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America the Divisive

 

America the Divisive

The past week or so has been hard for Americans. It’s been divisive. It’s dredged up difficult memories for some. It’s made many of us question our ability to determine who is telling truth, and really, what is truth? It’s made us think of justice and the American legal system of due process and burden of proof. It’s made us worry for our daughters, and for our sons. It’s brought about name-calling, gender-shaming, bullying and stalking; and it’s brought out the worst in some people.

In a country increasingly less and less faithfully Christian, politics has become a religion for some. Proclamations denouncing those who do not fall in-line with the representatives of their political parties. Prophesies of what will come to pass if the other political party gets their way.

Less than a week ago, on September 29, the Universal Church celebrated the Feast of the Archangels, Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Let us pray and ask the Archangels to care for our country during this difficult political time. For St. Michael to defend our nation against the wickedness of the devil, for St. Raphael to heal the hearts, minds, and souls of all our fellow Americans, and for St. Gabriel to deliver the message of God to all Americans, especially our leaders.

Prayer

O God, who dispose in marvelous order ministries both angelic and human, graciously grant that our life on earth may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister perpetually to you in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Collect Prayer from The Roman Missal, Third Edition, Mass for the Holy Angels)

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Current Events Ink Slingers Michelle Respect Life Spiritual Growth

Yes, America is Still a Great Nation

As our 4th of July celebrations come to a close and we begin our new work week, there is something that has been on my mind and on my heart. To be honest, I thought about it the entire weekend.

america is dyingOn Friday I read an article by Matt Walsh entitled, “No, America is Not a Great Nation.”  I don’t normally read many of his writings and only clicked through because a trusted friend had linked up the story. His style of writing is not one that I typically read as I am tenderhearted and tend to stay away from controversial matters, especially ones that get heated fast. However, when I do read his writings, I often find myself agreeing with some of his points. This article was no different. I found myself thinking about all the ways our nation has failed and how we are not the “great” nation we used to be.

Mr. Walsh pointed out that we’ve become a nation of people who kill babies, burn down our cities, push birth control on our children, glorify pornography, are unable to have differing opinions without being called racist, homophobic, or intolerant, and who ignore the Constitution when it fits our needs. And he’s right. Our nation has become all those things. Our Founding Fathers are probably hanging their heads in shame for us. The nation we fought so hard to become is not a nation of peace, freedom, and hope anymore.

Or is it?

As I sat reading the article on Friday, something just didn’t sit right with me. While these accusations are true, I think Mr. Walsh misses a very important point. His reader asked for hope and to show how our nation is still great. After pointing out all our failings, Mr. Walsh asks his readers, “If so, what’s so great about being great? Where is the optimism in that miserable greatness? Where is the hope for the future if moral bankruptcy, selfishness, confusion, stupidity, deviancy and failure are “great”?

As the weekend passed and I celebrated our nation’s birth with our family and friends, I couldn’t help but think of this article over and over again. The point I think that Mr. Walsh misses is that while all these terrible things are true about our nation, the hope and the fire for freedom and equality are still alive in the nation’s people! I know because I see it on a daily basis.

stand for life 5Our nation has slaughtered almost 56 million innocent lives since the passing of Roe v. Wade. The numbers are staggering and grip at the heart and soul. But even while many have become apathetic to this plight, there are others who stand up and fight for life! There are people who pray outside of abortion clinics, those who run pregnancy resource centers, there are Stand for Life rallies, and 40 Days for Life events. There are people meeting behind the scenes trying to figure out ways to end this scourge. Yes, abortion is rampant in our society but there is still hope. Those who fight for life will tell you that even in the face of incredible odds the fight is worthwhile and good. There is hope.

stand for life 18I think about our cities burning and lawlessness being encouraged and celebrated. There has been a steady rise in crime and unlawful acts and it seems as if people not only don’t respect the law, but other humans as well. As the wife of a police officer, I can’t tell you how many times I have feared for my husband’s life and for those whom we call family- brothers and sisters of the badge.  My heart cries when I watch the news and see all the violence and crime and worry about what will face our children in the future. But there is still hope. There are good men and women willing to fight evil on the front lines, sacrificing everything if called to do so, to protect us from those who would bring us harm. They still respect our nation’s laws and swear to uphold them to the best of their ability. They may not always do it perfectly, but they are still trying, sacrificing for the betterment of our society. There are so many honorable men and women in this nation. There is hope.           

