"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
Pope Appeals To Youth: "Open Wide Your Hearts To God!"
Youth Urged To Experience Transforming Power Of The Eucharist
Prison to Praise: Deliver The Good News!
IN DEFENSE OF LIFE: Changing Of America
True Reform Must Come From God
Successful Marriage "Secrets" Revealed
Pray the News
The 20th World Youth Day was held in mid-August in Cologne Germany. On August 18, Pope Benedict XVI welcomed the young people who had come from around the world. His address follows:
"I am delighted to meet you here in Cologne on the banks of the Rhine! You have come from various parts of Germany, Europe, and the rest of the world as pilgrims in the footsteps of the Magi.
"Following their route, you too want to find Jesus. Like them, you have begun this journey in order to contemplate, both personally and with others, the face of God revealed by the Child in the manger.
"Like yourselves, I too have set out to join you in kneeling before the consecrated white Host in which the eyes of faith recognize the Real Presence of the Savior of the world. Together, we will continue to meditate on the theme of this World Youth Day: 'We have come to worship Him' (Mt 2:2).
"With great joy I welcome you, dear young people. You have come here from near and far, walking the streets of the world and the pathways of life. My particular greeting goes to those who, like the Magi, have come from the East. You are the representatives of so many of our brothers and sisters who are waiting, without realizing it, for the star to rise in their skies and lead them to Christ, Light of the Nations, in whom they will find the fullest response to their hearts' deepest desires.
"I also greet with affection those among you who have not been baptized, and those of you who do not yet know Christ or have not yet found a home in His Church. Pope John Paul II had invited you in particular to come to this gathering; I thank you for deciding to come to Cologne.
"Some of you might perhaps describe your adolescence in the words with which Edith Stein, who later lived in the Carmel in Cologne, described her own: 'I consciously and deliberately lost the habit of praying.' During these days, you can once again have a moving experience of prayer as dialogue with God, the God Who we know loves us and Whom we in turn wish to love.
"To all of you I appeal: Open wide your hearts to God! Let yourselves be surprised by Christ! Let Him have 'the right of free speech' during these days!
"Open the doors of your freedom to His merciful love! Share your joys and pains with Christ, and let Him enlighten your minds with His light and touch your hearts with His grace.
"In these days blessed with sharing and joy, may you have a liberating experience of the Church as the place where God's merciful love reaches out to all people. In the Church and through the Church you will meet Christ, Who is waiting for you.
"Today, as I arrived in Cologne to take part with you in the 20th World Youth Day, I naturally recall with deep gratitude the Servant of God so greatly loved by us all, Pope John Paul II, who had the inspired idea of calling young people from all over the world to join in celebrating Christ, the one Redeemer of the human race. Thanks to the profound dialogue which developed over more than 20 years between the Pope and young people, many of them were able to deepen their faith, forge bonds of communion, develop a love for the Good News of salvation in Christ and a desire to proclaim it throughout the world.
"That great Pope understood the challenges faced by young people today, and, as a sign of his trust in them, he did not hesitate to spur them on to be courageous heralds of the Gospel and intrepid builders of the civilization of truth, love, and peace.
"Today, it is my turn to take up this extraordinary spiritual legacy bequeathed to us by Pope John Paul II. He loved you - you realized that and you returned his love with all your youthful enthusiasm. Now all of us together have to put his teaching into practice. It is this commitment which has brought us here to Cologne, as pilgrims in the footsteps of the Magi.
"According to tradition, the names of the Magi in Greek were Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthasar. Matthew, in his Gospel, tells of the question which burned in the hearts of the Magi: 'Where is the infant king of the Jews?' (Mt 2:2). It was in order to search for Him that they set out on the long journey to Jerusalem. This was why they withstood hardships and sacrifices, and never yielded to discouragement or the temptation to give up and go home. Now that they were close to their goal, they had no other question than this.
"We too have come to Cologne because in our hearts we have the same urgent question that prompted the Magi from the East to set out on their journey, even if it is differently expressed.
"It is true that today we are no longer looking for a king, but we are concerned for the state of the world and we are asking: 'Where do I find standards to live by, what are the criteria that govern responsible cooperation in building the present and the future of our world? On whom can I rely? To whom shall I entrust myself? Where is the One Who can offer me the response capable of satisfying my heart's deepest desires?'
"The fact that we ask questions like these means that we realize our journey is not over until we meet the One Who has the power to establish that universal Kingdom of justice and peace to which all people aspire, but which they are unable to build by themselves. Asking such questions also means searching for Someone Who can neither deceive nor be deceived, and Who therefore can offer a certainty so solid that we can live for it and, if need be, even die for it.
