning fully conveys the richness of the name.

28. "Hail, full of grace": literally the Greek text reads "Rejoice!", obviously referring to the unique joy over the news which the angel is about to communicate.

"Full of grace": by this unusual form of greeting the archangel reveals Mary's special dignity and honor. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church "taught that this singular, solemn and unheard-of-greeting showed that all the divine graces reposed in the Mother of God and that she was adorned with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit", which meant that she "was never subject to the curse", that is, was preserved from all sin. These words of the archangel in this text constitute one of the sources which reveal the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception (cf. Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus"; Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God").

"The Lord is with you!": these words are not simply a greeting ("the Lord be with you") but an affirmation ("the Lord is with you"), and they are closely connected with the Incarnation. St. Augustine comments by putting these words on the archangel's lips: "He is more with you than He is with me: He is in your heart, He takes shape within you, He fills your soul, He is in your womb" ("Sermo De Nativitate Domini", 4).

Some important Greek manuscripts and early translations add at the end of the verse: "Blessed are you among women!", meaning that God will exalt Mary over all women. She is more excellent than Sarah, Hannah, Deborah, Rachel, Judith, etc., for only she has the supreme honor of being chosen to be the Mother of God.

29-30. Our Lady is troubled by the presence of the archangel and by the confusion truly humble people experience when they receive praise.

30. The Annunciation is the moment when our Lady is given to know the vocation which God planned for her from eternity. When the archangel sets her mind at ease by saying, "Do not be afraid, Mary," he is helping her to overcome that initial fear which a person normally experiences when God gives him or her a special calling. The fact that Mary felt this fear does not imply the least trace of imperfection in her: hers is a perfectly natural reaction in the face of the supernatural. Imperfection would arise if one did not overcome this fear or rejected the advice of those in a position to help--as St. Gabriel helped Mary.

31-33. The archangel Gabriel tells the Blessed Virgin Mary that she is to be the Mother of God by reminding her of the words of Isaiah which announced that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, a prophecy which will find its fulfillment in Mary (cf. Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 7:14).

He reveals that the Child will be "great": His greatness comes from His being God, a greatness He does not lose when He takes on the lowliness of human nature. He also reveals that Jesus will be the king of the Davidic dynasty sent by God in keeping with His promise of salvation; that His Kingdom will last forever, for His humanity will remain forever joined to His divinity; that "He will be called Son of the Most High", that is that He really will be the Son of the Most High and will be publicly recognized as such, that is, the Child will be the Son of God.

The archangel's announcement evokes the ancient prophecies which foretold these prerogatives. Mary, who was well-versed in Sacred Scripture, clearly realized that she was to be the Mother of God.

34-38. Commenting on this passage John Paul II said: "`Virgo fidelis', the faithful Virgin. What does this faithfulness of Mary mean? What are the dimensions of this faithfulness? The first dimension is called search. Mary was faithful first of all when she began, lovingly, to seek the deep sense of God's plan in her and for the world. `Quomodo fiet?' How shall this be?, she asked the Angel of the Annunciation [...]."

"The second dimension of faithfulness is called reception, acceptance. The `quomodo fiet?' is changed, on Mary's lips, to a `fiat': Let it be done, I am ready, I accept. This is the crucial moment of faithfulness, the moment in which man perceives that he will never completely understand the `how': that there are in God's plan more areas of mystery than of clarity; that is, however he may try, he will never succeed in understanding it completely[...]."

"The third dimension of faithfulness is consistency to live in accordance with what one believes; to adapt one's own life to the object of one's adherence. To accept misunderstanding, persecutions, rather than a break between what one practises and what one believes: this is consistency[...]."

"But all faithfulness must pass the most exacting test, that of duration. Therefore, the fourth dimension of faithfulness is constancy. It is easy to be consistent for a day or two. It is difficult and important to be consistent for one's whole life. It is easy to be consistent in the hour of enthusiasm, it is difficult to be so in the hour of tribulation. And only a consistency that lasts throughout the whole life can be called faithfulness. Mary's `fiat' in the Annunciation finds its fullness in the silent `fiat' that she repeats at the foot of the Cross" ("Homily in Mexico City Cathedral", 26 January 1979).

34. Mary believed in the archangel's words absolutely; she did not doubt as Zechariah had done (cf. 1:18). Her question, "How can this be?", expresses her readiness to obey the will of God even though at first sight it implied a contradiction: on the one hand, she was convinced that God wished her to remain a virgin; on the other, here was God also announcing that she would become a mother. The archangel announces God's mysterious design, and what had seemed impossible, according to the laws of nature, is explained by a unique intervention on the part of God.

Mary's resolution to remain a virgin was certainly something very unusual, not in line with the practice of righteous people under the Old Covenant, for, as St. Augustine explains, "particularly attentive to the propagation and growth of the people of God, through whom the Prince and Savior of the world might be prophesied and be born, the saints were obliged to make use of the good of matrimony" ("De Bono Matrimonii", 9, 9). However, in the Old Testament, there were some who, in keeping with God's plan, did remain celibate--for example, Jeremiah, Elijah, Eliseus and John the Baptist. The Blessed Virgin, who received a very special inspiration of the Holy Spirit to practise virginity, is a first-fruit of the New Testament, which will establish the excellence of virginity over marriage while not taking from the holiness of the married state, which it raises to the level of a sacrament (cf. "Gaudium Et Spes", 48).

35. The "shadow" is a symbol of the presence of God. When Israel was journeying through the wilderness, the glory of God filled the Tabernacle and a cloud covered the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 40:34-36). And when God gave Moses the tablets of the Law, a cloud covered Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:15-16); and also, at the transfiguration of Jesus the voice of God the Father was heard coming out of a cloud (Luke 9:35).

At the moment of the Incarnation the power of God envelops our Lady--an expression of God's omnipotence. The Spirit of God--which, according to the account in Genesis (1:2), moved over the face of the waters, bringing things to life--now comes down on Mary. And the fruit of her womb will be the work of the Holy Spirit. The Virgin Mary, who herself was conceived without any stain of sin (cf. Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus") becomes, after the Incarnation, a new tabernacle of God. This is the mystery we recall every day when saying the Angelus.

38. Once she learns of God's plan, our Lady yields to God's will with prompt obedience, unreservedly. She realizes the disproportion between what she is going to become--the Mother of God--and what she is--a woman. However, this is what God wants to happen and for Him nothing is impossible; therefore no one should stand in His way. So Mary, combining humility and obedience, responds perfectly to God's call: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done according to your word."

