Could you stop and say a prayer for a man named Terence, who is gravely ill? He has three young children who need him, and a family who loves him dearly. As always, God's most holy will in all things, but a miracle would be most welcome. Thank you.
I've put a couple articles on other sites that I'd like to share with you. Concerning the domestic church and how we bring the liturgy home, I have this piece on Catholic Lane. And perhaps this Advent we can add a prayer intention to our list, one which concerns the lives of women around the world. This piece highlights two particularly grievous practices that affect thousands of women, and which impede their ability to live as loving icons of the bride, which is the heart of every woman's vocation.
Finally, I'd like you to consider this article on Patheos, which is an unfortunate response to an unfortunate action on the part of an Egyptian "feminist." (She protested the oppression of women in Egypt by stripping naked <*sigh*>) I've responded, trying to clarify the situation, but we must understand how difficult it will always be to convince Muslims of the beauty of Christianity as long as its so marginalised in the West. We should all be scandalised by the immodesty and vulgarity which are corrupting our culture, but responding in equally perverse ways is certainly unhelpful. There is so much to be done, but essential to the whole process will be a restoration of chastity and dignity among Christian women.
As we approach a deeply emotional anniversary--the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks--we'll be seeing more and more stories of how lives have been impacted over a decade by that tragic event. With the vantage of ten years, many families have found ways to take something horrific and bring new life from it.
This story about Lauren Grandcolas is one. Hers is unique because of her pregnancy--and although it added to the husband's grief, I don't think her child was included in the number of victims (2753).
Jack, suddenly without his family, was thrust into a world of pain and loneliness, engulfed by a dark depression. It was Lauren's spirit, in many ways, that gave him the strength he needed to fight his way out of it. To honor her spirit, Jack and Lauren's family started the Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas Foundation, a philanthropic organization that helps people attain their life goals. One of the foundation's key acts is financially supporting a state-of-the-art birthing room at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, Calif.
Do watch the video, and remember to pray for those who suffered so deeply from this action.
I've written about the Ladies in White before, and they've patiently stuck to their theme: the world must see the human rights violations in our midst. Jay Nordlinger alerts us to a confrontation after Mass this weekend:
The Ladies in White, as you know, are Cuban women who march peacefully through the streets with candles and flowers and such. They wouldn’t, and couldn’t, hurt a fly. They march in solidarity with their loved ones who are political prisoners. After attending mass at the Cathedral of Santiago de Cuba, 20 Ladies in White were met by “government led mobs with blunt objects,” as well as “members of the Ministry of the Interior.” The women were followed by these assembled bullies, “insulted,” “threatened,” and “pushed into buses that took them to an unknown location.”
Prayers, friends. We can (and should!) share their trials. May they (and their loved ones) be released quickly and unharmed.
So says this dear woman, enduring chemotherapy in Italy (though her silk scarf is smashing).
I've got some Thoughts for y'all tomorrow on what chemo is like and how much fun it is to have cytotoxins eat your nerve cells. It's late, and I'm too tired to write anything (besides, it hurts to type...yes...it's called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and it's great fun) but I thought I would take a moment tonight to frankly ask for prayers.
I know you'll pray. (Thanks to the Crescat for the heads up.)
Although I have nothing unique to add to the Corapi Controversy, I found this YouTube video fascinating, and it took some thought to figure out why. [For those who don't want to take the time, it films the heartfelt pleas of four men, fervently begging Fr Corapi to maintain and prioritise his priestly stature.] Eventually, I deduced the reasons it was so intriguing:
The first is the very male admonition to 'man up.' while I find this sort of talk regularly on the military blogs I follow, it was refreshing to hear it in a Christian sense. If vows mean something, then abandoning them also means something. I wonder how many more men in our pews would take their faith seriously with language more suited to their way of life.
This leads to another refreshing point: Fr Corapi convinced them to man up to their own responsibilities, and now they're returning the favour. Previously, they were the ones failing (as they humbly recount); now they've regained their footing and find it only natural to turn around to urge him during his rough patch. It's like a foxhole, where each soldier may go batty for a moment, and the rest pull him back into shape, knowing they'll all need help at one point or another.
Finally, on a personal note, I realise I've been 12-stepping it for so long that I've not offered unsolicited personal advice for years. And yet, theirs is deeply touching, incredibly straightforward, and carries tremendous weight. While I hold firm opinions on many things (most?) I'm a firm believer in free will, and know that prayer works more than words in most instances. (This may seem to feed into the collective shrug offered by our culture, which refuses to believe that there is a universal truth, it is clearly distinct--and those familiar with the program understand why.)
I really hope this 15-minute clip gets the audience it deserves--and by that I mean all priests who need to know how to minister to men. They obviously appreciate a firm word, black and white options, and brick walls when necessary. Their admirable words are no doubt backed up with prayer and sacrifice, and thus I bless them for their effort!
How gratifying it is to see the prayer support and familial affection that is a bedrock of our faith. The members of a Spanish convent have rallied to the defense of a Pakistani Christian woman in solitary confinement:
"I feel very close to Asia Bibi, to her suffering, as a sister in Christ" writes Sister Mary Immaculate Perez to Fides, abbess of the nuns from the Franciscan Monastery Conception of Escalona in Toledo, near Madrid (Spain). The community of cloistered nuns in Escalona was among the first to promote a spontaneous prayer campaign for Asia Bibi, and adheres to the special day of prayer for the victims of the blasphemy law in Pakistan, which will be celebrated worldwide on 20 April. For this reason the nuns have been called “the guardian angels of Asia Bibi.” Today the Mother writes a Letter to Fides, and through the “Masihi Foundation,” would like Asia Bibi, who is in Sheikupura prison, to receive it for Easter.