"Dear friends, when questions like these appear on the horizon of life, we must be able to make the necessary choices. It is like finding ourselves at a crossroads: which direction do we take? The one prompted by the passions or the one indicated by the star which shines in your conscience?
"The Magi heard the answer: 'In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet' (Mt 2:5), and, enlightened by these words, they chose to press forward to the very end. From Jerusalem they went on to Bethlehem. In other words, they went from the word which showed them where to find the King of the Jews Whom they were seeking, all the way to the end, to an encounter with the King Who was at the same time the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.
"Those words are also spoken for us. We too have a choice to make. If we think about it, this is precisely our experience when we share in the Eucharist. For in every Mass the liturgy of the Word introduces us to our participation in the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ and hence, introduces us to the Eucharistic Meal, to union with Christ. Present on the altar is the One whom the Magi saw lying in the manger: Christ, the living Bread Who came down from heaven to give life to the world, the true Lamb Who gives His own life for the salvation of humanity.
"Enlightened by the Word, it is in Bethlehem - the 'House of Bread' – that we can always encounter the inconceivable greatness of a God Who humbled Himself even to appearing in a manger, to giving Himself as food on the altar.
"We can imagine the awe which the Magi experienced before the Child in swaddling clothes. Only faith enabled them to recognize in the face of that Child the King Whom they were seeking, the God to Whom the star had guided them. In Him, crossing the abyss between the finite and the infinite, the visible and the invisible, the Eternal entered time, the Mystery became known by entrusting Himself to us in the frail body of a small child.
"'The Magi are filled with awe by what they see; heaven on earth and earth in heaven; man in God and God in man; they see enclosed in a tiny body the One Whom the entire world cannot contain' (St. Peter Chrysologus, Serm. 160, n. 2).
"In these days, during this 'Year of the Eucharist,' we will turn with the same awe to Christ present in the Tabernacle of Mercy, in the Sacrament of the Altar.
"Dear young people, the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist. Only He gives the fullness of life to humanity! With Mary, say your own 'yes' to God, for He wishes to give Himself to you.
"I repeat today what I said at the beginning of my Pontificate: 'If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful, and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation' (Homily at the Mass of Inauguration, April 24, 2005).
"Be completely convinced of this: Christ takes from you nothing that is beautiful and great, but brings everything to perfection for the glory of God, the happiness of men and women, and the salvation of the world.
"In these days I encourage you to commit yourselves without reserve to serving Christ, whatever the cost. The encounter with Jesus Christ will allow you to experience in your hearts the joy of His living and life-giving presence, and enable you to bear witness to it before others. Let your presence in this city be the first sign and proclamation of the Gospel, thanks to the witness of your actions and your joy.
"Let us raise our hearts in a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the many blessings He has given us and for the gift of faith which we will celebrate together, making it manifest to the world from this land in the heart of Europe, a Europe which owes so much to the Gospel and its witnesses down the centuries.
"And now I shall go as a pilgrim to the Cathedral of Cologne, to venerate the relics of the holy Magi who left everything to follow the star which was guiding them to the Savior of the human race. You too, dear young people, have already had, or will have, the opportunity to make the same pilgrimage.
"These relics are only the poor and frail sign of what those men were and what they experienced so many centuries ago. The relics direct us towards God Himself: it is He Who, by the power of His grace, grants to weak human beings the courage to bear witness to Him before the world.
"By inviting us to venerate the mortal remains of the martyrs and saints, the Church does not forget that, in the end, these are indeed just human bones, but they are bones that belonged to individuals touched by the living power of God. The relics of the saints are traces of that invisible but real presence which sheds light upon the shadows of the world and reveals the Kingdom of Heaven in our midst. They cry out with us and for us: 'Maranatha!' – 'Come, Lord Jesus!'. . ."
In his homily at Sunday Mass (August 21) for World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, Pope Benedict XVI focused on the transforming power of the Eucharist. His homily follows:
". . .Yesterday evening we came together in the presence of the Sacred Host, in which Jesus becomes for us the bread that sustains and feeds us (cf. Jn 6:35), and there we began our inner journey of adoration. In the Eucharist, adoration must become union.
"At the celebration of the Eucharist, we find ourselves in the 'hour' of Jesus, to use the language of John's Gospel. Through the Eucharist this 'hour' of Jesus becomes our own hour, His presence in our midst. Together with the disciples He celebrated the Passover of Israel, the memorial of God's liberating action that led Israel from slavery to freedom. Jesus follows the rites of Israel. He recites over the bread the prayer of praise and blessing.
