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Forgiveness: Is Someone You Love Poison for Your Soul?

It’s evident that I’m not alone in a struggle with someone intimately linked to my life. I have heard many stories portraying similar, unfortunate circumstances. You know, someone in your family or close circle of friends, who persistently goes out of his way to hurt you. I’m not talking about the occasional butting of heads that many of us encounter in our flawed human interaction with other flawed humans. What I’m contemplating is something far more disturbing and difficult to charitably fathom. This type of animosity makes others take notice, their facial expressions revealing their shock – ‘what the heck’!? What do you do in such a situation? How long do you persist in trying to make amends? To whom do you go for advice?

What’s Going On Here?

I have had a couple such encounters in my life and, in fact, have been struggling with one for over 20 years. In an effort at full disclosure, I must confess to active participation on my part – initially. It’s a case of those reflexive pushing back types of reactions which sometimes make both participants uncomfortable company for anyone who is not playing their flawed game. Either that or observers feel the need to choose sides or make ineffective (and temporary) attempts to settle the matter. If you’re lucky though, after a while, the snide comments and fleeting, glaring stares give way to a desire to wipe the slate clean – so you do. You and this person come to a detente – after all, why waste precious time on disharmony when there’s so much joy to be had? You go to confession, you commune with one another and all seems right with the world. And then…
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This Isn’t Going Away, Is It?

Somehow the fleeting peace fails to last and this time, you’re trapped as an unwilling participant in a battle from which you’ve walked away. You have prayerfully discerned that this is a sinful situation – as in occasion of sin – but the other persists in their vitriolic contact. So what to do? Perhaps going to the person in question and having an in-depth conversation will work wonders. But that doesn’t work in the most difficult of such situations. Conceivably the next step is going to someone who knows you both, who can impartially seek a common peace.
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And still, it persists. In an effort to forgive the seventy times seven Jesus asks of us, you might finally find yourself making another appointment with your parish priest or spiritual director. After thoroughly listening to your distress, the resulting advice might be surprising. If all efforts at peace have resulted in an inadequate outcome; if there simply is no hope for a fruitful relationship, you may simply need to walk away. This isn’t easy – especially if you have close ties to the person in question. How do you walk away from someone who is intimately connected? And how realistic is it to expect for the unrest never to cross your mind or interactions with others who know you both?
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So What to do?forgiveness

I once read some sage advice. Every time that the hurts resurfaces – whether they are remembered conflicts
or new transgressions – say an Our Father for the person causing you pain. When you get to the line, ‘forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us’, it’s impossible to hold onto the resentment if you truly mean what you’re praying. After all, don’t we recognize that we aren’t worthy of forgiveness in our own transgressions? Forgiveness comes from the gift of Jesus and His dying for us. It’s not something we earn or are entitled to expect. Rather, it’s a gift of love. Remember Jesus telling us to love even our enemies?
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Is this any different than Jesus forgiving those who persecuted him? Didn’t He set a really high bar for us when he lived the example of the ultimate forgiveness? Is it any more difficult than Him saying, ‘they know not what they do’? If we expect to follow Jesus – at all costs – how can we justify holding onto a grudge against those who persecute us? In the same way that we, flawed as we are, find that we need to confess the same sins again and again – that is the way that we must resolve to step aside from the hurt feelings and grudges we might feel toward those who persist in hurting us. Didn’t the Sanhedrin give false testimony against Jesus? Didn’t He have to endure the most excruciating pain, betrayal, and slander – even unto death on a cross? Who then, are we, to expect better than the treatment He received? “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
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          “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Matthew 5:44
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Father, please give me a contrite heart. Help me to resolve to never sin against you again. Give me true repentance and forgiveness so that I may give forgiveness too!  Amen!
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Protect Babies and Women – Stand With Prolife Texas!

prolifeI’m not from Texas so you might be wondering why I would be all enthused about something that is happening in the Lone Star State. The answer is simple; this issue is relevant no matter where you are. What’s happening in Texas could have a very real, positive prolife impact across the nation!

A few days ago, I wrote about  SB5, a far-reaching prolife bill before the Texas Senate. The gallant effort of the Texas prolife majority was beaten back, after a raunchy mob of abortion advocates screamed so loudly as to prevent conclusion of the vote and signing of the bill. Thank God that Texans are known for their larger than life tenacity and their conservative (read God-fearing) ways! Speaking at the recent National Right to Life Committee annual meeting, Governor Rick Perry said, “there is no higher calling than defending the right to life”. True to form, Governor Perry (R) called a 2nd special session (beginning July 1) and the bill has been revived as HB2.

