Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The True meaning of Christmas

What better way to celebrate the Christmas season than praying that the reason God became man - to give LIFE - would continue to effect our culture?

























God came to earth that we might have life - beautiful life. Each life has deep meaning because God has stamped his presence into our existence. We witness this in a special way when we consider the Incarnation - the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. Jesus, the God-man grew as single celled human, as a zygote, as a fetus. There's something worth meditating upon. And there we find the G0d's love, the purpose of Jesus' birth. God pursues us relentlessly, and even became one of us that we might know this truth. The Author of Life conquered death. Those who protect the dignity of human life defend this message - life belongs to God. Those who further the destruction of human life mock this message - and belittle the handiwork of the Almighty God. May the Lord's blessing give us a fresh spirit of defending the lives of the unborn this year. May He renew our hearts to do what we know we must: speak the truth in love and pray for His will.

These images are from Christmas Eve:
You can't tell, but the man with the blue coat has a baby in there!

Sometimes you need 5 blankets for your baby and a warm drink for yourself!



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The kind of people we're becoming, and what we can do about it


"The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is between love and unlove; between courage and cowardice; between trust and fear. That's the choice we face when it happens in our personal experience. And that's the choice we face as a society in deciding which human lives we will treat as valuable, and which we will not...."

Read the rest of this fantastic speech by ARCHBISHOP CHARLES J. CHAPUT

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Manhattan declaration

Attention! From the signers of Manhattan Declaration, being released today at Noon EST, in Washington D.C:

We invite you to join with other Christians across the nation who support the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty by endorsing the Manhattan Declaration.

Throughout the centuries, God has graciously provided His people with teachers and prophetic voices who apply His word to the critical issues of the day and who lead their hearers to embrace His life-giving authority and counsel in the midst of cultural madness. The Manhattan Declaration extends and honors that tradition, and we urge you to join us in affirming it. The Manhattan Declaration addresses with urgent eloquence the devaluation of human life, the corruption of marriage, and the erosion of religious liberty. With careful instruction, it brings light and clarity to all who read it. We trust that millions of believers will sign it, that countless others will be drawn or driven to give it fair consideration, and that our society will be changed by its strong yet sweetly reasonable message.

The Manhattan Declaration will be released this Friday, November 20, 2009, at a press conference in Washington D.C. It bears the signatures of many religious leaders, but this is just the beginning. The list of supports will grow dramatically in a short time and those who most need to hear this word will not be able to escape or downplay it. So please endorse this document by your signature and spread the word to others who might endorse it as well. Thank you.

Click here to view the Manhattan Declaration and lend your name to those who have already signed.

"Subtle links": God saves twins!

"...how subtle are the links which bind two souls which are so closely allied." -- Arthur Conan Doyle


In life there are moments when the grace of God becomes so vividly and visually apparent that, if we were to try and capture such a moment in fiction or film, it would be dismissed as an improbable fiction. And yet the grace of God pervades every moment of every day, more wondrously than we can understand or seek to describe. That is what we are called upon to remember in those seemingly extraordinary moments -- not that the action of God in our lives is unusual, but that our realization of it is what is really extraordinary.

On this particular "Friday for Life", as we stood in a little group, praying in front of the genocide factory of Planned Parenthood, we experienced the usual mixture of reactions -- a whispered "God bless you" from an elderly man out for his morning constitutional, and a scarcely understandable shout that we should "get a job".

When the red mini-SUV pulled out of the parking lot and slowed at the curb near the sign, our prayers intensified. It was driven by an older woman, with a girl in the passenger seat. We fully expected we were about to "get it with both barrels", as the saying goes. As the older woman got out, and walked across the grass to speak with us, my mother made one last whispered petition to the Holy Spirit.

But this was a grandmother who had come to thank, not to attack. "I want to thank you," she said. "My daughter came here to have an abortion. But we've just learned that she's pregnant with twins... and she's changed her mind."

Blessings, hugs, and tears predictably followed.

Thanks be to God for his benevolence and for the little twin who saved two lives today. If Cain's question -- "Am I my brother's keeper?" -- were put to that little prolifer, the answer would clearly be "Yes!"

Love and prayers for mother, grandmother, and for that happy pair.

Monday, November 9, 2009

FRIDAYS FOR LIFE!

Praised be Jesus Christ!

I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your prayers, fasts, sacrifices, and efforts in these past 40 Days. What a difference they have made! Many of you have shared your experiences with me, and each one is a powerful testimony to God's mercy.

The big news that rounds out the 40 Days is that a Planned Parenthood Director, Abby Johnson, quits after working at PP for 8 years! I believe that God has crowned the 40 Days For Life with this woman's conversion. Watch the video from foxnews and read the full story here. She worked in College Park, TX, where the 40 Days for Life began - which she had seen out her window for the past 5 years! There have been over 100 stories on her, but this one is amazing: (listen to the interview)

Nationally, there were also 8 nurses who quit and 563 babies saved!

I also believe that these 40 days are only the beginning of the end of abortion - yes, ending abortion must be our goal. The irony of Abby's story was that what was unsettling to her was a push from her bosses for more abortions. If abortion is a good thing, why is more of a good thing bad? Clearly, abortion is the "business" that keeps PP running. Abortion is all about money for them. And as this "business" was receiving less revenue (that is, more women were keeping their children), PP responded by saying, "We need to have more abortions." Praise God for His grace that caused this woman to realize the truth! Amazingly, it was an ultrasound that made Abby realize that abortion is murder. A director of 8 years did not realize what was happening to those children! Can you imagine that? That is why a visible presence outside these abortion facilities is so crucial. We are the only chance that many of these babies have. We are the only visual for many children's mothers (who are not allowed to see the ultrasound). But if the 40 Days For Life is over, why am I so fired up?