"But then something new happens. He thanks God not only for the great works of the past; He thanks Him for His own exaltation, soon to be accomplished through the Cross and Resurrection, and He speaks to the disciples in words that sum up the whole of the Law and the Prophets: 'This is My Body, given in sacrifice for you. This cup is the New Covenant in My Blood.' He then distributes the bread and the cup, and instructs them to repeat His words and actions of that moment over and over again in His memory.
"What is happening? How can Jesus distribute His Body and His Blood?
"By making the bread into His Body and the wine into His Blood, He anticipates His death, He accepts it in His heart, and He transforms it into an action of love. What on the outside is simply brutal violence – the Crucifixion – from within becomes an act of total self-giving love. This is the substantial transformation which was accomplished at the Last Supper and was destined to set in motion a series of transformations leading ultimately to the transformation of the world when God will be all in all (cf. I Cor 15:28).
"In their hearts, people always and everywhere have somehow expected a change, a transformation of the world. Here now is the central act of transformation that alone can truly renew the world: violence is transformed into love, and death into life.
"Since this act transmutes death into love, death as such is already conquered from within, the Resurrection is already present in it. Death is, so to speak, mortally wounded, so that it can no longer have the last word.
"To use an image well known to us today, this is like inducing nuclear fission in the very heart of being - the victory of love over hatred, the victory of love over death. Only this intimate explosion of good conquering evil can then trigger off the series of transformations that little by little will change the world.
"All other changes remain superficial and cannot save. For this reason we speak of redemption: what had to happen at the most intimate level has indeed happened, and we can enter into its dynamic. Jesus can distribute His Body, because He truly gives Himself.
"This first fundamental transformation of violence into love, of death into life, brings other changes in its wake. Bread and wine become His Body and Blood.
"But it must not stop there; on the contrary, the process of transformation must now gather momentum. The Body and Blood of Christ are given to us so that we ourselves will be transformed in our turn. We are to become the Body of Christ, His own Flesh and Blood.
"We all eat the one bread, and this means that we ourselves become one. In this way, adoration, as we said earlier, becomes union. God no longer simply stands before us as the One Who is totally Other. He is within us, and we are in Him. His dynamic enters into us and then seeks to spread outwards to others until it fills the world, so that His love can truly become the dominant measure of the world.
"I like to illustrate this new step urged upon us by the Last Supper by drawing out the different nuances of the word 'adoration' in Greek and in Latin. The Greek word is proskynesis. It refers to the gesture of submission, the recognition of God as our true measure, supplying the norm that we choose to follow. It means that freedom is not simply about enjoying life in total autonomy, but rather about living by the measure of truth and goodness, so that we ourselves can become true and good. This gesture is necessary even if initially our yearning for freedom makes us inclined to resist it.
"We can only fully accept it when we take the second step that the Last Supper proposes to us. The Latin word for adoration is ad-oratio – mouth to mouth contact, a kiss, an embrace, and hence, ultimately love. Submission becomes union, because He to Whom we submit is Love. In this way submission acquires a meaning, because it does not impose anything on us from the outside, but liberates us deep within.
"Let us return once more to the Last Supper. The new element to emerge here was the deeper meaning given to Israel's ancient prayer of blessing, which from that point on became the word of transformation, enabling us to participate in the 'hour' of Christ. Jesus did not instruct us to repeat the Passover meal, which in any event, given that it is an anniversary, is not repeatable at will. He instructed us to enter into His 'hour.'
"We enter into it through the sacred power of the words of consecration – a transformation brought about through the prayer of praise which places us in continuity with Israel and the whole of salvation history, and at the same time ushers in the new, to which the older prayer at its deepest level was pointing.
"The new prayer – which the Church calls the 'Eucharistic Prayer' – brings the Eucharist into being. It is the word of power which transforms the gifts of the earth in an entirely new way into God's gift of Himself, and it draws us into this process of transformation. That is why we call this action 'Eucharist,' which is a translation of the Hebrew word beracha – thanksgiving, praise, blessing, and a transformation worked by the Lord: the presence of His 'hour.' Jesus' hour is the hour in which love triumphs. In other words: it is God Who has triumphed, because He is Love.
"Jesus' hour seeks to become our own hour and will indeed become so if we allow ourselves, through the celebration of the Eucharist, to be drawn into that process of transformation that the Lord intends to bring about. The Eucharist must become the center of our lives.
