Priests For Life: The Pro-Life Commitment is Eucharistic

PriestsForLifeLogo_GreyThe focus of this Sunday’s Gospel passage on Eucharist provides us an opportunity to preach on any of the numerous connections between our Eucharistic faith and our pro-life commitment…

…the Flesh of Christ as our food reminds us of Jesus telling his disciples that his food was to do the will of the Father (Jn 4:34). Now, two chapters later, he tells us that our food is his body and blood, and that this gives us life just like the Father gives him life. It follows, therefore, that our participation in the Eucharist is geared toward our doing the will of Christ. “Try to understand what is the will of the Lord,” Paul therefore urges in the second reading, giving us some concrete examples. Our defense of life is one major aspect of union with the will of God.

The pro-life commitment is Eucharistic – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life. Our commitment to defend our pre-born brothers and sisters is shaped by our faith in the Eucharist as a sacrament of faith, unity, life, worship, and love.

The Eucharist is a sacrament of faith. The Consecrated Host looks no different after the consecration than before. It looks, smells, feels, and tastes like bread. Only one of the five senses gets to the truth. As St. Thomas Aquinas’ Adoro Te Devote expresses “Seeing, touching, tasting are in Thee deceived. What says trusty hearing that shall be believed?” The ears hear His words, “This is my Body, this is my Blood,” and faith takes us beyond the veil of appearances.
  
Christians are used to looking beyond appearances. The baby in the manger does not look like God; nor for that matter does the man on the cross. Yet by faith we know He is no mere man. The Bible does not have a particular glow setting it off from other books, nor does it levitate above the shelf. Yet by faith we know it is uniquely the Word of God. The Eucharist seems to be bread and wine, yet by faith we say “My Lord and My God!” as we kneel in adoration.
  
The same dynamic of faith that enables us to see beyond appearances in these mysteries enables us to see beyond appearances in our neighbor. We can look at the persons around us, at the annoying person or the ugly person or the person who is unconscious in a hospital bed, and we can say “Christ is there as well. There is my brother, my sister, made in the very image of God!” By the same dynamic we can look at the pre-born child and say “There, too, is my brother, my sister, equal in dignity and just as worthy of protection as anyone else.” Some people will say the child in the womb, especially in the earliest stages, is too small to be the subject of Constitutional rights. Is the Sacred Host too small to be God, too unlike Him in appearance to be worshiped? The slightest particle of the Host is fully Christ. Eucharistic faith is a powerful antidote to the dangerous notion that value depends on size.

(This is part one of an article “The Pro-Life Commitment is Eucharistic by Priests for Life. The second part will be published in the bulletin for the weekend of August 25-26. For more information about Priests for Life, the pro-life movement, or how you can get involved, please visit their website at www.priestsforlife.org.)

SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
August 19, 2012

20th Sunday: Eating Well 
Our parish is blessed with so many good parents. I know you parents spend a great deal of time caring for your children.  You keep them as clean as possible and try your best to feed them well.  You watch over their health, not just caring for them when they are sick, but preventing sickness by taking them to the doctor for their shots, the dentist for their teeth, etc.  You help them with their school work.  You help them learn to make their way in the world particularly in making good relationships with others.  You want them to grow to be good, healthy people able to take their place in society.  It is a full time job, I am sure.  But
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Life is a Feast 
From time to time I run across sophisticated people who don’t, of course, believe in God, at least not in the way he’s represented by organized religion. But they are very happy that the hoi polloi, the vast crowd of ordinary people, do believe in God. For to them, religion promotes basic morality in society which is, of course, something we all want.
   
Sometimes I think that even churchgoers have this very low expectation of what it means to be a Christian. “Believe that God exists and that he’ll judge you when you die. Consequently, try to be a decent, fair sort of person. Send your kids to CCD so they get this message and stay out of serious trouble.”
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Do We Believe More in God’s Love than in Our Weakness? 
I stumbled across this great quote from Mother Teresa this morning:
  
“Jesus will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your weakness. Only then, his hand will be free with you.”
   
- Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
      
If this is true – and I suspect it is – it may be one explanation for the fact that
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John Paul II’s Relic Finds Permanent Home in America 
What more appropriate place for a first-class relic of Blessed John Paul II than at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy?
 
On Sunday, Aug. 12, the relic, a white linen cloth that holds the blood of the great “Mercy Pope,” was permanently enshrined at the national shrine in Stockbridge, Mass., during the 3 o’clock hour of Divine Mercy.
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FREE Online Crash Course in the Catholic Faith 
John Paul the Great Catholic University is offering a FREE online crash course in the Catholic Faith. In the span of just 13 weeks – one session per week – you’ll get lessons on:
 
     – Jesus and Apostolic Succession
     – Natural Philosophy
     – Proof for God’s Existence
     – Philosophical Anthropology
     – Creation-Redemption
     – Revelation
     – The Trinity
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The Holy Right: Unpacking the Mystery of Relics 
Yesterday I talked about St. Stephen of Hungary—but how did I forget to tell you THIS part of the story?! 

During his lifetime, good King Stephen, first Christian king of the Hungarians, had offered the Hungarian people to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  As he lie on his deathbed—his right hand holding high the Holy Crown—Stephen prayed, asking Our Lady to be the Queen of the Hungarians.   

As part of the investigation leading up to the canonization of St. Stephen, first Christian king of Hungary, his body was exhumed.  While most of the body had decayed, his right hand and arm remained incorrupt. 
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Total Consecration To Jesus Through Mary Changed My Life – And It Will Change Yours! 
“At first, it had seemed to me that I should distance myself a bit from the Marian devotion of my childhood in order to focus more on Christ. Thanks to St. Louis de Montfort, I came to understand that true devotion to the Mother of God is actually Christocentric; indeed, it is very profoundly rooted in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, and the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption.” (Blessed Pope John Paul II, Crossing The Threshold of Hope)
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Our Attitude towards Confession 
The Dominican writer Colman O’Neill’s opening line on Penance is: “One of the simplest and best ways for a person to discover whether he appreciates the doctrine of the mystical body, not just as an abstract idea, but as a guiding influence in his life is for him to question himself on his attitude to confession.”   

