Monthly Archives: November 2013

Pray with Me: Novenas to the Holy Spirit, Infant Jesus, Our Lady Undoer of Knots and St. Jude

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your divine will,
there is nothing in man,
nothing is harmless.

Wash that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
warm that which is chilled,
make right that which is wrong.

Give to your faithful,
who rely on you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Give reward to virtue,
give salvation at our passing on,
give eternal joy.
Amen. Alleluia.

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock
and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered.

[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

[List Requests]

Novena Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

O HOLY MARY, full of the presence of God, during your life you accepted with great humility the holy will of the Father, and the legacy of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and evil never dared to entangle you with its confusion.

Since then, you hast interceded for all our difficulties as you didst at the wedding feast of Cana. With all simplicity and with patience, you hast given us an example of how to untangle the knots in our complicated lives. By being our Mother forever, you arrange and make clear the path that unites us to Our Lord.

HOLY MARY, Mother of God and ours, with your maternal heart, please untie the knots that upset our lives. We ask you to receive into your hands our finances, careers and housing, and deliver us from the chains and confusion that restrain us.

O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, through your grace, your intercession, and by your example, deliver us from evil and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God, so that free of every confusion and error, we may find Him in all things, keep Him in our hearts, and serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.

O MARY, Undoer of Knots, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Amen.

Novena to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen
Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Blessed be Saint Jude in all the world and for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Prayer to St. Jude

O glorious Apostle, St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through this heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you.

Humbly prostrate before you I implore you through the Heart to look down<img St. Jude upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer, let not my trust be confounded. To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases.

Oh come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you, and will be your faithful client until I can Thank you in Heaven. Amen

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Pray with Me: Four Powerful Novenas

We must always avoid a superstitious or magical approach to prayer. We should not think of the words themselves as having power or giving us power over God. When a novena is identified as “never failing,” it requires openness to God’s resolving the problem His way. It is better to make one’s intention as general as possible than to ask God for a specific resolution. Nevertheless, these four novenas have been demonstrated to be efficacious, particularly because they focus on the Scriptural commands to pray and they have the aforementioned openness to God’s will. The Novena to the Holy Spirit is the prototype for all novenas: commemorating the Nine Days that Our Lady, the Eleven and some of the other disciples spent after the Ascension, waiting in the Upper Room for the coming of the Holy Spirit. 
Likewise, although we should not put too much import on the formulas or worrying about missing a day, etc., the point of a novena is to provide a small sign of dedication to God and concern for the cause at hand. In Liturgy, by using the same formulas around the world, we spiritually unite ourselves to others saying the same prayers. The same is true, in a lesser way, of private devotions like these. I share these prayers to help spread devotion to Our Lord, Our Lady and St. Jude.

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your divine will,
there is nothing in man,
nothing is harmless.

Wash that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
warm that which is chilled,
make right that which is wrong.

Give to your faithful,
who rely on you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Give reward to virtue,
give salvation at our passing on,
give eternal joy.
Amen. Alleluia.

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock
and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered.

[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

[List Requests]

Novena Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

O HOLY MARY, full of the presence of God, during your life you accepted with great humility the holy will of the Father, and the legacy of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and evil never dared to entangle you with its confusion.

Since then, you have interceded for all our difficulties as you didst at the wedding feast of Cana. With all simplicity and with patience, you have given us an example of how to untangle the knots in our complicated lives. By being our Mother forever, you arrange and make clear the path that unites us to Our Lord.

HOLY MARY, Mother of God and ours, with your maternal heart, please untie the knots that upset our lives. We ask you to receive into your hands our finances, careers and housing, and deliver us from the chains and confusion that restrain us.

O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, through your grace, your intercession, and by your example, deliver us from evil and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God, so that free of every confusion and error, we may find Him in all things, keep Him in our hearts, and serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.

O MARY, Undoer of Knots, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Amen.

Novena to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen
Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Blessed be Saint Jude in all the world and for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Prayer to St. Jude

O glorious Apostle, St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through this heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you.

Humbly prostrate before you I implore you through the Heart to look down<img St. Jude upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer, let not my trust be confounded. To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases.

Oh come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you, and will be your faithful client until I can Thank you in Heaven. Amen

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Pray with Me: Mega Novena

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your divine will,
there is nothing in man,
nothing is harmless.

Wash that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
warm that which is chilled,
make right that which is wrong.

Give to your faithful,
who rely on you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Give reward to virtue,
give salvation at our passing on,
give eternal joy.
Amen. Alleluia.

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock
and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered.

[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

[List Requests]

Novena Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

O HOLY MARY, full of the presence of God, during your life you accepted with great humility the holy will of the Father, and the legacy of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and evil never dared to entangle you with its confusion.

Since then, you hast interceded for all our difficulties as you didst at the wedding feast of Cana. With all simplicity and with patience, you hast given us an example of how to untangle the knots in our complicated lives. By being our Mother forever, you arrange and make clear the path that unites us to Our Lord.

HOLY MARY, Mother of God and ours, with your maternal heart, please untie the knots that upset our lives. We ask you to receive into your hands our finances, careers and housing, and deliver us from the chains and confusion that restrain us.

O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, through your grace, your intercession, and by your example, deliver us from evil and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God, so that free of every confusion and error, we may find Him in all things, keep Him in our hearts, and serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.

O MARY, Undoer of Knots, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Amen.

Novena to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen
Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Blessed be Saint Jude in all the world and for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Prayer to St. Jude

O glorious Apostle, St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through this heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you.

Humbly prostrate before you I implore you through the Heart to look down St. Jude upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer, let not my trust be confounded. To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases.

Oh come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you, and will be your faithful client until I can Thank you in Heaven. Amen

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Pray with Me: Mega Novena

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your divine will,
there is nothing in man,
nothing is harmless.

Wash that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
warm that which is chilled,
make right that which is wrong.

Give to your faithful,
who rely on you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Give reward to virtue,
give salvation at our passing on,
give eternal joy.
Amen. Alleluia.

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock
and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered.

[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

[List Requests]

Novena Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

O HOLY MARY, full of the presence of God, during your life you accepted with great humility the holy will of the Father, and the legacy of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and evil never dared to entangle you with its confusion.