"If the Church tells us that the Eucharist is an essential part of Sunday, this is no mere positivism or thirst for power. On Easter morning, first the women and then the disciples had the grace of seeing the Lord. From that moment on, they knew that the first day of the week, Sunday, would be His day, the day of Christ the Lord. The day when creation began became the day when creation was renewed. Creation and redemption belong together. That is why Sunday is so important.
"It is good that today, in many cultures, Sunday is a free day, and is often combined with Saturday so as to constitute a 'week-end' of free time. Yet this free time is empty if God is not present.
"Dear friends! Sometimes, our initial impression is that having to include time for Mass on a Sunday is rather inconvenient. But if you make the effort, you will realize that this is what gives a proper focus to your free time.
"Do not be deterred from taking part in Sunday Mass, and help others to discover it too. This is because the Eucharist releases the joy that we need so much, and we must learn to grasp it ever more deeply, we must learn to love it.
"Let us pledge ourselves to do this – it is worth the effort! Let us discover the intimate riches of the Church's liturgy and its true greatness: it is not we who are celebrating for ourselves, but it is the living God Himself Who is preparing a banquet for us.
"Through your love for the Eucharist you will also rediscover the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in which the merciful goodness of God always allows us to make a fresh start in our lives.
"Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to Him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on.
"In vast areas of the world today there is a strange forgetfulness of God. It seems as if everything would be just the same even without Him.
"But at the same time there is a feeling of frustration, a sense of dissatisfaction with everyone and everything.
"People tend to exclaim: 'This cannot be what life is about!' Indeed not. And so, together with forgetfulness of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion. I have no wish to discredit all the manifestations of this phenomenon. There may be sincere joy in the discovery. But to tell the truth, religion often becomes almost a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it.
"But religion sought on a 'do-it-yourself' basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves.
"Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us: Jesus Christ! Let us seek to know Him better and better, so as to be able to guide others to Him with conviction.
"This is why love for Sacred Scripture is so important, and in consequence, it is important to know the faith of the Church which opens up for us the meaning of Scripture. It is the Holy Spirit Who guides the Church as her faith grows, causing her to enter ever more deeply into the truth (cf. Jn 16:13).
"Beloved Pope John Paul II gave us a wonderful work in which the faith of centuries is explained synthetically: the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I myself recently presented the Compendium of the Catechism, also prepared at the request of the late Holy Father. These are two fundamental texts which I recommend to all of you.
"Obviously books alone are not enough. Form communities based on faith!
"In recent decades, movements and communities have come to birth in which the power of the Gospel is keenly felt. Seek communion in faith, like fellow travellers who continue together to follow the path of the great pilgrimage that the Magi from the East first pointed out to us. The spontaneity of new communities is important, but it is also important to preserve communion with the Pope and with the Bishops. It is they who guarantee that we are not seeking private paths, but instead are living as God's great family, founded by the Lord through the Twelve Apostles.
"Once again, I must return to the Eucharist. 'Because there is one bread, we, though many, are one body,' says St. Paul (I Cor 10:17). By this he meant: since we receive the same Lord and He gathers us together and draws us into Himself, we ourselves are one.
"This must be evident in our lives. It must be seen in our capacity to forgive. It must be seen in our sensitivity to the needs of others. It must be seen in our willingness to share. It must be seen in our commitment to our neighbors, both those close at hand and those physically far away, whom we nevertheless consider to be close.
"Today, there are many forms of voluntary assistance, models of mutual service, of which our society has urgent need. We must not, for example, abandon the elderly to their solitude, we must not pass by when we meet people who are suffering. If we think and live according to our communion with Christ, then our eyes will be opened. Then we will no longer be content to scrape a living just for ourselves, but we will see where and how we are needed.
"Living and acting thus, we will soon realize that it is much better to be useful and at the disposal of others than to be concerned only with the comforts that are offered to us.
"I know that you as young people have great aspirations, that you want to pledge yourselves to build a better world. Let others see this, let the world see it, since this is exactly the witness that the world expects from the disciples of Jesus Christ; in this way, and through your love above all, the world will be able to discover the star that we follow as believers.
"Let us go forward with Christ and let us live our lives as true worshippers of God! Amen."
by Charles Henry Diller, Jr.
(Editor's note: Mr. Diller writes from PA. We welcome the contributions of prisoners. We would like to hear from a variety of prisoners.)
Be My delivery man. Go to your brother and say: I have a word of knowledge. Today, you will be blessed; joyful happiness is entering into mind.