When I think about our citizens I do wonder what has gotten into the minds and hearts of some. Why would they care so little about one another? How can they disregard life the way they do? How can they destroy their neighborhoods or what others have built up through hard work? It’s not only violence that I’m thinking about when I contemplate this. I wonder how people can ignore the needs of others so that they can find financial gain or status. Why do they consider others unimportant and disposable?

SAM_1512While it is true that there are many who are willing to destroy the lives and the well-being of others either through violence or self-gain, there are many others who are working hard to rebuild neighborhoods and lives through the gift of volunteerism and charity. I don’t have to go far to witness this in my own life. We just returned from a mission trip to help minister to the homeless and needy. While our trip was a short one, there are many who work on a daily basis to help improve the lives of others. Those who work in soup kitchens, shelters, pregnancy resource centers, food pantries, churches, hospitals, organizations that work to improve neighborhoods like People Working Cooperatively, Habitat for Humanity, organizations that help individuals obtain their high school diplomas or to find work, and those who respond to crisis situations or natural disasters. There are millions of people who donate their time, money, and talent every single day to lift up others and to make our world a better place. There is hope.

Leading our children to God
Photo courtesy of Michael T. Barrett

We may look at the world around us and feel overwhelmed and worried. It seems as if at every turn our religious rights are being stripped away from us. If they aren’t being stripped away they are being corrupted and dismantled. Sometimes it feels like we are the lone follower standing up for what we believe. But this is not so. We have people who dedicate their time and talent to teaching our children the faith- religious education instructors, youth leaders, vacation bible school teachers, and religious brothers, sisters, and priests. They encourage us, as our children’s primary faith educators, to stay the course and to be faithful. The world is so loud all around us, shouting for us to turn our back on what we believe, but there are many who are willing to stand up devoutly to teach and proclaim the truth. There is hope.

We went to our local fireworks show on the Fourth. The forecast was calling for storms, but when we arrived we had hope that the rain might hold off. We sat with friends on the hill watching the orchestra warm up. Our children blew bubbles and rolled down the hill without a care in the world. When the orchestra began playing “The Star Spangled Banner”, every single person rose from their seats. With hands over our hearts, some sang and some simply took in the beauty of seeing so many honoring our nation. I felt hope.

fireworks
Photo courtesy Michael T. Barrett

Soon though, the rain moved in and many would leave before the fireworks would begin. We sat in our car and waited. Despite the rain, the event organizers decided to go ahead with the fireworks. When they started we jumped from our car and headed out to watch. As my family stood in the rain on Saturday night watching the fireworks that celebrated our nation’s birth and greatness, I could help but feel proud and encouraged. Despite the downpour there were hundreds of others willing to weather the storm to give honor and thanks for the sacrifices that so many have endured over the years to help our country flourish and grow.  I looked around me and saw hope.

It’s easy to look at our problems and think that all is lost. But God is still very much alive in our nation. We only have to look at those who are working to make our nation better- those who sacrifice their time, their talents, and their energy to help those in need; those who are protecting our nation both abroad and on the home front; those who are imparting our faith to our children and helping to nourish our souls; those who fight for the life of all of God’s children. Yes, there is much wrong in our nation, but we are still a nation filled with many good and honorable people. If, like Mr. Walsh says, we are not able to separate the people from the nation, I believe that this means we still live in a great nation- one that is overflowing with hope.

