This litany is a wonderful way to pray today on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
This is my favorite Advent Hymn. I love its haunting melody and plaintive cry for our savior. It makes me think of all the lost people who are crying out for Him, even, sometimes, with their angry attacks on Christianity.
At heart, so much of this culture’s anger toward our faith is a cry of unrequited love from people who don’t know that God loves them.
According to Mr Limbaugh, the Holy Father’s recent document, Evangelii Gaudium, is “pure Marxism.”
I’m going to write about Evanelii Gaudium in detail next week when we aren’t digesting turkey, spending time with our families and watching football. In the meantime, I want to toss this little bit of bile from Mr Limbaugh out there for your consideration.
I think it juxtaposes nicely with President Obama’s action of folding America’s Embassy to the Holy See into our Embassy with Italy. Mr Limbaugh’s comment and President Obama’s action form bookends of a sort. They illustrate both the right and the left wing angst that they cannot control the Pope.
Both the right and left wings of current political debate are Godless philosophies that try, each in their own way, to bend the Gospels into a perverted version of themselves that gives moral gravitas to the respective evils of their two socio-fiscal-political viewpoints. The left wing has confined itself to association with churches that bend the Gospels to suit Democratic Party Moral teachings, while the right wing has associated itself with those churches that edit the Gospels to suit Republican Party Moral Teachings.
Lately, the left wing has abandoned the churches altogether and headed out onto the ice of militant secularism. Even while their toady churches continue their slavish apologetics for what has increasingly become an amoral political viewpoint, they find themselves shunted aside as no longer necessary.
The right wing is a bit behind the curve on this, but not much. They are trying to ignore their religious supporters while still hanging on to their votes. It remains to be seen how successful they will be.
Mr Limbaugh, with his deft ability to say vulgar and hate-filled things, has pointed the way.
If the Pope, or any other Christian leader is going to preach a Gospel that includes moral imperatives relating to economics and concern for the poor, then that religious leader is no longer either useful or welcome at the right-wing party.
I’m not writing this to enrage my Limbaugh-following readers — although I imagine that will happen. I am writing it to point out to those who are willing to see it that a true follower of Jesus Christ is without a political country in today’s American landscape.
You can follow Jesus and His Vicar, or you can make up excuses for President Obama and Mr Limbaugh.
However, you cannot do both.
Either Jesus Christ meant what He said in those Gospels Pope Francis is trying to teach us, or He didn’t. Either Christ the Lord is your Lord in every aspect of your life, including your politics, or He is not your Lord at all.
Choose this day whom you will serve: The Rs. The Ds. Or Jesus Christ.
I am writing this in a hurry because I need to get ready to go to mass. This evening I will begin my own personal journey through one of the Church’s two great penitential seasons. Mass tonight marks the start of Advent, when we look at ourselves through a Gospel prism and confess both to ourselves and to our God the many ways in which we fall short of that Gospel ideal.
As such, it is an obvious time to consider where our loyalties in this world actually lie.
Do you love me more than these? Jesus asked Peter.
The question applies to you and me as we begin this Advent season. Who is your God? Does he stand behind a podium with an American flag as a backdrop? Does he wear headphones and spit out diatribes on the radio?
Or, perhaps, are we awaiting your God in this season of Advent, looking forward to the day when He will be born among us in a stable to a young carpenter and his innocent bride?
Do you love me more than these?
In this post-Christian America where Presidents can lie and everyone knows they are lying and no one cares, where commenters can rail against the Pope and still keep their cult-like followings, that question is not only salient, but urgent.
What is your answer?
On his Wednesday radio show, Rush Limbaugh admitted being “befuddled” by the harsh words about “unfettered capitalism” released this week by Pope Francis.
… He also said that up to now he had admired the new pope, if he also thought that Pope Francis was putting on the “common man touch” a bit too thick. “I thought there might have been a little bit of PR involved there,” he said.
But … the pope’s latest Evangelii Gadium, or Joy of the Gospel
… didn’t sit well with Limbaugh. “Somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him,” Rush said. “This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope.”
Vienna, Austria, Dec 21, 2012 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- An Austria-based singing group of children and teens has made a music video wishing a merry Christmas to the world as part of their mission to tell stories of faith through music.
The group KISI – God’s Singing Kids has released the video “We sing merry, merry Christmas.” It shows the children and teens singing in cheerful settings and styles inspired by the classic movie “The Sound of Music.”
They play in the snow, bake Christmas treats and place a baby doll in a manger while wishing Merry Christmas “to every child on earth.”
The music group has over 400 members from five countries who use their music to evangelize. They practice singing and dancing after school and perform on weekends. (Read more here.)
Watch their Christmas video below.
Marktl am Inn, Germany, Dec 21, 2012 / 04:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A Christmas letter that Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Baby Jesus when he was seven years-old demonstrates his devotion to the Sacred Heart and his desire to be a priest.
The letter is on display this Advent in the village of Marktl am Inn in Bavaria, where he was born.
“Dear Baby Jesus, quickly come down to earth. You will bring joy to children. Also bring me joy,” he wrote in the 1934 letter, published on the Church-affiliated Italian website Korazym.org.
“I would like a Volks-Schott (a Mass prayers book), green clothing for Mass (clerical clothing) and a heart of Jesus. I will always be good. Greetings from Joseph Ratzinger,” he wrote in German cursive hard writing called Sütterlinschrift.
