Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Cries of The Innocents

True story: many centuries ago, an interloper king learned that a rightful heir to the throne had been born. He only learned this because some mystics from a far country happened into his palace one day, asking to see the future king, whose birth they had perceived through the signs of astronomy.

The king, inwardly outraged and frightened, played it cool for the mystics and said he knew not of this new king but asked them to let him know when they found him so he too could pay him homage. His plan was, of course, to slay the infant to further secure his grip on the throne.

The mystics, however, being very wise men, discerned his true intent and did not report back to the king once they found the baby. This further outraged him, and he did a horrible thing: he ordered that all infant males in the whole region be slain. He sent his soldiers out from town to town, village to village, farm to farm, on this gruesome mission of self-preservation.

What a horrible job for those poor soldiers... they were used to facing armed men in open combat, fighting skillfully for king and country. Instead they were ordered to butcher helpless infants, snatching them from their screaming mothers' arms when possible, or running both of them through if she held on too tight. Dozens of babies were slain in that terrible winter.

Like I said, this is a true story.

The coming of Jesus into the world, the very sign of hope, peace, and the love of God, was accompanied by the death of an unknown number of innocent babies, and the bitter mourning of their families. News of the massacre must have reached Joseph and Mary, who had been warned by an angel and fled Bethlehem before King Herod could unleash his wrath. How strange they must have felt upon hearing of it: to be told you were to bear and raise the promised Savior of the world, and to have him whisked away from a premature death... I cannot imagine that they didn't question what kind of loving God would allow such a tragedy as part of his master plan of salvation.

Today, we have fairly firm numbers telling us how many babies are killed in Canada each year.

We lose more people to abortion than we do to any other cause of death.

Don't mistake me: I'm not anti-choice. I'm pro-life. Life is a greater cause than "choice." That's the trump card here, people.

We've got to wake up: this is an evil, evil menace upon our society, upon our world, and we keep saying that we support a woman's right to make her own decisions, that it's between her and her God/doctor. That's a ridiculous argument. Innocent lives are being taken every day - an average of one every six minutes (and that's just in Canada). We sit by and call it choice, because we have to. There is no other reasonable way to accept this genocide in our culture, after all. "It can't be human," we tell ourselves. "That would be just too unthinkable."

I truly hope and pray that Canada wakes up from this nightmare, for it's making it hard for me to sleep.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


This is a call to action for all my Winnipeg & area readers.

Many of you have responded to the Perpetual Adoration appeal at Holy Cross Church, and I've been blown away at how much love for God you have; ALL of the time slots left necessarily vacant by various adorers' Christmas vacations etc have been filled!

So you can't fool me - I know your love for Jesus is strong.

Catholics & other Christians in Winnipeg will soon have another opportunity to send another thrust of prayers heavenward, and to prove to the rest of North America that we are as winter-tough as our reputation makes us out to be.

You may have heard of the 40 Days For Life campaigns in various cities across Canada & the US recently. This is a 40 day prayer vigil and a silent protest held outside an abortuary. Our brothers and sisters in Ottawa completed their vigil a few weeks ago. Read what Campaign Life Coalition had to say about it:

In total, 750 people helped hold a 960-hour continuous vigil in front of the Morgentaler abortuary on Bank Street in Ottawa, helping change the hearts of hundreds of men and women and literally saving the lives of at least three babies. Organizers say that they may continue the vigils in some form beyond the 40 Days for Life. More 40 Days for Life are being planned for 2009 to help mark the 40th year of legal abortion in Canada.

So I encourage you to visit & bookmark Winnipeg's own blog - 40dayswinnipeg.blogspot.com - to learn about and sign up for Winnipeg's own 40 day initiative which will happen over Lent in this liturgical year. There is more information there, and also some videos which will give you an idea of what to expect.

To be completely honest, I often hesitate to get involved in pro-life initiatives like this. It seems so much to be pointless, wasted effort. The tide of abortions in this country seems like it will keep rising; the pendulum keeps swinging more and more to one side, in defiance of the very laws of space and motion which would require it eventually to lose its momentum and come back to the centre where we'd have a chance to stop it.

And I also know that were I to confront the blunt reality of the horror of abortion, I would be a wreck. In order to get through the day, I have to be somewhat willfully ignorant of the fact that babies are being ripped apart legally a mere ten-minute drive from my home.

But this is a worthy initiative, as it puts more focus on the prayer and fasting solution to this crisis than the media-gathering politician-shaming tactics we're all so used to.

Please give your prayer attention to this vigil and ask the Lord if he would like you to participate in it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On Peace

Perhaps the busyness of my readers' own schedules in this time of year has somewhat diminished how much you've noticed my own lack of recent blog posts.

But I do have something that's been on my heart to share for a few weeks. This is a meditation which the Lord guided me through while in his presence in the Holy Cross chapel during my time of adoration.

He asked me to meditate on the prophesied title of Jesus as "the Prince of Peace." Specifically, he asked me why he is not the King of Peace instead.

It occurred to me that the responsibilities of a prince in a kingdom are the important ones, which are not urgent enough to need the attention of the King. The prince is also the heir to the throne, and what he does as prince should be forming him to be a wise and kind King. Peace thus considered has a temporary and transitory nature, yet remains absolutely necessary.