Details About the Prolife Bill – HB2

On June, 28, 2013 – after the jeers of the pro-abortion crowd prevented the democratic process – a similar Prolife Omnibus Bill (HB2), was filed by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R). This bill relates to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers, and late term abortions. It prohibits abortion – without exceptions – after 20 weeks, keeping in mind medical evidence that babies at this stage are capable of feeling pain. Further, it requires that abortion mills are held to the same standards as other facilities that perform surgical procedures. Due to the lack of regulation currently required, even legal abortion is detrimental to the lives of women because they are performed in poorly maintained facilities by unskilled employees. This portion of the bill should be supported by anyone who cares about women because it seeks to protect their health and safety. Further, the bill would require abortionists to have privilege at a nearby hospital – in the event that emergency medical treatment was warranted. Again, this should be attractive to anyone concerned with the health and medical safety of women.

 

What Happened to Require a Second Session?

Pro-abortion Sen. Wendy Davis (D) managed to stage a one-woman filibuster of the bill – by remaining on the Senate floor for a total of 11 hours, partly due to wearing a catheter (yuck). Her pink sneakers belied a heart hardened against both the pain of babies and the health of women in a rabid bid for ‘choice’ at all costs. A vehemently angry mob of pro-abortion supporters then caused such a disturbance that it was impossible to sign into law the winning vote for this legislation- although the votes for passage were there.  These extreme and hate-filled pro-abortion supporters seem willing to go to any lengths – by ignoring decorum and using bully tactics – to squash the will of the majority. Hopefully the democratic process – and will of the majority – will be successfully carried out during the special session.

 

What Can We Do If We’re Not in Texas?

prolife

As an ‘honorary’ Texan myself (I live in KY), I can share what I have done and continue to do:

  • Pray – there is nothing nearly as powerful as prayer. Keep this important legislation on your mind and in your intentions.
  • Share supportive prolife memes and information throughout all of your social media accounts. Tweet, share on Facebook, Google+ and more – all have audiences who will see your efforts. Don’t forget to ‘like’ prolife posts from friendly pages and individuals as a means for this effort to go viral. Each ‘like’ and ‘share’ will exponentially grow the message to a larger audience.
  • Talk to your friends and church members about this issue. Many people are simply unaware of the importance of what is happening in Texas. Be a shining light that illuminates the prolife precedent that Texas can create.
  • Maintain your dignity. This is a hot-button issue and it’s easy to be swept away with passion. Let’s demonstrate that we are a people of love. We won’t stoop to a mob mentality or the volatile methods of the opposition. Remember we have Truth on our side; we are fighting a holy battle for God’s glory.

 

Some Helpful Suggestions to Get You Started

FACEBOOK: I have created memes herehere and here, for ‘honorary’ Texans like myself. Feel free to go to my Designs by Birgit fan page and share from there. Make it your profile picture, share it on pages you moderate, Tweet it, ‘like’ it and help share the message. I will continue to create memes and such, so be sure to check back. I would also be happy to consider any suggestions you might have.

TWITTER: The hashtags to use are – #Stand4Life (this is the most important one – if you only have room for one, this is the one to use), #ProTXWomen , #ProtectBoth , and #HB2 . Use them frequently and show your support. Let’s get them trending!

BLOG: Do you have a blog? Are you willing to join us in sharing updates concerning this vital prolife legislation? Please consider giving the babies AND women a fair hearing through your posts. Don’t let the unruly mob silence the will of the people – support for both! Also please support the participants of the ProLIFE Blog Roll by reading what they have to say and leaving some love. If you want your own blog listed as a supporter, provide the link to your prolife post in the comments section and I’ll be happy to publicize it for you! Be sure to check back to see the updates as they come in.

OK – go! Let’s show the nation that we are still God-fearing, life-loving, citizens. And God bless Texas!

 

ProLIFE Blog Roll:prolife

 KERRI over at Journal of a Nobody shared her thoughts and some very good information in her postFor Pro-Choicers: What Does the Texas Bill REALLY Say. Check it out for details of the bill and some things that both sides of the debate can surely agree upon.

CHECK out my original post over on Designs by Birgit entitled, Midnight Vigil for Prolife Bill in Texas. In this post I outline what happened as the first Special Session came to a close and the vote was prevented by an unruly pro-abortion mob.

