Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fillet Mignon & Champagne or Big Mac & A Coke – The Choice is Ours

I spent time with my Cursillo group last evening catching up on the haps in each other’s lives. One of my friends is wrestling with “not getting anything out of the Mass”.

Sometimes we experience dryness in our spiritual life as Mother Teresa did, and sometimes we experience dryness in our spiritual lives as the prodigal did, but either way the Lord calls us to him as we walk in the desert. The only question is what will we choose.

The Mass is boring, I might as well be spiritual at home, she said.

How can the Creator of the entire universe humbling himself to feed us his very body and blood, allowing us to be present at the moment in time where he poured out his very blood and suffered for our sake, where he allows flawed and sinful men to bring him into the world really be all that boring?

Well I don’t plan to leave the Sacraments, she said.

But do you avail yourself of the Sacraments, do you accept God’s rich gifts? The gift of forgiveness, the gift of his grace to avoid temptation in the sacrament of reconciliation, or the gift of his very body and blood to heal and nourish you in the Blessed Sacrament? When was the last time you went to reconciliation?

I just talk to God to ask forgiveness, she said.

A fine place to start, but what Jesus both offers and requires of his people is to come to him in humility first in the confessional and then and only then with a contrite and clean heart to the feast of his body and blood, the sole source of eternal life.

Sometimes I marvel at the fact that I have any friends at all, I can be a little blunt.

I’ve been following with horror the desecration of the Blessed Sacrament by militant atheists. A topic Mark Shea covers at insidecatholic.com.

Yes, many of our Parishes are dry, the Mass can be boring, why is that? Why are evangelicals filled with a holy fire and we who consume the Lord’s body and blood ho hum about the matter? Is it any coincidence that atheists attack the Eucharist? Why not the bible that ALL Christians hold so dear?

The Lord lays before Catholics a banquet such as mankind has never seen, grace, peace healing and sweet refreshment for our souls. Satan lays before us pea pods left over after the swine have had their fill. If we aren’t able to see that perhaps we don’t have a proper appreciation of Heaven and Hell, perhaps we need a little reality check.

Fillet mignon & champagne or Big Mac & a Coke – The choice is ours.

Lord open the eyes of our hearts so that we may see you, love you, and appreciate the sacrifice you make for us each and every day. Amen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Red Neck Games

It’s fair week in the country, and in my (red) neck of the woods that means race time.

For those who may not be familiar with the testosterone fest know as the Figure 8 race, it consists of boys of all ages living out their NASCAR dreams on a dirt track trying to avoid getting smashed up so badly the car is towed off the track. Oh yea, and vying for the trophy that comes complete with County wide bragging rights good for one full year.

Before the Race

The Obama - Oh No # 9 Car
The Contestants
A Fine Field This Year
Number One & Number Two
Across the Field to Shake Hands After the Race
The Bus

Notice the Ladder for Top Deck Viewing

Thank you Lord for a safe race this year and for the trophy Dad won for his boy. Amen.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How Important is it to Hear the Bells Ring?

I have a huge dilemma, where do we send the boy to school?

Home schooling is not an option, I still work and we want the boy to have a wrap around experience of interaction with caring adults.

I thought we were all settled on the local “Catholic” school. It’s a school on the campus of an order of dissenting nuns who entertains speakers like Bishop Gumbleton and Sr. Joan Chittister. Less than ideal, but the only option in our town, and the school admin team was run by laity, until last week that is. There has been a turn over in administration and one of the sisters is taking the helm. Ut Oh.

The campus is beautiful, the school building is beautiful, there are crucifixes in the class rooms, the bells ring for Mass at the Mother House, and right outside one of the windows there is a sign for the Dominican Ashram. How’s that again?

When I go to Mass with the sisters I get a touch uncomfortable with the nuns reading the gospel and preaching the homily, and with the In the Name of the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier blessing at the end, but I soothed this discomfort with a reminder that the laity ran the school. When I spoke with the religion teacher today about how fidelity to the Magisterium was practiced and taught in the school her only response was that the school uses a curriculum approved by the Diocese. I was hoping for something a bit more enthusiastic.