Since then, you hast interceded for all our difficulties as you didst at the wedding feast of Cana. With all simplicity and with patience, you hast given us an example of how to untangle the knots in our complicated lives. By being our Mother forever, you arrange and make clear the path that unites us to Our Lord.

HOLY MARY, Mother of God and ours, with your maternal heart, please untie the knots that upset our lives. We ask you to receive into your hands our finances, careers and housing, and deliver us from the chains and confusion that restrain us.

O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, through your grace, your intercession, and by your example, deliver us from evil and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God, so that free of every confusion and error, we may find Him in all things, keep Him in our hearts, and serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.

O MARY, Undoer of Knots, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Amen.

Novena to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen
Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Blessed be Saint Jude in all the world and for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Prayer to St. Jude

O glorious Apostle, St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through this heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you.

Humbly prostrate before you I implore you through the Heart to look downSt. Jude upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer, let not my trust be confounded. To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases.

Oh come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you, and will be your faithful client until I can Thank you in Heaven. Amen

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Pray with Me: Mega Novena

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your divine will,
there is nothing in man,
nothing is harmless.

Wash that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
warm that which is chilled,
make right that which is wrong.

Give to your faithful,
who rely on you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Give reward to virtue,
give salvation at our passing on,
give eternal joy.
Amen. Alleluia.

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock
and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered.

[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

[List Requests]

Novena Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

O HOLY MARY, full of the presence of God, during your life you accepted with great humility the holy will of the Father, and the legacy of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and evil never dared to entangle you with its confusion.

Since then, you hast interceded for all our difficulties as you didst at the wedding feast of Cana. With all simplicity and with patience, you hast given us an example of how to untangle the knots in our complicated lives. By being our Mother forever, you arrange and make clear the path that unites us to Our Lord.

HOLY MARY, Mother of God and ours, with your maternal heart, please untie the knots that upset our lives. We ask you to receive into your hands our finances, careers and housing, and deliver us from the chains and confusion that restrain us.

O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, through your grace, your intercession, and by your example, deliver us from evil and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God, so that free of every confusion and error, we may find Him in all things, keep Him in our hearts, and serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.

O MARY, Undoer of Knots, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Amen.

Novena to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen
Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Blessed be Saint Jude in all the world and for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Prayer to St. Jude

O glorious Apostle, St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through this heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you.

Humbly prostrate before you I implore you through the Heart to look down St. Jude upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer, let not my trust be confounded. To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases.

Oh come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you, and will be your faithful client until I can Thank you in Heaven. Amen

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Pray with Me: Mega Novena

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your divine will,
there is nothing in man,
nothing is harmless.

Wash that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
warm that which is chilled,
make right that which is wrong.

Give to your faithful,
who rely on you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Give reward to virtue,
give salvation at our passing on,
give eternal joy.
Amen. Alleluia.

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock
and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered.

[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

[List Requests]

Novena Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

O HOLY MARY, full of the presence of God, during your life you accepted with great humility the holy will of the Father, and the legacy of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and evil never dared to entangle you with its confusion.

Since then, you hast interceded for all our difficulties as you didst at the wedding feast of Cana. With all simplicity and with patience, you hast given us an example of how to untangle the knots in our complicated lives. By being our Mother forever, you arrange and make clear the path that unites us to Our Lord.

HOLY MARY, Mother of God and ours, with your maternal heart, please untie the knots that upset our lives. We ask you to receive into your hands our finances, careers and housing, and deliver us from the chains and confusion that restrain us.

O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, through your grace, your intercession, and by your example, deliver us from evil and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God, so that free of every confusion and error, we may find Him in all things, keep Him in our hearts, and serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.

O MARY, Undoer of Knots, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Amen.

Novena to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen
Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Blessed be Saint Jude in all the world and for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Prayer to St. Jude

O glorious Apostle, St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through this heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you.

Humbly prostrate before you I implore you through the Heart to look down St. Jude upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer, let not my trust be confounded. To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases.

Oh come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you, and will be your faithful client until I can Thank you in Heaven. Amen

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Pray with Me: Mega Novena

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your divine will,
there is nothing in man,
nothing is harmless.

Wash that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
warm that which is chilled,
make right that which is wrong.

Give to your faithful,
who rely on you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Give reward to virtue,
give salvation at our passing on,
give eternal joy.
Amen. Alleluia.

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock
and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered.

[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

[List Requests]

Novena Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

O HOLY MARY, full of the presence of God, during your life you accepted with great humility the holy will of the Father, and the legacy of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and evil never dared to entangle you with its confusion.

Since then, you hast interceded for all our difficulties as you didst at the wedding feast of Cana. With all simplicity and with patience, you hast given us an example of how to untangle the knots in our complicated lives. By being our Mother forever, you arrange and make clear the path that unites us to Our Lord.

HOLY MARY, Mother of God and ours, with your maternal heart, please untie the knots that upset our lives. We ask you to receive into your hands our finances, careers and housing, and deliver us from the chains and confusion that restrain us.

O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, through your grace, your intercession, and by your example, deliver us from evil and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God, so that free of every confusion and error, we may find Him in all things, keep Him in our hearts, and serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.

O MARY, Undoer of Knots, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Amen.

Novena to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen
Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Blessed be Saint Jude in all the world and for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Prayer to St. Jude

O glorious Apostle, St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through this heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you.

Humbly prostrate before you I implore you through the Heart to look down St. Jude upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer, let not my trust be confounded. To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases.

Oh come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you, and will be your faithful client until I can Thank you in Heaven. Amen

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Pray with Me: Mega Novena

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your divine will,
there is nothing in man,
nothing is harmless.

Wash that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
warm that which is chilled,
make right that which is wrong.

Give to your faithful,
who rely on you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Give reward to virtue,
give salvation at our passing on,
give eternal joy.
Amen. Alleluia.

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock
and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered.

[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

[List Requests]

Novena Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

O HOLY MARY, full of the presence of God, during your life you accepted with great humility the holy will of the Father, and the legacy of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and evil never dared to entangle you with its confusion.

Since then, you hast interceded for all our difficulties as you didst at the wedding feast of Cana. With all simplicity and with patience, you hast given us an example of how to untangle the knots in our complicated lives. By being our Mother forever, you arrange and make clear the path that unites us to Our Lord.

