25 July 2008

Humane Vitae - 40 Years Later

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Humane Vitae and I couldn't be more proud to be Catholic. In the rebellious world of the late 1960's, amidst the pressure to "progress" and move beyond the "outdated" restrictions of the past, Pope Paul VI, to the surprise and disapproval of many, issued his encyclical On the Transmission of Human Life (HV), affirming the Church's stance against birth control. So much more than that, it is a chilling and prophetic vision of a future where life is insignificant, where the human person is just some bones and flesh, another means to an end. Enter the modern day - divorce rates through the roof, abortion a mere procedure, almost 10 times the number of STD's, pornography addiction, and women still missing out on the respect God made them for. What does all this have to do with regulating birth? As soon as you take the procreative part of sex out of the act you get disaster. Paul VI knew that somehow. Despite the pressure to conform as most other Christian churches did. Birth control is not a way to avoid pregnancy. There already is a way to do that - abstinence. Birth control is a way to have sex without worries, without attachment. It is a license to have the promiscuous, casual sex that our grandparents missed out on. And that is what sex has become - a recreational act. Pope Paul VI wasn't trying to take away our rights. He was trying to save the sexual act, God's greatest gift to man, from the chains of a culture of death.

If you are in the NY-Long Island area there is a really exciting event tonight in tribute to Humane Vitae happening at St. Kilian Parish in Farmingdale. More info... here.

And if you didn't catch the other two links, you can read Humane Vitae... here.

Pope Paul VI, pray for us.

23 July 2008

Back from Sydney

Well I'm back on Long Island and back to reality after World Youth Day '08 in Sydney, Australia. Here are some highlights and moments that moved me:

- The closing Mass with Pope Benedict. I hear there were over 500,000 people there. It certainly felt that way
- Being close (enough so to take this picture) to Pope Benedict not once but twice.
- Attending the Matt Maher & Hillsong United concert in which they held Eucharistic Adoration for the 50,000 or so people that were there. Yes all those people and you could hear a pin drop.
- Meeting many cool Aussies and being present to hear Cardinal Pell of Sydney welcome the USA pilgrims as Australia's "most important friends" at the opening Mass.
- Witnessing the conversion that took place, especially in people going to confession for the first time in years.
- Playing the "pony game" with about 200 people from all over the world as we awaited the Pope's arrival.
- Learning how to play rugby.
- St. Mary's Cathedral and praying front of the body of Pier Georgio Frassati.
- Seeing the American flag and the Iraqi flag flying together on the same pole.
- Receiving a cape and Poland flag from some new Polish friends.
- Listening to over 20 Australians who were kind enough to say "the dingo ate my baby" on video.
- Making many new friends.
- Bishop William Murphy's (Diocese of Rockville Centre) catechesis.

There were certainly many more highlights. I am just so blessed to have been there to witness the Spirit. Now I hope that I can witness to the Spirit.

14 July 2008

CCC 2365

My name is Alissa and I am joining the Blog Team of "Rise of the TOB". I am thrilled to contribute some small amount to the great "New Evangelization" which our late Pope John Paul II called for, and worked for in a speacial way through the Theology of the Body.
I wanted to share one of my favorite Catechism references which I think has a beautiful take on the truth of the Sacrament of Marriage:

"Fidelity expresses constancy in keeping one's given word. God is faithful. The Sacrament of Matrimony enables man and woman to enter into Christ's fidelity for his Church. Through conjugal chastity, they bear witness to this mystery before the world.
St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should say to their wives: I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us. . . . I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you."
- CCC 2365
I think St. John's words establish a very clear understanding of the beauty possible in human relationships when we take to heart the golden rule of loving God with our whole selves and our neighbor as ourselves. Our challenge in this day and age is to learn to live lives of such humble love that we would choose to speak as St. John suggests even when it is most difficult and when our wills pull us in other ways. When we make the choice to love, we continue to follow the path of Christ and often we begin to discover the joy of being in this world when our work and toil is to overcome evil with good, and bring peace where there is none.
God bless.

09 July 2008

Off to World Youth Day

Well, tomorrow morning I will be leaving for Australia by way of Hawaii. Not too shabby, huh?

This will be my first World Youth Day experience and to say I am excited is a massive understatement. What a joy it will be to see over 200,000 young Catholics take over Sydney for a week - all culminating in Mass with our Holy Father. Certainly I was blessed to see Pope Benedict when he came to NY. I am doubly blessed to travel across the globe to see him again just a few months later.

I guess this isn't exactly Theology of the Body related, but JPII instituted WYD and penned TOB, so there... it fits! But seriously, this is a generation mixed of young people either starving for the message of the Gospel of Life or carrying the torches and waving the TOB banner. I would imagine the TOB presence will only be greater in Sydney as the teaching continues to grow. It will be interesting to see.

At any rate, I haven't been posting often any way, but it will certainly be 2 weeks before I put anything on the blog. Laura will also be away. We have a new contributor who will be introducing herself shortly. I'm very excited about having Alissa on the Rise team and i believe you will enjoy her insights.

Well, that's all for now. The heart of the summer officially starts today for me. After Sydney, it's a tad over a month before my wedding day. What a year God has planned for me. Amen.

02 July 2008

A reading from the Book of Tobit

On their wedding night Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife,
"Sister, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord
to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance."
Sarah got up, and they started to pray
and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
They began with these words:

"Blessed are you, O God of our fathers;
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.'
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust,
but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age."

They said together, "Amen, amen."
Tobit 8:4-8

Yup, I'm officially leaning towards this as the OT reading at my wedding.