"At the enchantment of this virginal phrase, the Word became flesh" ([St] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary", first joyful mystery). From the pure body of Mary, God shaped a new body, He created a soul out of nothing, and the Son of God united Himself with this body and soul: prior to this He was only God; now He is still God but also man. Mary is now the Mother of God. This truth is a dogma of faith, first defined by the Council of Ephesus (431). At this point she also begins to be the spiritual Mother of all mankind. What Christ says when He is dying--`Behold, your son..., behold, your mother" (John 19:26-27)--simply promulgates what came about silently at Nazareth. "With her generous `fiat' (Mary) became, through the working of the Spirit, the Mother of God, but also the Mother of the living, and, by receiving into her womb the one Mediator, she became the true Ark of the Covenant and true Temple of God" (Paul VI, "Marialis Cultus", 6).

The Annunciation shows us the Blessed Virgin as perfect model of "purity" (the RSV "I have no husband" is a euphemism); of "humility" ("Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord"); of "candor" and "simplicity" ("How can this be?"); of "obedience" and "lively faith" ("Let it be done to me according to your word"). "Following her example of obedience to God, we can learn to serve delicately without being slavish. In Mary, we don't find the slightest trace of the attitude of the foolish virgins, who obey, but thoughtlessly. Our Lady listens attentively to what God wants, ponders what she doesn't fully understand and asks about what she doesn't know. Then she gives herself completely to doing the divine will: `Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word'. Isn't that marvellous? The Blessed Virgin, our teacher in all we do, shows us here that obedience to God is not servile, does not bypass our conscience. We should be inwardly moved to discover the `freedom of the children of God' (cf. Romans 8:21)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 173).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Reflection on the Immaculate Conception


"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." St. Luke 1:28.

Nagasaki is a town in Japan famous in Christian history. For several hundred years it was without a church and without a priest. Finally, in February of 1865 a new church was erected, blessed, and opened. But not one Japanese Christian was in sight. The priest wondered: Had all the converts of the zealous St. Francis Xavier died out? Had the descendants of those fervent early Christians all lost their faith through those priest­less centuries?

The answer to his question came in the persons of twelve Japanese who approached the church a month later, March 17. They were eager to know just what church it was. Yet they hung back. The Priest in charge, Father Petit-Jean, opened the door and invited them in. After looking about in silence for some time one of the women spoke up: "Where is the image of holy Mary?"

The priest pointed to a side altar and showed them the statue. Joy­fully they cried out; "Yes, it is really holy Mary. See in her arms the beautiful Son of God."
They had another test? "Did the priest obey the Pope of Rome?"

Convinced of these two points, they made known that there were about 20,000 Catholics in that district, Catholics who had said their prayers, bap­tized their children, and kept the faith alive for more than 300 years.

They had also kept alive a love for the Blessed Virgin Mother of God. It was a sort of test of the true faith. We Catholics honor the Blessed Virgin because God honored her, and because God wants her honored. Our veneration of Mary, our honoring of her, takes away nothing from the honor we are commanded to show to God by the First Commandment. We do not worship her. We do not honor her as a god or goddess. But we do honor her as the Mother of Jesus, who was both God and man. There are other reasons for honoring Mary:

1. She was the worthiest woman of the whole human race. She was selected by God Himself to be the Mother of His Son. Do you think God would choose anyone but the best?

2. Her office and position as Mother of God is another reason for honoring Mary. God never imposes a task without giving the helps needed for that task. No one needed more grace than Mary. God filled her with grace. At the Annunciation God waited for her consent. At Nazareth the Son of God obeyed her. She was responsible for feeding and clothing and train­ing the Redeemer of the world. All the while she had abundant blessings. She was close to the Holy Trinity always.

3. We honor Mary because of the privileges she received. Today we honor one of her principal privileges - her Immaculate Conception, which means that she was not touched at all by original sin, that at her own conception she was as innocent and sinless as Eve before the fall. Baptism cleanses us from sin; Mary was preserved from all sin from the first moment of her existence. She did not need to be cleansed from sin; she was kept from it; rather, it was kept from her.
Scripture refers repeatedly to this honor. It has been the belief of the Church from the time of the Apostles. It agrees with reason. Jesus did not want His mother to be for one second in the power of Satan.

4. We honor Mary because she committed no actual sin, not even the smallest venial sin. Nothing was to stand between Christ and His Mother. Sin separates us from Christ. She was prepared and kept perfect for the high office she had. Sin would have spoiled her work. Eve brought sin into the world; Mary drove sin out by sinlessly mothering the Redeemer.

5. We honor Mary because she was a Virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus, always and ever a Virgin. Her perpetual virginity makes the whole world stand in awe.

6. We venerate Mary because of her Assumption into heaven. Soon after her death, before decay of the body set in, she was taken up to heaven bodily by Almighty God. Body and soul she was assumed, taken up, into the heavenly home where she reigns as Queen of heaven and earth.

7. We honor Mary because of her physical beauty. Art and literature have always pictured her as the most beautiful woman who ever lived. Tradition and reason bear out that beauty. The breath-taking beauty of the woman of all women is something that draws the admiration of the entire world.

8. We honor Mary as our mother, too. Christ gave her to us from the cross. She watches over those who are faithful to her Son. Yes, she watches over those who wander away from Christ. She is in every best sense the mother of mankind.

For these and many other reasons we honor and venerate the Mother of God. She in turn draws us and inspires us to honor Almighty God. She points from herself to her Son and to His heavenly Father and to the Holy Spirit. Devotion to Mary is a stepping stone to the true worship and adora­tion of God, imposed on us by the First Commandment.

Christ wants us to honor his Mother. That we do today. May Mary in turn take you to herself. May she smile upon everyone of you. May she watch over you and your loved ones. May she be to you in every loving sense - a Mother, your Immaculate Mother. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1948)

The Immaculate Conception-The Lovliest Lady

"Hail, full of grace." St. Luke, 1:28.

"Oh, my Lady, be so kind as to tell me who you are and what your name is?"

Who is the Lady and who is talking? We see a frail, country girl about fourteen years old, poorly dressed, kneeling along a hiIIside of France. In the hollow of a rock stands a young and beautiful woman, the most lovely woman you ever saw.

Fifteen times this beautiful Lady has appeared to this poor little girl. Four times already the girl has asked the pretty Lady's name. At last the lovely Lady folds her hands, looks up to heaven, and answers:
"I am the Immaculate Conception."

She disappears. The little girl - can any of you guess who the little girl was? Yes, it was St. Bernadette. And who was the pretty lady? Cor­rect again - it was our Blessed Mother. Bernadette hurries home, hurries to the priest's house, all the way repeating to herself, 'Immaculate Con­ception! Immaculate Conception!' lest she forget the pretty Lady's name.

When the Church made sure - it took four years to do so - that it really was the Blessed Virgin who appeared to Bernadette, a beauti{ul grotto was built on the spot, because the Blessed Virgin wanted it built. That grotto is known all over the world as the Grotto of Lourdes. Every year thousands of people, especially sick people, come from every land to ask our Blessed Mother to cure them. And hundreds she cures.

Why did our Blessed Mother say:
"I am the Immaculate Conception"?
Why is Mary called that? What does it mean? The Immaculate Conception means that our Blessed Mother from the very first second that she began to exist was kept free from all stain of all sin.