HOLY MARY, Mother of God and ours, with your maternal heart, please untie the knots that upset our lives. We ask you to receive into your hands our finances, careers and housing, and deliver us from the chains and confusion that restrain us.

O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, through your grace, your intercession, and by your example, deliver us from evil and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God, so that free of every confusion and error, we may find Him in all things, keep Him in our hearts, and serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.

O MARY, Undoer of Knots, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Amen.

Novena to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen
Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Blessed be Saint Jude in all the world and for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Prayer to St. Jude

O glorious Apostle, St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through this heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you.

Humbly prostrate before you I implore you through the Heart to look downSt. Jude upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer, let not my trust be confounded. To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases.

Oh come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you, and will be your faithful client until I can Thank you in Heaven. Amen

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Being Where Terri Was: Part 1–How I Got There

Since late May, I have debated in my mind about what or whether to write about my experiences in April. Like most such autobiographical topics, I’ve fretted about such quibbles as whether to write it here first or save for some formal publication opportunity, whether to go with a fiction or nonfiction approach, how much to share, etc. So I’ve ended up squandering the time I’ve been given to share it by hindering myself, and I decided I’d better just post it here and trust God’s will.

So, here goes: on March 27, as my few regular readers are aware, I had my aorta repaired from the middle of the arch to the middle of the abdomen. I knew going in that it was a risky procedure. I’d spent 2 years reading medical abstracts, studying statistics, talking to surgeons, emailing surgeons, etc., not to mention having spent my entire life *up* to that point studying for the inevitable. For an otherwise “healthy” person, surgery on the descending aorta carries, depending on whose stats you read, something like a 40% chance of mortality within the first two years, and I forget the exact numbers I started with, but when I added them all up, I came up with a 90% chance of some kind of “permanent complication,” be it death, paralysis and/or organ damage. The likelihood of those complications occurring, and the need for surgery ASAP, increased if one was a) A Marfan (check), b) had previous surgery on the aortic root (check), c) had already suffered dissection (check) and/or d) had an aneurysm greater than 6 cm in diameter (check).

Since my dissection in January 2011, I’d been debating whether and where to have surgery. My longtime cardiologist agreed with me that my odds weren’t good and it was better, if I did anything at all, to find someone relatively local who was competent enough rather than do it long-distance. i had already ruled out Johns Hopkins, Emory and UNC, and while I’d been seeing a local surgeon who was competent and confident enough to do it, he needed at least one more team member and told Tme that he literally asked every cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon in the Augusta area, with no one willing to “touch me.” The last time I saw him was in May 2012, when he told me that, recommended I see his mentor at UNC, and told me I wouldn’t live through the end of the summer without surgery (this was based upon CT scans done in November of 2011 and January 2012).

After ruling out UNC, I put the whole thing in God’s Hands. I happened to see a trailer on my Facebook feed about a new movie of _Les Miserables_. I thought, “Oh, not another one,” thinking it was going to be another adaptation of the novel. Then I clicked play, and heard Anne Hathaway’s amazing performance of “I Dreamed a Dream,” and I was ecstatic: THEY MADE A MOVIE OF THE MUSICAL?! I ran to my wife and kids. I called my parents and my in-laws. My wife said, “That’s it: no doctors, no surgery, no activity. Total bed rest for six months. I want you to live long enough to see that movie!” That was the “goal,” and in the mean time we got to go on a Make-a-Wish trip to Florida, and I was able to make my definitive promises as a Secular Carmelite. At my Community’s Day of Recollection, after making my Promises, last December, one of my friends not only knew what I was talking about about when I explained about the surgical options I was considering (and trying to get someone to do, since I was hoping to find someone willing to do a stent operation rather than “traditional” open surgery) but knew one of the top vascular surgeons in the country and had another friend who’d had an iliac aneurysm repaired by that surgeon–I believe he was at Shands in Florida. So he immediately got his cell phone out and called the surgeon’s registration nurse, with whom I spoke for a few minutes that Saturday morning. She gave me a few more names. I started researching.

In early January, having done all that and seen _Les Miserables_ twice, I started looking these names up. I stumbled on the _US News_ list of top surgeons and, since their database of “top vascular surgeons” was nowhere near as long as other categories, I just started scrolling through it after having specifically searched for the other names. Of course, most of the people on the list were from NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, etc. Surprising, few of the names I’d been given were on the list. The one doctor, Dr. Svensson, I believe, at Cleveland Clinic was named by _US News_ as the top cardiac surgeon in the country. I contacted his office and explained how the only reason I was going to travel that far for surgery was for stents because I knew I couldn’t physically handle the travel or financially or emotionally handle the consequences of being stuck 10 hours from home should complications arise. She said, “No way, no how would we ever do stents on a Marfan.” I thanked her for her time.

So, after knocking off everyone else from my list, I finally hit someone within my 3-hour ideal radius that wasn’t Emory: Dr. Jeb Hallett at Roper St. Francis Health Care in Charleston. Plus, he had a little star indicating that he was in the “top 10%.” I Googled his name, and I found this video:

I called his office and scheduled an appointment. When I saw him, it was the most amazing medical appointment I’d ever had. I can honestly say that in all my experience with doctors, now as a patient and a parent, and having known some very excellent physicians, I have never known a doctor quite like Dr. Hallett. He knew everyone whose names I mentioned either as previous surgeons or as surgeons I’d considered. He even agreed with my reasons for ruling out some of the others. He spent a good 2 hours with us. He pulled the CT up on the computer and went over it with us. When his colleague, whose name I can never quite spell correctly for some reason, came for the cardiothoracic consult, Dr. Hallett stayed in the room. They talked right there with us. Our two eldest daughters were with us, and rather than insisting that they leave the room, as we feared, he included them in the conversation.
Afterwards, Mary asked me to talk to the girls about how they felt about it, as Gianna seemed a bit taken aback (as Mary and I both were) by seeing my aorta on the computer screen, and how shockingly huge it was. I said, “What do you girls think?”
Allie said she wanted them to do her surgery when the time comes, and said, “I think it’s a miracle!”
I later told Dr. Hallett on the phone what Allie said, and she said, “She may be right.”

"I am eternally grateful to God for both of these men."  -- my wife

“I am eternally grateful to God for both of these men.” — my wife

Pray with Me: Mega Novena

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your divine will,
there is nothing in man,
nothing is harmless.