Looking into Scripture, I also discerned that peace is described or discussed in the following contexts:
  • To provide us with a chance to continue worshipping God in this life
  • As a reward for holiness
  • A gift given to those who rejoice, trust God, and pray
  • Received along with forgiveness and salvation
  • Comes without cost; nothing else is conditional on it - but it is conditional on many things, not the least of which is faith
  • If you focus on your body in this world, you are focused on dying. But if you focus on the things of the spirit, you are focusing on life and peace
  • As a fruit of the Holy Spirit
I have thus learned that peace is given to us, whether it be the mere absence of geopolitical conflict, or as the fruit of a life centered on internal holiness, and it intended to give us an opportunity to advance the Gospel. It is a means, not an end.

Peace is pregnant with purpose, and those of us who have it and squander it are fools and will be judged harshly. And if we squander it, we will also lose it, for it is the fruit of holy living, which directs us to evangelize and thus sustains itself.

Think about this whenever your priest says, "The peace of the Lord be with you all." Think about this when you hear of the angels singing to the shepherds, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth!" Think about this when you hear the words of Jesus, "Peace I leave you, my peace I give you." When you read St. Paul's greetings to the faithful in the various churches in his epistles (found in chapter 1, verses 2-4 of almost every one of his letters), wishing them grace and peace in the Lord Jesus, ask yourself - why do Christ and his Church urge peace upon us so frequently and consistently?

Peace as we know it on earth does not exist in heaven. Peace is the God-given ability to interrupt the stress of mortal living to accomplish something. It is a blank canvas, and God expects a painting from us. In heaven there will be no need for peace, in the same way that we won't need gold - they are both elemental components of heaven. But both can be used on earth to further the Kingdom of God - and both can be squandered on earth.

So I ask you the same question the Lord asked me: What are you going to do with your peace this Christmas? Obtaining peace is the beginning of your journey with him. To what next step is he calling you?

Friday, December 05, 2008

My Energy Spots

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops had a meeting on Nov 27 with the leadership of the Canadian Religious Conference, of whom I've written before.

From the account they list on their website, the purpose of the annual visit was "to help foster good relations between the Bishops and women and men religious in Canada." They discussed recent major events in the life of the Church, and also (quite vaguely put) "discussion on questions involving justice, peace and mission, as well as possible areas for engagement."

I have a lot of reservations about the CRC. I suspect they don't speak for many of their members and that most reputable religious communities within Canada steer clear of them. It seems that the CRC's main focus is on the dated causes of the leftists of a generation ago, and the bastard offspring of those causes today. For instance, one of their recent quarterly bulletins was entitled "Living a Politics of Communion and an Economics of Solidarity." I'm not sure what that means, but I think it has something to do with finding my energy spots and showing them to the Earth Community.

This 4-page document is interspersed with quotes from various sources. You would expect a group that is an association of the leaders of the major Orders of priests, monks and nuns across Canada to, I don't know, quote from some Catholics.

Instead, they quote from:
  • Rainer Maria Rilke - an early 20th Century German poet whose mother dressed him like a girl, and who had a life-long affair with a married woman
  • Hafiz - a 14th Century Muslim poet
  • Dorothée Soelle - a modern, divorced German theologian who coined the term "Christofacist" to describe fundamental Christians, and whose second marriage was to a former Benedictine monk
  • David Korten - an modern American who is advocating a transition from current social and political infrastructures towards an Earth Community
  • Mary Grey - a modern British ecofeminist who receives positive reviews from other ecofeminists
  • Catherine Mowry LaCugna - yet another modern feminist theologian, she is the first of the bunch who is concretely identified as Catholic, but whose concept of the Trinity strays from Church teaching. Richard McBrien has a lot of good things to say about her, which should dissuade any serious Catholic.
  • Martin Luther King - he did a lot of commendable things, but definitely not Catholic
These are the people that the leaders of our religious communities deem worthy of forming their members and consequently us, the laity.

Someday, someday I just know that our Bishops will firmly admonish the CRC that the two core justice issues of our time are NOT "poverty and climate change."

Just not today.

O Lord, heal our Church!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Political Solution

OK, I've seen enough nonsense, so here's my prediction with the present political situation.

Actually, scratch that - instead of a prediction, let me talk about what should happen.

First, Harper should stick to his guns with the whole scrapping of the federal funding for the parties based on their share of the popular vote. It was a good idea, and ideologically it's right where the Conservative Party should be. He grabbed at the pig and tried to pull it away from the trough, but it kicked him in the crotch. He's gotta suck it up, grab that damn pig, and go make bacon.

Second, Harper has an easy answer to the Schmo-alition's charge that it's fair game for them to ask the Governor General for permission to form the government, based on the fact that he made the same request to the GG when the Martin minority government was defeated. Answer: "Uh, she said no, guys." Let's go back to the polls. I don't care how much it costs. We'll still have been campaigning for less time than the Americans were in the last four years.

Third, once Harper wins his majority by reminding voters just how selfish and short-sighted the Libs & NDP were, he has to amend the Elections Act to redefine a federal political party as one which runs in enough ridings to be able to form a majority government. The Greens and the Pot Party would qualify (like anybody cares), but the Bloc wouldn't. Meaning that we'd no longer have to watch the debacle of separatist MPs sitting in our national Parliament and getting in the way of the nation's business.

There. I've had my say.