The letter, found during the renovation of a house that Joseph Ratzinger’s occupied when he was a professor in Regensburg, was published on Dec. 18. The message was discovered in the estate of his sister Mary, who kept the letter after the Pope’s house was converted into a small museum dedicated to him.
In Korazym’s view, the “letter was uncommon for a seven-year-old since he did not ask for toys or sweets, which were always in front of the Ratzinger family’s nativity for his three brothers.” (Read more here.)
Vatican City, Dec 19, 2012 / 10:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of reflections on faith this Wednesday, saying that at times it includes an element of darkness.
“We encounter moments where God seems absent, his silence weighs on our hearts and his will doesn’t correspond to our own as we would like it to,” the Pope told pilgrims on Dec. 19.
“But the more we open ourselves to God, we receive the gift of faith and put our trust in him completely, the more he empowers us with his presence to live every situation in peace assured by his loyalty and love,” he said during his weekly general audience.
He emphasized that this happens after opening one’s soul to God through faith, just as Abraham did after he was asked to sacrifice his son and as Mary did when she had to watch her son be crucified. (Read more here.)
Simcha Fischer, who blogs at National Catholic Register published a list of worthy charities for those of us who are in the gift-giving mood. Each of the charities she selected sounds like a place to put your money and know that it will be used for good.
I’m going to put a few charities from her list below, but be sure to give them all a glance.
If you have a few extra Christmas $$ and are in the mood to use them for good, check out Simcha’s article here.
First, my family’s favorite charity:
I am blown away by their efficiency: 100% of your donations go directly to the poor. They don’t just give the poor food and shelter; the help them invest to become self-sufficient. We first partnered with a destitute family in India several years ago, and this family no longer needed our support years ahead of the projected schedule. A top notch international NGO run by Catholics, serving poor Indian families of every caste and religion, and fully in allegiance with the Church (so you don’t have to worry that you’re accidentally funding abortions or something).
Popular with many, many of my friends, this is a lay Catholic sponsorship program encouraging the dignity and well-being of the poor and marginalized in 22 countries around the world.
A Down Syndrome adoption ministry with many programs to help families fund the very expensive adoption of children with special needs. Many of these children are barely surviving in horrendous institutions, and there are so many families who would like to rescue them, but can’t afford it. Full of wonderful, hopeful stories and easy ways to help.
This organization “assists aspirants to priesthood or religious life who find themselves unable to answer their call due to personal debt.”
Amazima sells handcrafted jewelry made by poor women in Uganda, who are guided and educated on how to manage money to support their families
Milwaukee, Wis., Dec 15, 2012 / 01:02 pm (CNA).- An elderly couple walks into Kip’s Inn and hands bar owner Kim Engebregtsen a plastic bag with a Barbie doll in it.
“Oh, thank you!” Engebregtsen said. “I needed this. This was the last thing on the list.”
She hugged the couple and directed them to the bar to enjoy some drinks with other folks from the neighborhood.
The list to which Engebregtsen referred was given to her by Catholic Charities with the Christmas wishes of five families, 27 people total.
“Whatever their wish is, we honor it,” she said, adding that since the bar started collecting gifts for Catholic Charities six years ago, every wish — and more — has been fulfilled.
Engebregtsen said one year a child asked for a bike, and through her collection, got a bike and a helmet. Another asked for a basketball, and he was given a ball and a pump.
“Once the ball goes flat, it’s no good,” she said. “These are kids that don’t have anything, so whatever they ask for, we get.” …
… Engebregtsen’s motivation for gathering the toys stems from having been one of five children in a poor household.
“When we were kids, we were pretty poor,” she said. “We benefited from people’s generosity and actually through the Catholic Church.”
Engebregtsen and her family attended St. Peter Parish, Oshkosh, Wis. and she went to St. Peter School.
“We were able to attend the school without paying tuition,” she said. “The parents of our classmates, they were very generous. They exposed us to things that we wouldn’t have been otherwise exposed to.”
She was grateful for gifts her family had received when she was a child and after growing up, she fell into this toy tradition by accident.
“The first year we collected for Toys for Tots and when I went to go drop (the gifts) off, they said the deadline had already passed so I took them to Catholic Charities and they were really happy to get the gifts,” Engebregtsen said.
Shortly after that, she received a call from then-Archbishop of Milwaukee Timothy M. Dolan, now cardinal, thanking her and asking if he could come to the bar to pick them up.
“It’s exciting that he’d go out of his way to stop at a small neighborhood bar to thank us for what we’ve done,” she said.
On that day she remembered Cardinal Dolan sitting at the bar and ordering a Budweiser.
“He told my bartender not to tell anybody and she said ‘Why? You can’t have a beer?’ And he said, ‘No, don’t tell anyone it’s Budweiser,’” Engebregtsen said, laughing at the memory.
The tradition of the archbishop coming to the bar to receive the toys continues with Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. (Read more here.)
The funerals are not finished.
Why did the President rush this country into a divisive debate about gun control before the victims of this tragedy were buried?
Why the unseemly haste?
Couldn’t he have given this country time to grieve before pushing us into another political fight? Would it be so hard to wait a few days?
Christmas is in four days.
Why didn’t he at least give us time to bury our dead and be together with our families at Christmas before forcing another battle on us?
Click here throughout the Year of Faith, as the Catholic Channel at Patheos.com invites Catholics of every age and stripe to share what they are gleaning and carrying away from this gift of timely focus.