When a baby is born it has original sin on its soul, hasn't it? Well, before Mary was even born, she was free from original sin. She never had it on her soul for one second. She never had any sin on her soul. Jesus did not want His mother to be for one second in the power of Satan. Jesus kept her free from all sin. Jesus could do that; Jesus wanted to do that; He did it. He kept His sweet mother from all sin, even from original sin.

This unusual beauty that Mary had we honor today, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Just four years before our Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette and told her that she wanted to be called the Immaculate Conception, Pope Pius IX, December 8, 1854, had taught the world that the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.

To prove that the Pope was right in teaching this, Mary appeared to a simple farm girl. To prove further that the Pope was right, the Blessed Virgin has obtained from God countless cures for the sick and crippled who come to the spot where Mary appeared to Bernadette.

Many of you have seen the inspiring moving picture, "The Song of Bern­adette." Some of you may have read the book by that name. The book and the movie tell us all about this wonderful story. All this was over one hundred years ago. What does that have to do with us? It has a lot to do with us. Here are a few reasons:

1. Mary is the mother of all of us. Jesus gave her to us as a mother, as one who would watch over us and protect us, like a mother.

2. About one hundred and fifty years ago the bishops of the United States got together and chose Mary under the name of the Immaculate Conception as the special protector or patroness of our beloved country.

3. Thousands of bodies have been cured and healed through Mary at Lourdes, the place where she appeared. And these are real miracles, don't forget; hundreds of doctors have said that they are real miracles.

Because our Blessed Mother means so much to us:
1. We want to tell her today that she is our mother and our Immaculate Queen.

2. We want to ask Mary today to protect the United States and everybody in it. We want her to make our country a good nation, where everybody will love her and her divine Son.

3. We will ask Mary today, even though we can't go all the way to Lourdes, we will ask her to cure not only our bodies of sickness, but to cure our souls of the sickness of sin, to keep our souls free from sin.
On this glorious feast Mary shows herself to each one of us as she showed herself to Bernadette. She tells everyone of us that she wants to be called, she wants to be honored as - the Immaculate Con­ception. Amen.
Adapted from Talks for Children
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1948)

Mental Prayer for December 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Let me understand how your Im­maculate Conception should affect me.

The Idea: When I recall that Mary was free from the moment of her conception from all stain of original sin, I understand what is said - but does this have any effect on my life? Mary is my mother. She was conceived immaculate because of her divine Son - but her motherhood of me is also affected by her sinlessness.

When I came into the world, I was dead to real life, sanctifying grace. At Baptism I was "born" to this life and, in a sense, Mary became the Mother of this life of mine. Does it mean nothing to me that my mother is completely without sin? A child naturally resembles its mother; at birth the resem­blance is slight, because the child has hardly begun to live - but the resemblance grows as the child grows older, and soon it begins to imitate and acquire even the habits and mannerisms of its mother. How should I resemble Mary? In her sinlessness.

When we want to get a picture of Mary, we think of the words of the Apocalypse: "A woman clothed with the sun" ; the meaning is clear if we remember that "darkness" stands for sin, and "light" for sinlessness - Mary, the supremely sinless, immaculate one.

My Personal Application: My response to this mother of mine will be, first, to keep all darkness, stain, sin, out of my life. But most importantly, I will imitate this sun-clad mother and her Son - ­the Light of the world - in living my act of con­secration to her, and by heeding the call to apos­tolic action: "So let your light shine before men that they may see your good works..."

I Speak to Christ: Lord, I thank you for giving me this great gift - your Immaculate Mother. Fill my soul with this light which is really life so that I may ever more and more be like your Immaculate Mother.

Thought for Today: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

How are we to understand the Immaculate Conception?

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On this day (December 8) and the ensuing eight days, the Catholic Church celebrates with special solemnity the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

What does the Catholic Church understand by the Immaculate Conception?

By the Immaculate Conception she does not understand that great grace by which Mary preserved herself pure from every, even the least, actual sin; for, as concerns this, the Church has long since declared that Mary never sinned: nor does she understand by it her continual virginity, for it has been for a long time a doctrine of faith that both before and after the birth of her divine Son Mary remained a pure virgin; nor yet that she was sanctified before birth; as were the Prophets Jeremias and John the Baptist, who were both conceived in sin, but by a special grace of God were released from it before their birth; neither does she understand by it the conception of Christ from the Holy Ghost, that is, that Mary unstained conceived the Son of God of the Holy Ghost; and without the assistance of man, for this was always the unalterable doctrine of the Church: she does understand by it that exalted favor, that unshared privilege, by which the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moments of her conception, by a special grace and favor on the part of God in reference to the merits of Jesus, our Saviour, was preserved from every stain of original sin.

What has until now been held by the Church in regard to this privilege?

The Catholic Church has always been of the pious opinion that Mary, the blessed Mother of the Redeemer, was conceived immaculate, that her most pure soul had never from the first moment of her existence the least shadow of sin. This doctrine was embraced by all the saints, the most learned and most faithful children of the Church.

We have testimony of this, as far back as the times of the apostles, in a document concerning the sufferings of St. Andrew, in which it is said: "As the first man was created from the spotless earth, so was it necessary that the perfect man (Christ Jesus) should be born of an immaculate virgin."

St. Justin, who died a martyr in the year 167 after Christ, compares the Blessed Virgin to Eve, before she sinned and while she was still a virgin.

St. Amphilochus says: "He who created the first Eve free from shame, created the second without spot or stain."

Origen, one of the Fathers of the Church, writes that she was neither surprised by the personated serpent, nor infected by his poison, and calls her a pure and immaculate mother.

St. Ephrem calls her the undefiled, the strong, the inviolate, the most chaste virgin, far removed from all spot and stain.

The Abbot St. Sabbas says of Mary: "On thee who never took part in any guile, I place my hope. No one but thou, O Lady, is without fault, and besides'thee no one is unsullied and spotless."

St. Ambrose calls Mary a virgin who by the grace of God remained always free from all shadow of sin.

St. Augustine says: "When there is mention made of sin, the Virgin of whom on account of our Lord no question is to be asked, must be excepted."

St. Proclus says, "that the holy Mother of God was made by the purest God free from all stain."

St. Fulgentius says: "The wife of the first man was led astray and her soul soiled toy the malice of sin, but in the mother of the second (Christ) the grace of God preserved the soul as well as the body inviolate."

St. Paschasius Radbertus testifies: "It is certain that Mary was free from original sin."

St. Peter Barman says: "The flesh of the Virgin taken from Adam, would not submit to the stain of Adam,"

The pious Doctor Alcuin wrote of Mary: "Thou art beautiful as the moon and free from all spot and every shadow of changeableness!"

And St. Ildephonsus says: "It is certain that Mary was free from original sin."