Abortion is not over. Abortion continues to destroy many members of our community, and damage many others. That is why we will continue to pray outside Planned Parenthood every Friday - the day of abortions in Albemarle - until it closes (details below). I am asking you personally, will you commit to praying an hour each Friday? If you cannot, will you pray every other Friday? Or, will you pray one Friday a month? I cannot emphasize the great impact your visible prayerful presence has made on so many hearts and minds. Please continue to stand up for life with me. Please continue to be a voice, a sign, for the true peace, true justice, and true love of Christ. There are little children in their mothers' wombs right now who are scheduled to be killed. Will you help me try to save them? There are mothers who are confused and scared being pressured to have abortions, will you pray for them?

Friday sign-ups will continue here just like during the 40 Days.
We will be covering the hours 9 AM to 5 PM. However, on the First Fridays of the month, we will only cover 9AM to Noon, so that we can have more substantial numbers all at once. If you are willing to pray at PP, but cannot come at the designated hours, of course any prayerful presence there is encouraged any time. I also ask you to fast on Fridays. Jesus gave up his body for us, that we might have life. By fasting, in a small but real way, we too give up something good (food) for the sake of something better (grace!). Fasting is a way of praying with our bodies that unites us to Christ's perfect offering to the Father (more about fasting here).

"And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart." Galatians 6:9

Please keep praying! God bless you!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Saving Lives!





USCCB NATIONWIDE BULLETIN INSERT

Tell Congress: Remove Abortion Funding & Mandates from Needed Health Care Reform

Congress is preparing to debate health care reform legislation on the House and Senate floors.

Genuine health care reform should protect the life and dignity of all people from the moment of
conception until natural death. The U.S. bishops’ conference has concluded that all committee approved bills are seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience, and do not provide adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor. The bills will have to change or the bishops have pledged to oppose them.

Our nation is at a crossroads. Policies adopted in health care reform will have an impact for good or ill for years to come. None of the bills retains longstanding current policies against abortion funding or abortion coverage mandates, and none fully protects conscience rights in health care.

As the U.S. bishops’ letter of October 8 states:

“No one should be required to pay for or participate in abortion. It is essential that the legislation clearly apply to this new program longstanding and widely supported federal restrictions on abortion funding and mandates, and protections for rights of conscience. No current bill meets this test…. If acceptable language in these areas cannot be found, we will have to oppose the health care bill vigorously.”

For the full text of this letter and more information on proposed legislation and the bishops’ advocacy for authentic health care reform, visit: www.usccb.org/healthcare.

Congressional leaders are attempting to put together final bills for floor consideration. Please contact your Representative and Senators today and urge them to fix these bills with the pro-life amendments noted below. Otherwise much needed health care reform will have to be opposed. Health care reform should be about saving lives, not destroying them.

ACTION: Contact Members through e-mail, phone calls or FAX letters.

* To send a pre-written, instant e-mail to Congress go to www.usccb.org/action.
* Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.
* Full contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at www.house.gov & www.senate.gov.

MESSAGE to SENATE:

“During floor debate on the health care reform bill, please support an amendment to
incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights.
If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”

MESSAGE to HOUSE:

“Please support the Stupak Amendment that addresses essential pro-life concerns on abortion
funding and conscience rights in the health care reform bill. Help ensure that the Rule for the
bill allows a vote on this amendment. If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill
should be opposed.”

WHEN: Both House and Senate are preparing for floor votes now. [NOW!]

Act today! Thank you!

Law and Order: "Dignity"



A recent episode of Law and Order entitled "Dignity" addressed the murder of an abortion doctor. To the astonishment of pro-lifers and the fury of mainstream media, the show actually presented the pro-life cause with great feeling. As the nrlc put it: "...what makes the Law & Order episode so riveting is that virtually every pro-life argument you knew you would never hear on a network program is a part of "Dignity." More important, it occurred to me as I listened in utter astonishment that each of these observations could have been presented in a way that was artificial, forced, or (as so often is the case with network portraits of pro-lifers) something that you would expect from an idiot. None of that was the case. These were real flesh-and-blood people, not caricatures."

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Few Words About Our Final Week - Please keep up the good work!

My Dear Friends,

The 40 Days continues to be an anointed time for our community in upholding the sanctity of life and in responding to the culture of death with the power of prayer. This is the last week! I ask that you make every effort to commit an hour or more to stand at the vigil in the remaining time slots. You all continue to encourage me with your commitment to the unborn and their parents. There have been many times that I have gone to the vigil to find people participating in prayer who did not sign up online. While many people spontaneously stop by (which is wonderful!), I ask that if you know you will be covering an hour, to make sure to sign up online as this lets other people know which times to fill (again, please be sure not to walk across the grass of Albemarle Baptist).

Sunday is day 40 of 40! Our Victory Celebration will be at 7 PM that evening. I truly hope you can be at this blessed gathering. It is very powerful to hear of the many graces God has poured forth in such a short time. Details will follow soon (just to give you one fact, did you know that over 400 babies have been saved nationwide?!). Although we have not made our vigil on Sundays, I am asking you all to fill the 12 Noon to 6 PM time this Sunday, November 1st, because it is the final day of the vigil. We should easily be able to make a strong showing in these hours.

I will be in touch. May God mightily bless you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Each life -- a victory



The day before this fall's 40 Days for Life campaign began, the local team in Orange County, California received some great news.

Nathan had just been born -- at a very healthy nine pounds!

At once point, however, Nathan's life had definitely been at risk. Thankfully, he was one of the babies whose mom chose life during the spring 40 Days for Life campaign.

"Please tell all those people thank you," said Nathan's mother. "Thank you for being there praying for people that you do not know. You made a huge difference in my life and in my baby's life. I cannot thank you enough for what you did."

