Sunday, February 25, 2007

pro-life rap

Joining Will Smith and Nick Cannon here is Flipsyde with their pro-life rap, "Happy Birthday," a song to their frontman's aborted son.

On their website, scroll down toward the bottom to "New Video for Flipsyde's 'Happy Birthday' "

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Providence at Planned Parenthood and the Pursuit of Happyness

Yesterday, was our Pro-Life committee's official monthly protest at the nearby abortion clinic on Calvert St. (a few guys go every Saturday) But, I went to "Planned Parenthood" downtown with some youth and young adults from the parish I'm assigned to. There was about six or eight of us there. A couple were Steuby grads and the others were from local high schools and colleges.

To my surprise, I found out that this place is rarely protested. At the clinic in downtown Louisville there are 20-50 people there every Saturday and several every day of the week from various denominations. Pro-Lifers are definitely a huge minority in Maryland.

Anyway, a few of us prayed the rosary in a circle 15 feet from the door, a distance arbitrarily determined by the Baltimore Police who I have heard are "on our side." A couple others walked or stood nearby holding signs and engaging the many passers-by that are common in this downtown area. I was in the prayer circle praying with the others for an end to abortion, the closing of this clinic, the conversion of all who worked for it, and in support of our two "sidewalk counselors." Our signs were somewhat bold and ignited many discussions between our group and the people walking by, mostly African Americans. Planned Parenthood typically targets poorer African American communites.

One guy walked past the clinic, and then turned around and looked at one of the girls in our group and asked, "Can I talk to you?" She said, "Sure" and then stepped aside with him. I think they talked for about 15 minutes. She came away from the conversation very excited and I asked her about it after we finished the rosary. She said that he was married and had six children but his wife was pregnant with a seventh and he was thinking about having her abort the child. This guy wanted to talk to somebody and he was probably walking to the clinic to get some information on abortion or to set his wife up for an appointment. How Providential it was that we were there that day when he needed some advice! They talked about his faith and his children and he had a very simple knowledge of and relationship with God but it was innocent and child-like. He asked the ultimate questions, Why am I here? Why is this happening? Why is this building here? What should I do? Our friend asked him to imagine going home and having all of his children around him talking and playing and imagine the noise. But then imagine how you would feel if even one of them wasn't there. How each one is a blessing in his life no matter how hard he may think it is to support them. If he is open to God blessing his life in this way then God will provide for him. They talked about how the abortion industry has exploited the black community and that if he allows his wife to join their number then he would never know what this particular blessing could have in store for him. Should the seventh child suffer because of the six who were allowed to live? What about the possible impact his child could have on the world? I told her later that my dad is one of twelve. His dad was a bartender and his mother was a housewife and they all were raised well and they all worked together to make sure that everyone went to Catholic schools.

She also told him about pregnancy resource centers and the help that is available to him and also talked a little bit about Natural Family Planning. At the end of the coversation his conscience was at ease and he confidantly and happily stated that he would keep the baby. We were so excited and happy for our friend and this guy. It made getting up early, standing in the bitter cold, and enduring the heckling and curse words by a few all worth it.

I was so inspired by that group. These were young, on-fire, couragous Catholics! I'll tell ya, Steuby's cranking out solid, dedicated, Catholic soldiers! They are a real force for the conversion of our country especially as their graduates end up in high schools, universities, churches, Newman centers, seminaries, and religious communities.

After the clinic closed we went to Chik-fil-A together for some lunch and then went and saw The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith and his son.

SPOILER ALERT: The below could give some details away if you haven't seen the movie yet, the real reason for this post is all of the above so you can safely stop reading at this point if you want!

It was a great movie, I really like it. It's a little bit of a downer though. I mean Smith's character is always falling on hard times even though there are some pleasant victories here and there that keep you from despairing too much. The movie seemed a little Pelagian though. He rarely asks for help, not even from his wife (who doesn't support him anyway), his friend, or his boss at his new job. He'll work it out. He'll figure it out. He'll make things right. He'll work harder, longer, quicker. He'll save himself. He never breaks down either, never cries till close to the end. At some of the most horrible situations you would think he would cry - I wanted him too! - but he never does. He just displays this disgruntled, oppressed, Chloe-esque look on his face which in itself carries a lot of emotion. But I'm like "cry man, it's OK!" I guess I needed a release from the drama more than he did! And he never prays, again, until close to the end. At parts it seems as if prayer is the only thing this guy has left, but he still doesn't turn to it. Finally it seems like somewhat of a superficial pursuit. This guy's working and running his arse off to get this huge moneymaking job that indeed would help out big time. And the movie builds up the plight of him and his son to where you're really, really pulling for him to get it. But maybe if he'd asked for more help or prayed a little he could have found "happyness" in his current state in life?