The threads of what we understand as Catholicism meet right in the experience of the sacrament. The mystical body of Christ is a mystery of God and so it cannot be reduced to sociology or psychology or simple utility (e.g., “I will need a priest at my funeral.”)
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“Judas made a huge blunder when he sold Christ for 30 denarii, but he made an even bigger one when…” 
I often refer to Pope John Paul I as the Pope people forget to remember.

Today the intrepid Andrea Tornielli has a post about John Paul I, Papa Luciani.  He talks about an initiative to recall the Pope’s life and short pontificate this year, which is the one hundredeth since his birth (17 Oct 1912).  In the entry Tornielli offers a quote:
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The Edith Stein Charm School: 3 Lessons from St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross on Being a Lady 
Listers, in this modern society it is hard for a woman to understand precisely what it means to be a woman. Women are torn between a multitude of different theories concerning what the true feminine vocation is. When I was younger I felt as if I was being pulled between the “Girl Power” mentality and the supposed “Make me a sandwich” mentality. I know that I hated it when my brothers teased me by saying that I should “Shut up, and know [my] role,” but I also seethed with contempt when some said to me “You go, girl!” while saucily snapping their fingers (clearly, I am a child of the nineties). None of those ideals seemed to work for me. None of these theories were enough. Being a woman had to be more than just being blindly submissive or just being intolerably proud.
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My Shield Against Cruelty and Sin 
I search, as always, to go outside of myself.
 
I could rattle off the countless ways that I feel stretched and maxed out, but doing so would be taxing and exhausting for you as much as it would be for me, so I’ll spare it. I’m tired – we’re all tired in some way, body or soul. The truth is that there’s no escaping tiresome circumstances because they’re a constant in life. I can trace occasions of feeling spent even as far back as middle school, through high school and college, engagement, marriage, motherhood, and I’m certain it’s in my future. Looking back at different trials, one part I played fairly consistently was the Damsel in Distress. What a PITY party I would throw myself! and you know I wanted everyone to come! What I’ve learned, however, is that though I can’t circumvent the circumstances that wear me so thin, I can dodge the feeling of oppression and self-pity  that sours my disposition.
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St. Augustine Asks the Hard Questions Atheists Don’t Ask 
It’s fun to read or listen to super-duper-smart professional atheists (well, they think they’re smart) banging on about the book of Genesis. It’s a useful issue for them, because the primeval history in scripture is mysterious, complex, and rich in symbolism. So, naturally, Reason Warriors approach it with the childish literalism of a young-earth creationist. Perhaps this works for them because fundamentalism is ill-equipped to properly understand Genesis, which is why friends don’t let friends be fundamentalists.
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Healing and the Risen Christ 
One of the trendier pieces of atheist agitprop is the “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” game.  The way it works is this: the world is chockablock with various accounts of miraculous healings. Lourdes, for instance, has a big database of people who have been healed there, and sundry saints like Padre Pio have all sorts of amazing healings that cluster around them with gobs of documentation.  However, the atheist is an obscurantist who does not fearlessly follow evidence where it leads as a Christian is free to do.  He is, rather, a dogmatist who is constrained to ignore evidence of the miraculous by his creed.  So, in order to weed out all that threatening evidence of the miraculous, the latest trick is to set
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Both Lungs 
In an overwhelmingly Muslim Middle East, it is surprising to note that one-tenth of all Syrians are Christian, and even more shocking to discover that almost half of the population of Lebanon is also Christian. It is a wonder there are any Christians left in that part of the world at all. But then, these are no ordinary Christians. Most Christians in the Middle East are not Roman Catholic or Protestant—they are Eastern Christians with a unique heritage distinct from Western forms of worship and practice. Perhaps their millennium-old customs make them robust enough to stay in countries where they are surrounded by hostile neighbors.
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Seven Point Checklist for Catholic Dads 
I was talking to a fellow dad over lunch recently about the challenges of raising kids today.  After the usual story swapping and a discussion about bad cultural influences, my friend left the table saying, “I need to get back to the office.  Next time we get together we should brainstorm a handy checklist for fathers so we won’t forget what we are supposed to be doing!”  His statement has stuck with me since our meeting and I decided I can’t wait until the next lunch to explore this topic.  The stakes are too high and this generation of children desperately needs fathers to step up to their responsibilities.
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 Priest’s new film says physics help prove existence of God 
A new film by philosopher, priest and producer Father Robert Spitzer aims to integrate faith and reason by making the claim that God’s existence can be proved through scientific evidence. 

“We thought the whole story wasn’t being told in the media about the evidence for God from physics,” the Jesuit priest told CNA. 

“We’re utterly convinced that the evidence from physics shows the existence of God and certainly does not take away from it.”
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 Attention TIME, et al.: Charity and Taxation are not synonymous 
Time Magazine must operate on the premise that their readers have an IQ roughly equal to that of a dish of warm milk.*
  
Behold this bit of crack Bible scholarship:  

As near as we can tell, Jesus would advocate a tax rate somewhere between 50% (in the vein of “if you have two coats, give one to the man who has none”) and 100% (if you want to get into heaven, be poor). Mostly, he suggested giving all your money up for the benefit of others. And Jesus made no distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor; his love and generosity applied to all.
  
Three quick thoughts on this remarkable passage, followed by a longer consideration of The Point:
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