The Orange County team also got to meet a different baby named Jack. He had been scheduled to be aborted ... TWICE!

But his mother chose life.

Jack's adoptive mom brought him with her when she went to pray at the 40 Days for Life vigil.

We rejoice for all the lives saved ...

... 299!

Yes, 299 children have been spared from abortion during the fall 40 Days for Life campaign thus far, thanks to your prayers, fasting, standing vigil, and the grace of Almighty God!

That's also 299 mothers who have been spared a life of regrets following an abortion decision.

Praise God!

The 40 Days for Life team in Manassas, Virginia sees the value of having a pro-life resource center very close to the abortion facility. Ken said a 19-year-old girl arrived at with her mother, fully intent on making an appointment for an abortion.

"They did an ultrasound and found she was 26 weeks pregnant," he said. "This abortion facility only does first-trimester abortions, so they sent her away."

The girl and her mother were directed to the pro-life pregnancy center, where the counselors told her about all the resources that were available.

"The wonderful counselors helped her decide to have her baby," said Ken. "Another life saved! The prayers of our 40 Days for Life participants were powerful."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

By The Babe Unborn

By G.K. Chesterton

If trees were tall and grasses short,
As in some crazy tale,
If here and there a sea were blue
Beyond the breaking pale,

If a fixed fire hung in the air
To warm me one day through,
If deep green hair grew on great hills,
I know what I should do.

In dark I lie: dreaming that there
Are great eyes cold or kind,
And twisted streets and silent doors,
And living men behind.

Let storm-clouds come: better an hour,
And leave to weep and fight,
Than all the ages I have ruled
The empires of the night.

I think that if they gave me leave
Within that world to stand,
I would be good through all the day
I spent in fairyland.

They should not hear a word from me
Of selfishness or scorn,
If only I could find the door,
If only I were born.

Exciting news from Kalispell!

The following has been sent to us by David Bereit, the National Director of 40 Days for life.

We just got word that a Planned Parenthood abortion center in Kalispell, Montana will be closing down for good next month. CLOSING!!

And -- you guessed it -- that facility was the location of Kalispell's 40 Days for Life vigil this past spring!

Planned Parenthood told the local media it is closing the center for economic reasons -- or as Stacy James, a Montana Planned Parenthood executive, admitted to the daily newspaper, "We've not had the patient numbers to keep the doors open."

She then went on to blame the economy, the recession, the health care crunch and a lack of government subsidies.

Ms. James said nothing at all, however, about the 40 days of prayer, fasting and constant vigil in front of the Kalispell facility this spring.

Karen, the local 40 Days for Life coordinator in Kalispell, had no doubt as to why the clinic is shutting its doors forever. "Our heartfelt pleas to God for an end to abortion here in Kalispell are being answered," she said. "Let us rejoice in our mighty God who has looked down upon His with such great favor."

The Kalispell team is currently holding a 40 Days for Life campaign outside another local abortion facility, but the first thing they did upon hearing the news about the closure was to return to the soon-to-be-closing Planned Parenthood facility to thank the Lord for this amazing victory.



Click here to see more photos of the celebration gathering!

This now makes FOUR abortion centers where 40 Days for Life vigils have been held that the doors have been shuttered and these businesses have CLOSED FOREVER. Praise God!

Where and when will the next closure come?

I'll trust the Lord to provide that information. But for now, I'm hearing from a number of local teams that abortion centers that are the sites of 40 Days for Life prayer vigils are cutting their hours -- and even closing their doors on days when abortions are
usually scheduled.

Could one of them be next to close? Let's pray!

When Ed arrived to pray at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Everett, Washington on a day when abortions are usually performed, he noticed a Planned Parenthood volunteer outside the clinic. "A moment later, she left and the doors were locked," he said. "I looked over at the sign where the hours are posted and it had changed."

The sign said: "CLOSED TODAY."

Ed's simple reaction: "Praise God!"

Prayer volunteers say business at this abortion center in Everett is most definitely OFF. The
previous day had been very slow at Planned Parenthood, and it looked like the only people there
were staff members. As we have observed time and time again, Planned Parenthood is a business about making money. If women decide not to have abortions, they simply can't stay open in a community.

Clinic hours were also cut back in Canton, Ohio. "Planned Parenthood in Canton has posted a letter on their door stating that they will be closed all Saturdays during October due to administrative needs," said Jill. The Saturdays, of course, all come during 40 Days for Life. "Wow!" she added. "What a coincidence!"

Obviously, it isn't really a coincidence. I have to wonder if "administrative needs" is just their cover story; could it be they're closed because they, just like Planned Parenthood in Kalispell, are finding they don't have enough customers to stay in business?

I hope and pray that is the case.

God is so good!

Midway Rally: Photos


Monday, October 12, 2009

Stories, Encouragement, and Report: Half Way!

Dear Friends,

We are now half way through the 40 Days; I encourage you to recommit yourself to this crucial cause. Ask yourself why you are a part of this effort. Is this God's will? Can one person make a difference? Yes, one man can. I have a few stories for you.

1. One man who had never prayed in front of Planned Parenthood before 2 weeks ago decided to commit an hour each morning from 6-7 to petition God. Later that week in the middle of the day, a man driving by in a pick-up truck slammed on his breaks (nearly causing an accident), parked on the side of the road, and approached the few women who were praying at that time. "I just wanted to let you know that I've seen a man praying out here on his knees every morning and it's making me ask myself what I think about abortion."

2. One woman said, "When we go to Planned Parenthood to pray, it's like leaving this world and stepping into the spiritual world." Surely, that place is a great stronghold of the devil. As St. Paul explained, "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

3. I saw a 3 year-old boy holding his mother's hand in the Church parking lot. I asked them what they were up to. "We're going to pray for the babies," the little boy explained. Some say that abortion is not for children to know about. In my experience, children are more upset about abortion than adults often are. They do not need to be told any details. They instinctively know life is beautiful and that any suppression of life is a bad thing. I frequently see small children who can barely talk at Church, who smile and point at my daughter in my arms and say, "Ba-by." Such an encounter is the essence of the pro-life position.

