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Domestic Church Ink Slingers Maurisa Respect Life

15 Ways to Raise Pro-Life Children

January 22, 2019 will mark the 46th anniversary of the landmark abortion decision of Roe v. Wade–46 years of unmitigated infanticide in our country. It is an absolute scandal and a tragedy that must be ended.  As parents of the next generation, we have a sacred duty to raise our children to respect life at all stages. 

In our family, life issues are discussed frequently and at length.  My husband and I have felt it to be vitally important for our children to understand and embrace the sacredness of life; from conception to natural death.  We have employed many of the following 15 strategies in guiding our family toward greater respect for life.

  1. Make a big deal out of birthdays.  This does not mean spending large amounts of money on gifts.  This means making sure your children feel that their presence in your family is precious.  In our family, we allow the birthday child to choose the meals for the day and the birthday cake. We make them king or queen for the day.  If their birthday falls on a school day, I allow them to have it off (much easier to do if they are homeschooled). Making birthdays special may seem like a no-brainer, but if a child does not feel that they are themselves are precious, I firmly believe they cannot see how every other person is also precious.
  2. Speak of motherhood and mothers with deep-seated respect.  Motherhood is a remarkable and very unique vocation.  Our culture actively seeks to devalue motherhood. Our children need to know that God himself has given motherhood profound dignity. One just  need to look at the singular grace and honor He gave to His own mother.
  3. Welcome each new life into your own family with great joy.  I know from experience, there are times a new child seems overwhelming and you may not feel so joyful, especially at first.  Do not let your children see that.  Eventually our apprehensive feelings subside. So even if you aren’t feeling it, model joy for your family.
  4. Be open to life.  We are called to life and to embrace each new one that is gifted to us.  As Catholics, we are prohibited from using contraception. Often a hard teaching, but adhering to it is integral to the promotion of the pro-life cause.  It is not difficult to see that contraception and abortion go hand in hand.
  5. Take joy in new babies where ever you go.  Point out babies when out in public and talk about how sweet and precious they are.  Smile at and encourage new moms.
  6. Make a book for your children showing the different stages of development during pregnancy.  When I did this for our children I printed the photographs from this WebMD slide show and put them in page protectors in a binder.  I then wrote out appropriate, significant milestones in an unborn baby’s development for each month.  My kids loved this book and still look through it.
  7. Pray your family rosary offering it particularly for greater respect for life at all stages.
  8. Do not be afraid to discuss difficult life issues with your children at appropriate ages. Reinforce the truth of the dignity of every human life; that we are given that dignity by God and it is not dependent upon what we can and cannot do. The world takes a utilitarian view of human life which is completely counter to the Christian understanding.
  9. In word and action acknowledge the beauty and dignity of those who have special needs and/or special care.  Every life is a gift from God.
  10. Speak of aging and of the elderly in a positive and respectful manner; once again emphasizing the dignity of every life at every stage.
  11. Visit and/or volunteer in a nursing home.  Bring your children if you are able.  
  12. Volunteer in a pro-life pregnancy clinic. 
  13. Participate in a 40 Days for Life Campaign.
  14. Attend the March for Life if you are able.  During our years in the Washington DC area we were able to attend the March on multiple occasions.  Our children participated even further as teens; attending the Youth Rally as well as the March with our parish youth group. The experience is remarkable and invigorating and we always came away filled with hope for the future of the pro-life movement. Many states hold their own rallies in front of their state capitol or state supreme court buildings.  A little research on the web should provide details needed for your family to participate.
  15. Pray in front of an abortion clinic.  This one is tough.  Among the things that might discourage one from praying with their children in front of an active abortion mill are graphic posters of what abortion really entails and insults and profanity often flung at those gathered in prayer by those who support and embrace abortion.  On the occasions we have taken children to either the March for Life or a pro-life rally in front of an abortion clinic we offer a prayer of protection over our children and ask their guardian angels to guard their eyes and ears from things they are not at an age to handle. 

I firmly believe one day the laws protecting abortion will finally be overturned.  I pray it is our children who will take up the banner and accomplish this.  Until then, we must fight the fight and teach our children that it is a battle worth fighting and winning. 

I am sure this list is not exhaustive.  How do you foster respect for life in your family? What strategies would you add?

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NFP Awareness Week: Growing in Love, Mercy, and Life

NFP Awareness Week: Growing in Love, Mercy, and Life

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated this week as National Natural Family Planning Week in honor of the anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae. The theme of this year’s campaign is Love, Mercy, Life: Opening the Heart of Marriage. Here are just a few ways practicing NFP can help one grow in love, mercy, and life.

