I Stretch Out My Arms All the Day Long

I Stretch Out My Arms © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

God has a way of highlighting the relevance of His Word. This morning, as I opened the Divine Office and began the reading for the Fifth Saturday in Lent, I was immediately struck by its relevance to the current political ruckus and our cultural rebellion against everything that is sacred.

“I said: Here I am! Here I am!

To a nation that did not call upon my name.

I have stretched out my hands all the day

to a rebellious people.

Who walk in evil paths and follow their own thoughts.

People who provoke me continually to my face (Isaiah 65:1b-3a).”

Our Lord continues to call “Here I AM! Here I AM!” today. Through His Divine Word we sense His nearness and the urgency of His message. He is the great “I AM” and moment by moment that reality is present to all who answer His eternal call and seek His Divine Presence. Christ perpetually nourishes us with His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, ever present under the veil of the Eucharist. He is ready to feed us, to heal us, to care for our every need – if only we “Turn to Him and be saved.”

In Him We Live.... © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photographer

Yet, this generation is not unlike those in ancient times. We too are a “stiff-necked people.” We continue to be a “nation that did not call upon my name.” Our nation is currently embroiled in a debate regarding religious freedom and politics. At the core of this debate is who we are as a people – are we a nation committed to life, or to death? The current fray over the HHS Mandate is just the most recent example of our nation’s willingness to turn its back on God. The path leading to the subtle erosion of codified religious freedom has been well trod.

As a nation, we have consented to the slaughter of 50 million children since Roe-v-Wade made abortion the law of the land in 1973. Approximately 1.3 million babies die annually because, collectively, we as a nation have chosen to ignore His voice, and to embrace a culture of death. The culture of death distorts promiscuity as freedom, perversion as acceptable, and sickness as health. The bonds of marriage and family life are being redefined, as efforts advance to annihilate this most sacred bedrock of society. Pregnancy is categorized as a preventable disease; the innocence of childhood is destroyed within the hallowed halls of educational institutions. The preciousness of life has been so cheapened that death becomes brokered by professionals whose Hippocratic oath has become nothing more than a mere symbol of an abandoned set of iconic ethical principles. Each of these realities has found legal expression and government oversight. As tax payers we are put in the untenable situation of funding those malignant social agendas we loathe and paying for those causes that splinter the rubric of a functional society.

Love Eternal, Love Divine © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photographer

For this nation, and others like ours, our Christ “stretched out His hands all the day long.” We are the rebellious ones for whom His Precious Blood was shed. It is for us that the lance was thrust deep into His side, and the blood and water gushed forth to purify us. His Sacred Heart beat for us from the cross, and it was for us that He cried, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).”

We are the people “who walk in evil paths and follow their own thoughts.” We are a people who choose to accept language which minimizes the reality of the sin to which we acquiesce. We have exchanged a love of wisdom for a lust of all that is sensual; and true piety for open ridicule of religious truths.

How long will we choose to “provoke Him continually to His face?” As Holy Week approaches, let us endeavor to change our hearts. For as we begin to change ourselves, so too will our nation begin to change. He is still calling: “Here I AM! Here I AM!” It is for us to turn and answer Him.

Have a blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A., J.M.J.

Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally

Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally © SalveMaterDei.com,2012. EA photographer

Do you recall ever wanting to be invisible? As a child, playing hide-n-seek, I remember thinking that it would be really cool to just be invisible. Through the years, I can recall numerous occasions where being invisible would have been desirable, or at the very least saved some embarrassment. For example, I remember looking down at my feet during an early morning board meeting, only to realize that one navy blue pump, and the other jet black one were not a fashion statement I had intended to make. Motherhood itself is replete with instances when invisibility would be boon. Yes, I’d love to witness the diligence of my homeschool pupils on those rare occasions when the older lot are left home to work independently. Just what does happen when my car pulls out of the garage? How many trips to the fridge are required to complete an Algebra lesson? All in all, selective invisibility would be an asset.

500+ Invisible Protesters © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011-2012.

Friday, I and hundreds of others had an opportunity to be invisible. My eight children and I stood shoulder to shoulder with approximately 500-700 other Stand Up for Religious Freedom Protesters, for over an hour in front of the Reuss Federal Building, on busy Wisconsin Avenue, in Downtown Milwaukee. Milwaukee’s finest knew we were there. We were polite and respectful, and so were they. I appreciated that they were there to keep the peace, and safeguard our Constitutional Right to Free Speech. Likewise, the security guards at the Reuss Federal Building were aware of our presence. We interacted with them as they urged us to stay on the sidewalk. The hundreds of motorists who passed by in cars and buses, often honking their support, saw us and responded to our presence. However, none of the Milwaukee news media saw us. Strange, how does one hide such a large crowd of peaceful protesters in the middle of busy city, at noon on a Friday? It is especially surprising when one considers that they were protesting such a hot-button issue in American politics.

It is a lie! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Such has this skirmish been waged nationwide. We philosophically clash with those who seek to eviscerate our Religious Freedoms, yet that clash is a muffled one. The propaganda of the opposition is widely promulgated with the assent of the liberal media, yet our voices of dissent are silenced. We are invisible.

Stand Up for Religious Freedom © SalveMaterDei.com,2012.

With a stroke of a pen, President Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, have attempted to force Catholic Americans to choose between the inviolable demands of our consciences and an unjust law. The HHS Mandate would force Catholic, and other religious institutions, to pay for insurance coverage for contraception, abortion inducing drugs, and sterilization –without co-pay- for all students and employees. Many of us understand that life is a gift from our Divine Creator, a gift that is given at the moment of natural conception, a gift that lasts until the moment of natural death, when united with Christ, it becomes transformed, and transcends even death for all eternity.

