Speaking at the end of a three-day Vatican conference on diagnosing and treating infertility, Pope Benedict XVI urged infertile couples to shun artificial procreation, calling it a form of arrogance and reiterating that the only place worthy of calling new life into the world is in marriage.
The furor over the Obama Administration’s oppressive HHS mandate rages on as seven states file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of new contraceptive regulations that will force religious institutions to provide insurance for practices that violate their consciences.
Did you ever notice how the separation of church and state never applies to any religion except Christianity?
“It is not a slight consolation for lifelong mourners to know that our Blessed Lady was a lifelong mourner too. Let us be of good cheer. Let us look our great sorrow in the face, and say to it, “You have made up your mind not to part with me till I go down to the grave: be, then, a second guardian angel to me, be a shadow of God, hindering the heat and glare of this world from drying up the fountains of prayer within my heart.’”
– Father Frederick Faber
For Reflection: Often, it is not only the death of a loved one we mourn. In addition to Jesus’ death, what else do you think constituted Mary’s lifelong mourning? What are the mournings of your life? What is the temptation regarding them that this quote alludes to? How can our mournings become a “second guardian angel” to us? How can they become meritorious for ourselves and for others?
“The everlasting God has in His Wisdom foreseen from eternity, the cross He now presents to you as a gift from his innermost heart. This cross He now sends You He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with his wise justice, warmed with His own hands to see that it not be one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His holy Name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with his consolation, and taken one last glance at you and your courage – has sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all merciful love of God.”
– St. Francis de Sales
For Reflection: How do you think Mary would have responded to these words of St. Francis de Sales? How do you respond? Reflect on this quote in light of Mary and her seven dolors. Reflect on it in light of the sufferings you have borne and ones you may be bearing now. Record your insights, thoughts, inspirations, or reflections.
From the beginning of the victim’s torture until after his death, crucifixion was a nasty and brutal affair. It was rare that the criminal was buried after he died. Most typically, the body was left to be devoured by beasts and birds of prey. One exception, however, applied to Jews. Because their religious law required a person accused of a capital offense to be buried on the same day as his death (see Deut. 21: 22-23), the Romans permitted the body to be removed for burial – usually for a price. Since death from crucifixion could take up to three days, this usually required a hastening of the dying process. Soldiers would often kindle a fire under the crucified, or let hungry beasts attack them, or break their bones with an iron mallet to induce suffocation. Fortunately for Our Lord, none of this was necessary thereby fulfilling Scripture (Exodus 12:46).
For Reflection: Read the account of Jesus’ burial in Mark 15: 42-47. What parallels do you see between it and today’s GraceLine? Though the Blessed Mother is not specifically mentioned, it was customary for the family members of the deceased to prepare the body for burial and then proceed to the burial site in a procession of lamentation and mourning. Picture Our Lady performing these last acts of love for her Son. What does Mary do? What words come to mind to describe the quality of her actions? What thoughts do you think played at her memory? What emotions did she experience? Journal your reflections.
As politicians on both sides of the aisle seek to make political hay out of the skyrocketing gas prices, the public is being bombarded with half-truths and myths about the real problem.
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the state of Washington cannot force pharmacies to sell Plan B or other emergency contraceptives if it violates their religious beliefs and accused the state of being more concerned with suppressing religious liberty than promoting access to the drugs.
While commenting on the problems in Catholic parishes caused by Girl Scout programs that are associated with Planned Parenthood, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend revealed that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is in the process of investigating these problems.
Pope Benedict XVI is intent on evangelizing the culture and has decided to Tweet every day during Lent in an effort to reach out to the faithful and encourage them during the Lenten season.