4. One person who is not a Christian told his spouse, "I am very impressed by the effort and commitment of those doing the 40 Days." See, you are making a difference!

5. One man who has been taking early morning times simply said, "It's awesome to be out there."

If you have offered your prayers and time, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you have not yet participated in the 40 Days, please do not think it is too late to start. Please do not feel that lack of action thus far means you shouldn't get involved now. Now is the perfect time!

We are now half way through. Ask yourself, "Can I do more for these little innocent ones? I encourage you to consecrate your efforts to the Lord. I beseech you in His Holy name to be sacrificial with your time. Will you stand in vigil and pray with me for 1, 2, or more hours this week? Please go to our sign-up page and fill in an empty spot (especially Tuesday and Wednesday). Ask a friend to come with you. May your prayers be powerful and effective. God bless you all!

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." James 4:17

Mid-way rally report!



Scott Klusendorf addressed the small group of about 15 people who gathered on Saturday for our Midway Rally. His words sounded like a speech for an small army about to go into battle against an enormous enemy. We gathered like Gideon's army, the American soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy, or many of the other small forces that were totally outnumbered, overpowered, and out strengthened. We could have been demoralized. We could have been discouraged. We could have given up. Scott encouraged us with 3 important points:

1) "You are not alone." The fight against abortion can make you feel alone. But we are not alone. The pro-life forces are growing nationwide, whether we see them or not. He who seeks the Lord's will is never alone anyway: "What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?" - Romans 8:31

2) "Surrender is not an option." Sometimes we may feel like giving up. Scott recently had the opportunity to speak with a British solider who survived D-Day. He told Scott that though Germany was devastating all of Europe, that era was one of the greatest in his life. Why would an old man who has been living in relative peace say this about a war-stricken time? "We knew what we stood for then," the man explained. Now the meaning of life is unclear. The difference between good and evil is blurred. In these dark times, there are 2 sides that we can be on. Silence and surrender always help the oppressor.

3) "Help is on the way." 90% of the first wave of soldiers who rushed the beaches of Normandy were killed. But those who survived did not give up. The reinforcements that arrived behind them joined them for victory. Without that victory, the results would have been devastating for the whole world. We pro-lifers now stand as part of a growing wave of soldiers against abortion. And the Calvary is on the horizon. Don't let up!

Friday, October 9, 2009

MIDWAY RALLY, Saturday 1:30pm



REMEMBER to set your calendars for the Midway Rally this Saturday!

Come together for prayer, worship, and encouragement led by our passionate and engaging nationally known guest speaker, Scott Klusendorf. This weekend marks the half-way point of the 40 Days For Life. We have already seen God's love impact our community in this anointed time. Let us not grow weary or complacent, but build up our momentum in fighting for the unborn, in caring for their mothers and fathers, in proclaiming the truth and the beauty all human life. I hope to see you Saturday. Please spread the word; the more involvement we have, the quicker we bring an end to abortion! God bless you.

What: Midway Rally
When: Saturday (10/10) from 1:30-2:30, finishing our time together with prayer at Planned Parenthood
Where: Word of Faith Church, on the corner Hydraulic & Lambs Road, right beside Albemarle High School (A map is available)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Message from our Cville Director

Dear Friends in Christ,

Life is God's most beautiful gift and abortion continues to reject the Lord's special creation - person's made in His Holy image. That is why we must not tire in praying and speaking up for the little ones who are most vulnerable in this culture of death. Help me proclaim the culture of life, the culture of Christ, the culture of authentic love that accepts and rejoices in every life - every child, every woman, every man.

Thank you all for your support thus far in the 40 Days. Each prayer is part of God's perfect plan. Each effort and sacrifice you make bears eternal fruit. We are almost half way through the 40 Days. Please recommit your efforts with the prayer below - recite it often, remembering that you may be the only thing between a child and his or her scheduled death. When you petition the Lord on behalf of these little one's, you make the greatest effort possible. This is an effort beyond human means, for we know that "nothing is impossible with God." You also listen to Jesus' command, "Let the children come to me."

Our Half-Way Rally is this Saturday (10/10) at 1:30 PM. Our guest speaker is Scott Klusendordorf, a nationally syndicated Christian speaker. We will also have prayer and a time of worship. The location is not yet confirmed, but I will let you know as soon as I find out. I know that this is not very far in advance, but if you are able to come, it will strengthen you, others, and our entire community in fighting for justice, peace, and truth. Please spread the word and stay tuned for more details.

If you have not had a chance to commit an hour at the vigil, choose a specific day and make it happen. Find someone to go with you and present your requests to God together recalling St. Paul's words, "...in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

My heart rejoices and my will is strengthened when I drive by Planned Parenthood and see others praying and bearing witness to the truth of the harm of abortion and sanctity of life. Of course, if you decide to stop by spontaneously that is wonderful and encouraged. But if you plan to cover a particular hour, please be sure to sign up online so that as we work to cover every hour, we know which ones are already taken care of. Tuesday and Wednesday still have many openings.

Praise God for helping us spread the word on CBS!

May God bless all of your efforts!

Fr. Frank Pavone says, "Prayer leads to action." Please pray with me:

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.

I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.

I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.

I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen!

Fasting: Why and How?


Does fasting really accomplish anything? Didn’t Jesus rebuke people for fasting?