An immense number of saintly men and theologians maintained the same. Many of them argued with the greatest keenness and the most indefatigable zeal the part of the Blessed Virgin; the teachers at the universities of Paris, Salamanca, Coimbra, Naples, Cologne, Mayence, Ingolstadt, &c., made it their duty by vows to inculcate this great privilege of the most favored Virgin, and to defend it by speech and by writings. Celebrated orders of monks, especially the orders of St. Benedict, St. Francis and St. Ignatius, made it their duty to advance this pious faith of the Immaculate Conception among the people.

A great number of popes and bishops also honored the Immaculate Conception, and forbade the contrary doctrine to be taught. Even kings, princes and emperors counted it a great honor to pay homage to the Immaculate Conception of the Queen of Heaven. Finally, the Catholic Church gave definite expression to this universal belief, by declaring in the Council of Trent, that in the resolutions relating to original sin, the Virgin Mary was not included, and she confirmed the festival of the Immaculate Conception, introduced in the tenth century by St. Anselm, the worthy son of the great St. Benedict, and since that time observed in all the Churches.

This veneration for the Immaculate Conception, this pious view held by the whole Catholic Church was not yet a matter of faith, that is, the Catholic Church had not yet laid down this great privilege of the Mother of God as a dogma. We were not commanded to believe it, although to preach or teach against it was forbidden. But when, in the course of time, a large number of the faithful, among whom were archbishops, bishops, whole religious orders, as well as great monarchs, besought the pope as head of the Church to pronounce concerning the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, that is, to elevate the belief so widely spread throughout the Catholic Church to a dogma, the pope could no longer hesitate to raise his voice in regard to this most important affair.

What did the supreme pastor of the Church, the pope, then do in regard to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin?

Pope Pius IX who, as he himself testified, had in many ways experienced the assistance of the great Queen of Heaven, was urged by his love and childlike veneration for the Blessed Mother of our Lord, to set the last brilliant diamond in her crown of glory by declaring the Immaculate Conception an article of faith.

Not wishing to be precipitate, he first addressed a circular to all the primates, patriarchs, archbishops and bishops, of the whole Catholic world, February 2, 1849, requesting them to send him reports of the devotion of their clergy and the faithful concerning the Immaculate Conception, and the extent of their desire in the matter, that the case might be decided by the Apostolic See; at the same time he urged them to pray with him that God would give him the necessary enlightenment, and to call upon the clergy and the faithful for their prayers.

When this was done, five hundred bishops in different parts of the world declared that they and their flocks firmly believed that Mary, the most favored Virgin, was preserved from every stain of original sin, and that they earnestly desired that the pope might raise this pious opinion to a dogma of the Church.

Then the Holy Father, filled with delight, invited the bishops of the different countries to Rome, to consult with him upon the matter. About one hundred and fifty bishops, and a large number of learned men and superiors of spiritual orders, met at Rome and the whole subject was once more maturely examined; and at last, the 8th of December, 1854, the day on which the Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception, was appointed as the day on which the pope, the supreme head of the Church, the mouth of the apostles, should solemnly announce the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

On this day the Holy Father ascended the Apostolic Chair in the splendid Church of St. Peter at Rome, and surrounded by the assembled cardinals, archbishops, and bishops, the clergy and the people he once more invoked the light of the Holy Ghost, and amid the perfect silence which reigned in that immense church, the Holy Father in a loud voice and with the most profound reverence and emotion read the decree by which he solemnly pronounced and established, that:
"It is an article of faith that the Blessed Virgin Mary by a special grace and privilege of God, on account of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, was from the first instant of her conception protected and preserved from every stain of original sin."

Thus has the head of Catholic Christianity drawn aside the veil, which until then obscured the full glory of the Queen of Heaven, which now shines in stainless loveliness radiant over the whole world. The truth that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived immaculate is no longer a pious opinion, but an article of faith which every Catholic who wishes to remain a child of the Church, must profess with heart and with lips.

But, perhaps the decision of the pope concerning the Immaculate Conception is a new doctrine?

By no means; it is an old belief, established upon the holy Scriptures and laid down in the bosom of the Church, but not solemnly pronounced and made public previously. The pope cannot make a new article of faith, but he can and must announce that, as a revealed truth, which is established by the holy Scriptures and has been everywhere and at all times believed as a revealed truth by all true Christians.

But if there is a truth founded on the holy Scriptures and tradition, of which the pope, the representative of Christ on earth, speaks officially, then every Catholic is bound to believe and openly to acknowledge the same. As we have already seen, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception has been believed since the time of the apostles, and it is also established by the Scriptures.

In the oldest of the sacred Books, in the Book of Genesis, (iii. 15.) is one of the most weighty passages on this subject which reads: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. After the fall of the first man, God spoke to the serpent, Satan, announcing that a woman would come and crush his head, that is, destroy his power; and all Catholic interpreters and holy Fathers agree that this woman is the Blessed Virgin. Mary is, therefore, placed by God Himself as Satan's enemy, and must have been free from original sin from the first moment of her conception, otherwise she would have been, as St. Paul, the Apostle, says, a child of God's wrath and under the power of Satan.

In the gospel of St. Luke, (i. 28.) it is further said: And the Angel being come in, said unto her: Hail full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women. The angel, by the direction of God, called Mary full of grace, that is, more than any of the just endowed with God's sanctifying grace, as the holy Fathers agree. But would Mary be full of sanctifying and all other graces, had she for one moment of her life been without grace and burdened with sin?

Would God have permitted the Blessed Mother of His only begotten Son, from whom He received flesh, to be touched by sin, even though for an instant, and be in the power of Satan? No; God's hand preserved her; by His grace and by the infinite merits of her divine Son she remained free from every stain of sin, and the Church most justly applies to her the words of holy Scripture: Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee. (Cant. iv. 7.)

What instructive meaning has the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin for every Catholic?

The Immaculate Conception teaches Catholics to know in some measure the infinite sanctity of the Holy Trinity which makes sin so hateful and detestable to Him. The Heavenly Father could not see His beloved daughter for one moment stained by sin. The Divine Son could not wish to choose for His mother a virgin upon whose soul there was a vestige of sin. The Holy Ghost whose most pure bride Mary is, was not willing that her heart, His dwelling-place, should ever be for one instant soiled by sin. Behold how God detests sin!

The Immaculate Conception also teaches us the inestimable treasure of sanctifying grace. Mary received this priceless treasure from God even in the first moment of her conception, without it she would never have become the Mother of the Saviour. Thou, my Christian, hadst not this treasure at thy conception, it is true, but thou didst receive it in holy baptism; there God's hand arrayed thee in the white garment of innocence; there He sanctified thy soul, and the Holy Ghost selected it for His dwelling-place. Mary preserved this inestimable treasure until death, she was always blooming as a pure lily, the breath of sin never soiled her loveliness.

