Tuesday, November 30, 2010

STOP, LOOK, LISTEN: A Christmas Reflection

STOP, LOOK, LISTEN: Rediscovering the Wonder of Christmas. Join Bill Donaghy for an evening of inspiration and reflection on the scandalously beautiful miracle that took place on the first Christmas! 

 St. George Parish, 15 Lamont Ave., Glenolden, PA  
Monday, Dec. 6 @ 7:00pm

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Holy Spirit and Babies

I was driving to give a talk a couple of weeks ago on Marriage, Family, and the Sacraments, praying and preparing as the road zoomed below. I was pondering on just how these three things relate when I got zapped by the following thought...

Catholics say every Sunday in the Apostle's Creed that the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the Son." The Holy Spirit is the Eternal Fruit of the Love-Gift between the two Divine Persons of the Father and the Son. 

Whoa... If that sounds way too abstract, Augustine in the fourth century gave us a helpful image in saying that the Divine Love in the Trinity is "enfleshed" in the human love of Lover, Beloved, and the Love between the two. This image blossoms beautifully in Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body in our own time. Stay with me friends while I try and work this out!

The Father loves the Son eternally. The Son receives that Love forever, and forever returns that Love. Since the Gift of Love is Eternal, the Fruit of that Love is in itself Eternal! In fact, it is a whole and distinct Person! The Holy Spirit. Anyone ever in love can attest to this Third Party, this seemingly separate and distinct ocean of Love in which the Two suddenly find themselves immersed in right up to their hearts. In vernacular terms, and here quoting Schoolhouse Rock "A man and a woman had a little baby.... yes they did. They had Three-ee-ee in the family. That's a magic number."

Now to get to the thought that zapped me on the turnpike heading west... The Holy Spirit, the Eternal Fruit of the Love between the Father and Son, we believe, is God operating in our hearts, moving us, inspiring us to Love, and Goodness, and Beauty, because that's what Love does. The Holy Spirit makes us holy, if we allow Him into our hearts, minds, and bodiesJust so, the Fruit of the Love of the earthly Lover and Beloved (baby!) makes us holy. Babies are like the Holy Spirit.... in the flesh! THAT'S IT! Huh?

A child coming forth from the beloved and the lover, a husband and wife, becomes the operative agent in our hearts, making us holy and whole. Children, like the Holy Spirit, break us and remake us. They bring us out of ourselves, they push us out into the deep where we never thought we could go, and they are the "occasion of grace" that can make us saints. 

So the new revelation in the spiritual life of our little family is to say "Come Holy Spirit! Speak to us, Your servants are listening" as we discern in the cries, laughter, smiles, gurgles, giggles, and yes, the poopie diapers of this domestic church, just what is the Holy Spirit of our children teaching us? 

For the family, holiness and the path to perfection are ever-present. The bells of the monasteries summoning us to prayer are the bellows of the baby crying out "Change me Dada!" And shouldn't my prayer to God be the very same thing? "Come Holy Spirit! Change me!"

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A Must Read for EVERYONE

Is Abortion and Hormonal Contraception a Prescription for Breast Cancer?

By Jenn Giroux CINCINNATI, Ohio,
OCT. 29, 2010 (Zenit.org)

Everywhere I looked this month I saw a pink ribbon. It was on my dry cleaning bag, grocery bag, coffee cup, mail catalogs, receipts, billboards it goes on and on. Don't get me wrong. I love the color pink, and breast cancer prevention and finding a cure is critical to women today. However, I also love the truth. That is why October 2010 is a good time to take Breast Cancer Awareness Month to a whole new level with some facts which can lead to both the physical and spiritual health of women in America and across the world. We live in the world of media messaging where the one with the most money and the loudest message wins the day. What is the "Race for the Cure"? Why are we not being told the truth about the real risks and prevention for breast cancer?

According to the SEER data at the National Cancer Institute, there has been a 400% increase in noninvasive -- or "in situ" (in the same place) -- breast cancer in pre-menopausal women since 1975. How do abortion, hormone replacement therapy, and hormonal contraception factor into the equation?

For years, abortion, hormonal replacement therapy and hormonal contraception have been largely ignored by most of the medical community and the media in general as significant risk factors for breast cancer. However, studies have consistently concluded that breast cancer risk increases as a result of these three factors. Researchers in Iran have published results of a new study showing that women who have had an abortion face a 193% increased risk of breast cancer. This has to do with the interruption of breast tissue development during pregnancy. It is important to note that this (and other studies like it) have nothing to do with a person's belief in abortion. It has everything to do with the scientifically undeniable development and growth of breast tissue within a woman's body.