The other option in my town is a Christian school of indiscriminate Protestant heritage. It has a pretty campus attached to a YMCA type family center with after school activities. The school and family center, like most things Protestant, have been stripped of all of the tactile beauty of the Catholic faith. This school has a high school and athletic programs unavailable with the dissenting nuns and the kids come out of this school with a complete working knowledge of the bible, and none whatsoever of the Magisterium.

As a Catholic revert I can say that the smells and bells, the tactile experience of the Catholic faith, was very important to my ever so limited formation as a child. So much so that as Hubby and I were attending a Retrouvaille weekend right around the time we were coming into the church the little bell they rung between sessions was like a little life line tossed out to my anguished soul. Such a little thing yet it echoed so deeply. Still, I never learned the bible as a child, that I began reading in my time with the evangelicals.

What to do with this school decision, I feel like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, pondering his daughter’s desire to marry someone of her own choosing. I wish we could send him to Spiritus Sanctus, but the gas to get there each day would be about triple the cost of tuition.

Do we stick with a Catholic flavor and hope the dissent doesn’t sink in, or do we go with the evangelical track of intimate bible knowledge and live the liturgical life at home?

How important are the cultural aspects of the faith? How important is it for him to hear the bells and know that it’s time for Mass as he commented recently as we were walking into the school’s day camp?

Lord show us your path for our son’s life, we ask this through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Update: Retrouvaille correction in place!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

IVF – Does the End Justify the Means: A Study in Satan’s Ways.

Part Two

The evil of IVF is so deceptive because we hold the byproduct in our hearts and in our arms. Mother’s Day is always difficult for a woman who wants children and I’ve been wrestling with this post since May.

This year as I gazed across the brunch table into the shining faces of my two nieces conceived via IVF the ways of Satan became clearer to me. “The woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” Eve wanted the fruit because it was “good” and “pleasing” and “desirable”. Women want children because they are good. My nieces are good. God tells us to be fruitful and multiply, it’s one of a woman’s most basic desires, and that’s what Satan twists with artificial reproductive technology. The desire, which is good and the byproduct, also good is convoluted and manipulated. Satan is an expert manipulator, even masquerading as an angel of light 2 Cor 11:14.

Rather than being a gift of God, children become a marketable commodity, something to be acquired when “My husband and I would like to raise a family”, morphs into “I will manufacture a child.” Once that bridge is crossed the child is no longer a gift of God, the human experience of a married man and a women touching the sacred by joining with God in the act of procreation and uniting their lives in a permanent commitment to raise offspring becomes something else altogether.

Pandora’s box has been opened and for those seeking children the end often justifies any means. The abuses are well known and very real. 400,000 frozen children, thousands more intentionally flushed away by parents, children casually experimented on under the guise of scientific research to help humanity, i.e. stem cell research.

Where pray tell in this argument is the discussion of helping the embryo being experimented upon, how have these children been abandoned by everyone including their parents? Our brave new world of reproductive technology brings us organ harvesting, genetic screening, and the most recent gruesome development in this “important scientific endeavor”, human animal hybrid embryos. We humans aren’t properly equipped to take God’s place. Clearly we don’t value life as fearfully and wonderfully made, we happily create life for the purpose and with the intent to destroy that life.

I googled IVF & Satan just to see what came up. What I got was a whole community of lesbian women who are trying to become pregnant, or are parenting manufactured children and this on line community is a study in the social pitfalls of IVF technology juxtaposed against the heart and soul of one of the most basic instincts of authentic femininity, the desire to be a mother.

These women casually dismiss the basic needs of their children. The human need to know who we are and where we come from, a need met when a child learns his family’s history, the story of those who came before him in this world. The need to have our father’s influence in our lives, the lessons learned as we watch our fathers cope with the world, to see the world from a man’s perspective. Without access to our fathers, when dad is nothing more than donor number 2857 we’ve fragmented one of the basic foundations of a child’s sense of self.