NFP teaches us how to love like Christ by turning the focus away from our own instant gratification and instead focusing on our spouse’s and family’s best interest. We learn to deny ourselves out of love for the other. NFP helps our love for our spouse grow – through struggles, communication, and triumphs, we grow in love and respect for each other. Our priest gave us some wonderful advice during our pre-marriage counseling: that with each new child we welcomed into our family, my spouse and I would learn to love each other better, because each child would teach us how to love in a new way. He suggested that each child would stretch us and force us to grow, and through learning to love each child in a different way, we would be learning to love our spouse in a new way as well. NFP allows us to grow in love for our spouse and our children. Of course one’s love for one’s spouse isn’t determined by how many children one has, but practicing NFP and being open to life do stretch us and help us to love deeper, to rid ourselves of selfishness and love our spouse more selflessly.

NFP teaches us to extend mercy to our spouse, especially during difficult times. Extending mercy and growing in patience are not often celebrated in our culture, but NFP requires the continued cultivation of mercy towards others and oneself.  NFP also teaches us to extend mercy to those struggling with crosses slightly different than our own: those with many young children close in age, those suffering from infertility, secondary infertility, miscarriage, those struggling with extended periods of abstinence, and even mercy towards those who are contradicting Church teaching by contracepting. We don’t know the struggles of others and certainly should not judge others based on how many children they do or do not have, but we are called to show mercy to all.

NFP teaches us to be open to life within our marriage, but also helps us recognize the dignity of human life throughout all stages- recognizing the sacredness and uniqueness of every human life. When we are open to life in our marriage, we are better able to see what is truly important in life, to differentiate between needs and wants, and to plan for the long term while placing our trust in God.

Sometimes, NFP is misrepresented as just Catholic-approved birth control, but this is not true. Our culture’s contraceptive mentality is all about control – controlling a woman’s fertility, controlling her body, controlling when we have children and when we don’t. But the truth is, we aren’t in control. God is in control. NFP helps us accept that truth, and allows us to work with God in understanding the beautiful gift of our fertility, and work with Him in bringing another unique soul into this world. But it always reminds us that ultimately, we are not in control, God is. And it’s only when we fully embrace this truth that our marriages will flourish.

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Whose Life Do We Fight For?

every life
October is Respect Life month. Often when we think about respecting life we first think of the fight to save babies and to end abortion. It is right that we think of this first, as without our basic right to life, we literally have nothing.

However, right to life and respecting life doesn’t end once we save all the babies. If we ended abortion today, our fight would still be far from over. The life movement starts with protecting the lives of the innocent in the womb, but it encompasses so much more.

Our faith teaches us that each person should be treated with love, respect, and dignity. It doesn’t matter where we come from, it doesn’t matter what our skin color is; it doesn’t matter our gender, our age, or our religion. Each and every person, because they are made in the image and likeness of God, deserves to live a dignified life. It is important to remember that each life we encounter is sacred and has value.

The fight for life begins in the womb, but it does not stop there. The fight for dignity and respect of life doesn’t end with end of life issues like assisted suicide or dignity in death. No, in between the two dots of conception and death on our timeline of life, are various other life issues that deeply affect a person’s ability to live a dignified life.

CorporalCatholic social teaching tells us that we have to defend more than just the unborn and the dying. We must fight for those who are suffering because they are poor, hungry, thirsty, homeless, or abused. We can look to the Corporal Works of Mercy to remind us of Christ’s social teachings about these groups of people. We must reach out to those who are suffering because they don’t have adequate means to sustain themselves. We must provide care for those who are unable to care for themselves.

Catholic social teaching does not end at feeding the poor and homeless. It extends much further into the depths of our society. If we are truly inspired to protect life and help all people to live dignified lives, then we must be willing to tackle issues like human trafficking, capital punishment, securing the rights of the disabled, making mental and physical health care available to all, insuring just wages, and supporting immigrants who come to our country to seek a life free from the fear of death or persecution.

Many of these issues are hot button topics that tend to instigate arguments and divide otherwise very compassionate, level-headed people. Even if we fear stepping out to defend life in these circumstances, we must do so. If we don’t, we not only disrespect the lives made in God’s likeness, we disrespect God Himself.

In Gaudium et Spes we read,

“Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator.” (27)

homelessEach person deserves life; but life is more than just being allowed to born. Yes, we must save babies! Not only is it honorable to do so, but it is vitally important! But after this we must continue the fight for life. We must fight for the rights of everyone to be able to eat, work, provide for their families, worship God in the manner of their choosing, and to live without the fear of being tortured, abused, or violated. We must fight for the disabled, the imprisoned, and the dying. We must defend the sick, the poor, the marginalized, the disabled and the immigrants seeking a better life. We have to acknowledge that if every person is made in the image and likeness of God, then every person deserves our love, our respect, and our protection.