Ask yourself: Do I still possess this treasure, which was given to me in holy baptism; have I preserved my soul's beauty from the poison of sin, have I soiled it, destroyed it, lost it? Oh, if thou hast lost this precious gift, how unhappy art thou! if thou hast had this great misfortune to have stained thy garment of baptismal innocence by sin, Mary, the peerless virgin, has borne for thee the Saviour whose precious blood cleanses from every sin, whose infinite merits will restore to thee sanctifying grace, if thou art contrite and dost confess thy sin. But for the Saviour this treasure would be forever lost to thee, and thy soul forever forfeited.

But for this Saviour Mary would not have been preserved from original sin, would not have received sanctifying grace at her conception. We can here learn the necessity cf salvation through Christ, gratefully thank God who has given it to us, and praise Mary who had the grace to conceive and give birth to Him. In the Immaculate Conception, O Christian, thou canst learn to know something of the priceless value of virginity. Jesus chose a pure and immaculate virgin for His mother, who should be the mirror of all virginal souls, her most pure and immaculate image should be continually presented to the corrupted world to show how virginity is esteemed in the eyes of our Lord.

INTROIT of the Mass
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation: and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels. (Isaiah 16:10) I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my Enemies to rejoice over me. (Ps 29) Glory etc.

Prayer of the Church - Collect
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, didst prepare a worthy habitation for Thy Son: we beseech Thee, that as Thou didst through the foreseen death of Thy same Son, preserve her from all stain, so Thou wilt also grant that we may reach Thee cleansed through her intercession. Through the same Jesus etc.

(Prov. 8:22—35.) The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made any thing, from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old, before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived: neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: the mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth: he had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was present; when, with a certain law and compass, he enclosed the depths; when he established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters; when he compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters, that they should not pass their limits; when he balanced the foundations of the earth. I was with him, forming all things, and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times, playing in the world; and my delights were to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my door. He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.

This lesson is first a panegyric on the divine, uncreated Wisdom, the eternal Son of God, who at all times and before all things was with God and in God, by whom was made everything that was made, ordered and preserved; who rejoices in His works, loves them, and who admonishes man to love and imitate Him, and promises him eternal and temporal happiness. The Church causes this lesson to be read on this day, because the greater part of it can be applied to Mary; for it can truly be said of her, that she, as the most holy and excellent of all creatures, possessed the first place in the heart of God. For this reason the Church applies to her the words of the wise man: I came out of the mouth of the most High, the first-born before all creatures. (Eccl. 25:5)

For, as St. Richard says, she is the most worthy of all; no one has received so full a measure of purity, and of all supernatural gifts; in no creature are the marvels of divine goodness so visible as in her. Admire, devout soul, this master-piece of Almighty God, and make frequent use of the words of St. Chrysostom:
"Hail Mother of God and our Mother! Hail O Heaven in which God Himself dwells! O Throne of grace from which the Lord distributes His graces! Pray always to Jesus for us, that on the Day of Judgment we may receive forgiveness and eternal salvation."
(Luke 1:26—28.) at that time, The angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And the Angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women.

Why is this gospel read today?

Because it has a significant relation to the Immaculate Conception, and proclaims the great honor shown to the Blessed Virgin by these words: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women.

Why did the angel call Mary full of grace?

Because Mary was filled with grace, even before she came into this world; because she always increased in grace; because she was to bear the Author of all grace; that we may consider how Mary obtains for us the treasures of divine grace.

Mary was filled with grace even before her birth. As we are all conceived in sin, being children of a sinful ancestor, we are, therefore, burdened by sin before our birth. Mary was free by the privilege of the Immaculate Conception from all sin; her soul, pure and adorned with sanctifying grace, came forth from the hands of the Creator, and without the least prejudice to its purity and sanctity was united to her most pure body, from which the Saviour was to take His humanity. She could not from the first instant of her existence be wanting in that original sanctity and justice, which were the most beautiful adornments of our natural ancestress, Eve.

But Mary from the first moment of her conception was not only in grace but full of grace, because God appointed her for the highest dignity, of being the Mother of His only-begotten Son, and had consequently endowed her with the full measure of corresponding plenitude of graces and gifts of the Holy Ghost; according to the opinion of many learned men, the measure of grace which the Blessed Virgin received at her Immaculate Conception, was greater than that which all the angels and blessed possess now in glory.

Mary ever increased in grace: But the path of the just, as a shining light, goeth forward and increaseth even to perfect day. (Prov. iv. 18.) These words of the Holy Ghost are verified especially in the life of the Blessed Virgin. What abundance of grace did she not receive, when the Holy Ghost overshadowed her, and the divine Son, who is Himself the infinite plenitude of grace, was conceived in her most pure body! Above all this, there yet came that rich supply of grace by which her zealous, constant, perfect and faithful cooperation made Mary increase every moment in grace. Thus St. Bonaventure says: "As all the waters meet in the sea, so all the graces were united in Mary."

Why did the angel say to Mary: The Lord is with thee?

Because God is with the Blessed Virgin in an extraordinary manner. It is well to notice particularly, that the archangel Gabriel did not say to Mary as the angel did to Gideon: The Lord be with thee, (Judges vi. 12.) but: The Lord is with thee. These words are not, therefore, the wish that the favor, the blessing, the protection of God may be with Mary, but the positive declaration that the Lord really is with her, not simply because of His omnipotence and omnipresence by which He is with all His creatures, nor merely because of His goodness, love and intimacy by which He is with all the just. He is with her in a peculiar manner, since she by her dignity of being the Mother of God came into such close relationship with the Triune God that our intellect can conceive nothing nearer.

She became the chosen Mother of the Son of God, the dearest, the most favored daughter of the Heavenly Father, and the pure, beloved bride of the Holy Ghost. "God the Father was with her," says St. Bonaventure, "as with His most noble Daughter; God the Son was with her as with His most worthy Mother; God the Holy Ghost was with her as with His most pure Bride."

Why did the angel say to Mary: Blessed art thou amongst women?

Because he desired to honor her as the most blessed of her sex, since she alone was chosen of all the others to be the Mother of God; because the first woman brought the curse, but Mary, the salvation of the world.

Mary, Mother of God! An honor, indeed, which in its exaltation is second only to divinity. Mary, the Virgin Mother of God! Mother and Virgin at the same time, what a wonderful prerogative! Though the greatest and most glorious of all mothers, she is the purest and most spotless of virgins, the queen of virgins.

But not only on account of her double glory as Mother of God and as a Virgin, Mary is the most blessed of her sex, but because it was given to her to mediate for us and for the whole world. She is that woman, promised to our first and sinful parents in Paradise, who would crush the serpent's head; she gave to her Son the body with which He, by His death on the cross, accomplished the great work of salvation.

"Praised and blessed be the holy and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary!"
From Explanation of the Epistles and Gospels by Fr. Leonard Goffine [(c) 1880]

Know Anyone Who Might Want to Enter This Contest?


Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, and Don Feder, president of Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation, have launched a “Why I Hate Christmas” contest today. Donohue explains as follows:

“On December 6, a Zogby Poll disclosed that 95 percent of Americans are not offended by being greeted with a ‘Merry Christmas’ while shopping. Don Feder and I would like to know more about the 5 percent who object and have thus launched our ‘Why I Hate Christmas’ contest. Contestants must answer the following questions:

1) Explain relationship with father

2) Explain relationship with mother

3) State what religion, if any, were you raised in

4) List all phobias, e.g., fear of God

5) List all superstitions, e.g., belief in global warming

6) State which historical figure is most like you: (a) Hitler (b) Stalin

(c) Mao (d) Pol Pot (e) Rosie O’Donnell

7) State last time you hallucinated

8) State last book you read before crashing

9) State how many times you’ve laughed in the past 10 years: (a) once (b) more than once but not more than thrice (c) more than thrice but not more than five times (d) can’t recall

10) List all prior mental disorders

“Please send us a photo so we can post your picture on our website, along with your response. The winner will receive a free copy of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. Finally, we will send your statement to Jackie Mason for a free psychological evaluation.”
HT to Patte G for the link.


Bouchard to Resign as Aquinas President

The Rev. Charles E. Bouchard, president of Aquinas Institute of Theology, announced his resignation Wednesday. He will leave the Catholic seminary on Jan. 1, 2008, after 18 years as president.

Bouchard, 55, said his announcement came now because "the school is in a relative position of strength." He said other factors — his own desire to do something different and a current pool of qualified candidates to replace him — led to his decision.

Aquinas, which is run by the Dominican order, is one of two Catholic seminaries in St. Louis. It differs from Kenrick-Glennon, the St. Louis Archdiocese's seminary, in that lay men and women study alongside members of religious orders and candidates for the priesthood. Kenrick-Glennon trains men to become priests in the archdiocese.

Bouchard's successor will be named in early April and will work alongside him for the rest next year, according to the Rev. Michael Mascari, head of the Dominicans' Midwest province.

Vatican Confirms Excommunication of Call to Action Members

Dec. 7, 2006 ( - The Vatican has confirmed an American bishop’s decision to excommunicate members of the dissident group Call to Action.

Call to Action is “causing damage to the Church of Christ,” wrote Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, in a letter to Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska.

In March 1996, Bishop Bruskewitz had announced the excommunication of all Catholics in his diocese who were members of Call to Action or several other dissident groups which he described as “totally incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

The Nebraska chapter of Call to Action appealed the bishop’s decision to the Vatican. In his November 24 letter to Bishop Bruskewitz, Cardinal Re reports that Vatican’s finding that the disciplinary action was “properly taken.”

Renegade bishop set to rattle Rome

I seriously doubt that this man is "rattling" those in Rome.

A Roman Catholic Archbishop from Zambia with a colorful history of rousing the Vatican and ties to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, will once again annoy his bosses this Sunday when he ordains three married men as priests at a church in West New York.
Milingo is lost...evidently, his faith has been lost and his mental faculties are severely diminished.

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo returned to the United States this July to kick-start his movement, known as Married Priests Now. This weekend he will host a conference at a Sheraton hotel in Parsippany, convening as many as 600 married priests from around the world. On Sunday, Milingo will perform the ordinations at Trinity Reformed Church in West New York. Milingo would have had little luck finding a local Catholic Church to perform the ordinations. He was excommunicated by the Vatican in September after he ordained four married men as bishops, including a priest from Newark. Excommunication renders all of Milingo’s holy activities illegal in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church.

A Clifton resident and coordinator for Married Priests Now, Bishop Dairo Ferrabolli, |is sanguine about the Vatican’s rejection.

“We are Catholic. If the Vatican doesn’t want to recognize us, it’s OK,” he said. “The mother is rejecting the son. What do you want the son to do?”

It's always this way with people like this - they reject the Church and then they claim that it is they who have been rejected by the very same Church which they rejected. What pitiful children.

These people are renegades and imposters. They do not know the truth, much less believe it. May God grant them eyes to see their errors and the grace of conversion and repentance.

“The Catholic Church is becoming a complicated diverse community,” said Stuart Charmè, chairman of Rutgers’ department of philosophy and religion.

“And the unquestioned authority of the Church of Rome is no longer taken for granted by some parts of the Catholic Church in new markets in the third world.

“In some ways it’s a showdown of authority,” said Charmè.
Of course, what we see is nothing more than the rebellion against God and the authority which Christ bestowed on His Church. In a showdown against God, who is the likely loser? Certainly not God.

Gospel for Dec 7, Memorial: St Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor

From: Matthew 7:21, 24-27

Doing the Will of God

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [21] "Not every one who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven.

Building on Rock

[24] "Every one then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; [25] and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. [26]And every one who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; [27] and the rain fell, and the floods came, and winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."


21-23. To be genuine, prayer must be accompanied by a persevering effort to do God's will. Similarly, in order to do His will it is not enough to speak about the things of God: there must be consistency between what one preaches--what one says--and what one does: "The Kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power" (1 Corinthians 4:20); "Be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22).

Christians, "holding loyally to the Gospel, enriched by its resources, and joining forces with all who love and practise justice, have shouldered a weighty task on earth and they must render an account of it to Him who will judge all men on the last day. Not every one who says `Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but those who do the will of the Father, and who manfully put their hands to the work" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 93).

To enter the Kingdom of Heaven, to be holy, it is not enough, then, to speak eloquently about holiness. One has to practise what one preaches, to produce fruit which accords with one's words. Fray Luis de Leon puts it very graphically: "Notice that to be a good Christian it is not enough just to pray and fast and hear Mass; God must find you faithful, like another Job or Abraham, in times of tribulation" ("Guide for Sinners", Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 21).

Even if a person exercises an ecclesiastical ministry that does not assure his holiness; he needs to practice the virtues he preaches. Besides, we know from experience that any Christian (clerical, religious or lay) who does not strive to act in accordance with the demands of the faith he professes, begins to weaken in his faith and eventually parts company also with the teaching of the Church. Anyone who does not live in accordance with what he says, ends up saying things which are contrary to faith.

The authority with which Jesus speaks in these verses reveals Him as sovereign Judge of the living and the dead. No Old Testament prophet ever spoke with this authority.

22. "That day": a technical formula in biblical language meaning the day of the Judgment of the Lord or the Last Judgment.

23. This passage refers to the Judgment where Jesus will be the Judge. The sacred text uses a verb which means the public proclamation of a truth. Since in this case Jesus Christ is the Judge who makes the declaration, it takes the form of a judicial sentence.

24-27. These verses constitute the positive side of the previous passage. A person who tries to put Christ's teaching into practice, even if he experiences personal difficulties or lives during times of upheaval in the life of the Church or is surrounded by error, will stay firm in the faith, like the wise man who builds his house on rock.