God made us with a body and a spirit. We are physical and spiritual beings. Jesus commanded us to worship “in spirit,” but does this mean our bodies are inconsequential to spiritual life? The Bible tells us the opposite. Those who receive the Holy Spirit become temples of God. That is, God comes to dwell in our bodies. For this reason, St. Paul tells us, “Glorify God in your body.” Jesus died for us not to free us from our bodies, but to free us in our bodies. St. Paul says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies…”

Jesus’ perfect sacrifice involved both his body and his spirit. He laid down his flesh and submitted his spirit. Following Jesus’ example, St. Paul tells us to “present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual act of worship.” Our bodily action is spiritual worship, according to St. Paul. This, of course, does not mean we can merely offer our bodies apart from our spirits, for we cannot divide the human person. Rather, it means we must offer our entire being to God – body and soul – just as Jesus Himself did. St. Paul even goes so far as to say that our “bodies are members of Christ.” We glorify or deny the Lord with our bodies.

Jesus gave instructions for those who fast. He did not state, “if you fast…” but “when you fast…” Jesus’ rebuke comes for those who fast for the wrong reasons. Jesus was not rebuking the outward action but the inward motivation of these people. We must fast not to be seen by men, but to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God.

Fasting is so important for Christians that we learn some prayers must be accompanied by fasting. In the Gospel we learn that the prayers of Apostles were not effective in one instance. Upon questioning Jesus, he told them, “Some demons can only be driven out by prayer and fasting.”

The Gospel also shows us that Jesus himself fasted. As our ultimate model in everything we do, we must not take his fasting lightly. As we strengthen our wills through sacrifices, we are able to strengthen our spirits as well.

How then should I fast? There are many ways to fast. You can have only bread and water for a day. You can fast from sun-up to sundown. You can skip a meal. You can make small sacrifices within a meal – give up butter, salt, cream in your coffee, or your favorite snack for the day. If your health is not great or fasting would prevent you from attending your needs, you can fast in other ways. Give up the Internet, TV, or your phone for a day. Sacrifice listening to the radio or chewing gum. The point in all these activities is not merely to do them, but to do them from the heart. If we make give up some sort of pleasure, such as eating, we make a prayer of body and spirit. Our difficulties, sacrifices, and sufferings can be joined to the prayer and perfect sacrifice of Christ, who offered himself to the Father in the Holy Spirit. Friday is a particularly powerful day to fast, as it is the day Jesus offered the ultimate sacrifice. Our sacrifices can have meaning because they are joined to the Ultimate meaning – Christ crucified and resurrected. With Jesus, who sacrificed his body, we can say, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Brief reminders regarding racism

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"When America was pro-choice on slavery and pro-choice on segregation, the choices of states, slave owners and segregationists ultimately had to be limited by law so that justice for the oppressed could finally prevail. Are we willing to stand up for the unborn today as our forebears stood up for us?" -- Josephite Fr. John Raphael, Clarian Herald, New Orleans (February 2009).

Mondays and Fridays are wonderfully full, but we're still in need for the rest of the week! Please pray for volunteers!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rolling into Week 2!

From our C'ville director:

Dear Friends,
Thank you all for your prayers and support. This is such an incredible time for our community and I would like to share with you a few thoughts.

* If you are feeling like your participation won't make much of a difference, think of all the women who changed their minds about having abortions after speaking with or even just seeing someone praying outside the abortion mill. Nationally, there are incredible fruits coming from this ministry. And locally, we already have many great stories. If you feel alone, remember 200 cities are joining you at any moment you are praying.

* If you are feeling too busy, consider Bernard Nathanson, who co-founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, while working 2 and 1/2 other jobs. He continued to take on more responsibilities, such as overseeing new hospitals performing abortions, and running medical clinics that taught doctors how to perform abortions. If the enemy can muster motivation and determination in one man in order to spread the oppression of abortion, what can God do in you to bring healing, peace, and an end to this bloodshed?

* If you're feeling too tired, remember that God sent Moses Joshua and Aaron to hold up his arms according to the Lord's command. Remember that God fed Elijah the necessary food to complete a superhuman journey. Remember that Jesus was tired and hungry, but prayed as he continued to fast. Sometimes God doesn't just ask us to do difficult things, but impossible things. That way, we know it is Him doing it through us, like closing down Planned Parenthood. "Nothing is impossible with God."

* If you're feeling discouraged, remember St. Paul's words, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." And Isaiah who said, "He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might, he increases strength...they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint."

* If you're feeling encouraged, remember that it wasn't good enough for St. John simply to believe. Everyone else had to believe it too. He said, "we are writing this that our joy may be complete." If you can't come out and pray, you can tell new people about the 40 Days. Encourage ones who know about it to continue to be involved. In particular, encourage your Pastors. Tell them that this ministry is bringing the love of Christ to our community - because IT IS.

Please put your families first. Do not neglect your job. But I ask you to examine your days and your week. What are your priorities? I ask you to consider when you could sacrifice an hour of your time to pray for these little one. One hour can effect another person's eternal life!

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is still in much need of volunteers.

If you decide to cover an hour of prayer, make sure to sign up online so that everyone else sees that time is covered. Even if you decide to go at a spur of the moment, please call me and I'll put you down.

I have decided to remove Sundays from our vigil time, because it seems most people are very involved at their Church's throughout the day.

Don't forget about the blog that is linked through our main page: www.40daysforlife.com/charlottesville and send any stories, pictures, or reflections to Eleanor.

I will keep you posted. May God bless you!

Monday, September 28, 2009

SING a little louder



I lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust. I considered myself a Christian.

I attended church since I was a small boy. We had heard the stories of what was happening to the Jews But like most people today in this country, we tried to distance ourselves from the reality of what was really taking place. What could anyone do to stop it?

A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday morning we would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the wheels moving over the track. We became disturbed when on Sunday we noticed cries coming from the train as it passed by. We grimly realized that the train was carrying Jews. They were like cattle in those cars!