That said, the movie really is very good. It's well acted by both Will Smith and his son (who seems like a natural to me). Their Father-Son bond in real life does a lot for the movie. And the little victories throughout the movie and the huge one at the end are quite rewarding. You can read a more expert review here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

amoris officium

In a recent letter from His Eminence Claudio Cardinal Hummes, upon becoming head of the Congregation for the Clergy, he had this to say about the priesthood. You can find the entire letter here.

To serve priests! What a mission! What an "amoris officium!"

We are bearers of a specific identity that constantly characterizes us in our existence and in our activity. We are consecrated and incorporated into the activity of Christ. The gestures and the words of Jesus become re-actualized in time and in history to elicit in those who fulfill them "the same sentiments of Christ" and the same effects of salvation.

The Church, in conferring the sacrament of orders, ontologically constitutes the priest as an "alter Christus," or as some say, an "ipse Christus"; and it establishes him as a minister of the word and as a minister of the prophetic action and pastoral love of Christ. His function, therefore, is not to exhaust himself exclusively in the dimension of worship, but to fulfill himself in the prophetic dimension by proclaiming the word and in the pastoral dimension by being a guide for the community.

Among the beautiful expressions of the Second Vatican Council is the following statement, which synthesizes the functions of the priest while delineating his identity: "Priests, while engaging in prayer and adoration, or preaching the word, or offering the Eucharistic sacrifice and administering the other sacraments, or performing other works of the ministry for men, devote all this energy to the increase of the glory of God and to man's progress in the divine life" ("Presbyterorum Ordinis," 2).

Dear brothers, we are proud and joyful of our priestly identity. We are proud to be priests.

It is true, ours is not an easy mission. But united to Christ the eternal High Priest, and with Mary, Mother of the first Priest and of all priests, we will always be mindful of giving testimony to the hope that is within us to our numerous brothers and sisters who, even today, long for the way, the truth and the life.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Struggle

The Struggle

In your life, there are two things that do not fit together: your head and your heart.

Your intelligence – enlightened by faith – shows you the way clearly. It can also point out the difference between following that way heroically or stupidly. Above all, it places before you the divine greatness and beauty of the undertakings the Trinity leaves in our hands.

Your feelings, on the other hand, become attached to everything you despise, even while you consider it despicable. It seems as if a thousand trifles were awaiting the least opportunity, and as soon as your poor will is weakened, through physical tiredness or lack of supernatural outlook, those little things flock together and pile up in your imagination, until they form a mountain that oppresses and discourages you. Things such as the rough edges of your work, your resistance to obedience; the lack of proper means; the false attractions of an easy life; greater or smaller but repugnant temptations; bouts of sensuality; tiredness; the bitter taste of spiritual mediocrity... And sometimes also fear; fear because you know God wants you to be a saint, and you are not a saint.

Allow me to talk to you bluntly. You have more than enough "reasons" to turn back, and you lack the resolution to correspond to the grace that He grants you, since He has called you to be another Christ, ipse Christus! – Christ himself. You have forgotten the Lord's admonition to the Apostle: "My grace is enough for you", which is confirmation that, if you want to, you can.

St. Josemaria Escriva, Furrow, #166

Monday, February 05, 2007

the ministry of Acolyte

Last Wednesday, Jan 31, I received the Ministry of Acolyte from Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, Th.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Portland, Maine. Home of the wonderful, Amy Manocchia - my twin brother Nick's girlfriend - and a few guys here at St. Mary's.

It was a joy to receive this Ministry alongside my good and dear friend Dan Hoffman just like when we received the Ministry of Lector last year.

My dad flew up for it too. It was great to have him here. I was glad to be able to introduce him to the guys and have them get to know him. He had a great visit and even said he felt like he was "on retreat."

Here's some pics:

My Dad took most of 'em. Thanks to Deacon Joe Wiz for the 4th and 6th ones. Great pics Joe!