Also, if we are to stay strong in times of difficulty, we need, when things are calm and peaceful, to accept little contradictions with a good grace, to be very refined in our relationship with God and with others, and to perform the duties of our state in life in a spirit of loyalty and abnegation. By acting in this way we are laying down a good foundation, maintaining the edifice of our spiritual life and repairing any cracks which make their appearance.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mental Prayer for December 7, The Call of Christ

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Not to be deaf to Christ's challenge to me, but quick and eager to hear and answer Him.

The Idea: I must now compare my answer to the character test with my answer to Christ's real chal­lenge. And first, would I have answered that call to save my country? Then how much more worth answering would I find Christ's call to save the world! I picture Him to myself, the divine King of the universe. He stands before me, looking over the entire world, and He calls me personally. He says: "My will is to conquer the entire world and all my enemies, and so to enter into the glory of my Father. If you want to come with me, you must work along with me. As you share with me in the labors, so will you share the victory with me."

Compare this leader with the imaginary one. Christ is real; Christ is God Himself. Christ earned my love and devotion by dying for me. Think about the cause Christ asks me to fight for - the salvation of souls... the victory He offers - a perfect reward which will last forever... the certainty of winning - at the last day, all who ever lived will have to acknowledge Christ as King of the universe. And today, to die for Christ is to live forever.

My Personal Application: What does He ask of me? To help Him conquer the world for the world's own good. I'm already bound to part of the job, winning the fight in my own soul against the world, the flesh, and the devil. But He is calling me to much more, and I can refuse it if I want. Christ's cause needs helpers in every walk of life. All who answer - men, women, children - find that their life takes on real, full meaning and purpose for the first time. Will I answer? Will I follow this Leader, Christ my King?

I Speak to Christ: Dear Lord, help me to under­stand what your call demands; help me to answer it fully and generously. I want my life to be worthwhile, devoted to the one thing that really matters.

Thought for Today: "My will is to conquer the whole world. If you want to come with me..."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act-Voting Update

This is an update from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, D.C., issued Wednesday, December 6, 2006, at 7:15 PM Eastern Time.
The U.S. House of Representatives this evening voted 250-162 in favor of the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (H.R. 6099). This bill, supported by NRLC, would require abortionists to provide women seeking abortion after 20 weeks past fertilization (the beginning of the sixth month) a brochure explaining that there is "substantial evidence" that the abortion will cause pain to the unborn child, and advise them of their right to request the administration of pain-reducing drugs to the unborn child.

The bill received a solid majority but fell short of the two-thirds vote required for approval under the parliamentary procedure employed today.

The following statement may be attributed to Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life:

"It is no small thing that 60 percent of the House endorsed requiring abortionists to inform women that late abortion may be very painful to the unborn child. The other 40 percent will have to explain why they favor anti-pain laws for animals used for research or food, but not for unborn humans."

To view today's roll call (House roll call number 526), click here.

So who were those who voted to ensure that the innocents to be executed by tearing apart their bodies would have to endure insufferable pain during the process?

Not be outdone by others in her advocacy for the wanton murder of the unborn, was the Speaker of the House-to-be (and lest we forget, 2nd in line for the Presidency, following the Vice-President), the dishonorable, professed "Catholic," Nancy Pelosi, who was followed by another 161 despicable beasts posing as humans. When will her bishop address her scandalous behavior?

And of those from Missouri who voted with Pelosi and against the unborn was none other than St Louis' own professed "Catholic" representative, William Lacy Clay, Jr. One would hope that Archbishop Burke has some special choice words for him sooner rather than later!

Until such time as the "Catholic" accomplices in the murder of the unborn are brought to ecclesiastical justice in the Church, we will continue to witness atrocities of this magnitude or worse - such as those Catholics voting to support Partial Birth Abortion.

These people are a disgrace to humanity, a plague infecting our country.

Vox Clara: Translation of Mass Prayers Could Be Ready in Mid-2007

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican could approve the new English translation of the main Mass prayers as early as mid-2007 if the work of its advisory committee proceeds as planned, the committee said.

The Vox Clara Committee, which includes a dozen bishops from eight English-speaking countries, met Dec. 4-5 at the Vatican.
A Dec. 5 press statement from Vox Clara said that since the congregation wanted to be able to give the "recognitio" in a timely fashion Vox Clara planned to conclude its review of the submitted translations at its March 2007 meeting.
But before we all get too overjoyed, there is more...
Although the congregation may approve the Order of the Mass in 2007, some bishops have suggested it might be better not to use the new translation until work is completed on translating the entire Roman Missal, promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 2002.

And this could take YEARS....Let us hope and pray that we have to wait no longer - we have waited decades for an authentic translation...

And on the "pro multis" translation, here's what CNS writes:
In a survey of the U.S. bishops before the vote, 90 percent of those who responded felt that "for all" was the best translation. Six percent said "for the many" would be better and only 4 percent preferred "for many" as a translation.

The article is not clear - is it 90% of the US Bishops who are members of Vox Clara (a seeming impossibility) or 90% of US Bishops in total? And who cannot but be "encouraged" that 90% of bishops "felt" that the mistranslation "for all" was the best translation...Get thee to a Latin class!

Notice, though, that CNS ends the article of good news with this tedious bit of propaganda as if how we "feel" is supposed to dictate what we are to do...or this case, how the bishops are to translate from the Latin. It is precisely the "how we feel" mentality that got us into the mess we have in the first place. But then, some never seem to grow up and get beyond their "feelings"...

Puzzled and Confused by 1917 Code of Canon Law Footnotes?

Never fear - Dr Ed is here!

Yes, the footnotes to the 1917 Code are intimidating, but now, there's hope! and the spirit of Ed Wood, are proud to present . . .

Dr. Ed's solaranite-powered guide to the footnotes of the 1917 Code

Greetings, my friends. We are all interested in the past, for that is where you and I have spent all of our lives. You are interested in the unknown. The mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you the full story of the "Footnotes to the 1917 Code". We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived the terrifying ordeal of figuring out how to use Pio-Benedictine footnotes. My friends, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friends, can your hearts stand the shocking facts about the . . .

Codicis Iuris Canonici Fontes?

The latest from Dr Peters is here.
Worth bookmarking, fer sure!!!

The Travel Diary of His Holiness

Here is how Benedict XVI recounted to the faithful his four days in Ankara, Ephesus, and Istanbul
by Sandro Magister

Vatican archaeologists unearth St. Paul's tomb

Vatican archaeologists have unearthed a sarcophagus believed to contain the remains of the Apostle Paul that had been buried beneath Rome's second largest basilica.

The sarcophagus, which dates back to at least 390 A.D., has been the subject of an extended excavation that began in 2002 and was completed last month, the project's head said this week.

A Representation of a Literary Device

Courtesy of Catholic World News...