Week after week that train whistle would blow. We would dread to hear the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin to cry out to us as they passed our church. It was so terribly disturbing! We could do nothing to help these poor miserable people, yet their screams tormented us. We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start singing our hymns. By the time that train came rumbling past the church yard, we were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears, we'd just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene.

Now, so many years later, I see it happening all over again in America. God forgive you as Americans for you have blocked out the screams of millions of your own children. The holocaust is here. The response is the same as it was in my country -- SILENCE!

* 6,000,000 Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Over 47 million unborn babies have been killed by abortion since 1973.
* During the holocaust Jews were not recognized as legal "persons". Today, the Supreme Court does not recognize unborn children as legal "persons".


Spread the word about 40 Days for Life. Evil is a powerful force in Charlottesville. It takes a great deal to mobilize this town, to shake the people out of their complacency or willful ignorance and accomplish what we need to accomplish. We are able to move forward because of the sacrifices made by our incredible crew of volunteers. But THIS IS NOT ENOUGH.

The question of the hour has become -- WHAT WOULD CVILLE DO?
Are we to be left with this appalling answer? -- APPARENTLY, NOT MUCH!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Turn Evil Around

Last night, one of our volunteers pointed out something simple but really remarkable. Turn "EVIL" around -- and you get "LIVE".

This is not the frenzied and morally questionable mantra espoused by Auntie Mame (however excellent Rosalind Russell may undoubtedly be); this gestures toward the great existential gift given to us by our Creator. We are. We live. And we should strive daily to protect this gift, especially on behalf of those who are unable to defend themselves.

Sign up now. After a hard weekend, we're ready and waiting for volunteers to flood our weekdays!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekend Plans - VOLUNTEER NOW!

It is the weekend! The time of leisure, especially when the weather precludes yard work. Can it be that the weekend is also the time for our vigil? Yes, indeed, and we are MUCH in need of you all. Both Saturday and Sunday require sacrifice. There are few people who would give up an afternoon at the movies to pray in the rain, and even fewer who would want to offer up Sunday donuts to kneel on a sidewalk, but that is precisely what we need you to do. We cannot fail to stand strong now, even when you would much rather sleep!

As shown from our Friday photo spread, we welcome emails and photos!

Why Kneel?

(From our C'ville director)

“At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow.” Philippians 2:5-11

Does the Resurrection of Christ negate the importance of kneeling? I offer two reflections to answer this. The first is from Romano Guardini:

WHEN a man feels proud of himself, he stands erect, draws himself to his full height, throws back his head and shoulders and says with every part of his body, I am bigger and more important than you. But when he is humble he feels his littleness, and lowers his head and shrinks into himself. He abases himself. And the greater the presence in which he stands the more deeply he abases himself; the smaller he becomes in his own eyes.

But when does our littleness so come home to us as when we stand in God's presence? He is the great God, who is today and yesterday, whose years are hundreds and thousands, who fills the place where we are, the city, the wide world, the measureless space of the starry sky, in whose eyes the universe is less than a particle of dust, all-holy, all-pure, all-righteous, infinitely high. He is so great, I so small, so small that beside him I seem hardly to exist, so wanting am I in worth and substance. One has no need to be told that God's presence is not the place in which to stand on one's dignity. To appear less presumptuous, to be as little and low as we feel, we sink to our knees and thus sacrifice half our height; and to satisfy our hearts still further we bow down our heads, and our diminished stature speaks to God and says, Thou art the great God; I am nothing.

Therefore let not the bending of our knees be a hurried gesture, an empty form. Put meaning into it. To kneel, in the soul's intention, is to bow down before God in deepest reverence.

On entering a church, or in passing before the altar, kneel down all the way without haste or hurry, putting your heart into what you do, and let your whole attitude say, Thou art the great God. It is an act of humility, an act of truth, and everytime you kneel it will do your soul good.


The second reflection is taken from a book by Joseph Cardinal Ratziner (now Pope Benedict XVI), who named this writing after Guardini’s reflections quoted above, “The Spirit of the Liturgy.”

…However, St. Luke, who in his whole work (both the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles) is in a special way the theologian of kneeling prayer, tells us that Jesus prayed on his knees. This prayer, the prayer by which Jesus enters into his Passion, is an example for us, both as gesture and in its content….Now we understand why the Son’s loving way of addressing the Father, “Abba”, is found in this place (Mark 14:36). St. Paul sees in this cry the prayer that the Holy Spirit places on our lips (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6) and thus anchors our Spirit-filled prayer in the Lord’s prayer in Gethsemane.

…Secondly…the gesture of falling to one’s knees before another, which is described four times in the Gospels (Mk 1:40; 10:17; Mt 17:14; 27:29)…A leper comes to Jesus and begs him for help. He falls to his knees before him and says: ‘If you will, you can make me clean.’…What we have here is…a supplication expressed fervently in bodily form, while showing a trust in power beyond the merely human.

…The bodily gesture itself is the bearer of the spiritual meaning, which is precisely that of worship. Without the worship, the bodily gesture would be meaningless, while the spiritual act must of its very nature, because of the psychosomatic unity of man, express itself in the bodily gesture. The two aspects are united in the one word [proskynein, which means adoration on one’s knees, appearing 11 times in St. John’s Gospel], because in a very profound way they belong together. When kneeling becomes merely external, a merely physical act, it becomes meaningless. On the other hand, when someone tries to take worship back into the purely spiritual realm and refuses to give it embodied form, the act of worship evaporates, for what is purely spiritual is inappropriate to the nature of man. Worship is one of those fundamental acts that affect the whole man. That is why bending the knee before the presence of the living God is something we cannot abandon.