Wash that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
warm that which is chilled,
make right that which is wrong.

Give to your faithful,
who rely on you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Give reward to virtue,
give salvation at our passing on,
give eternal joy.
Amen. Alleluia.

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock
and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered.

[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

[List Requests]

Novena Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

O HOLY MARY, full of the presence of God, during your life you accepted with great humility the holy will of the Father, and the legacy of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and evil never dared to entangle you with its confusion.

Since then, you hast interceded for all our difficulties as you didst at the wedding feast of Cana. With all simplicity and with patience, you hast given us an example of how to untangle the knots in our complicated lives. By being our Mother forever, you arrange and make clear the path that unites us to Our Lord.

HOLY MARY, Mother of God and ours, with your maternal heart, please untie the knots that upset our lives. We ask you to receive into your hands our finances, careers and housing, and deliver us from the chains and confusion that restrain us.

O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, through your grace, your intercession, and by your example, deliver us from evil and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God, so that free of every confusion and error, we may find Him in all things, keep Him in our hearts, and serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.

O MARY, Undoer of Knots, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Amen.

Novena to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen
Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Blessed be Saint Jude in all the world and for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Prayer to St. Jude

O glorious Apostle, St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through this heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you.

Humbly prostrate before you I implore you through the Heart to look down St. Jude upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer, let not my trust be confounded. To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases.

Oh come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you, and will be your faithful client until I can Thank you in Heaven. Amen

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Pray with Me: Mega Novena

The Lewis Crusade

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your divine will,
there is nothing in man,
nothing is harmless.

Wash that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
warm that which is chilled,
make right that which is wrong.

Give to your faithful,
who rely on you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Give reward to virtue,
give salvation at our passing on,
give eternal joy.
Amen. Alleluia.

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock
and…

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Today is the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

Which also happens to be the subject of one of my best lessons, a lesson on critical analysis, showing the elements that make it a great speech and explaining different possible essay outlines for a critical essay on the speech.

This is probably the last recording of my voice before I lost my left vocal cord.

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand: TBN sues itself, and shows how it compares negatively to EWTN

Paul and Jan Crouch, founders of Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN), are being sued by their own granddaughter for financial misdeeds. The granddaughter, in turn, is being sued by them on the allegation that *she* is the one who embezzled. What strikes me most about the article is learning the network’s operating budget, given that it’s already known how the Crouches live an extravagant lifestyle, and how it’s very clear they’ve never read the Gospel (a spokesman cites some verse about not owing anyone anything, but I guess he missed the part about “Let him who has two coats share with the one who has none”).

People often compare EWTN to televangelism (in the negative sense) and TBN in particular, especially since they both claim, for different reasons, to be the largest religious broadcaster in the world. I think that TBN takes the cake on that one, and not in a good way. Even granting their claim that the “private jet, multiple mansions and $100,000 mobile home for their dogs” are truly about security and housing network facilities, EWTN manages to do the same thing with just a few modest facilities: and, until relatively recently, just one.

Some people have been trying to say that EWTN’s lay staff are “in it for the money,” reaping huge benefits from donors’ money, etc., because they collect middle class salaries, while the Crouches really *do* that, and it’s proven in the difference between their operating budgets. According to the original article I linked above, TBN’s maximum known budget one year was $170 million. EWTN has a budget of about $24 million a year. Both networks broadcast worldwide. What’s the difference?

The Cockroaches–I mean Crouches

Mother Angelica, criticized for wearing a habit.

Some people, of all backgrounds compare the superficial similarities of the sets. Yet the criicisms of EWTN’s sets and studios are inconsistent: on the one hand is the claim that they don’t deserve donors’ money, overspend, etc., and that their sets are opulent and gaudy; on the other is the more accurate claim that their studios are still like a local TV station from the 1980’s. A Facebook friend pointed out that she visited EWTN’s studio at the JPII Center in DC a few years ago, and the cameras were being held together with duct tape.

Mary with Marcus Grodi

Mary with Marcus Grodi

When we visited there in 2000, we saw all the shows, but only attended 2 tapings of _Mother Angelica Live_. Why? Because the sets are all on wheeled platforms like sets in a play. There are, as you can see from the live shows, just a few rows of seats. Compare that to the “Mega Church” stadium on TBN. I’m sure that TBN would attribute that to the “success” of their “prosperity Gospel,” and I’d say, “in a worldly sense, yes, that’s very sucessful,” but the claim that EWTN’s people are secretly like the Crouches (or even the Medjugorje visionaries, who also have their summer homes and private jets) is ludicrous at best and calumnious at worst.

Audience and Purpose and the Popes

One of the ways having a literature degree has made me a better Catholic is understanding the concept of “audience and purpose.” We too often think of text as something absolute and immutable. When we’re told as students to consider “audience and purpose” in our reading and writing we tend to think of it as something very superficial. Teacher: “Who’s your audience in your essay?” Student: “You are.” Teacher: “No, your audience is a group of people who have a problem you’re trying to address.”

A good example of this I heard came from Barry Manilow, on the _Tavis Smiley_ show, to promote _15 Minutes_. He said that he was a celebrity coach for _American Idol_ 3 times: one of them behind the scenes. One of the times he was a celebrity judge, a contestant wanted to sing “I Made it Through the Rain.”
He asked, “Who are you singing for?”
“The judges and the audience.”
“No, who are you singing *for*? You can’t just perform to the audience. You have to be singing to somebody. Are you singing to God? Grandma? Your best friend?”
“God, I guess.”
So he guided her performance to that, and she did a fantastic job.

In teaching writing, I often found that one of the key failures of bad writing was having an unclear audience and purpose, being “all over the map,” as they say. One example I often refer to is a student in a “writing for IT majors” class who wrote her term paper on video game consoles. She did the typical “beginning research paper” practice of getting the first few sources she could find (in the old days, it was library books; today, it’s web sites) and throwing together what she could get from them. Part of her paper explained what console games are, like its audience was people who know nothing about them. Then it shifted to talking about them like it was addressing grandmas trying to buy games for their grandkids. Then it shifted to the latest models, like it was addressing people who wanted to upgrade. Then it started talking about customer service issues, like it was addressing current users. It read this way because it was essentially summarizing four articles written with these basic audiences in mind.

