Monday, December 22, 2008

A New Way of Looking at Christmas

I was baptized into the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church shortly after I was born. I attended all the CCD classes, did my first communion, first confession and was confirmed into the church. I even thought about entering the priesthood during my college years. But, like many young adults today, I left the Church and only came back after the birth of my son. And in coming back, I began attending a Byzantine Catholic Church instead of the local Latin Rite church in my neighborhood.

In all my years, I never paid much attention to the Advent season. I would start getting excited about Christmas shortly after Thanksgiving ended. The entire time between Thanksgiving and Christmas day was spent thinking about what gifts I wanted to buy and what gifts I wanted to receive. In addition to thinking about gifts, we would attend Christmas parties and partake in the festivities of the season. Then I came into my first Eastern Catholic Advent.

For those of you unfamiliar with Advent in the Eastern Catholic Church, it is a 6 week period of fasting and repentance. In many aspects, it is just like the Lenten period in the Latin Rite Church. The fast starts on November 15 and goes all the way to Christmas day. During the period, we abstain from meat on Wednesday and Friday. On Christmas Eve, the fast is expanded to include dairy products. The fast ends on Christmas Day and the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord goes on for 12 days up to Theophany. This is where the term the 12 days of Christmas comes from.

During this period, I have focused my energy on prayer, fasting and repentance during the period leading up to Christmas Day. I remember in years past, I would lament the abstinence from meat during Lent. However, this Advent period I have looked forward to the fast and chose to focus on preparing myself for the birth of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. And I will say that this has been the most rewarding period for me in a long time. While I still have purchased gifts for others and thought about things I would like to receive, I find myself spending more time thinking about the beauty of the Word becoming Flesh in the birth of Jesus. And while I have always thought the season of Christmas was a joyous time, this advent period has been the most joyful time for me.

Glory to Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What is in America's Future?

On November 4, 2008, American's went to the polls and elected Barack Obama as President of the United States.  As a Catholic, I was saddened by the results of the election that put one of the most pro-abortion candidates into the White House.  As I was driving today, I heard an interesting story.  It is against Federal law to remove an egg from a migratory bird's nest and is punishable by jail times and fines.  The next story was on the Freedom of Choice Act that is currently working its way through Congress and how the new Congress/President make passage of this act likely. Speaking to Planned Parenthood on July 17, 2007, President Elect Obama said "The first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act". So Federal law protects a bird egg, but is looking to allow murder of an unborn child at anytime.  What kind of society have we become?

A prominent Catholic Priest, Fr. John Corapi, had the following to say:

  "The American people have now made it abundantly clear who they want to lead them, and the policies and practices that this President-elect has represented for some time, they can now claim as their own.  Actions have consequences, and I am sure that God has duly noted what our priorities are in the US of A.  Economic matters would seem to take precedence over moral matter; money more important than life itself to most people (I guess they don't consider almost 50,000,000 innocent children murdered by abortion part of life.)

  Now we shall see what the fruit of such a tree will be.  I predict we won't have to wait long.  In recent months we have seen "corrections" in the stock market, housing market and banking industries.  Now we'll see if God orchestrates a "correction" in a country and a world that has demonstrated quite clearly that it prefers convenience and wealth to life itself."

Those who believe in a woman's right to kill her unborn child try and make it appear to be nothing more than an issue of choice.  Catholic politicians will say they they are opposed to abortion but believe in the freedom of choice.  When it comes down to it, you do have choice.  You can choose to not have sex and if you do choose to have sex and become pregnant; well you already made your choice.  

I can't help but believe that what is coming in the near future for America will make the attacks of September 11, 2001 look like a cake-walk.  We have murdered close to 50 million babies in America since Roe v Wade and surely the day of judgement can't be far away.