All Children are Loved by God

All Children are Loved by God

Most Rev. Joseph Strickland, Bishop of Tyler, is asking that all Catholics join in prayer on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, the 40th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in the United States. Wherever you are at noon on Jan. 22, please pause to pray 40 Hail Mary’s that our society may move to a greater respect for the sanctity of life and an end to abortion. Let us support each other in prayerful thanksgiving for the truth that God revealed to us and let us call our neighbors to support the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

Here is a sitge where you will also find a Novena – Nine days of prayer, penance and pilgrimage, which is part of a pastoral initiative to help build a culture that is favorable to life, marriage and religious freedom. http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events/nine-days-of-prayer-penance-and-pilgrimage-marking-the-40th-anniversary-of-roe-v-wade.cfm
More information can be found at http://www.usccb.org/life-marriage-liberty.

You can also text “9days” to 99000 and the USCCB will send you daily messages/readings for the novena beginning January 19.

I ask all brothers and sisters in Christ and people of good will to join us in prayer at noon on January 22, using the prayer of your choice for the end of abortion and the respect for all life. You may find the novena a convenient and inspiring way to surround January 22 with prayer.

May God bless our nation –
Mother Susan Catherine, DDH

Christian Citizenship

January 26, 2012

Sadly, citizens across our nation just commemorated the tragic Supreme Court decision that sanctioned the killing of the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society, the unborn. In the 39 years since this decision, over 50 million infant people have been killed and their families’ lives changed forever.

This decision, and the subsequent acts flowing from it, has divided a nation that only half a century ago stood united in the protection and defense of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not only here but around the globe. Now we have a festering, gaping wound in our country, oozing pus throughout society as seen in the growing national policies that question the value of the lives of the elderly and the handicapped. Our government poured salt into that wound on January 20, when the Department of health and Human Services announced that nearly all employers will be forced to cover drugs and procedures that violate their conscience in their health plans. These include contraceptives, sterilization and abortifacients. (More info: see http://www.dioceseoftyler.org/respectlife.htm). This is a direct assault on respect for conscience and religious liberty. As our government sanctions the killing of innocents, it now attacks the very core of the person and the heart of our nation.

St. Peter, in writing to the Gentiles in Asia Minor, called them to be good citizens and thus show themselves to be Christians by the witness of their lives.

Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, whether it be to the king as supreme or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the approval of those who do good. For it is the will of God that by doing good you may silence the ignorance of foolish people. Be free, yet without using freedom as a pretext for evil, but as slaves of God. Give honor to all, love the community, fear God, honor the king. (1Pet 2:13-17)

At the time of St. Peter’s writing, the leaders and authorities were appointed or usurped authority by military power. But in our country, the authorities and their policies are by our choosing – we elect them, from the White House to city hall. Therefore, our responsibility and duty as Christians is greater than what Peter asked of the Gentiles in the early church. We are all called and will answer for our participation in the political process that defines this nation. This is part of our response in love to Christ’s sending us forth into the world to proclaim His good news.

This duty is not simple or easy; it requires study, discipline, diligence and prayer. It is hard work, but work worthy of the dignity of the human person. We are called to act in conformity with our conscience, to put leaders in place that will uphold the laws of God, the giver of all authority, which our fore fathers acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them..” (Opening paragraph of the Declaration)

To undertake this sacred duty, we have first the responsibility of forming our own moral conscience.

Conscience is the voice inside the heart of every person that calls us to do good and to avoid evil. It is the law of truth present in each heart that aids each person to make prudent decisions congruent with the moral good. A person has integrity when he or she acts in accordance with his or her conscience. Within the conscience, a person judges an action to be good or evil; then, entrusting in hope and the promise of forgiveness, sets about to right their course toward the good. Conscience is the inner core, the seat of truth in each person. Therefore, man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”(Dignitatis Humane, The Declaration on Religious Liberty, 3)

Forming our conscience is a life-long endeavor of studying sacred scripture and the teaching of the Church, of participating in sacred liturgy, of seeking guidance from the wise and learned and of being aware of the church’s collective wisdom on current issues. As Christ sent his disciples out into the world to proclaim the kingdom, so we are sent forth. In our country, this calls us to engage in the political process, to bring the message of the Gospel to the public square and into the political, economic and social policies that define our nation. In doing this, we have an obligation to take into account the moral stance of politicians and other authorities. What is the foundation of the character of the person? What do they allow, what do they promote and encourage, and what do they stand for? Within the judgment of our well-formed conscience, can we support this particular person?

To fulfill this Christian duty, we need to be informed. What are the major issues that call us to take action and to take a stand? Our bishops, in their role of shepherds, have identified some: health care, education, immigration, just economy, debt, jobs (See http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/ and http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/) Most of us would identify the same issues as ones demanding our involvement.

Our voice is critical for the future of our nation and is our mandate from Christ to bring his message into the world. We are a people of Hope, and that Hope is much needed to overcome the discouragement, despair and apathy that takes root when a government sanctions the killing of the most vulnerable and infringes on the right of conscience and religious liberty of each person. Deep in the soul of each person, is the desire to know the face of Truth. With this desire is the freedom and right given by God, not by man, to the life and liberty necessary to seek, to know and to live in Truth. We are called to be people of Truth; loving God and living in his joy; proclaiming life and bringing his hope. By his grace and armed with knowledge, may we boldly undertake our responsibility as Christian citizens.

Our fore fathers had a profound sense of the rights given by God and the citizen’s responsibility in relationship to these rights. They captured that sense in the beginning of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

May the teaching of St. Basil the Great (+379) help us call to mind our sacred dignity and our response to this great goodness: ”

There is one gift that no thoughtful man can pass over in silence. God fashioned man in his own image and likeness: he gave him knowledge of himself; he endowed him with the ability to think which raised him above all living creatures; he permitted him to delight in the unimaginable beauties of paradise, and gave him dominion over everything upon earth…Nor was he content merely to summon us back from death to life; he also bestowed on us the dignity of his own divine nature and prepared for us a place of eternal rest where there will be joy so intense as to surpass all human imagination. How, then, shall we repay the Lord for his goodness to us? He is so good that he asks no recompense except our love: that is the only payment he desires.” (Office of Readings, Tuesday, 3rd week Ordinary Time)

In Christ our Hope,

Sr. Susan Catherine, DDH

25 January 2012

Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

A Matter of Love

January 22, 2012

Simply put, to live is to love.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mk 12: 29b-31) In these two sentences we see the whole life of the person.  We are each uniquely created in the image and likeness of God, endowed individually with gifts for the purpose of loving.  Our very lives, and the free will to live our lives in the service of love, are a gift from God.  God entrusts us with the care of each other, commanding us to love our neighbor as our selves. 

Yet today is the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized the most anti-love act: the taking of an innocent human life.  These innocents will never have the opportunity to love. This is a great scandal, that a country built on Judo-Christian principles, allows by the law of the land, the killing of unborn babies; over 50 million since this decision on January 22, 1973.

It is a matter of love that we accept our stewardship of life that God has given us and work to create a society where all life, from conception to a natural death, is held sacred.  Monday, January 23, is set aside as a day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.  Tomorrow we can be united with Christians throughout our nation in prayer and also make a commitment to pray and work every day for the legal guarantee of the right of life.