There are many other studies that have been published as well that confirm that abortion presents increased risk to women for breast cancer, and that confirm that carrying a baby to full term provides a natural protection to the mother if the pregnancy is not unnaturally interrupted. For years, doctors have been prescribing hormone replacement therapy for women who experience hot flashes and periods of sweating in menopause. The widespread belief was that these hormones would not only reduce a woman's risk for heart disease but also keep her "youthful, sexy, and healthy."

This week the New York Times reported that studies have now confirmed that taking these hormones not only increases breast cancer risk, but "also make it more likely that the cancer will be advanced and deadly" (New York Times, Oct. 19, 2010). This revelation, finally being recognized by the mainstream medical community and media, makes our final topic on hormonal contraception downright frightening. Obstetricians and gynecologists across the country freely encourage long-term use of hormonal contraception such as "the Pill," the intrauterine device (IUD) Mirena, NuvaRing, Yaz, Yasmin, and all forms of emergency contraception without giving adequate attention to the short- and long-term side effects.
Pediatricians have also joined in on this by encouraging mothers to place their young daughters on "the Pill" to help with acne or to relieve monthly menstrual cramps. Recently, a college student shared with me that inside her dorm, cell phones go off in the early morning hours as a reminder to the girls to take their birth control pills. This was at a Catholic college.
The number of young women on "the Pill" is alarming. Have these girls been told that "the Pill" has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency on Research for Cancer, a research arm of the World Health Organization? Are women in general being informed that any form of hormonal (estrogen-progestin combination) birth control (including "the Pill," the patch, Depo-Provera, Norplant, Ortho Vera Patch, or any others on the market) are actually increasing risk for breast, cervical, and liver cancer?

 The sad reality is that any woman who takes a hormonal contraceptive for four years prior to her first full-term pregnancy increases her risk for breast cancer by 52%. It is worth noting that this same research arm of the World Health Organization also places "the Pill" in the same category with asbestos and cigarettes. The difference is the dose So, you may ask, what is the difference between the hormones that are given to women during menopause, which cause deadly breast cancer, and the hormones that are given to young women in the form of "the Pill"? The answer is shocking. The hormones in the drugs are the same. The only difference is in the dose that is given to the younger women and girls. It is necessary to give a much higher dose than that given in hormone replacement therapy because younger women have active, healthy ovaries. Does this give better context to the 400% increase in "in situ" breast cancer in pre-menopausal women since 1975?

In order to silence the public discussion of the harms of contraception we have often been told that we are pushing our "Catholic" views on women. This has effectively kept many health care providers and pro-life groups silent on this issue. Do you know what has nothing to do with being Catholic? Experiencing breast cancer in your 30s, having a stroke in college, or having an undetected and sudden blood clot that results in permanent health damage or death are life-threatening side effects that visit women of all faiths. Women deserve to know the truth. They have been failed by physicians in not being warned of the physical damage that they are doing to their bodies, and they have been failed by their priests in not being warned of the spiritual damage that they are doing to their souls.

The New York Times article on Oct. 19 published information by "The Journal of the American Medical Association" that is a real breakthrough and victory for women's health. The exposure of this important medical information further reveals the outrage of Komen for the Cure giving $7.5 million back to Planned Parenthood in 2009. This was money from trustful donors who were unaware that they, indeed, gave to a cause working against the cure of breast cancer. Clearly, both abortion and hormonal contraception, a huge source of Planned Parenthood's income, are contributing risk factors for breast cancer. October 2010 is the time to recognize the seamless pink ribbon that connects breast cancer with abortion, hormonal contraception and hormone replacement therapy. It is only then that we can get on with true prevention and, God willing, finish the race for the truth, which will then pave the path for the cure.

Jenn Giroux is the executive director of HLI America, a program of Human Life International. She is a registered nurse, wife, and mother of nine. She and her husband, Dan, live with their family in Cincinnati, Ohio.

For more information go to hliamerica.org.
E-mail this article: http://www.zenit.org/article-30799?l=english

Talking to Your Little Ones About the Big Topic of Sex

A much repeated sentence we hear at our Theology of the Body retreats and courses is "I wish I heard this when I was younger!" ...