It only took one man dying on the cross to bring hope to the world. That hope is eternal and regardless of what our worries are or where we think our nation is headed, there is always hope.

flag and crucifix

Categories
Allison Current Events

America the Beautiful!

Words by Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man’s avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

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Campaigns Current Events Fasting HHS mandate Prayer

40 Days to Pray for The USA {Prayer Campaign}

It’s that time again for our Prayer Campaign and this time, as promised, we are going to pray for the USA. We invite you to help us promote this next prayer campaign that will start on Saturday, September 1. This prayer campaign is of particular importance, in that we will be focusing heavily on praying for our country; especially now as we go into the election. We feel we will need the prayers of many and rely on your help to spread the word. Please feel free to share this event and promote it on your Facebook walls, your blogs, G+, Twitter, any any media outlets you may have a connection with, please and thank you.

Why are we doing this? Pillars of a nation crumble when the “metal is mixed with clay”. Already our institutions of education, religion, government and finance have suffered this mix and are beginning to crumble. Help to rebuild our nation and bring in men and women who believe in our founding fathers to do so. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have in this spiritual war. Make this a daily prayer for our nation; to come back to God via Godly leaders. The opposition is great and satan never sleeps, so we have an obligation and an opportunity to use our weapon of war for the love of God and country.

40 Days of Prayers for the U.S.A. is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, patroness of the United States of America.

There are two easy ways for you to participate:

1. Join us on our Facebook Event page. You can RSVP to let us know you are joining us in prayer. If you don’t use FB, you can just leave us a comment under this post.

2. You can join us by downloading the flyer with all 40 days of prayer (don’t forget to leave us a comment as well):

View this document on Scribd

The prayers:

Day 1: Today we pray for all politicians: the president, cabinet, parliament, diplomats,
ambassadors, mayors, and the members of Congress.

Day 2: The real power in our universe is God and we seek help from Him. God, please help this nation return to You; if in these men is Your will, let it be done, and protect them along the way.

Day 3: Today we pray for all governmental leaders that they come into contact with the Gospel of Christ and experience the love of God.

Day 4: Every nation shall be under the rule of the Almighty God one day, so let’s prepare the way in the USA and lead other nations back to God. Lord guide us.

Day 5: Today we pray that corrupt and impure leaders become convicted and they seek the forgiveness of God. Help us appoint Godly men to lead our nation and protect the righteous ones.

Day 6: Today we pray for the families of all politicians and government officials, that You protect them and allow them to be a positive influence in all their decisions.

Day 7: Mary, Our Battlequeen, intercede for us now. The church militant desires to bring back the Holy Name of God in our schools, our courts, and our public places.

Day 8: Today we pray for all officials to execute their duties in a fair and humane manner and with insight.

Day 9: Oh Beautiful America, we have bathed your fruited planes with innocent blood! Remember the innocence of our youth, and God made us a great nation. Bring back that power, real and just, and consider the future of America with God as our friend, not as our enemy.

Day 10: Today we pray that leaders do that which is merciful, unselfish and sensitive to the people’s needs.

Day 11: Today we pray for citizens and government leaders to humble themselves and pray and seek the Lord’s will.

Day 12: You have told us the prayers of a righteous man avails much. Hear the prayers of your faithful for the sake of Your name and our nation, we pray these men will do what they can to put God in America again.

Day 13: Today we pray You help all governing authorities understand that all authority comes from God.

Day 14: Today we pray for our nation’s financial struggles and those suffering economic crisis. Bring them comfort and peace, oh Lord.

Day 15: Lord you use the weak, small, hopeful and the childlike to do Your work and show Your Power. Your faithful people are putting their hope in You to rescue us from the corruption in our nations leaders. Hear our prayers!

Day 16: Today we pray that You promote Godly influence in our government in our schools and to remove ungodly influence in the same.

Day 17: Today we pray our country to have an honest and honorable government.

Day 18: Today we pray that God gives us courage and guidance to overcome the evil that is running rampant in our country.