I would always tell my students to think about magazine headlines: ‘Lose 10 lbs. by [upcoming holiday].’ Obviously, the headline is targeting people who want to lose weight in a short amount of time. It doesn’t mean those are the only people who will read it. It just means its message is targeted to those readers. Think about a medical student doing some kind of research. He is called for various reasons to present to a group of high school students, college students, professors and other med students in a class or defense setting, and to other researchers at a conference. To each audience he’s going to give a different talk, even if the “topic” in a broad sense is the same, because each audience has different levels of experience and different things they want to know.

So, when we’re reading, we need to think of who the intended audience is when we’re interpreting. This is especially true of Popes. When Pope Pius IX was addressing bishops in countries where Communist revolutions were taking place, and he condemned “a kind of religious liberty” that said people’s consciences were free from the Church, then we can be pretty sure he wasn’t condemning *all* religious liberty but a certain kind that met a certain description. When the Popes have spoken of “immigration reform,” and talked about how countries need to be more generous in welcoming immigrants, often their descriptions of what countries *should* do is much like what the US already *does*.

So, when we look at what Pope Francis has been saying, we need to consider his intended audience. While the Scalfari interview has basically been repudiated by the Vatican, the much-(mis)quoted Jesuit interview is a good example: much has been made of the Holy Father’s words about “obsession” with certain moral issues, but he’s very clearly, in the context of the interview, answering a question about homiletics and confession. He’s not speaking of political activism or even evangelization. He’s just talking about what priests say from the pulpit and how they treat people in the confessional (as for the content, I’ve addressed that already).

ACLU Suing Catholic Hospital

Doctor tries to “force his opinion” regarding abortion on patient. Patient complains. ACLU sues Catholic hospital. Sounds predictable, right?

Not this time.

This time, they’re suing on behalf of the *doctor*.

You see, if a patient goes to a doctor or pharmacy, even one that’s openly Catholic, and demands contraception or abortion, then it’s “The doctor/hospital doesn’t have the right to force their moral views on the patient.”

However, if a patient goes to a Catholic facility expecting it will follow Catholic moral teachings, then it’s “the patient doesn’t have the right to force her moral views on the doctor”

If you want to put your own blood pressure at risk, you can see the typical hate-filled account and commentary at “Reproductive Health Reality Check” (aka, “Reproductive Poisoning Delusion Check”).

What makes this case hit close to home, and the exact kind of situation this blog was created for, is that the patient in question was suspected of having Marfan syndrome. And much like the cases of so many people who’ve been advised to abort their babies for eugenicist purposes only to find out later the babies didn’t have the genetic disorder in question, the woman doesn’t even have Marfan.

So much for “pro-choice.” If a person with same sex attraction disorder wants therapy for that problem, New Jersey’s “Catholic” “Republican” governor has made it a crime to provide that person with such therapy. Now, the ACLU is trying to say that it’s illegal for those of us who put our moral views first in making medical decisions to seek out providers who agree with us.

The unnamed woman had an unspecified “family history” and was sent to the cardiologist by her Ob/Gyn because she got pregnant. If she had been going for an evaluation for school sports, we know darn well she’d be told, “there’s very little risk, go for it,” even though if you go by the pre-1990s statistics, sports are far more dangerous than childbirth (given the mortality rate for untreated women is much higher). If a person *were* diagnosed with Marfan, and chose to play sports anyway, that would be considered “courageous,” but a woman who chooses life is considered “foolish” and “throwing her life away for a blob of tissue” (better than throwing her life away for a blob of rubber).

At least one of the articles thankfully specifies “severe cases may be fatal,” but a “severe case of Marfan syndrome” would have been obvious before she was pregnant, especially if she had a family history and knew to look out for it. Media are about as accurate in reporting on Marfan syndrome as they are about reporting on Catholicism, and the reports on this case illustrate both areas of gaping ignorance. Typically, “Marfan syndrome” is referred to as synonymous with “aortic root aneurysm,” and while that, in conjunction with ectopia lentis, has become the distinguishing characteristic from other connective tissue disorders, if she truly had a “severe case,” with a family history, other signs would have manifested themselves. If she did not have any existing aortic enlargement, there would have been no more risk from childbirth than any other strenuous activity she’d likely engage in.

As for the Catholic hospital side, commentbox feminazis (noting that the definition of “feminazi” is “a person who uses feminism as an excuse to ensure there are as many abortions as possible”) are making all sorts of false claims about “women’s health care,” saying that Catholic hospitals don’t treat ectopic pregnancy, give “emergency contraception,” etc. Treating an ectopic pregnancy is not the same thing as an abortion; the death of the child is a matter of double effect, and in many cases the child is already dead. The Church allows for necessary medical care which may endanger the baby, so long as there is not a direct abortion. It’s why St. Gianna Molla demonstrated heroic virtue; she went above and beyond the call of duty, opting not to have life saving medical care the Church would have permitted. Similarly, while the question of contraception in the case of rape is a matter of debate in Catholic circles, most Catholic ethical guidelines state that “emergency contraception” is permissible within 24 hours of a rape, so long as conception has not yet occurred.

I have never understood, “Don’t get pregnant, or have an abortion, because your child might me killed by your medical treatment,” any more than I’ve ever understood, “Kill your child now so you don’t have to watch him or her die later.”

Also, she went to a cardiologist because she was pregnant and had a family history. This could be taken either way, but anybody with a modicum of experience knows that’s one of the first things the “experts” say about Marfan syndrome: that it can be fatal for pregnant women (I’m not sure what the statistics are, but again, best I can tell it’s no more dangerous than any other strenuous activity one engages in while trying to actually have a “life”).

I’m sure that this woman heard this “advice” already and specifically went to a Catholic hospital to avoid being pressured into an abortion.

Want to go to a doctor for advice on Natural Family Planning? That’s illegal now, because according to the reasoning of the the ACLU, the likes of Chris Christie and the Obama Administration, since contraception is legal, that makes NFP illegal. If it’s illegal to provide “gay conversion therapy” or to provide a 100% pro-life medical practice to people who want it, then should Weight Watchers be illegal? How about vaccinations, regardless of your reason for objecting? “Don’t force your religious views on your doctor.” Don’t want to benefit from embryonic stem cell research, fetal tissue research, etc.? “You can’t put your religious views ahead of your health care.” What about “alternative medicine”? How many of those people who insist on polluting their bodies with birth control pills yet won’t eat at McDonald’s or take antibiotics would like it if people suddenly started suing them and saying, “McDonald’s is legal, so you *must* eat there”?