As we continue to celebrate and defend life in October, we must ask ourselves if we are willing to stand up for all people. Are we only comfortable with defending helpless babies in the womb and those who are dying? Are we willing to defend the lives of those who cross our borders seeking to protect their children from the horrors that they are faced with in their native homeland? Are we willing to seek out a stay of execution for a convicted murder on death row or to make sure that those who are behind bars are able to live a dignified life? Are we willing to be the voice for the mentally ill, the disabled, and the poor?

To call ourselves pro-life we must acknowledge that life issues begin in the womb, but they extend far beyond the womb. We must be willing to fight for all life; anything less is not acceptable.

“We are called to reach out to those who find themselves in the existential peripheries of our societies and to show particular solidarity with the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the disabled, the unborn and the sick, migrants and refugees, the elderly and the young who lack employment.” ~Pope Francis

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From the Limelight to Christ’s Light

My name is Brad Fischetti.   I am a believer, Catholic, a husband, and a father.

I am Pro-life.  It’s the Catholic and Pro-life aspects which impelled Martina to ask me to write this piece.

WHY ME?

Being Catholic and Pro-life really isn’t that unique.  (Those two aspects should go hand in hand but that’s the subject of another piece.)

You see, Martina read a story Jill Stanek ran about my Pro-life efforts a while back.  Jill is an accomplished Pro-life advocate and blogger and a former labor and delivery nurse.

AGAIN, WHY ME?

Why did Jill decide to write about me?   There are thousands of people working hard to further the Pro-life cause.

Well, Jill read a story some secular media outlet ran about me praying in front of a local abortion clinic.

OKAY SO AGAIN, WHY ME?

Lots of folks pray in front of abortion clinics.   What’s so different about me?

I used to be famous.

I was in a music group called LFO.  We sold a bunch of records in the late 90’s and early 2000’s but went on hiatus in 2002. Aside from a short reunion tour in 2009, I hadn’t been in the limelight for over 10 years. But all of a sudden, because I prayed in front of an abortion clinic, I was interesting again.

It’s almost laughable.

I wondered if it was really so hard to imagine that someone who was once in the public eye could actually have convictions?  Is it really that courageous (or cowardly depending upon which side of the fence you’re on) to stand up for life?

Apparently the answer to those questions is, yes.

When a person or a band is famous, or trying to become successful and famous, the focus tends to be on playing the middle ground, so as not to offend or upset anyone.  You want EVERYONE to like you and to buy your record or see your movie or read your book or watch your TV show.  There are some in the famous realm who turn to outlandish behavior and stunts to promote their product.  That sort of approach is usually short-lived.  Longevity typically means straddling the line.   And for most of my career, I straddled the line.

But today, I straddle a different line.

It’s the narrow line created by Christ’s footsteps.  Every day I strive to straddle it, to place every step into His steps, because I have learned – the hard way – that the closer I stay to that path, the more beautiful and peace filled life will be.

EASIER SAID THAN DONE

Today it’s easy for me to preach a Christ-centered life.  And it’s much easier for me to live one.  I work at a church and most of my friends are from church and I have the privilege of ministering with and hanging with some extraordinarily learned and prayerful people, clergy and laypeople.

It was only several years ago that I began to understand what it meant to be a Catholic and to live a life for God.

Yes, I was a cradle Catholic.  Yes, I received all of my Sacraments.  But I didn’t know what any of it meant.  As a kid, our weekends didn’t revolve around church.  Sure, we went sometimes, but it wasn’t a regular occurrence.  I have no memories of praying as a family or seeing a Bible in the house.  As an adult nothing changed.  Church wasn’t a priority or really even a thought.  I didn’t even go to Mass on Easter and only went rarely for Christmas.

But I still believed in God.  

When I reflect over my early 20s, God was reaching out to me.  But I ignored Him for the most part.  Yeah I had a Bible and yeah I would read it and even take it on tour and read it on the plane or on the tour bus.  But I didn’t understand any of it and I certainly didn’t live it.  I knew I was Catholic, but that meant nothing to me.  I really didn’t even understand the differences between Christian denominations.

And then one day, I stopped believing.

It’s a long story and perhaps the subject of another future piece.  Let’s just say that Satan had me in his snares and was living up to his reputation as the father of lies.

I put my Bible down, stopped leading the prayers before we hit the stage, and just went on living.  And what a life I seemingly had – lots of success, lots of money, a big house, nice cars, expensive clothes, you name it.  But I was empty inside.  I can see that now.  I was a shell of a human.  Like so many, I tried to quench a desire with finite things when the only true satisfaction comes from God who is gloriously infinite.  Again, I see that now.