Day 19: Today we pray that citizens and government leaders turn from their wicked ways so that we may be forgiven for our sins and receive healing.

Day 20: Today we pray for the hungry, homeless, unloved, and unwanted citizens in our country.

Day 21: Today we pray that You use us, the citizens of this country, to bring it back to peace.

Day 22: Today we pray that leaders be humble and realize that they will have to give account to God because he/she was appointed by God.

Day 23: Today we pray for unfair and godless leaders, that they make “mistakes” that will be to the advantage of the Gospel.

Day 24: Today we pray that bad rulers and leaders be removed by the Lord, and that God-fearing persons may be appointed in their places.

Day 25: Today we pray that the Lord disrupts the advice of evil advisers and that He will give the leader wisdom and discernment.

Day 26: Today we pray that the plans of those who are involved in plots and unholy conspiracies will be broken and their plans be demolished.

Day 27: Today we pray for the Lord to break the stronghold of the demons and devils in politics and their individual lives.

Day 28: Today we pray that politicians be humble and realize that they will have to give account to God because they were appointed by God.

Day 29: Today we pray You break the plans of satan in the hearts of people of authority which are not in accordance with the laws of our country and of God.

Day 30: Today we pray for the volunteers and workers at the polls this election, that they follow all rules and be honest and keep others under these same standards.

Day 31: Today we pray for the citizens of our nation, that they open their mind and heart to the Word of the Lord to protect and honor our constitution and laws as they decide which candidate is the best one to vote for.

Day 32: Today we pray for our supreme court justices, that they make decisions according to Your will and that they judge morally and justly.

Day 33: Today we pray in thanksgiving for giving our forefathers the wisdom of establishing the division of powers so that our nation does not rest in the hands of one person.

Day 34: Today we pray that You bring healing to the culture of death mentality in our country, open eyes and soften hearts of those promulgating this evil agenda of killing innocent babies and our elderly.

Day 35: Today we pray that You take away the self-centered, indulgence, pride, and lack of shame over sin that plagues our nation.

Day 36: Today we thank You for making us citizens of this land of the free; help us make the right choices to please You, dear Lord, come voting day.

Day 37: Today we pray that You look with mercy on those who rule and lead the citizens of our country; help them see Your Holy Face, give them Faith.

Day 38: Today we pray that You grant to all our leaders the grace to know and do your Holy Will.

Day 39: Today we pray that You inspire Congressmen with the courage to make laws for the good of all and that they are pleasing to Thee.

Day 40: At America’s founding, our forefathers knew that our rights come from nature and God and not from government; pray that men in power realize this truth.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

St. Michael, the Archangel, Defend these men and their families in battle. Be their defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke the devil, I humbly pray; and do thou, Oh Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Power of God, cast into hell satan** and all his evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

 

** yes, we are well aware that the prince of darkness should be capitalized but we choose not to.

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Ink Slingers Molly G

Let Freedom Ring

As Americans, the 4th of July is one of our biggest holiday celebrations.  It marks the very important anniversary of our Nation’s independence.   Growing up as a military child, holidays celebrating our country meant something very special to me.   Even as a child, I remember the wonderful sense of Patriotism building up inside of me.  I didn’t know the ins and outs of our country’s politics, or the serious problems we faced everyday as a nation, but I knew I felt proud.  I knew I loved our country.  And I knew there was something special about being American that was innately rooted in my being. A lot of this Patriotic sentiment came from my father.  He, being a Navy veteran, and also the grandson of Immigrants gave him a unique perspective. My father was not Baptized, nor a Catholic for a large part of my childhood, but ironically, he made it clear from early on to always instill in me the greatness of our nation as rooted in God, not man. (a perspective which I feel may have helped in his conversion later in life).