Ratzinger goes on to explain that in the Old Testament Hebrew, the knee was associated with strength, so to kneel was “to bend one’s strength before the living God, an acknowledgment of the fact that all that we are we receive from him.” This expression of worship can be seen with Solomon (2 Chron 6:13), Ezra (Ezra 9:5), Sts. Peter and Paul and the whole Christian community (Acts 9:40, 20:36, 21:5), which in these later cases take place after the Resurrection. Stephen, the first martyr, models Jesus and prays on his knees as he witnesses to Christ showing us his “entry into the prayer of Jesus (in Gethesemane). Kneeling is not only a Christian gesture, but a christological one…The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel…”

Friday Photos: 5pm









Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 3 for Life

A message from our Cville director:

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your prayers and sacrifices for the sake of these innocent children. You are not only helping save lives but also showing every woman with child that she deserves better than the detriment of abortion. From other parts of the country there are already stories of one mother whose child was saved and of a clinic worker who quit because of the 40 Days! This is the impact of our efforts!

We really need volunteers to fill many spots this weekend. For those of you who have recently asked to be added to this list, please sign-up for a time to pray on our website: If you are planning on going to the abortion mill but don't sign up, the time will appear to be vacant. So make sure to sign up if you plan to pray.

Make sure to check out our regularly updated blog [HERE!].

I also wanted to mention that I will be giving a talk entitled "Building the Culture of Life: Our Crucial Calling" at St. Thomas Aquinas Hall this Sunday at 10:15 AM. I hope you can make it (directions).

Keep spreading the word about this life saving ministry. Who doesn't have time to save a life? May God bless you all tremendously.

"The Pro-Life Movement will succeed only to the extent that pro-life people are willing to be inconvenienced." David R. Scott, Jr., Life Decisions International

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" -- Matthew 25:40.


PLEASE NOTE OUR NEED FOR WEEKEND VOLUNTEERS!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 2 for Life

Our hours are filled, by God's grace and the generosity of our volunteers. But the army we need to stand up against a bastion of genocide like Charlottesville has not yet come to light. Is there a valley of bones handy? (Cf. Ezekiel 37)

Sign up! If you have signed up already, sign up again! Persuade your friends to sign up! Talk to your neighbors! Beseech your fellow parishioners!

40 Days for Life: St. Louis

The 40 Days for Life team in St. Louis began a day of preparation prior to the campaign with prayer at a local church, followed by more prayer on the sidewalk in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion center -- prayer that was joined by more than 100 people.

At the St. Louis kickoff rally that evening, "we sang, prayed and had a chance to meet many new
people," said local coordinator Brian Westbrook. "God truly blessed us with an exciting night."

But the excitement was just beginning. At the end of the long day, Brian went home, checked his e-mail and found this message:

"I just wanted to let you know that today just before we left the clinic, as we were wrapping up and praying together, one of the sidewalk counselors came over and let us know that a couple who had gone into the clinic in the morning had just left and decided to keep their baby. So praise God, I believe that's the first fruits of what's to come over the next 40 days."

Brian said, "What an incredible start to these 40 Days for Life. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us this fall. Keep praying and fasting and one day we will see an end to abortion."

Positive reports from kickoff events and news stories about 40 Days for Life are pouring in from across North America as the campaign is getting off to an incredible start in over 200 locations.


God is Good. Come on, Cville!

Victory in Kirksville!

Inspiring news from Missouri. God is Good.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Isn't that a little...extreme?



A woman, kneeling down to pray as she took part in the vigil today, was accosted by a driver.

"Isn't that a little...extreme?" asked the driver. "What about the Resurrection? You should stand up!"

Then she pressed down on the accelerator and drove off.

In a world where suffering is something we medicate, and prayer is something allocated to the deepest corner of private life, far from the public eye so that no one be made to feel uncomfortable -- horror of horrors! -- is it to be wondered at that we be urged not to kneel?

By "extreme", do we mean "the greatest or highest degree"? By "extreme", do we mean "drastic"? What is the scale on which we measure? Shall we not measure it against the Cross? We cannot understand the Resurrection without the Crucifixion. Nor can we have any hope of victory in this battle against evil unless we recognize that the Cross is itself our victory. A bloody, painful victory. An EXTREME victory.

Gaze upon the crucified Lord, with the suffering of the infant martyrs held close upon your heart. Is not life itself worth a few knee callouses?

"I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints." (Colossians 1:24-26)

An email from the front

Hi,

I drove by around 8:30 and no one was there so I took my 2 year old with some toys and planned to pray a rosary. A Gentleman from Staunton showed up, William, and we prayed a rosary together. Caroline sat and played with her toys between us. I was kneeling so I was able to keep her contained. Amazingly enough she sat through the whole rosary! How is that for God's grace. Keeping a two yr old quiet and still for 18 minutes during a rosary! I am excited to show up and get seeds planted in hearts and minds!

thanks,

Michelle W.
Earlysville


Thanks, Michelle! We're appalled to learn that the post was vacant this morning, but rejoice in the benevolent grace of God Who drew you and William to hold down the fort! Blessings abound in the midst of all challenges.

Day 1 for Life

An announcement from the 40 Days for Life Cville director:

Praise God! The 40 Days for Life begins Today! We have such an incredible opportunity to impact our community in positive way. We are praying for God's mercy that He may bring an end to abortion in our local community and in every community. Please continue to spread the word about the 40 days. If you are planning on covering a certain hour of prayer at Planned Parenthood, or know of someone who is, please make sure that you/they sign up for that time online because that is our Master Schedule. Otherwise, it appears that no one is covering it. We still need coverage on Wednesdays and Weekends especially.

www.40daysforlife.com/charlottesville

On our site you'll find:

* the master schedule for the prayer vigil and instructions how to sign up.
* info about upcoming events and news.
* our blog [THAT'S US!] that will be constantly updated, which includes photos, write-ups, articles, stories of positive experiences, etc. If you have anything you'd like to put on the blog, please email Eleanor at wimseysqk@gmail.com
* We also hope to have a spiritual bouquet where you can post types of fasts, prayers, and more. Stay tuned for this.