EMILY over at Dynamics of Davis also had a great perspective on the prolife battle waging in Texas. Check out her post, Why Wendy Davis is not my Hero – Telling the Truth.

MARTINA posted this post, Word-FILLED Wednesday: They Chanted HAIL SATAN, on Catholic Sistas.

BEATRICE wrote about the highly inappropriate signs held by children of the pro-abortion crowd in Texas on her blog, 400 Words for Women, in a post entitled A Sign of the Times.

UPDATED post of 7 Shocking Abortion News Items.

EYE WITNESS account of Austin TX goings on from Martina.

 

Be sure to submit your blog posts in the comments section so that I can add you to the ProLife Blog Roll!

prolife prolife

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Abortion BirgitJ Current Events Ink Slingers Prayer Pro-Life Issues Respect Life

Midnight Vigil for ProLife Bill in Texas

At the time I am typing these words it’s 1:20 here in W KY. Why am I still up because of something that has happened in Texas? If you know me at all, the answer should be obvious. I was keeping watch over prolife bill SB5 of the TX Senate.

What’s All the Hubbub in TX?

SB5 is a bill banning not only abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, but also ensuring that the procedure takes place in a surgical center. Further, the bill requires abortionists to have admitting privileges in a hospital within 30 miles of the center. The result of this prolife bill becoming law would mean that all but 5 (37 out of 42) abortion mills in Texas would be shut down. This would be no small victory for Life! Could it be that, finally, a state in the Union would take this important step toward the end of the death of babies by demand? Let’s hope and pray that it is so!

Oh the Drama When There’s a ProLife Bill!

This evening of legislative battle between good and evil was riveting. Although both the House and the Senate in Texas are ProLife Republican strongholds, the pro-abortion lobby has a vocal following. There were hundreds of visitors in the gallery and hallways, as well as outside, all chanting and shouting about their ‘right to choose’. As Sen. Wendy Davis, a darling of the pro-abortion crowd, filibustered for nearly 13 hours, the leadership were able to cite her for breaking with filibuster rules. Still she persisted and as the time for the end of the filibuster approached the unruly crowd began to shout, clap, chant and cheer in an effort to prevent a vote. If the legislative body had been prevented from voting within the time constraints it would have killed the opportunity for passage of the bill during this session.

So What Happened?

I was glued to the Live Stream from the TX Senate floor as all chaos had broken out. The comments from the pro-abortion crowd were streaming in – sacrilege, obscenities and all. After a while it was obvious that the stream wasn’t exactly live – there was a several minute delay. This made it even more difficult to discern what was happening in this crucial prolife battle. Confusion reigned as the weary cheerleader for abortion, Sen. Davis, held her ground for death. As the deadline for passing this prolife bill approached the crowd seemed to gather steam as they realized that; if they could cheer for abortion loudly enough, they might just prevent a roll call vote from happening. Just in the nick of time and above the roar of the crowd, Senate leadership began the voting process. Time was running out! It took a painfully long time to untangle the differing reports. As I gathered information from Facebook, Twitter, and the AP I finally found the answer. The bill had carried! Pro-Life efforts had won the day!

What Now?

As the news unfolded and more and more reports of the prolife bill’s success appeared, it also became apparent that the pro-abortion crowd would not go gently into the night. Reports of protesters punching police, near riot conditions and the necessity of escorts for pro-lifers became commonplace. Let’s see how/if the media reports about this.

This fight is far from over. The forces who fought so fervently for the right to rip a baby, limb from limb, from her mother’s womb will not take this loss lightly. Their efforts will redouble and their tactics will become more and more desperate. Already there is talk of lawsuits.pro-life bill

Tonight I pray for the legislators in the great state of Texas and all over our nation…that they may take strength from this fiercely won battle. Prayers also go out for the babies – both those who will be saved if the prolife bill, SB5. becomes law and those whose lives will still be lost. The women and men affected by abortion also need our prayers, as do our clergy. As pro-life citizens we are at the center of this battle. If we stand firmly in solidarity with our pre-born brethren, we stand to be a part of a godly victory. This issue is not for the faint of heart, but God willing, we will see the day where Life triumphs over death!