The hypocrisy of the ACLU and the “pro-choice” euphemism is that liberty is a two-way street. Even if we take a bare modicum standard of “liberty,” setting aside Natural Law, medical ethics, etc., a free market needs to operate both ways.

What is the “Dignity of His Office”?

One of the vague complaints that keeps getting lobbed against Pope Francis is that is actions offend the “dignity of his office.” So-called “traditionalists” are claiming that “he doesn’t understand that his office is about Jesus, and not himself,” yet most people would say that’s precisely what *he* understands and *they* don’t. The purpose of the worldly glories of the papacy was always to impress world leaders with the superiority of the papal office to their own, yet those days are long past: they may come again before the Lord does, but, for now, people associate the trappings of papal glory with the corruption of the Middle Ages, not with the office of Vicar of Christ.

Trads, myself included, are fond of quoting St. John Chrysostom that the “Floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops,” yet insist that bishops, and Popes especially, exhibit the kind of worldly splendor that the Eastern Doctor was speaking of. St. Jerome famously warned a “soldier” (priest) that he was putting his soul at risk by leaving the heremetical life to become a bishop, and this was long before the trappings of Medieval episcopacy that Trads consider “the dignity of the office”!

St. Lawrence is known for “turn me over; I’m done on that side,” but he should be known for what got him (and Pope Sixtus II) executed: when the Romans demanded that he show them the “treasures of the Church,” he showed them a room full of homeless people the Pope was caring for. I daresay that, if the Internet had existed during World War II, some Catholics would say, “Pius XII is a modernist! He’s offending the dignity of his office by sleeping without air conditioning and letting Jewish refugees sleep inside the Papal palace!” What is the true dignity of the papal office? It is the dignity expressed by that symbol of the Papacy that Protestants decided to tell people is a symbol of Satanism: the upside-down Cross:

He said to him: Feed my sheep. [18] Amen, amen I say to thee, when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not. [19] And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had said this, he saith to him: Follow me. (Jn 21:17-19)

x

Medjugorje and the CDF

Now that the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has specifically forbidden priests and bishops from supporting events that “take for granted” the truth of the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje and/or hosting the “seers,” specifically Ivan Dragicevic, for speaking engagements, it is generally believed that a definitive judgement is forthcoming and will not be positive. One wonders why the CDF has taken so long when Medjugorje fails under just about every standard in its 1978 guidelines for discerning apparitions:

A) Positive Criteria:

a) Moral certitude, or at least great probability of the existence of the fact, acquired by means of a serious investigation;

This is where the “no proof of the supernatural” ruling that has come from every investigation stops things right out of the gate.
Parlor tricks and preternatural phenomena do not count. Medjugorje fanatics constantly insist “there are miracles happening there every day,” but that’s precisely what “no proof of the supernatural” means: no miracles. Without evidence of miracles, there’s no probability that the “fact” is in fact a fact.

b) Particular circumstances relative to the existence and to the nature of the fact, that is to say:

1. Personal qualities of the subject or of the subjects (in particular, psychological equilibrium, honesty and rectitude of moral life, sincerity and habitual docility towards Ecclesiastical Authority, the capacity to return to a normal regimen of a life of faith, etc.);

Let’s see. . . .
“honesty and rectitude of moral life”: They lied to the investigation about whether they were “taking care of sheep” or going out for a smoke. If that wasn’t enough, they’re not exactly being honest about their profit motives (see below), using dummy corporations to cover up their profits from the tourism.
Tomislav Vlasic, whom the late Bishop Pavao Zanic called “the creator of Medjugorje,” was very prominently laicized in 2009 in part for his rampant sexual immorality. Proponents claim that Zanic opposed Medjugorje because he had a pre-existing conflict with “the Franciscans.” This “pre-existing conflict,” which also existed between the “local Franciscans” and their Order (which later expelled them), was over the fact that Vlasic had fathered a child as early as 1977 (several more by various women before he was finally defrocked 30+ years later!), and that the priests had ties to the Ustasha/Ustashe terrorist group (which was responsible for a horrible massacre of Serbians near the very spot of the first alleged “apparition,” nearly 40 years to the day before they started). Vlasic even “predicted,” at a meeting with the bishop about 6 months before the first “apparition,” that there would be an apparition to justify him.
Jozo Zovko, described by the “Gospa” as a “living saint,” was suspended twice by the mid-1990s for allegations of sexual affairs, as was a priest who left the priesthood and married an ex-nun. All of these men were referred to supposedly as “living saints” by the “Gospa,” who insisted they would be vindicated in the Church’s investigations of their scandalous behavior.
“habitual docility towards Ecclesiastical Authority”: Just the opposite
“the capacity to return to a normal regimen of a life of faith”: 32 years and “still going.” They’re like the Energizer Bunny of visionaries. Most approved visionaries either remained hidden most of their lives (e.g., Faustina, Gemma, etc.) or if they achievd notoriety, their apparitions were short, and they shunned “celebrity status.” Even the alleged Garabandal visionaries, who would occasionally give interviews and such, led relatively normal lives, from what I’ve heard.

2. As regards revelation: trueob theological and spiritual doctrine and immune from error;

This has been well discussed all over the web. Here’s one example.