I went on living.  The future looked promising.  I started a record label and began helping to build the careers of independent bands.  The label continued to grow and so a second successful career was in the making.  Life was good.

Until it wasn’t.  

I fell into a deep depression and lost 40 pounds.  My choices lead me into some very scary life or death circumstances.  I thought I was finished.  Life as I knew it was over.  And at my most desperate moment, what did I do?

I prayed.

And to where did I turn?

The Mass.

Despite having no firm foundation in church, I knew where to go.  I think that’s one of the beauties of the Catholic faith.  Somehow, no matter how long we are away, we find our way back.  Maybe it’s the beautiful traditions.  Perhaps it’s the cleansing Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Whatever the reason, we make our way home.

I turned my face toward the light and (very) slowly but steadily, began my journey home.  Once I said yes to God, he started working in my life in astounding ways.  Again, the subject of a future piece.  But let me just say this,

God can never be outdone in generosity.

PLATFORMS

When I had a platform, I had no convictions.  I was motivated predominately by more success, by more money, by more things of this world.   I played hundreds of shows for millions of people and appeared on dozens of national TV shows and I uttered not one important word.

If only someone had educated me on abortion.

One day we will look back on the Roe v Wade era in this country with great disdain and bewilderment that it was once legal to cut a part a live baby from within her mother’s womb. Lord, have mercy on us all.

I wasn’t always Pro-life.  I wasn’t really Pro-choice either.  I just didn’t think it was any of my business.  I didn’t like abortion but I also didn’t think I had the right to stop a woman from having one.  I even helped two friends pay for abortions when I was in my early 20’s.  At the time, it had no real effect on me.  It wasn’t until reading an examination of conscience before Confession about seven years ago that I realized the gravity of the sin I had committed.  How could I have been so blinded?

I was firmly caught in the snares of the Devil.

Plus, I knew nothing about abortion.  We’re made to believe that there’s just a little clump of cells, smaller than a grain of rice, which is gently removed by a competent doctor, and then everything is wonderful.

Couldn’t be further from the truth.  Fact is, most women don’t find out they’re pregnant until they are six or seven weeks along.  And then they spend some time considering their options and by the time they get to the abortion clinic, they’re 10 or 12 weeks pregnant (or later) and their babies have fingers and toes.  What if a video of the array of barbaric abortion procedures was made available to me during the “health” classes of high school?  What if every sex-ed class in this country showed students just how despicable and egregious abortion was?

Abortion is a crime against humanity and an insult against God.

BradFischetti
Images Copyright Adrian Wilcox Photography, All Rights Reserved.

 

As firm as we have to be against abortion, we have to be equally as firm in promoting forgiveness and healing after an abortion.  My thing is not to condemn, but to educate and to pray for those who have been affected by abortion in some way, and to offer a path to forgiveness and a process to heal.  As a Catholic, that process starts with Confession.

Pro-life doesn’t stop at abortion.  Pro-life means protecting the dignity of life from conception to natural death.  To be truly Pro-life means to be opposed to capital punishment and euthanasia.  Wow, what a burden our Church places on us!  To protect innocent babies from dying we have to also protect hardened criminals?  Yes.  To be truly Pro-life and to live out our Catholic faith, yes.  No abortions.  No executions.   Yet another topic for a future writing.

TATTOOS

I know now that in my former life and career, God was simply preparing me for my work and ministry today.  I often sit at my desk and wonder how a guy with my history, and two arms full of tattoos could ever wind up working at a Catholic Church.  I know it can only be of God.  But in order for God to work on us, and in us, we have to be willing participants.  We have to say, yes.  Just imagine if Mary hadn’t said yes.  So many extraordinary men and women have said yes to God with magnificent results.

 
So, what about you?  What do you say?

 

namegraphicBrad Fischetti is a believer, a husband, and a father. He was part of the multi- platinum selling music group, LFO. The band found success in the late 90s and early 2000’s with hit songs like “Summer Girls” and “Girl on TV”. When LFO disbanded in 2002, Fischetti launched independent record label, 111 Records. Soon thereafter, he secured distribution with the Warner Music Group and went on to launch the careers of several bands on the indie scene including The Spill Canvas and The Reign of Kindo. Fischetti continues to run 111 Records, but the vast majority of his work time is devoted to his ministry at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Celebration, Florida where he serves as Director of Music and Director of Operations. Fischetti is also in the midst of launching a new Christian media company called He is Over Me, which will have a mission of bringing people closer to God through music, video, and the written word. The new entity will launch with a solo album effort from Fischetti. Brad Fischetti’s goal is to live out his vocation as a husband and father and to utilize his God-given gifts and talents to serve God and his Church.

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