A Heart-Wrenching Update

3:03 a.m. – It’s with a heavy heart that I share the news that, just as I was putting this post to bed, I received news that the Lt. Governor of Texas had reversed his ruling on SB5. The vote on the prolife bill came too late to count. Although it would have won passage, it will now be up to the legislature to call a second session to bring the bill back up for a vote. Please continue to pray for the legislators of Texas – that they successfully bring this important bill to passage. God bless Texas and God bless our unworthy nation!

pro-life bill

More Questions Than Answers

Now that the dust has settled and the nightmare has shown itself to be reality, a few searching questions remain:

In the light of day, the timing of the vote comes to mind. Why did the legislative body wait until the last minute to attempt a vote? Surely the 15 or more minutes spent gaveling for order and simply standing, while looking up at the gallery, could have been better served by starting the vote.

Since there are rules about everything that happens within the confines of the Senate, why were the protesters allowed to interrupt the procedures for such a lengthy period of time? As an observer of more than one legislative session, here in Kentucky, I can tell you that the gallery would have been firmly cleared had such a scene taken place here. I can remember being in a similar situation. We silently raised pieces of paper with a request to let pro-life bills be heard, as debate was going on. We were swiftly warned, from the floor, that the Kentucky State Police would be clearing the gallery if we didn’t put our signs out of sight. If a silent act of civil disobedience created such a warning, how much more relevant would it be if the gallery crowd was as obnoxious and obscene as the pro-abortion crowd last night?

I also wonder about the Lt. Governor’s reversal of his ruling. Will there be a second special session as promised? What will it hold and what outcome can we expect?

As we wait for the answers to these questions and for the outcome of the expected regrouping, we are once again reminded of our complete dependence on the Lord Our God. Without him, evil would triumph and our human efforts would be for naught. Now is the time to ramp up our prayers, asking Him to shore up the resolve and heighten the consciences of those who have matters of life and death in their hands – in Texas and across the globe.

 

**TEXAS FRIENDS: IN RESPONSE TO SB5 AND CALLING FOR A SECOND SESSION**

Call Governor Perry’s office (as often as you like) and say you support SB5 and want a 2nd session.

512-463-1782

He is tallying the calls.

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Abortion BirgitJ Current Events Ink Slingers Motherhood Pro-Life Issues Respect Life Vocations

The Aborted Generations – Faceless Group or Beloved Individuals?

Recently I revisited my pro-life testimony which was originally shared here. Not that something this huge – so early in life -can ever really leave your consciousness. When you conceive a baby in rape at the tender age of 14, the repercussions follow you no matter where you are. That I was born to some pretty spectacular parents is evident. After hearing my story, people often remark how amazing and strong I am/was. What they don’t realize is that I deserve none of the credit – my parents walked the walk of their Catholic faith when the situation presented itself. I was simply lucky enough to be their daughter. Without their support and help, neither of us would be where we are today – and neither would our families. What I can take responsibility for is how I deal with my experience and how I use it for the greater good.

My husband and I recently went to a baseball game. My brother (son) was coaching the team to which his sons belong. It’s amazing to see a Dad of his caliber – in tune with both their physical and spiritual needs. He feeds their little boy desires – like baseball, camping, biking and such – but he also makes sure that they are spiritually fed. How can it be, that someone who could have wound up as a cast off through abortion in another family, can have such an impact on the world? As a member of the Men’s Club of his parish, baseball coach, and scout leader – he’s the epitome of what a father should be. Yet, with just a turn of fate, he could not be here at all…his sons would not exist.

Thinking in this way personalizes the picture of abortion for me. Those millions of faceless babies – represented by crosses, memes, or other pro-life tactics – could have been, should have been just as amazing. Could have, should have had the opportunities of equally fulfilling lives. They were each unique gifts from God – formed in His likeness and destined for greatness by their Creator. Yet the foolish and sinful choices of humanity erased them from this world – as if they never existed. What a crying shame for us all!

So what can we do, when we are faced with the enormous impact of  abortion? What about those millions of lives that have been cast off, never to dwell on this earth. Although there are many great pro-life efforts out there – each with their own impact and audience – I think that it’s important to think of these little people as individuals instead of as a group. They had unique features and talents. Their lives would have encompassed a myriad of gifts to the world – mother, father, priest, artist, scientist or just a plain ‘nobody’ who was mostly important to himself and his Maker. It doesn’t really matter if we would have liked them or not; if they were the ‘right’ color, race or creed, if they were beautiful or talented or if they were deemed important in any other of our flawed human terms. They were important in that they had life, they had likes and dislikes, physical characteristics, and needs. These little people would have grown up to be big people. People with jobs and relationships and gifts to share. They would have prayed for others and cared for others – yet they were denied even the most simple of chances.

