Why We Reject the Pill

This Tuesday at RCIA we had a little bit of controversy. One of our candidates questioned why the Church didn’t change its doctrine on contraception and homosexuality. More people would go to church if the Church changed. To me the question revealed a lack of understanding of the role of the Church.
The Church’s role is not to be popular but to help people follow the narrow road to heaven. The Church can not do anything but point to the narrow gate. The success of the Church is not measured by how many people attend mass but by how many people it helped to get into heaven.
The Church has to stay true to the teachings of Christ and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is God, not the polls, not the media and not the president who has the final say on Church teachings. It is God who we face when we die. It is God who Pope Francis will face. He will be held responsible for staying true to the gospel and teachings of the Church. He can not just willy-nilly change the Church’s teachings. He can not say sin is not sin.
How can we expect the Church to approve something as destructive and harmful as contraception? Since the introduction of the Pill there has been over a 600 % increase in the incidence of breast cancer for which many oncologists blame the pill. Then there are lawsuits related to strokes, embolisms and other side effects. The pill has also been cited as a factor in the destruction of many marriages.
There is also a dirty little secret about the Pill. It does not prevent conception. A woman’s eggs still are fertilized by the sperm. A child can be conceived. What the Pill does is prevent the embryo from being implanted on the uterus. Basically it means that any child conceived is aborted.
How can we expect the Church to approve this? How can we tolerate something that weakens marriages or promotes cohabitation and adultery? How can a marriage succeed when your spouse is reduced to a sexual object? What are your chances for success when commitment is no longer necessary? How many marriages were doomed because the Pill failed to foster communication and cooperation between spouses?
It is not as if the Church has not presented a viable method of planning your family. Using scientific methods originally developed by doctors to help women who had difficulty conceiving, modern medicine has developed natural family planning. It is not the Rhythm method. It requires training, communication and discipline but it is as effective as any method of artificial contraception without any negative side effects. At the same time marriages using NFP are strengthened because it fosters communication, cooperation and discipline. The success rate of marriages which use NFP is over 90%
Of course there is no way for Planned Parenthood and the drug companies to make a large profit off of NFP. No wonder we don’t hear the truth about it!

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How Important Is Your Faith?

At no time in our lives have Americans been more aware that there are people who are dying for their faith. A little over a week ago Isis in Libya beheaded 21 Christians. In Iraq Catholics and other Christians are being slaughtered for refusing to give up their faith. Thousands have been forced to flee for their lives. In the past year in countries like India and Egypt Christians were attacked in church. We have also been persecuted in Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and even parts of the Philippines. You risk your life just to go to mass.
Why? Why are people willing to risk their lives for the faith? Why not just convert to Islam or whatever? What do they know that we are missing? Each weekend an average of 30% of American Catholics go to mass and so many of them go late and leave early. We act more like we are punching a time clock or getting a ticket punched rather than worshipping the God who created the Universe? Why?
What do they know that we don’t? What is it about our faith that makes people willing to give up their careers, homes, businesses and move to another country rather than give up their faith? Why are they willing to sacrifice everything for their faith?
We need to find out. We need to take a good look at our selves and our faith to see if we can discover the priceless treasure we’ve been missing. We need to take the time to really look at what our faith is really about, a relationship with a loving God who passionately longs to have us with Him for all eternity, the God who gave us Himself in the Eucharist so we don’t have to wait for heaven to know Him; the God who ardently longs to bless us, the God who gave His life for us on Calvary.
We have a faith worth dying for. Millions across the years have given their lives rather than abandon their faith. Even today people are willing to die for their faith. How important is your faith to you?

Definitely Worth the Fight!

This week I watched an elderly gentleman enter the church very slowly for mass. He is someone who has been fighting the battle against Abortion for probably 42 years. He reminded me of others I’ve known and made me think. Did it really matter? Was the battle for life worth it?
We have the most pro-abortion president in history and the Democrats are sure to nominate someone nearly as bad. This year we will reach the 58 million mark. Are our efforts useless?
It is funny we know how many abortions happen legally each year but we do not know how many abortions do not occur. How many people are saved because of the pro-life message? How many women choose life because we provide or require ultrasounds? How many decide for life because of the people praying outside a clinic or an ad, billboard or bumper sticker? We don’t know!
We will never know how many lives were saved because of the pro-life movement but I would bet, probably millions. We will never know the impact of the lives saved from abortion but there are probably doctors, nurses, teachers, research scientists, police officers and military personnel among the lot. Where would this country be without them? What would this country be like if there was no pro-life movement? We could be a lot worse than we are now.
There is a story about a man who was challenged for picking up jellyfish stranded on the beach. He was told that it was useless, there were so many, he couldn’t make a difference. He picked up another, threw it into the ocean and said. It makes a difference to that one. Maybe we haven’t stopped abortion but our efforts made a difference to each child saved, to each woman who didn’t have to deal with the trauma and guilt of ending the life of a child. We made a difference to millions. This country is better off because we fought for justice.

Take a Risk and Pray With People

Take a Risk and Pray With People

How many times have you listened to someone who was ill and wished you could do more than just offer to pray? Doesn’t it hurt to see people suffer and feel powerless to do anything about it? Don’t you wish you knew someone who could pray effectively for healing like the early Christians in the book of Acts?
How do you know that you aren’t that person, that you don’t have a gift for healing if you never step out in faith and try? Maybe you ask yourself, who am I to pray with someone for healing. I’m nobody special. But you are! By your Baptism you are a child of God, a temple of the Holy Spirit, an adopted son of the Father. You are beloved by God and if Catholic powered by Jesus in His Eucharist. You are a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, called by God to touch others with His love. In many ways we are just like the early Christians.
We received in Baptism and Confirmation the same Holy Spirit that they received. We have the Holy Spirit within us. It doesn’t matter how qualified we feel or how little training we’ve had or what we think we can do. It is not about us but who God is and what He wants to do through us. It is about His love for those who are hurting. All we are is His instruments.
We don’t have to be highly trained or know the right words. There is no magic formula or secret. All we have to be is willing to let God use us and pray in love, doing the best we can. God does all the rest.
It took me a year as a charismatic before I prayed over someone. Our prayer group offered a monthly healing mass with prayer teams available after mass. When Father told me I was partner with Michael I assumed he knew something I didn’t know. That experience led me to read everything I could find on healing prayer.
What did I learn? Always to point to Jesus He is the healer. All I am is His instrument. My job simply is to remind people of who He is, how much He loves them and longs to bless them. As often as possible I point to Jesus in the Eucharist, thank Him for His love, for being a God of Hope for being the same yesterday, today and forever and pray that they be totally open to the graces He wants to pour upon them in the Eucharist. It isn’t about me but Jesus in the Eucharist. How could He fail to do what is best?
Over the years I’ve prayed with people more than a thousand times. If someone is hurting we are called to respond. Jesus wants to reach out to the hurting through us. All we have to do is say yes and allow Him to use us. If we do we will see Him do amazing things. Step out in faith and trust Jesus to do the rest.