 

I remember a personal experience while attending Mass with my mother when we lived overseas.   I arrived early with my mom, and we walked in as others were walking out.  Being the only base chapel, we had to share the building with other religious denominations.  As I sat in the pew, I looked around.  I noticed the priests quietly come out to the altar. I was confused, as it wasn’t time for Mass to start yet.  What I witnessed next made an everlasting impression on me.  The priests carefully placed the Tabernacle with the Host at the front on a table.  The large plain wooden cross was loosened and flipped over to reveal an ornate crucifix now at the center of the wall behind the altar.  The vestments were laid and the candles lit.  It was quite a transformation to see and is something that has stuck with me to this day.  The physical way the chapel was changed that day represented a much larger picture to me about the tradition of our faith and what it can offer to our American heritage.

Several years later, when traveling in Northern France with my high school band program, we came to the small town where we were going to stay.  Our bus pulled up, and the townspeople had gathered along the street.  The Mayor of the town came to greet us, and started to speak.  I assumed we would hear a welcome speech and then be released to our homestays.  Instead, what I heard was an elaborate history of the town, and how American troops had liberated and protected the town in World War II from complete destruction.  The Mayor concluded by saying that he did not want the townspeople to ever forget what had been done for them, and he wanted us to know, as young Americans, that he would keep this promise.  He then came around and shook each of our hands and said, “Thank you.”  I was amazed at the story, and even more so that someone, in a small town in France, would take the time to acknowledge America for her charity and greatness over 50 years later.

It was in that moment that I realized being American was much more than just a nationality.  All of my dad’s lessons came back to me in a flood of thoughts.  There was something special about our country, the people in it, and what our destiny was in the world.  America’s founding, based on freedom and liberty, was definitely rooted in something stronger.  My dad had said to me in a recent email, “Our founding fathers believed – rightly, I think – that God gives us the blueprint for living life properly. Our task is to discern his plan and live by it. In return, one prays, He will give us His grace – Grace that we are not entitled to and that we cannot earn, but that grace lies at the very root of our freedom.” He also told me, “When Jefferson wrote : ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” it wasn’t designed to be a bumper sticker, it was a statement of truth – self-evident truth derived from faith.”

I began to think about his statements, and all our founding fathers had to go through to establish a document as bold as The Declaration of Independence.  Then it hit me.  Faith.  Faith is why the Declaration signers had the courage to stand up, and why we are truly a free people.  The founders were referencing God.  Just as my dad had always taught me.

When telling my dad about my upcoming 4th of July blog post, he told me about his own Russian born grandfather, whom he called ‘Pop.’  Pop’s chicken farm had failed – being taken over by larger chicken businesses. He was then made to supplement his social security by taking a part time position as a maintenence man at one of those larger chicken processing plants.  My then 14 year old father, seeing what hard times his Pop had come upon, asked him if he ever regretted immigrating to America. In his own broken language made up of English, Yiddish, Spanish, and Polish, Pop told my father emphatically and almost angrily:

“I am an American. I know why I came here. I worked hard, I sent two sons to college (Pop had only completed 3rd grade), I own property, I worship as I please, and I do what I want.”

My dad went on to tell me, “It wasn’t until after I had traveled the world and gone to war that I began to understand.  After seeing how the rest of the world lives – even the “developed” world, I started to grasp what Pop meant. He was thinking about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and he knew from whence those rights came as did our country’s founders: God, not man.”

 

So this Wednesday, when we are celebrating the wonderful gift of independence of our great nation, we must also remember the gift of our faith. Freedom and liberty were surely found in America that day in 1776.  But it was through God given talents of great men, we were given a vision no other country had previously embarked upon.  True freedom came through faith in God, which shaped the immigrant’s faith in the American promise.  For it is this faith that allows us to live out that vision set forth by our founding fathers; and will allow us, as citizens, to continue to strive for a better America.  In the words of the time honored hymn “Faith of our Fathers:”

Faith of our fathers, we will strive
To win all nations unto thee;
And through the truth that comes from God
Mankind shall then indeed be free.
Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death

Mother Mary, pray for us!

God Bless America!