Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January 2009

As Catholic Americans we face hard times. Last week, we saw the inauguration of our 44th president, Barack Hussein Obama. Much has been made of the fact that this inauguration is “historic” in that President Obama is the first “African-American” to be elected to the nation’s highest office. We have come a long way in our respect for all people, regardless of race, religion, and skin color. A man whose ancestors would have been ridiculed or enslaved now holds a position of power perhaps unrivaled in the world. At the same time, is it not also true that if we are striving to advance beyond racial distinctions to a state of true civility, where race and skin color no longer matter, then we ought to first cease celebrating every time a “black man” “finally” accomplishes something? Whether or not he is black matters not. He is a human person, as much as any other. Competency, faith, and humility before the office of president matter most.
Our nation seems to be occupied with two concerns: the economy and the war on terrorism. The economy is surely not healthy at present but it is also not the dreadful picture painted by the media. With our American spirit of unwavering confidence and striving for the best intact, we can recover from an economic crisis. What is more, there are far worse crises from which we cannot as easily recover. Economic instability, as painful as it can be for many people, does help to put our lives in perspective. When we are too comfortable, we can easily lose sight of what truly matters: life, love, family, faith.
Many people in the United States oppose the war in which we are presently engaged: some because they argue it was unjust from the start; others because they have become disheartened over the long and arduous task of our brave men and women in uniform and no longer support it. Either way, it is not entirely a failure. Our troops have made great advancement in freeing Iraqi citizens and containing or eliminating terrorist groups. Our intelligence personnel have thwarted numerous attacks on our country. Whatever one might say about former President Bush, the fact remains that, despite the efforts of Muslim extremists, America has not suffered another devastating attack like September 11, 2001. For this we ought to be most grateful.
Loss of life is always tragic. No one should die because of poverty and hunger. Mothers and wives ought not have to bury young soldiers. The elderly should not be euthanized and embryonic persons should not be created, manipulated and killed. These are sad realities. Yet, we cannot afford to neglect the most heinous attack on human life: the killing of the innocent child in the womb. Abortion has claimed 50 million lives in the United States, and the death toll grows daily. On this issue our new president, with his 100% approval rating from Planned Parenthood and promise to extend abortion in the U. S. and around the world, is a disappointing failure.
President Obama has already begun backtracking on his campaign promises regarding the economy and the war. Now we hear that stimulating the economy and withdrawing the troops will not be as immediate or simple as promised. However, on abortion, he has wasted no time. As of January 23rd, 2009, as if pouring salt in the wounds of pro-life men and women of every creed who participated in the March for Life the day before, President Obama has signed an executive order reversing the “Mexico City Policy,” which banned the use of taxpayer money to fund international groups that counsel for and perform abortions. The following is a quote from the president’s statement, as reported by Reuters/Drudge: "For the past eight years, (the restrictions) have undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning in developing countries… It is right for us to rescind this policy and restore critical efforts to protect and empower women and promote global economic development." This decision of our president is reckless, destructive, and uncivilized. In the midst of our economic crisis, our president has chosen to spend our taxpayers’ money, without seeking their opinion or approval, on legalized murder of innocent souls in foreign countries. What is so striking is the reasoning behind the decision, or lack thereof. How does killing children empower women? How does murder disguised as “family planning” constitute a valuable use of our country’s limited financial resources? How does this promote development in other countries? This is nothing other than the influence of Satan.
We must beware of what may come next. The Freedom of Choice Act will soon be considered by Congress. If passed, our new president has promised to sign it into law. If this bill becomes law, it would reverse all previous state-level restrictions on abortion. What is more, this legislation would eliminate parental notifications for minor girls having abortions, restrictions on non-physicians performing abortions, and laws protecting women from unsafe medical clinics. With this legislation, our government will impose abortion on all Americans, ignoring the laws enacted by the people and the 82% of American citizens whom current polls show do not believe in abortion on demand. This is heinous and uncivilized legislation, which, like Roe v. Wade, cannot stand if our country is truly to prosper.
With Barack Hussein Obama being inaugurated as “America’s first black president” the day after the annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, the media has exploited the obvious civil rights themes. Among other things, it can be said that Dr. King loved life. In his famous “I have a dream” speech, he longed for the day when little black boys and girls and little white boys and girls would play together. His heart desired that all people live in harmony and enjoy the fullness of life and prosperity. He would not have supported abortion. We ought to pray that President Obama become worthy of being mentioned along side the name of Dr. Martin Luther King.
At his inauguration (on the celebration of which the president spent $179 million dollars, as people suffer in poverty blocks away), President Obama delivered an eloquent speech. But good speeches do not save lives. He speaks often about rights, equality and the chance for prosperity for all people. The vulnerable unborn and elderly deserve those rights and chances too. Every human person deserves the chance to live! We pray that our president will one day live the fine words he speaks.
Following this year’s “historic” inauguration, people of faith and reason marked the 36th anniversary of the sad Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade with the annual March for Life. Thanks be to God for the marchers. “Pro-life” is not merely a movement, nor is it the purview of a few faithful and determined souls. Being pro-life is essential to the mission of the Church and woven into the identity of the human person. The marchers stand for what is truly human in all people, inviting all to open their hearts, embrace their identity, and love life. Thanks be to God for the marchers. Without them, things might actually be worse. Roe v. Wade would go unopposed.
The March for Life receives little if any coverage each year. Its participants are ridiculed. They are fewer in number than the throngs who came for the inauguration. Still, though small, ignored and unpopular in the eyes of the media and secular elites, the marchers are powerful because the truth of God is in their hearts. As the Pauline readings and prayers of the Feast of Saint Agnes remind us, God chooses the seemingly weak, foolish and despised of the world and makes them strong, so that they shame those who are wise and powerful in the eyes of the world. Thank God for the marchers, who have shamed the worldly power! By their faith, meekness, courage and love, they stand strong as a sign of God’s truth – that every human life is precious in His sight and valuable because He has created it!
Our current situation as Catholic Christians and Americans is dismal – the war, the economy, the culture of death. Yet, our precious children deserve the best future we can provide for them, so we cannot give up. The future can be bright, and signs of hope are found in the many young people who love life. As Pope Benedict has written, we are people of hope, who find our source of hope in Jesus Christ, and the one who has hope lives differently! May we always live for Christ, love life, and proclaim the truth with love!

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