I suspect it will be the generation of manufactured children who ultimately rise up to stand against this technology. Just as the young men and women born in the shadow of Roe v. Wade are giving voice to those of their generation lost to abortion, I suspect it will be those conceived in Petri dishes who speak up and say, “What about my brothers and sisters?”

From time to time we all think our siblings are swine, it’s the way of life, but how would we feel about our siblings actually being hybridized with swine, I suspect that will be a whole different story. I suspect when that realization hits these children they will have the common decency to put an end to this insanity, and IVF as we know it today will become an unpleasant part of American history in the way that eugenic sterilization has become a subject of scorn rather than something of which to be proud.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

IVF – Frozen Chilly Children: A Study in Satan’s Ways

Part One

Two years ago I woke up one morning with only one thought running through my head. Frozen chilly children, frozen chilly children, frozen chilly children, stuck in my brain like the words to a song that stays with you all day. A conversation I had while getting my teeth cleaned got me thinking. The do you have any kids question came up and that led to a discussion of the hygienist’s friend who was going through a divorce and trying to decide what to do with their frozen embryos. My mind started going. Maybe this was the solution to the whole thing, if not these children then perhaps some others in the permafrost playground.

I did a little research and learned that over 400,000 children are cryofrozen in the U.S. Alive, but not living their lives, suspended in time and space like some sort of sci-fi movie. The pro life camp rightly sees this for the tragedy it is, the nay sayers dismiss the gruesome reality with the rationalization that these embryos are weak and most likely won’t survive under the best of conditions. Me? I just wanted to be a mom. Not much had been panning out for me and here are kids who obviously need parents. Like many things in life turns out it’s not that simple.

I contacted snowflakes, but I also began calling local cryo banks to ask about adoption of donated frozen embryos. I had been through one cycle of IVF so I wasn’t a complete babe in the woods, or so I thought.

My first call was to a cryo bank in Ann Arbor:

“I’d like to get information about adoption of frozen embryos.”


“Because my husband and I would like to have a family and would like to adopt them.”

“We only use them for experimentation.”

Stomach knotted and in my throat: “I see, can you refer me to someone who places frozen embryos for adoption?”

I’ve since learned that experimentation on embryos is illegal in Michigan, but apparently that’s not a deterrent to this particular cryo bank.

I called the second place and it went like this.

“I’d like to adopt donated embryos, who would I speak to about this?”

“Are you a patient of Dr. X?”


“You could come in to speak with Dr. X, but he won’t consider transplanting donated embryos until after two cycles with donor eggs.”

“I see, thank you for your time.”

The bulb lit. For the doctors, it’s about the money first. So what we have here are people desperate for a child, and doctors with a financial incentive to manufacture a child. Potential for abuse, yea I think so. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. 1 Tim 6:10.

When I went through my IVF cycle, the doctor was insistent that she could get me pregnant, and the way to do that was with donor eggs. Human beings are the commodity in the IVF industry, and doctors are manufacturing the product as quickly as the factory can turn the conveyer belt. The child is no longer a gift of God, but a byproduct to be frozen, experimented on or swept away on the whim of those profiting from his fabrication, or worse yet by his parents.

Where does all of this insanity begin? The culture of death begins with contraception. Why? When sex becomes sport, the natural outcome of sex, babies, become an unintended and often undesirable consequence. When human beings become an unintended or undesirable consequence they are dealt with in the way that all such inconveniences are dealt with. They are eliminated, kind of like dandelions in a nicely manicured lawn.
Once we are comfortable with elimination of the consequences of sex, the flip side of the equation is just a step away. Why mess with sex to conceive? The children in all of this become either a burden to be swept away, a commodity to acquire or both, and the humanity of the child is devalued every step of the way.

The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

Printable Version at One More Soul

Our Lady of God Council, Pray for Us. St. Anne Patroness of Mothers, Pray for Us. St. Gerard Patron of the Unborn, Pray for Us.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Same Sex Parenting

Is Gay & Lesbian Adoption in the best interests of the child?

