Friday, September 27, 2013

Devotion for today: Trading in Whole Foods and Trader Joe's for Life

 Matthew 16:25-27: For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

I recently had a crisis in my life. I just found out that two of my favorite food stores, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, contribute to Planned Parenthood, one of the largest abortion providers in the country. If I stand for anything in this world, I stand for life from conception to natural death. I am living this conviction on both ends right now. My greatest joy in life is watching my granddaughter during the day, seeing her wonderment and awe at life emerge as she passes from newborn to infancy to older baby stage. I am also helping my 92 year old aunt cope with the ravaging effects of cancer treatment as she lies in a hospital bed trying to recover from her latest round. Both are marvels to me. My aunt has a profound love and trust in God, so she is peaceful and calm. My granddaughter is a joyful child, filled with giggles and squeals, so happy to be alive. How could I possibly continue to support groups that contribute to death? Oh but I love those stores. What to do?
God never lets me debate for long. Look at what I just read in “The One Thing is Three” by Father Michael Gaitley, Marian Press, 2012:

“… Now here is where the enrichment of faith comes to the rescue. Again, the enrichment of faith refers to ‘the witness of a living and mature faith’ that faces the challenges of the modern world and doesn’t back down. In fact, it ‘masters’ those challenges by putting faith first. What does it mean to put faith first? It means choosing being over having, the person over things, a life of self-giving love over selfishness. This is what it means for the faith to “penetrate the believer’s entire life.” It means letting God’s Word rule over all one’s decisions. It means not limiting prayer to Sunday Mass. It means living the life of Christ, abiding in him, and being a contemplative in action. In sum, it means doing everything through Christ, with Christ and in Christ, from riding the subway to folding the laundry. When the laity have such an enriched faith, God is made visible to the world through what they do and say and how they act and are. This is the witness of true holiness to which all the laity are called….”

When Karol Wojtyla visited the United States less than a year before becoming Pope, he said:

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel.”

Chilling? I would say so. There is no real choice in life for an authentic Christian. We have to be willing to sacrifice, and that is a foreign word to many people today. What? Give up my pleasures, my money, my free time for the good of another human being?  Well, yes. It is called martyrdom to the world and fullness of life in Christ. One leads only to death: that is a scientific fact. One leads to eternal life. The choice is yours.

So I will find other places to shop. And I will write a letter letting my former grocery friends know why I am leaving a long and wonderful relationship as I truly love the food in these store. If I don’t write the letter, I am like a protester standing in front of the White House without a sign. How will the President know what it is I don’t like!!!

Let me end with a few more words of John Paul II:
“The challenge facing us is an arduous one: only the concerted efforts of all those who believe in the value of life can prevent a setback of unforeseeable consequences for civilization.”

Be brave, be strong and be willing to sacrifice for the cause of life. We believe God brings every baby into a mother’s womb for a loving reason, and we believe God takes a person home when He does for a loving reason. Any attempt by man to end life at any stage is nothing short of replacing the true God with one whom we created ourselves.

This site, although not exhaustive by any means, will give you an idea of other places contributing to abortion through Planned Parenthood:
The Girl Scouts are on it, as is Disney. Really???????????????????

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Devotion for today: Serve God Cheerfully

Romans 12:4-8:  Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

I would like to site a passage from a wonderful book I have been reading for some time, due to the fact that I keep rereading sections and making so many notes. It is an “everyman’s guide to understanding the faith” and it is written in such simple, concise terms that I am finally understanding parts of my faith I never did before, or at least not fully. The book is “The One is Three: How the Most Holy Trinity Explains Everything” by Father Michael Gaitley, Marian Press, 2012. Here’s the passage that has me thinking today:

“Who has the mission of communion and evangelization? Everyone. Every single one of the Baptized has it. But while the great mission of the Church aims at one single goal-to bring all of creation back to the Trinitarian Communion of God- Christians have a wide variety of roles to play in accomplishing this goal…. What’s your role in the Body of Christ? You’ve certainly got one, and it’s utterly unique! John Paul II calls it a “personal and unrepeatable life project” that the Father entrusts to you as His gift to you- and as your gift back to Him. Such a personal life project us not usually revealed all at once, but rather, it unfolds in and is discovered through a consistent life of prayer, discernment, and spiritual direction.”

Permit me one more quote Father uses to make the point. This one is from the Second Vatican Council Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, Apostolicam Actuositatem, November 18, 1965, n. 33:

The Council, then, makes an earnest plea in the Lord’s name that all people give a glad, generous and prompt response to the impulse of the Holy Spirit and to the voice of Christ, who is giving them an especially urgent plea at this moment.”

This is really an eye-opener on so many levels, isn’t it? Let’s start with St. Paul’s exhortation in Romans. There are several words that jump out at me right away: generously, diligently, and cheerfully. It seems St. Paul knows that God doesn’t want us to fulfill our position in life with a perfunctory sense of duty, plodding through the day serving Him in the workplace or at home with a resigned spirit and a dull attitude. No, He wants us to do this with a desire to go over and above what is expected, to perform our tasks with care and conscientiousness, and to be thrilled to be doing it because we are working for God in His vineyard and making a difference! Can we really say we do this each and every day of our lives? Because each and every day is all we get in this life. Once today is over, it is gone forever. Lost are all the opportunities we were given to share our love of God through the joyfulness and vibrancy with which we should be living our lives. That is what is going to make a difference in people’s lives. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 Degrees in Theology, studied at thus and such university or know every single Vatican Document by heart. If people don’t see you as accessible, loving, careful and joyful, they don’t want what you are presenting.

Moving on to John Paul II’s statement, isn’t it fascinating to think that God has given each and every one of us a life project to complete for Him? Don’t you feel amazingly special right now? I do! I know I could have been born at any time in history, but God needed me right now, today, in the 21st century, with all its problems and upheavals, to make a difference. How do I know what I am supposed to do? Father Gaitley makes it crystal clear: pray, discern and seek guidance. How many of us actually do this every day of our lives? Yet, we must. It is the only way we will see the tapestry that is being created in us, thread by thread.  Look for yours. Spend time today reflecting on what you have done, and where you heart is leading you. That is the “impulse of the Holy Spirit and the Voice of Christ” at work in you. Listen, pray, ask for guidance from trusted spirited-filled friends, family and clergy to see what it is that God wants you to use for the comfort and care of His people, so that they, too, can find the joy in living that you already have. The gift is to be given away, everyday, cheerfully!!!!!!!