Bring mind to light. Spirit to mind. . .Come in mind. Attention! Spirit speaking mind. Be healed in Jesus name. Mind is perfect. Perfect spirit changing mind. Perfect spirit changing everything. Let thoughts come without private interpretation. Watch your dreaming carefully. Observe thoughts mindfully. Heaven is your destination. Can you see evil in My creations?
Look again! Holy Spirit sees Holy Spirit in what it looks upon. Stop eating from the forbidden tree. Eat no more fruit from the tree of knowledge of evil; it will destroy the good.
You think it can't get better but it does. New light shines brightly on what you couldn't see before. Evil does not exist in what is now. Your brother can be perceived through your vision of holiness. Lift him up to greatness. Bless him with the love you bring.
Your brother is blessed, whole, healed, forgiven, caring, happy, honest, good, joyful, free, trusting, kind, honorable, fearless, devoted, gracious, guiltless, perfect, pure, wise, hopeful. He is your teacher, an overcomer, achiever, liberator, leader, champion; a single minded glorious son of God.
Spirit what should mind think now?
You received the message and know it's true. Happiness with joy are My gifts to you. You are always right when you consult Me. You will shine light into darkness. Nothing not of Me will influence you. Continue to rejoice. Divine love is blessing you.
Look, My son is walking towards you. Bless him in My name.
Brother, be blessed in Jesus' name.
The blessing that you give to him, comes up and out through you. You have received the blessing that you gave.
"The seeds that fell in good soil stand for those who hear the message, and retain it in a good and obedient heart, and they persist until they bear fruit" (Luke 8:15).
I am sharing the good news of gratitude.
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
It will soon be 33 years since seven judicial activists on the U.S. Supreme Court changed what was a criminal offense into a so-called "constitutional right." Not since the Dred Scott decision, holding that a slave was not a "person," has the exercise of raw judicial power divided this nation, and undermined the American culture.
Let's review how the legalization of abortion on demand, the intentional killing of an unborn child, for any reason or no reason at all, up to the time of birth, has affected all of us, and the society in which we live.
Fewer of Us
Even using low estimates, there are over 50 million fewer Americans.
We are not talking about numbers, but individual people, like you and me, who were alive, but were intentionally killed. Each was a unique and special individual, a person who God wanted to live for a much longer time.
These were individuals who now would be students in our schools, young workers entering the work force, patriots serving in our armed forces, and young couples now making their parents grandparents.
It is these people that were declared to be "non-persons" that are the greatest loss to our nation.
We all are familiar with the statistics of the day, which rebuke the myth of 30 years ago that abortion would eliminate unwanted children, the alleged source of many of our social ills. However, what 30 years ago used to be problems have now become epidemics: child abuse, spouse abuse, illegal drugs, alcoholism, violent crimes, pornography, etc. Abortion, the act of killing a child, has brought on more sins, not less.
The Second Victim
The second victim of an abortion is the mother herself, for it is she who carries the regrets, the grief, the heartaches, the loss, and the memories of the destroyed child.
"If we have the baby killed by abortion, it certainly doesn't help the baby. In the short run it may well relieve the mother of a traumatic burden, but it will leave her with a lifelong memory of having once carried a child which she had destroyed. Today's experiences are tomorrow's memories. In general, the experience of an abortion is a long and painful memory," explains John Powell, S.J., Ph.D., widely published psychologist.
"Abortion destroys marriages and male-female relations generally," explains Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, writing in Lay Witness. "The woman who has aborted a child finds it more difficult to trust the man."
Fr. Pavone further explains that abortion also causes a man to be more detached from his other children, decreasing his support for his spouse.
The nomination by President Bush of Judge Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court again exposes the issue which continues to divide our country. The immediate outcry from ultra-left senators, and their puppets in the national news media, exposed their concern that new appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court may result in a reversal of Roe v. Wade.
After 33 years, the issue of abortion still remains the most critical political issue. It will be the litmus test on what senators will base their decision to confirm or reject a judicial nominee to a federal court.
The nature of our government is changing, as the old concept of government has given way to a new one.
Our founding fathers considered certain basic human rights as being bestowed by the Creator, and it was the purpose of the government to secure and protect them.
On the other hand, we have seen a growing political philosophy that it is the government who grants certain rights, and therefore has the authority to expand or withdraw those rights. (This was clearly demonstrated in Roe v. Wade, in which the Supreme Court took it upon itself to decide which human being would be bestowed with "personhood." The unborn child did not measure up to the arbitrary standard set by the majority of the Court.)
In Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II warned: "In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves toward a form of totalitarianism. The State. . .is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenseless members. . .This is the death of true freedom."
Abortion has widened the division in Christianity, revealing that many who claim to be Christians hold a secular humanist view of what determines morality.
One camp teaches that there are moral absolutes established by God, one of which is that each human person has an equal right to life, and another of which is that it is wrong to kill an innocent person. To these it is never morally acceptable, for any reason, to have an abortion.
On the other hand, there are many who want to argue that there are no moral absolutes, that under certain circumstances, some acts can become morally acceptable. What is right and wrong is not based on eternal truths, but can change, because a society, church, or individual, weighing the "good" against the "bad," can justify an act to be morally acceptable. So-called "pastoral concerns" are given as justification for "some abortions." A young woman contemplating abortion is thereby encouraged to think that her situation is one in which the killing of the child would be viewed by God as acceptable.
We now have Catholic hospitals justifying the dispensing of the so-called "emergency contraception" and/or "morning after pill," to victims of sexual assault, knowing full well that this abortifacient will impede the implantation of a newly conceived child, which results in his or her death.
As clearly demonstrated with the death of Terri Schiavo, many in the Church, including bishops, justified the withdrawal of food and hydration from disabled individuals, in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Catholic Church reiterated again by John Paul II in March 2004. The Pope clearly held that food and hydration, no matter how administered, is morally obligatory.
Although least in importance, abortion has also affected the economy. President Bush's demand that Congress deal with the pending Social Security crisis called attention to one of the sources of the problem with Social Security. With fewer Americans entering the work force, while more are entering retirement, the country's financial ability to continue the Social Security levels of payment is now threatened.
The so-called "war on terrorism" has highlighted the fact that there is a smaller pool of young men from which the armed forces can draw.
Loss of Love
The real tragedy of abortion, from which arises the tragedies discussed above, was exposed by Mother Teresa of Calcutta at the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.:
"Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.
"If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world. From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak – the unborn child – must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you!"
In an address at a youth vigil August 20 at World Youth Day in Cologne, Pope Benedict XVI indicated that "only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world."
The Pope's address follows:
"In our pilgrimage with the mysterious Magi from the East, we have arrived at the moment which St. Matthew describes in his Gospel with these words: 'Going into the house (over which the star had halted), they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him' (Mt 2:11). Outwardly, their journey was now over. They had reached their goal.
"But at this point a new journey began for them, an inner pilgrimage which changed their whole lives. Their mental picture of the infant King they were expecting to find must have been very different. They had stopped at Jerusalem specifically in order to ask the king who lived there for news of the promised King who had been born. They knew that the world was in disorder, and for that reason their hearts were troubled.
"They were sure that God existed and that He was a just and gentle God. And perhaps they also knew of the great prophecies of Israel foretelling a King who would be intimately united with God, a King who would restore order to the world, acting for God and in His Name.
"It was in order to seek this King that they had set off on their journey: deep within themselves they felt prompted to go in search of the true justice that can only come from God, and they wanted to serve this King, to fall prostrate at His feet and so play their part in the renewal of the world. They were among those who hunger and thirst for justice' (Mt 5:6). This hunger and thirst had spurred them on in their pilgrimage – they had become pilgrims in search of the justice that they expected from God, intending to devote themselves to its service.
"Even if those who had stayed at home may have considered them Utopian dreamers, they were actually people with their feet on the ground, and they knew that in order to change the world it is necessary to have power. Hence, they were hardly likely to seek the promised child anywhere but in the king's palace. Yet now they were bowing down before the child of poor people, and they soon came to realize that Herod, the king they had consulted, intended to use his power to lay a trap for Him, forcing the family to flee into exile.
"The new King, to Whom they now paid homage, was quite unlike what they were expecting. In this way they had to learn that God is not as we usually imagine Him to be. This was where their inner journey began. It started at the very moment when they knelt down before this child and recognized Him as the promised King. But they still had to assimilate these joyful gestures internally.
"They had to change their ideas about power, about God, and about man, and in so doing, they also had to change themselves. Now they were able to see that God's power is not like that of the powerful of this world. God's ways are not as we imagine them or as we might wish them to be.
"God does not enter into competition with earthly powers in this world. He does not marshal His divisions alongside other divisions. God did not send 12 legions of angels to assist Jesus in the Garden of Olives (cf. Mt 26:53). He contrasts the noisy and ostentatious power of this world with the defenseless power of love, which succumbs to death on the Cross and dies ever anew throughout history; yet it is this same love which constitutes the new divine intervention that opposes injustice and ushers in the Kingdom of God.