“We want to send a brief message of consolation to Asia. Since the beginning we have been following her case with great interest and affection,” said the nun, speaking also on behalf of her sisters. "We see with great concern that those who have defended Asia, as the Minister Shahbaz Bhatti or the Governor Salman Taseer, paid with their lives in defense of the Gospel. We confide them to the Lord, together with their families."
Picture the women who have chosen seclusion praying for the woman secluded against her will, who in turn has turned her own cell into a little monastery. In turn, all of us joined for this intention -- moral support for a woman jailed for her Christian beliefs -- have a special bond within the Mystical Body.
The Spanish nuns are spreading word about their special day of prayer for Asia, April 20th, during which they will "put everything under the protection of the Virgin Mary, our Mother.”
When she was informed of the initiative, Asia responded, bursting into tears and said she was “very happy because the world would pray for her.” Contacting Fides, through the Masihi Foundation, which provides her legal assistance, Asia said. “I am grateful to the Masihi Foundation for organising such an event, which gives me hope to go on living. I feel loved by the Catholic Church and all Christian communities around the world. I am proud to be the daughter of a community that is so loving and merciful.” Despite her illness, fasting and physical weakness, her morale is high “through faith in Jesus Christ”: “I would like to send a message of peace and love to all the world. I want to say thank you to every sister, every brother, every nun and priest who prays for me, and especially to the Holy Father. I hope with all my heart that this Lent and all the prayers may bring me freedom and happiness to my family.”
Let's remember the date and join them in this intention!
Walsingham is England’s national shrine to Our Lady, and a major place of pilgrimage and prayer. It is in Norfolk, a few miles from the North Sea, and is a small village set in the green countryside characteristic of this corner of Britain. The shrine dates back to the 12th century, when the local lady of the manor, Richeldis, had a vision of the Holy House – the home of the Holy family at Nazareth – on this spot. For centuries, pilgrims visited here and Our Lady of Walsingham was honoured with countless processions and prayers. Springs of water – they still exist today – were said to have healing powers. A great priory drew men who devoted themselves to the religious life. At the shrine itself, the image was always surrounded by candles, flowers, and gifts left by grateful pilgrims who had knelt there in prayer.
In the early 16th century, among those who came were the young king Henry, and his wife Catherine. They were praying that God would grant them a son. England had seen terrifying wars in an earlier generation as the houses of Lancaster and York battled out their struggle for supremacy, and now stability was needed for the new ruling house of Tudor. It was not to be. Catherine bore several children, but all died in infancy except one daughter, Mary. Henry, angry and disappointed, decided to marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. He sought an annulment of his marriage through the Church, but failed to obtain it. Divorcing Catherine unilaterally, he married Anne – who by then was carrying his child – and announced himself head of the Church. The Lord Chancellor, Thomas More, and the Bishop of Rochester, John Fisher, were beheaded at the Tower of London in 1534 for refusing to affirm him in his claims, maintaining instead that only the Pope, the successor of Saint Peter, could hold that office. . Needing funds, Henry turned on the Church and crushed monasteries and priories. On the excuse of its being idolatrous, the shrine at Walsingham was destroyed and the statue burned. For some 400 years, there were no more pilgrimages, processions, or signs of devotion to Mary in this quiet village.
The shrine was revived in the early 20th century – an Anglican vicar researched the history and re-created the Holy House in a new shrine, and a Catholic lady obtained the old “Slipper Chapel” just outside the village and this became the revived Catholic centre of devotion. Today, there are pilgrimages throughout the summer and the Catholic shrine has its own large church built of attractive local stone. Pilgrims pray and sing as they walk the “Holy Mile” – traditionally barefoot – from the village. Schools, parish groups, Catholic organisations – all come with their banners and their choirs, their sandwiches and their children, to greet Our Lady at a place which combines the pleasures of unusually beautiful countryside with an atmosphere of real devotion and joy. Some groups stay for days – a local farmer rents out fields in which large groups of young pilgrims and families can camp – and in recent years Walsingham has seen a revival of Eucharistic adoration and confession, promoted by “Youth 2000,” a major initiative of the “John Paul 11 generation.”
When Pope John Paul visited Britain in 1982 the image of Our Lady of Walsingham was brought to London where it was the centrepiece of a major rally attended by the Holy Father. Many Catholic families, churches and schools, have copies of the image: it is an unusual one in which Mary is seen seated, as a dignified queen wearing a simple Saxon-style crown and carrying the Christ-child seated upright on her lap. Honour to Our Lady of Walsingham is linked to prayer that the people of England may once again return to the practice of the Catholic Faith: Our Lady of Walsinghan, pray for us!
Prayer for England
O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother look down with mercy upon England your Dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in you. By you it was that Jesus Our Saviour and our hope, was given to the world: and he has given you to us that we may hope still more. Plead for us your children, whom you did receive at the foot of the cross, O sorrowful Mother, Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the Chief Shepherd, the Vicar of your Son. Pray for us all, Dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with you in our heavenly home. Amen