So the next time you need some encouragement to act out your pro-life inclinations, think of these millions as individuals. Imagine their lives, their stature, and their personhood. When we begin to put a face on the faceless masses, when we see each face instead of the entire crowd – perhaps that’s when they will matter enough to demand our very best. Maybe then we will give our all and feel that final push that throws off the awkwardness, shyness, or lack of resolve. How wonderful if we would all give these little people a face, so that we would have the courage to act fearlessly on their behalf!

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Gosnell Found Guilty – Now What?

Now is a good time to take a cleansing breath and focus on the impact the Gosnell verdict will have on the pro-life movement. As we are leaping in joy for a conviction, we must keep our wits about us and realize that the same babies, if killed by lethal injection within the womb, would have been legally aborted in clinics all over the country. They still are and will continue to be. The Gosnell saga is just the tip of the horrendous iceberg called ‘choice’ and this one victory should not lull us into complacency. As Rep. Chris Smith aptly phrased it,

“Some abortionists may have cleaner sheets than Gosnell, and better sterilized equipment and better trained accomplices, but what they do – what Gosnell did – kill babies and hurt women – is the same.”

Yes, this one monster has been found guilty of some of the horrific charges against him (3* counts of first degree murder for babies and 1 count of involuntary manslaughter for the woman killed via overdose), but there are many others out there doing exactly the same thing.

Much as Al Capone was brought down by tax evasion charges instead of his criminal activity as a mobster, Gosnell was brought down by a drug related raid. What the authorities found, shocked even seasoned law enforcement. No one in authority had cared about what he had been doing to women and babies in the 15 years since the last inspection of his ‘house of horrors’. They didn’t care that he experimented on unwitting poor women, maiming several of them in what is termed the Mothers Day Massacre. Just like they didn’t care that, across this country, dozens of clinics just like his operate without question every day. No one cared that Planned Parenthood referred women to Gosnell because they couldn’t stomach (or perhaps get away with) late term abortions in such huge numbers and scandalous conditions.

Gosnell chargesWhere is the outcry for all of the numerous women, all over the country, who suffered death at the hands of these butchers legally plying their murderous procedures described simply as medical ‘treatment’? What we have been handed is a gift wrapped opportunity to take the ball and run with it. The Gosnell trial finally gave pro-life advocates a more public voice and forced even the meekest network to at least marginally offer coverage. That a liberal news analyst, Kirsten Powers, deserves our deepest gratitude for finally breaking the story wide open and that Fox News offered some decent coverage would have been highly unlikely just a few weeks ago. Now the proverbial cat is out of the bag and, to mix my metaphors, we must make hay while the sun does shine! Nineteen brave Congressmen who spoke on the House floor,  “See No Evil” (an outstanding Fox News documentary), some other media coverage, #Gosnell Tweetfests, blogging and marathon postings on Facebook have gone a long way in educating more and more people. How shocking, disheartening and surprising to find that there are still many, many good citizens out there who are oblivious to this scandalous affair! When our priest asked for a show of hands of those who knew of Gosnell, only 20% or so of the congregation responded with raised hands.

So, on the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, we have been granted a wonderful chance to witness for Life. Coupled with the surprise visit of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in support of tens of thousands of pro-life faithful at the March for Life in Rome yesterday (Mothers Day), we have been blessed with an impressive beginning to the rest of the pro-life journey. What happens next is up to the collective us. Will we rest on our laurels in this partially won victory or will we let this be the catalyst to finally find our voice – a voice of righteous anger and outrage for the atrocities visited upon the innocent, left in our charge by God Almighty? A foot is in the door, so let’s fling it open and throw ourselves into the task of gaining momentum. Let us pray harder, speak louder, love more, and gird up for the ensuing battle. Now is not the time to turn away in horror – not wanting any more reminders. Satan, Planned Parenthood, and liberal media were forced to give us our day in the sun but make no mistake, they will be back with the fury of hell. Let’s be ready. Let’s rise to the occasion. And with God at our side, let’s forever end the most unspeakable act of killing the innocents at the altar of convenience!

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*Read about the baby that Gosnell was not convicted of killing here.

PS. As a Catholic believer in the unfathomable mercy of God, my hope is that Gosnell is kept in prison for the rest of his natural life. May he find true remorse and forgiveness.