Heidi at Mommy Monsters Inc. has a great post about God’s plan for child rearing. Check it out at the link above.

I see a lot of hand wringing and hear a lot of “well that’s just the way it is” when the topic of the deterioration of our culture comes up. Often people seem genuinely baffled, especially if they are members of what I’ve begun to call the Oprah set, folks (generally women) who see the world through the filter of Oprah Winfrey rather than through the filter of God’s word.

Marriage, by the design of our Creator consist of a man and women, when we step outside of God’s design we run into trouble. Sex by God’s design is so awesome that it’s intended to be exclusively the privilege of married men and women who have made a lifetime commitment to each other, when we step outside of this design we run into trouble. Children are the natural consequence of this activity, and when they are conceived outside of God’s design they often pay a heavy price and carry the burden of another’s sin their whole lives. Yet we wring our hands and cry aloud why?

I imagine that some of Lot’s neighbors may have asked the same question.

Lord open our eyes to your ways and soften our hearts to follow you. Amen.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Why Don’t They Go To Church"?

“Well son they go to a different church……in St. Louis.”

“We’re thinking of going to Jim’s church” chimes in my BIL last Sunday as I’m trying to think of a way to explain the fragmenting effects of the Protestant reformation to my son who’s exposure to Jesus body consists of four Masses.

I opted out of further explanation last Sunday but the question begs an answer.

Summers in my family are spent at the lake. My sister and her family come in from St. Louis, my brother and his family come in from Detroit and Hubby and I jog one county over to the piece of ground my dad calls “The Compound”. “The Kennedy’s have Hyannis, and we have The Compound”, he’s fond of saying. Hyannis is to Champagne as The Compound is to Old Milwaukee, but still, this gift to his children and grandchildren will bear fruit for generations as our family bond strengthens with each year that passes and every weekend we spend together.

Weekends at the lake are a glorious affair. Cousins everywhere, houses open dawn to dusk, lawn chairs for lounging all day and the grill going for family meals every evening. Friends and family come to visit from far flung corners of the globe, and the more the merrier.

Mass time for Sunday morning is decided Saturday evening and with all the bodies piling in the SUV(s) actually seams to make sense. We take up at least a whole pew, depending on who’s in town sometimes a pew or two. We are all prodigals or converts, raised in the Catholic Church or no church at all, but my family has come home to faith over the years and we worship together on Sunday morning with out fail. It usually hits me after communion, as we’ve returned to the pew and are kneeling together after receiving Jesus body. Fighting back the tears of joy, I still feel the void left by those missing from the celebration.

MFP (missing from pew) are my parents who show up to church only grudgingly for first communions and my sister who has abandoned the Church for a “full gospel” denomination. How full can it be if it rejects John 6 and 17 I’ve often wondered? Occasionally I wonder if we are all reading the same bible. The Catholic passages are so clear, keys to the kingdom, pillar of truth, binding and loosing, I will build my Church, I will be with you until the end of the age, and the gaits of Hell will not prevail, and on and on.

As an evangelical I would have felt compelled to site each of the passages above chapter and verse in an attempt to provide scriptural documentation of my claims. As a Catholic I can relax in the knowledge that Jesus is in command of the ship and with the faith and trust of a child I can rest in the bosom of my family confident of the prayers of the saints and angels on my behalf. I have responsibility, oh yes, to follow the Lord, not to run off half cocked trying to rewrite the roadmap to heaven to my liking teasing out sound bites of scripture to support my personal take on God’s word.

Jesus has made his intentions clear, he founded a Church, she is one, holy Catholic and apostolic. Those of us who’ve heard Jesus’ call have a vital mission, to live our lives with passionate devotion to the Lord and his Church and to know the faith well enough to be able to give an answer when asked the reason for our hope. That and to have a cache of reading material and CDs on hand for those times when the inevitable questions arise, then let the Holy Spirit take it from there.

St. Francis pray for us. Teach us to preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary pray that the Lord will give us his words. Amen.