3. Healthy devotion and abundant and constant spiritual fruit (for example, spirit of prayer, conversion, testimonies of charity, etc.)./blockquote>
This would, of course, be the main sticking point: “Look at all the conversions and vocations that take place there!” “I was converted because of it!” “Isn’t it great to have all these people fasting and saying the Rosary?”
The main reason Rome has delayed is that, superficially, there is so much “good fruit” in the sense of “Let’s get as many people filling the pews as we can.” Yet people get converted at Pentecostal tent meetings, too, and the Society of St. Pius X claims to have the best per capita vocations in the world, so what does that say to those claims?
But the operative word would seem to be “healthy”:
i) returning to the same place multiple times in search of “miracles” and “spiritual highs”?
ii) insisting on strict fasting rules for everyone.
Jesus told St. Faustina to request of her superior to be allowed to wear a hair shirt for a month and live off bread and water. When the superior refused, Jesus said, “Good, because I value obedience to your superiors more than obedience to these messages.” (See also above, about obedience). He said similar things to Bl. Teresa of Calcutta. Medjugorje supporters say that it’s a “continuation of Fatima,” yet a key element of the Fatima message was essentially the Little Way of St. Therese: “Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘It is mercy I demand and not sacrifice'” (Matthew 9:13). Fatima, Divine Mercy, Sacred Heart, Lourdes: they all teach that we shouldn’t make things complicated and put undo burdens on ourselves or others, that simple acts of kindness and offering up the trials we encounter in every day life are greater sacrifices than intentional mortification or fasting, that prayer should be simple but heartfelt. Medjugorje commands everyone to fast on bread and water two days a week to avoid nuclear war.
Most saints and authentic visionaries teach that a single Pater or Ave said thoughtfully is better than a rosary rattled off, that a single verse taken to heart is better than saying all the Psalms quickly. I know my own prayer life was horribly stunted by my early adherence to Medjugorje’s teachings.

B) Negative Criteria:

a) Manifest error concerning the fact.

See above, about the lies told in the “seers'” testimonies.
Then there’s the time “the Devil” appeared “by mistake,” or the time that someone tested Vicka’s claim of ecstasy by poking her, she recoiled, then she and Vlasic ran off to a room, came back, and said that the recoiled because the Virgin “dropped baby Jesus.”

b) Doctrinal errors attributed to God himself, or to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or to some saint in their manifestations, taking into account however the possibility that the subject might have added, even unconsciously, purely human elements or some error of the natural order to an authentic supernatural revelation (cf. Saint Ignatius, Exercises, no. 336).

See above about heresy. Here is Bishop Peric’s summary of the situation in 2010, following Christoph Cardinal Schonborn’s controversial visit.

c) Evidence of a search for profit or gain strictly connected to the fact.

As noted already, there’s plenty of that.

d) Gravely immoral acts committed by the subject or his or her followers when the fact occurred or in connection with it.

See above: smoking, sexual scandals involving the priests, and the simple principle that “the fact” in this case has been allegedly ongoing for 32+ years.

e) Psychological disorder or psychopathic tendencies in the subject, that with certainty influenced on the presumed supernatural fact, or psychosis, collective hysteria or other things of this kind.

That’s one for the investigators, but noting the distinction between “psychological disorder” and “psychopathy,” if it isn’t true, given everything else, they have to be one or the other.

What is a “Real Journalist”?

This past weekend, I was watching Part 2 of _Karol: the Man Who Became Pope_ on EWTN (one of my FB friends pointed out that the whole miniseries is on YouTube). The previous week, part 1 was on, dealing with his life under the Nazis and ending with Poland’s “liberation,” was on, and I thought, “This is what’s coming.” Watching Part 2, I thought, “This is what the US already has”:
1) The government spying on the Church (we know they were doing it at least as early as Clinton, and that the current regime has gone so far as to bug the Papal conclave)
2) The government talking about “the will of the People,” and then responding to complaints that they’re *not* doing the “will of the People” with “The people don’t know what’s good for them; we do.”
3) Independent journalists being silenced and “disappeared.”
This also raised one of those “Why do we think anything’s different now?” issues. For the past 10 years or so, a debate has raged about whether the “new media” constitute “journalists.” Earlier this year, Senator Dianne Feinstein (Communist from California) proposed an amendment to the superfluous “Media Shield Law” (a law which basically says that journalists fall under First Amendment protection, which just shows how Washington fails to understand the Constitution) which identifies a “journalist” as one who “draws a salary” and specifically limits the First Amendment rights of bloggers and other “new media” types.
Blogging, Tweeting, Podcasting and so forth may make it easier to generate an audience (my dad is fond of bragging that I have an “international blog”, which had my nurses at the hospital thinking I was some kind of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist or something), but “independent journalism” is nothing new. Indeed, it wasn’t too long ago, in the scope of human history, that *all* journalism was “independent.” After the invention of the typewriter, anyone who had the wherewithal could produce a “newspaper” or “magazine” or “newsletter.” The personal computer and printer made production quality and distribution cheaper and easier.
Twenty years ago, when I was in college (wow!), one of my professors used to speak of growing up in New York City in the early 20th Century, when his family subscribed to at least 6 different newspapers (and there were many more available). They represented a range of political ideologies, and it was just understood, “This was the conservative paper, this was the liberal paper, etc.” The consolidation of media to a few conglomerates (even locally–here in the Augusta, GA, area, the “local” channels mostly operate out of one building, through some kind of legal agreement that skirts the FCC’s rules) has led to this notion of “unbiased” journalism that really just means “liberal bias,” “corporate/government control.” FOX News (which, in this household, is considered just another example of liberal anti-Catholic TV news) is challenged by the Obama regime for it’s “bias” (meaning that FOX reporters are the only ones doing their jobs right now–the bright spot that CBS recently reported on Benghazi was dashed when the reporter recanted), and commonly referred to as “Faux News” by liberals.
It’s always been the “independent journalists” who have forced reform. This country was founded by “independent journalists” like Benjamin Franklin and James Madison. The First Amendment exists precisely to protect the speech of those who don’t “collect a salary” to promote propaganda for those in power. The fact that a “Media Shield Act” even exists is absurd.

“Older Brother On the Porch Syndrome”

There’s a lot of buzz about a New York Times article addressing the discomfort many Catholics of a conservative/traditional bent have had about Pope Francis: whether his actual deeds and teachings or the way they’re expressed by the media. I’ve addressed this before, but what strikes me about this conversation is that those who are upset are being compared to the “Older Brother of the Prodigal Son,” with a tone of “that’s how *bad* those judgemental conservatives are.” While I sympathize yet disagree with my fellow prolife conservatives’ views of the Pope (or at least how he’s portrayed), I wish the discussion of what my wife has called “Older Brother on the Porch Syndrome” (someone used a similar but more longwinded term) had been posed more constructively, so here goes.