Stand Up for Religious Freedom © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Today’s First Reading speaks of the Eternal Law of God, of His covenant with us. It states: “I will place My Law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people (Jeremiah 31: 33).” God’s Law is Eternal, and immutable. It is unchanging. What is right is right, and what is wrong is wrong; always and forever so. It is written on our very hearts. Politicians come and go, as do their subjective legislative whims. But God’s law emanates from the Wisdom and Love that is His Being Itself. His law cannot be compromised. For when we betray it, we betray Him, and thus betray the deepest longing of our human hearts.

We Stand with the USCCB © SalveMaterDei.com,2012. EA photographer

This is a battle for the hearts and minds of a generation, and the soul of a nation. Invisibility has a way of disappearing at the voting booth. We need to make our voices heard – even if the media outlets refuse to acknowledge our presence.

In today’s Fifth Sunday of Lent Gospel Reading, Our Lord Jesus states:

“Whoever serves me must follow me, where I am, there also my servant will be. The Father will honor whoever serves me (John 12: 26).”

Let Freedom Ring! © SalveMaterDei.com,2012. EA photogrpher

We are at a cross-road. It is decision time. Standing still is not an option- one way or another, we must respond to demands of the moment. We must choose to follow our Savior- even to the cross, obeying the law that is written on our hearts, or choose to follow the whims of those who promote the culture of death.  Following Him means ignoring the cloak of invisibility forced upon our shoulders, and prayerfully speaking the truth- with the assurance that it alone will triumph.


Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

The Invisible March For Life 2012

March For Life Jan. 23, 2013 Photo courtesy of Fr. Rocky Relevant Radio

How do you annually hide hundreds of thousands of pro-life supporters from the main-stream media? Have them congregate on the National Mall, and peacefully march up Constitution Avenue to the steps of the Supreme Court. Invite political heavy-weights like Speaker of the House John Boehner, and Religious leaders like Cardinal Elect-Dolan to address the crowd, along with other senators, congressmen, and newsmakers.

The 39th Anniversary of the Roe – v – Wade debacle was again marked in Washington D.C. with the annual March For Life. The peaceful demonstration draws estimated crowds of nearly 500,000, yet year after year the main-stream media fails to cover it. The few photos that surface are invariably distorted. These photos are taken from such angles as to misrepresent the few pro-abortionists as being equal in number to the pro-lifers. This year there is a photo of an older sister (in habit) who appears to be wagging her finger and a group of pro- abortionists. This photo is carefully crafted to give the impression that contentious exchanges between mature nuns and youthful pro-abortionists are taking place on every street corner; hardly a reality. Perhaps this sister is merely saying something as disagreeable as “I’ll pray for you.” or “Excuse me, is this your Blackberry?” The hundreds of thousands of faithful, joyful hearts, united in a common respect for the dignity of human life are invisible to the mainstream press.

Equally transparent are the courageous voices of such respected leaders as: Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who noted that coming from a family with 12 children, being a pro-lifer isn’t just a political position, it is “who I am.” Boehner told the crowd that

“When we affirm our commitment to life, we affirm our commitment to liberty and freedom. When our commitment to life is diminished, our commitment to freedom is diminished.”

The Speaker of the House noted that he represents a bipartisan majority, a majority that opposes tax-payer funding of abortion. Boehner closed by bidding the Marchers: “God go with all of you today, and God Bless America!” Likewise the co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, New Jersey’s Chris Smith urged the crowds on with:

“Mr. President, killing babies is not an American value! Mr. President, stop violating conscience rights!  Mr. President, stop exporting abortion!”

Pro-Life Wisconsin Protects Life! Photo Courtesy of Pro-Life Wisconsin

Smith ominously warned that a second Obama term would result in even greater assaults on the unborn, as tax-payer funded abortion is elevated to a “health” care right. With the assault on conscience that Obama delivered to Cardinal-elect Dolan this week, it is clear that Smith’s warning heralds a truly sinister threat.

Credible speaker after speaker braved the cold, damp D.C. day to stand shoulder to shoulder in support of the hundreds of thousands of brave souls united in defense of vulnerable life, on this anniversary of state sanctioned death. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Tom Price of Georgia, Todd Akin of Missouri,  Jim Sensenbrenner and Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, joined representatives, from: Texas, Nebraska, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Kansas, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Iowa, Virginia, and Louisiana in voicing their opposition to the unmitigated slaughter of human life which was legalized 39 years ago under Roe –v- Wade.

Free to Be Born! Photo Courtesy of Pro-Life Wisconsin

This year again the kids and I sat glued to the couch, flipping channels between C-SPAN and EWTN as we watched hundreds of thousands of faithful individuals and families give witness to the sanctity of human life. We watched as our friends from Pro-Life Wisconsin marched toward the Supreme Court, carrying their banner and our hopes high. We Tweeted and followed along on Facebook, praying for Fr. Rocky, Drew Mariani, Bishop Ricken and our friends from Relevant Radio and the Green Bay Diocese as they defended the unborn with their very presence. What a Civics lesson! History was made, and again the mainstream media turned a blind eye. However, the truth that so frightens the pro-death proponents as to force them to squelch the visible reality of the March For Life will prevail. Those of us who were present only in prayer and spirit can insure that this truth is spread. For the sake of the voiceless, we will pray, we will defend life, and we will vote!

May God Bless You,