Important note about parking: Albemarle Baptist Church is allowing us to use their lot. It is located across the street from Planned Parenthood. Make sure to take the spots furthest from the Church and be careful crossing the road!

Please be vigilant with your prayers and sacrifices during the next 40 days. May God hear our prayers and bring his love and justice. God bless you all!

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tomorrow...

...LIFE HANGS IN THE BALANCE.



Have you volunteered yet?

40 Days for Life Rally

The Rally went well, and was attended by a lovely cast of pro-lifers with many adorable children in tow.






A Myriad of Ways to Say It

* Choose Life!
* If it's not a baby, you're not pregnant.
* He's a child, not a choice.
* She's a child, not a choice.
* Only the woman gets a "choice".
* The natural choice is life.
* Life - what a beautiful choice!
* The right to choose should mean choose what's right.
* I love babies, born and pre-born.
* Real feminists don't kill babies.
* Careful, former fetus driving.
* I think, therefore I'm Pro-life!
* Adoption is the caring option.
* One abortion = One dead, one wounded.
* PP kills over 132,000 children a year.
* Choose Life, your mom did!
* Real doctors don't kill babies
* Life - The choice of the next generation
* Abortion doesn't make you unpregnant, it makes you the mother of a dead baby.
* Abortion stops a beating heart.
* Adoption saves a beating heart.
* TECHNICALLY...you're just a blob of tissue too!
* Abortion needs aborting.
* A fetus is not "your body".
* Abortion KILLS
* Abortion HURTS
* Abortion - Just say no.
* Be a hero, save a whale... save a baby, go to jail.
* Equal rights for unborn women.
* Abortion kills children.
* God is Pro-Life!
* Smile - your mother was Pro-Life.
* Abortion - the ultimate child abuse.
* Abortion - pick on someone your own size.
* Only BIG BABIES are pro-choice.
* Abortion is NOT "health care".
* How much does abortion cost? One human life.
* Babies are not spare parts.
* Abortion is violence.
* Children are a gift from God.
* As a former fetus, I oppose abortion.
* Pro-woman, pro-child, PRO-LIFE
* LIFE - it's a gift, not a choice.
* What's "pro-family" about killing children?
* Peace in the womb...abortion is violent!
* "Safe and legal"...for whom?
* It's a child...there IS no choice.
* What's a "safe" abortion?
* Pregnancy is not a disease.
* Some babies die by chance... no baby should die by choice.
* Every third child dies by choice.
* It took two to conceive...where's the man's "choice"?
* A fetus is a life with potential...not potential life.
* Abortion? The supreme court also legalized slavery...
* Stop Euthanasia, the life you save may be your own.
* ABORTION... a baby can LIVE without it.
* Defend the helpless... vote Pro-Life!
* Take my hand, not my life.
* Abortion enslaves women.
* Everyone was a fetus once.
* Something inside dies after an abortion.
* Abortion: One Heart Stops...Another Heart Breaks.
* Life begins at conception and ends at Planned Parenthood.
* Pro-Life is the radical notion that babies are people.
* Half of the patients entering an abortion "clinic" never come out alive.
* Planned Parenthood...got death?
* Real men stand by their children.

Monday, September 21, 2009

WOULD YOU REMAIN SILENT?

If I were to suggest that a third of the African-American population be brutally put to death in the streets... WOULD YOU REMAIN SILENT?

If I were to endorse the wholesale oppression of women, reducing them to objects for male pleasure and stifling their genius... WOULD YOU REMAIN SILENT?

If I were to suggest that all men be openly emasculated, their self-respect crushed, and their very being reduced to brute-like despair... WOULD YOU REMAIN SILENT?

If I were to endorse a program that persecuted the poor, weeding them out as "undesirables"... WOULD YOU REMAIN SILENT?

If I were to endorse a holocaust far beyond that accomplished by the Nazi regime... WOULD YOU REMAIN SILENT?

This is the true story of abortion -- racism, sexism, discrimination, and oppression -- hidden under a tissue of lies. The blood of the infant martyrs cries out to us from the ground. We can no longer be silent.

Sign up for our prayer vigil. It's not just 40 days -- it's for LIFE.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

40 Days for Life Kick-off Rally

Join us Mon, Sep 21, 7-8PM at The Covenant School (lower campus across from McIntire Park in the Multi-Purpose Room) as we gear up for the 40 Days for life. For 40 days, Christians will be gathering together from all around the Charlottesville area to pray to end abortion. We will have ice cream, prayer, and more information about how you can participate in saving lives and spreading the Gospel. For more information contact Irene Xenos at 227-6055 or icx6z@virginia.edu.

40 Days for Life and Charlottesville, Virginia

Evil is insidious and works best under cover of darkness. Many are not aware of the pervasiveness of abortion in our own community. That is why Christians throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle are coming together to participate in the National 40 Days for Life effort from this Wednesday, September 23rd through November 1st.

These 40 days of peaceful prayer and fasting for an end to abortion focus particularly on increasing community awareness by our prayer vigil outside of the Planned Parenthood near Albemarle High School. We need to be a visible presence, and are asking each of you to volunteer for one or more hours during the 40 days, and to help to spread the word to others about this important life-saving effort. The unborn, particularly in underprivileged and minority families against whom most abortions are performed, need you to stand up against the brutal slaughter of infants, to reach out to those in need of healing, to speak out against injustice, to give voices to silent screams, and to combat evil with prayer, which St. James tells us is powerful and effective. This is your opportunity.

Here we are, standing strong against this appalling genocide. Join us!

God bless.