It is, pun intended, the “Elephant in the Room,” and for my experience of the problem, the “conservatives” are just as bad as the “liberals.”
Some of us have felt “thrown under the bus,” so to speak, long before Pope Francis (and, indeed, those frustrations are why we held so dearly to the vocal support we received from the past two Popes, because we’ve so often had to butt heads with our own parishes, pastors and bishops).

1. Contraception is evil. Check.
2. Chastity is good. Check.
3. Chastity is challenging: acknowledged by most people except by those for whom it comes easily.
4. Paul’s advice in 1 Cor 7. Check
5. Abortion is evil. Check and double check.
6. Marriage should be open to children. “Absolutely!”
7. _Casti Connubii_ teaches that even in extreme circumstances, it’s better to put your bodily health, or life, or finances at risk by having a baby than putting your soul at risk by sinning against chastity.
Yet, here come the tricky parts:
8. _Gaudium et spes_, published before _Humanae Vitae_, introduces this notion of “responsible parenthood,” which in the abstract is a great idea, but in the context, particularly in Karol Woytyla’s _Love and Responsibility_ from which it is derived, seems to imply, as certain “NFP advocates” promote, that some people have a “moral obligation” *not* to have children. Let’s assume that’s true: how do we square it with points 1-7? It’s one thing to speak of “tortured dissent” and how some circumstances diminish individual culpability, but the Church clearly teaches (including in _Gaudium et Spes_, if the passage is read in its entirety) that society and the Church have an obligation to help families in those extreme situations.
9. In practice, as advocates of “Providentialism” on the one end of the spectrum and artificial birth control on the other, will point out, those who most “need” NFP, who have the most grave reasons for using it and practicing “responsible parenthood” are those who find it most difficult. For “rhythm” to work, a woman must have perfect health and a perfect cycle. For “sympto-thermal” to work, she must keep a perfect sleep schedule, perfect nutrition, theoretically not move from her bed till she takes the morning temperature, sleep in a perfectly dark room, etc. (Marquette model removes some of these burdens). So for women who have health problems, a lot of stress, and/or have to work, these conditions can be hard.
10. Because of 8, NFP promoters will often look down on couples who face the struggles in point 9, saying “You’re obviously not chaste.” A politically conservative mentality looks down upon anyone who seeks out or relies upon government aid. While people will say, “You should be able to rely on your families and the Church for help without going to the government,” they don’t exactly line up to help and instead fall back on “responsible parenthood” and “you’re obviously a *sinner*.” So in that sense, “older brother on the porch” works against the not-so-hypothetical family situation we’re discussing.

I had written a rather long rant that’s just a variant of what I’ve written before, but, realizing how many times I’ve written it before, which just goes to show the problem (people love an “inspiring story” but not one which shows the struggles and disappointments and sorrows that go along with it), I’m not sure how to phrase it.

I’m all for “seeking out the lost sheep.” I more than sympathize with the pastoral problems posed by those who are divorced and remarried, or in other situations and wanting to come back to the Church. I applaud anyone who converts or “reverts” and tells the story of their “journey home,” acknowledging that they strayed. I love a good story of moral and spiritual conversion.

I *do*, however, have a serious problem when people stand up and give “stewardship talks,” and admit that they used to be bad Catholics but talk as if the end and be all of that was not going to Mass and not donating enough money, and now that they’re well off and have their 2.5 kids and sown their wild oats, they stand up and tell everyone how important it is to give of their “time, treasure and talent” without saying one word about spiritual or moral conversion.

It’s frustrating to be told, “Be a good Catholic and do, X, Y, and Z.” You say, “I’d love to do X,Y and Z,’ but I struggle.” Then the response is either, “Well, then you don’t have an obligation/culpability, so don’t worry about it” or “Then you’re obviously a bad Catholic and a hypocrite,” not “Here’s how we can help you.”

Obviously, this is the very thing Pope Francis is talking about, but it just always seems to be applied in one direction, not the other. “We’ve already got you in the fold, and we know you’re not going anywhere, so we’re not worried about you.”
So,

On Voting: “Fraud” is in the eye of the beholder

In 2000, we were told that Bush won by fraud because no one in their right mind would vote for Pat Buchanan, and even though it’s impossible to prove in retrospect that anyone did or did not vote a particular way, except for absentee ballots, we were told that Buchanan got “too many votes” in some counties. The Democrats and their shills in the media produced some random individuals who claimed that they couldn’t read the ballot and voted for the wrong guy. This was supposedly exposing a massive flaw in our voting system (yes, it was, but the liberals pointed to the wrong flaw), and evidence of massive fraud. It was also the first time Pat Buchanan was ever accused of drawing votes away from a Democrat.
Yet, in 2012, when Obama supposedly got 100% of the vote in some counties, with Romney getting *0* votes in counties that were highly Republican, and when people came forward and said, “I voted for Romney, but he supposedly got no votes in my county,” we’re told that there’s no evidence of fraud or error in Obama’s favor, and that the only evidence of fraud is on Republicans’ part. After all, if Snopes says it, it must be true.
In the intervening 12 years, Democrats, in their typical fashion, convinced most districts to switch to electronic voting. You see, we learned from 2000 that Democratic voters are too dumb to a) read a ballot, b) punch a hole in a piece of paper, and/or c) fill in a bubble with a pencil. This is, of course, Republicans’ fault. It’s so much easier, they told us then, to tap your finger on a touch screen (back then, if you may recall, it would often take several attempts to enter one’s PIN at an ATM or cash register because the touch screens were so very accurate). Not only would electronic voting make things easier for illiterate voters who couldn’t use pencils, they claimed, but it would make it much easier to make sure that votes were reliably counted and recorded than having to look at actual physical ballots.
After all, there’s no way a computer voting system could be hacked, or crash, etc. There’s no chance that such votes could simply be deleted and replaced. There’s no chance that, after Republicans won the 2000 and 2004 elections, Democrats got their electronic voting machines and started winning in 2006 because of “more accurate” votes.
Then, to add insult to injury, they started claiming that it was Republicans who pushed for electronic voting and that electronic voting is too subject to fraud, and that any minor Republican victories in the past 7 years *have* to be due to fraud.

I don’t know what makes me more cynical: the fact that our votes really mean nothing and can easily be replaced, or the fact that “the people” buy into all the two-faced lies the media tell them.
Oh, and how is it going with keeping your health insurance and your doctors?