"God is different – this is what they now come to realize. And it means that they themselves must now become different, they must learn God's ways.
"They had come to place themselves at the service of this King, to model their own kingship on His. That was the meaning of their act of homage, their adoration. Included in this were their gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh – gifts offered to a King held to be divine. Adoration has a content and it involves giving. Through this act of adoration, these men from the East wished to recognize the child as their King and to place their own power and potential at His disposal, and in this they were certainly on the right path.
"By serving and following Him, they wanted, together with Him, to serve the cause of good and the cause of justice in the world. In this they were right.
"Now, though, they have to learn that this cannot be achieved simply through issuing commands from a throne on high. Now they have to learn to give themselves – no lesser gift would be sufficient for this King. Now they have to learn that their lives must be conformed to this divine way of exercising power, to God's own way of being.
"They must become men of truth, of justice, of goodness, of forgiveness, of mercy. They will no longer ask: How can this serve me? Instead, they will have to ask: How can I serve God's presence in the world? They must learn to lose their life and in this way to find it. Having left Jerusalem behind, they must not deviate from the path marked out by the true King, as they follow Jesus.
"Dear friends, what does all this mean for us?
"What we have just been saying about the nature of God being different, and about the way our lives must be shaped accordingly, sounds very fine, but remains rather vague and unfocused. That is why God has given us examples. The Magi from the East are just the first in a long procession of men and women who have constantly tried to gaze upon God's star in their lives, going in search of the God Who has drawn close to us and shows us the way.
"It is the great multitude of the saints – both known and unknown – in whose lives the Lord has opened up the Gospel before us and turned over the pages; He has done this throughout history and He still does so today. In their lives, as if in a great picture-book, the riches of the Gospel are revealed. They are the shining path which God Himself has traced throughout history and is still tracing today.
"My venerable Predecessor Pope John Paul II, who is with us at this moment, beatified and canonized a great many people from both the distant and the recent past. Through these individuals he wanted to show us how to be Christian: how to live life as it should be lived – according to God's way. The saints and the blesseds did not doggedly seek their own happiness, but simply wanted to give themselves, because the light of Christ had shone upon them.
"They show us the way to attain happiness, they show us how to be truly human. Through all the ups and downs of history, they were the true reformers who constantly rescued it from plunging into the valley of darkness; it was they who constantly shed upon it the light that was needed to make sense – even in the midst of suffering – of God's words spoken at the end of the work of creation: 'It is very good.'
"One need only think of such figures as St. Benedict, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Charles Borromeo, the founders of 19th century religious orders who inspired and guided the social movement, or the saints of our own day – Maximilian Kolbe, Edith Stein, Mother Teresa, Padre Pio. In contemplating these figures we learn what it means 'to adore' and what it means to live according to the measure of the Child of Bethlehem, by the measure of Jesus Christ and of God Himself.
"The saints, as we said, are the true reformers. Now I want to express this in an even more radical way: only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world.
"In the last century we experienced revolutions with a common program – expecting nothing more from God, they assumed total responsibility for the cause of the world in order to change it. And this, as we saw, meant that a human and partial point of view was always taken as an absolute guiding principle. Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism. It does not liberate man, but takes away his dignity and enslaves him.
"It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom, the guarantor of what is really good and true. True revolution consists in simply turning to God Who is the measure of what is right and Who at the same time is everlasting love. And what could ever save us apart from love?
"Dear friends! Allow me to add just two brief thoughts.
"There are many who speak of God; some even preach hatred and perpetrate violence in God's Name. So it is important to discover the true face of God. The Magi from the East found it when they knelt down before the Child of Bethlehem. 'Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father,' said Jesus to Philip (Jn 14:9). In Jesus Christ, Who allowed His heart to be pierced for us, the true face of God is seen. We will follow Him together with the great multitude of those who went before us. Then we will be travelling along the right path.
"This means that we are not constructing a private God, we are not constructing a private Jesus, but that we believe and worship the Jesus Who is manifested to us by the Sacred Scriptures and Who reveals Himself to be alive in the great procession of the faithful called the Church, always alongside us and always before us.
"There is much that could be criticized in the Church. We know this and the Lord Himself told us so: it is a net with good fish and bad fish, a field with wheat and darnel.
"Pope John Paul II, as well as revealing the true face of the Church in the many saints that he canonized, also asked pardon for the wrong that was done in the course of history through the words and deeds of members of the Church. In this way he showed us our own true image and urged us to take our place, with all our faults and weaknesses, in the procession of the saints that began with the Magi from the East.