Gospel for Wednesday, 1st Week in Advent

From: Matthew 15:29-37

The Canaanite Woman (Continuation)

[29] And Jesus went on from there and passed along the Sea of Galilee. And He went up into the hills, and sat down there. [30] And great crowds came to Him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb, and many others, and they put them at His feet, and He healed them, [31] so that the throng wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

Second Miracle of the Loaves

[32] Then Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, "I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with Me now three days, and having nothing to eat; and I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way." [33] And the disciples said to Him, "Where are we to get bread enough in the desert to feed so great a crowd?" [34] And Jesus said to them, "How many loaves have you?" They said, "Seven, and a few small fish." [35] And commanding the crowd to sit down on the ground, [36] He took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks He broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. [37] And they all ate and were satisfied; and they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over.


29-31. Here St. Matthew summarizes Jesus' activity in this border area where Jews and pagans were living side by side. As usual He teaches and heals the sick; the Gospel account clearly echoes the prophecy of Isaiah which Christ Himself used to prove that He was the Messiah (Luke 7:22): "the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped..." (Isaiah 35:5).

"They glorified the God of Israel": this clearly refers to the Gentiles, who thought that God could give the power to work miracles to Jews only. Once again the Gentiles are seen to have more faith than the Jews.

32. The Gospels speak of our Lord's mercy and compassion towards people's needs: here He is concerned about the crowds who are following Him and who have no food. He always has a word of consolation, encouragement and forgiveness: He is never indifferent. However, what hurts Him most are sinners who go through life without experiencing light and truth: He waits for them in the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance.

33-38. As in the case of the first multiplication (14:13-20), the Apostles provide our Lord with the loaves and the fish. It was all they had. He also avails of the Apostles to distribute the food--the result of the miracle--to the people. In distributing the graces of salvation God chooses to rely on the faithfulness and generosity of men. "Many great things depend--don't forget--on whether you and I live our lives as God wants" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 755).

It is interesting to note that in both miracles of multiplication of loaves and fish Jesus provides food in abundance but does not allow anything to go to waste. All Jesus' miracles, in addition to being concrete historical events, are also symbols of supernatural realities. Here abundance of material food also signifies abundance of divine gifts on the level of grace and glory: it refers to spiritual resources and eternal rewards; God gives people more graces than are strictly necessary. This is borne out by Christian experience throughout history. St. Paul tells us that "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Romans 5:20); he speaks of "the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us" (Ephesians 1:8) and tells his disciple Timothy that "the grace of our Lord overflowed for me and with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 1:14).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mental Prayer for December 6, The Cause of Christ

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To wake up to what is really going on in the world around me; and to desire to play my part in it.

The Idea: Yesterday's character test was only a preparation. Today let us look at reality!

Yesterday's story is working out in the world today. Not only my own country, but the entire world, is largely in slavery. Not only slavery to Communism - that's part of it - but in slavery to sin, to the devil. Men are in slavery to their own flesh, to their craving for the things of this world; men are slaves of fear, of ignorance, slaves of injustice and cruelty from other men.

God made this world as a way to heaven; and for many, many people it has become a greased chute to hell! I know what hell is and how awful it is that anyone should go there. Christ knows that, too. And that is why Christ today is leading a war for freedom, a great campaign against all the powers of evil - against sin - injustice, immoral­ity; against everything that can corrupt men's souls and turn them from God.

The world is an invisible battleground where a great war is going on constantly. The prizes in that war are the souls of men. This fight of Christ's to save all men is the most important thing going on in the world today.

My Personal Application: How is the battle work­ing out in my own life? What am I doing to help the cause along - in myself? in others?

I Speak to Christ: Dear Christ, help me to appre­ciate the reality and importance of this great war for the liberation of the souls of men. Please show me how I can help, and give me the strength and courage to take my proper place in the fight.

Thought for Today: "The life of man upon earth is a warfare."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Group Intends to Mount Challenge of Bishops' "Ownership"

Our "progressive Catholic" friend Joe sent this to us:
We'd have to do a lot of legal research in varying jurisdictions before we could figure out a bishop's "ownership" according to the laws of his state. And different states do have different takes on this question. Morally, of course, the people should "own" their own churches, schools, etc. Historically? Well, we will leave it to good Church historians to tell us just exactly how the bishops seized the power they claim. We know they didn't always have it. And we feel it is time we take it away from them.
. . .
"Take it away?" Well, not exactly. We're not going to lynch our bishops. But.leaning on the Gospel message as it was handed down - that all authority in the Church is for service, not domination - we'd just like to have servant bishops, not lord bishops. There's an easy way to make that power shift. Armed with court orders, we the people of God can set up elected boards and commissions with real decision power over every aspect of Church governance, and, while we're at it, over every piece of Church property as well.
. . .
We will only gain real leverage by going after our bishops' asserted ownership of every piece of Church property in every U.S. diocese. In the case of Los Angeles, this amounts to at least five billion dollars. This is not chump change.
. . .
This is what we mean when we say we want to take back our Church.
. . .
To do this, we need to mount a real, American-style political campaign. This means committeepersons in every state, and loads of volunteers. This means a solid, big- name national board. This means a first-class web site, and regular news bulletins reporting on the progress of our campaign.

We need to find law firms to mount simultaneous legal challenges to the bishops' "ownership" over our stuff in every state.

To do all this, we need a staff of organizers. How big a staff? Who knows? The size of our effort will depend on how much money and how much enthusiasm we can raise, and/or how many volunteers we can find. You can help right now, by volunteering - your time or your money. Or both.

Needless to say, we also welcome your ideas. This will be a people project. Tell us what you think. Above all, tell us about the good, godly people (preferably rich, good, godly people) you know who might want to help us TakeBackOurChurch.

What a bunch a malcontents. I would think that such an attack on the bishops and on the Church would be sufficient grounds for excommunication. But also not to be forgotten, we should pray for their conversion and repentance.

Banned* Parenthood Doing What it Does Best!

Free Emergency Contraception Tomorrow

A special Hat Tip to Mary H...who provided this bit of local news!

Planned Parenthood is sponsoring a nationwide Free Emergency Contraception day tomorrow. Before someone clever comes along with a humpday joke, just get it out of your system now.

ST. LOUIS - Wednesday, December 6, 2006 is Free Emergency Contraception Day. Planned Parenthood health centers across the country will offer free Emergency Contraception (EC) to women, men and teens; no exam, no hassle and no delay.

WHAT: Free Emergency Contraception (EC)
WHEN: Wednesday, December 6, 2006
WHERE: All six community-wide locations of Planned Parenthood

And on the Feast of St Nicholas, yet - so instead of coal in ones shoes, if he or she has been naughty, he or she can head on over to one of the PP Centers and ensure that if human life has come into existence as a result of ones sexual activities, that innocent life can be summarily executed for whatever reason (or no reason at all)...Ain't life grand? That is, unless you're deemed unworthy of life!

*Banned Parenthood, courtesy of The Curt Jester