"It is actually consoling to realize that there is darnel in the Church. In this way, despite all our defects, we can still hope to be counted among the disciples of Jesus, Who came to call sinners.
"The Church is like a human family, but at the same time it is also the great family of God, through which He establishes an overarching communion and unity that embraces every continent, culture, and nation. So we are glad to belong to this great family that we see here; we are glad to have brothers and friends all over the world.
"Here in Cologne we discover the joy of belonging to a family as vast as the world, including Heaven and earth, the past, the present, the future, and every part of the earth. In this great band of pilgrims we walk side by side with Christ, we walk with the star that enlightens our history.
"'Going into the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him' (Mt 2:11). Dear friends, this is not a distant story that took place long ago. It is with us now. Here in the Sacred Host He is present before us and in our midst. As at that time, so now He is mysteriously veiled in a sacred silence; as at that time, it is here that the true face of God is revealed. For us He became a grain of wheat that falls on the ground and dies and bears fruit until the end of the world (cf. Jn 12:24).
"He is present now as He was then in Bethlehem. He invites us to that inner pilgrimage which is called adoration. Let us set off on this pilgrimage of the spirit and let us ask Him to be our guide. Amen."
by Michael Halm
Many at Catholic Match say the reason they stay in the group is not so much that they are expecting to find a match, though almost all are open to God so working out their vocations. A large number say they do because of the forums available where they can discuss issues important to single Catholics. One popular discussion tried to answer "What makes a successful marriage?," begun by Debra who had already had nine thousand postings in the forums.
Malinda thought thoughtfulness was most important. Referring to her own parents' successful marriage, she wrote, "Neither one would ever do anything without first asking themselves how it would affect the life or happiness of their partner.
"They were kind, thoughtful, and considerate to each other. They grew together over the thirty-plus years they were married and truly became 'one.'"
Megan shared, "My mom and dad have been married for almost forty years and from what they've told me, the glue that has kept their marriage going is their tremendous faith in God." When her older brother was killed in a car accident, her father saw how her mom's faith sustained her and shortly before she was born, he became Catholic, and a very faithful and active one.
Many of the singles from successful marriages had comments similar to hers, "I can't wait to have a marriage just like theirs!"
Christy answered "communication," based on her parents' thirty-eight-year marriage. "If you have someone you can like to talk to. . .then you are more likely to stay together." Her parents, she wrote, "tell each other virtually everything and are loving and respectful to each other daily." Non-verbal communication is also important. "They hold hands and kiss playfully," she said.
Andrew shared that he saw his father "taking care of us and the house without complaint (and disciplining us)." He saw his mother always deferring to his father because he "is a humble and wise man and knows what is right." Another important factor, he notes, is "my parents did not doubt themselves and did not let outside influences erode their beliefs."
Dan gave the simple, though he admits hard-to-practice advice, to decide each day to love the other person. Ivan credits prayer for saving his parents' marriage, when his father decided "he was not going to let anything happen to" his wife.
Carla, among others, offered "commitment" as the "secret" to a successful marriage. "The most successful and healthy marriage are," she wrote, "ones where both parties have the same attitude about marriage, that it's until death, and divorce is not an option. That way, they are forced to work on their problems, sacrifice to each other, and forgive when necessary."
Heidi shared about the mutual respect of a Southern Baptist couple she knew. "The wife," she wrote, "practices respecting her husband, no matter what. When he doesn't treat her lovingly or cherish her, she still strives to treat him respectfully. This couple seeks to be mutually submissive and respectful to each other, but the husband is definitely the head of the house here; the wife is definitely the heart of this home."
If, she concludes, each spouse strives "to do that which is the most difficult for him/her to do: husband – to cherish and love as Christ loves the Church, and wife – to respect, honor and obey, then marriages can succeed." "When we put the vows back into the Scriptural context from whence they originate, then it is much, much easier to begin to have a godly, Christ-centered, God-honoring marriage of mutual love and respect."
Susanne agreed, and added, "You have to be friends first." Ann quoted Ephesians' "The two shall become one flesh. If we can all truly understand with great wisdom this passage," she said, "we can all have successful marriages."
The most common factors mentioned by participants in the forum, Debra noted, were: practicing the Faith together, mutual respect, stick together through the trials, communication, selflessness, being good examples for each other. "These refer to 'successful marriages,'" she concluded, "but I think most of these make successful relationships too."
Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com