Reverend Katharine Marple at Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally

Reverend Katharine Marple blogs at Keep Life Legal. She is one of Public Catholic’s most stalwart supporters and a dear sister in Christ. I am going to reproduce her testimony, There is Beauty for Ashes below the YouTube video. The video is her speech at the Stand Up For Religious Freedom rally in her state.

Reverend Katharine Marple: My Story, There is Beauty for Ashes

I was on my way to the abortion clinic with my mom. It’s been so long ago that I don’t remember the day of the week or what month it was; but I do remember that is was 1978.

Isaiah 61:3 says, …..‘To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.’

When I found out I was pregnant, my mother told me that under no uncertain terms was I going to have a baby and live in her house. My grandmother (who lived with us) wouldn’t look at me. You’re smarter than this, they said. So I left. There’s not a lot of places a pregnant 17 year old girl can go who doesn’t have a job or a car. I ended up at my aunt’s house. I knew she would be empathetic because she loved children and had many of them. She might be able to talk my mother out of the abortion. Actually, she stayed strangely neutral. I didn’t know I needed a savior, not a way out.

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I felt like I was in a bunker waiting out the enemy. But my back was against the wall and it was only a matter of time that I would cave and go home to tell the enemy that I would go to the clinic.

‘And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me….’*

Two years prior, my mother confessed to me that she had an abortion. She had been in a relationship with a married man that was her high school sweetheart. I never liked the guy for the way he used my mother up without waiting around long enough to see the results. She would come home from one of their weekends and I could see the dried tears on her face when he would once again tell her he can’t leave his wife yet. Yet another man that talked a woman out of motherhood – she aborted their child just like he aborted her from his real life.

Maybe that’s why Mom wanted me to get rid of my baby – because she was cheated out of hers? I’ll never know the answer. I can’t make myself ask her.

‘The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.’**

You know, I have thanked God for many, MANY things but I am especially thankful that I really don’t remember much about the procedure. I was a basket case and scared out of my mind. I mean, how does a doctor suck a baby out of the womb? I knew nothing about what was going to happen. Abortion wasn’t talked about much so I didn’t understand what was really going on. I had no idea that there was a viable life inside of me. Everyone said it wasn’t a baby YET.

When my mom made the appointment, I remember the woman at the clinic told her that we needed to go into a back door so we wouldn’t be ‘assaulted’ by the pro-life protesters. There wasn’t very many of them as I recall. And honestly, I don’t remember anything after that. THANK YOU GOD.

‘….and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.’***

I wish I could say I learned something from that experience and I lived a chaste life with the knowledge of the world that I desired no more, but the truth is that I was too drunk for too long to care. Abortion kills everyone – it killed me. While most other women I knew had at least one abortion apiece, I was the one that took it hardest. They said I was too young to get so maudlin about such a small thing. But what they didn’t realize is that their drug and alcohol abuse was why their abortion(s) didn’t matter.

How do I end this story? It really doesn’t end. Every Post Abortive Woman remembers that day every day of her life. I spent the next 23 years after the abortion in on and off drinking binges and two lousy marriages. But one December day in 2001 I met Jesus and in 2005 I married the man God set aside just for me. Now I have beauty for ashes and joy unspeakable! The missing piece of the puzzle had finally been put in place; now I am complete. Do I still think about the abortion every day? YES – because God has a plan for me and my ministry to help women that have gone through the horror of abortion.

‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’ (Matthew 28:19-20, KJV)

*Psalm 27:6 (KJV); **Psalm 103:6 (ESV); ***Hebrews 8:12 (KJV)

St Kateri, First Native American Saint, Canonized Today

Archibishop Lopez Quintano, the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, holds a basket made by Mohawk basketmaker Sheila Ransom that will be presented to Pope Benedict XVI by the Mohawk delegation to the canonization of Kateri Takakwith. To his right in the photo are Alma and Orlo Ransom; to his left are tribal police Detective Matt Rourke and former St. Regis Mohawk Tribe  Chief Wally Oaks.
Indian Country, Gale Courey Toensing

Most people in Oklahoma have Indian blood. 

I know that politically correct types are going to chide me because I didn’t say “Native American,” but I’ve called the Cherokee that flows in my veins Indian blood all my life. There’s also some Potawatomi mixed in there, but I’m not quite sure how. All I know for certain is that I have relatives who are elected officeholders in the Potawatomi tribal government.

My personal family history doesn’t matter except that it explains why I feel proprietary toward one of the new saints that was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI today.

Blessed Kateri Tekawitha is now Saint Kateri Tekawitha. Saint Kateri was a member of the Canadian Mohawk tribe. She suffered greatly for her conversion and faith in Christ, particularly because she refused to marry and took a vow of perpetual virginity. Considering the sexual mores that are foisted on young girls today, St Kateri’s insistence that her sexuality was her own, and that she could chose to NOT have sex seems especially apt.

As you might expect, the Mohawks came out in numbers to celebrate the canonization of their sister. According to an Indian Country article, almost 2,000 Mohawks made the journey to the Vatican for the celebration.

I share their joy. St Kateri, pray for us.

The Indian Country article says in part:

What is likely to be the largest delegation of Mohawk Indians ever to assemble in Rome will take place this weekend, October 20–21, for the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, a 17th-century Mohawk woman.

Almost 2,000 people from Akwesasne and Kahnawake will flock to the Vatican for the ceremony that will grant sainthood to Kateri Tekakwitha, the first indigenous woman of Turtle Island to be canonized by the Catholic Church. The canonization will take place on Sunday.

About 150 people—three busloads—left for the airport a week ago, and others, like Alma and Orlo Ransom and three members of their family, were leaving on Thursday, October 18, for the ancient city.

“The Vatican is topping off what we feel by making her a saint,” Alma Ransom told Indian Country Today Media Network. She has played a critical role in the canonization effort over the years.

“In Indian words she’s been a saint all along to us. When we refer to Kateri [pronounced Ga-da-li in the Mohawk language] we call her a holy person, and I think saints are holy people. We’re very proud and happy,” Ransom said, then added with a laugh, “We’re proud for her because she was so humble and timid—and we’re not!”

She and her husband were in the final stages of preparation for their trip when they were reached at their Akwesasne home.

“Oh, yes, we’re ready!” she said. “Last December when the pope declared that Kateri would be canonized, that was it. And the preparations, of course. We had travel agencies that wouldn’t take us because we didn’t have an exact date, but we have an Indian-owned, Mohawk-owned travel agency that cut to the chase and said it’s going to be this much no matter what, and we’re still with him.”

Read more here.

Christian Persecution: We Must Fight Persecution With Knowledge, Prayer, Courage and Unity

Standing Against Christian Persecution

Joanna Bogle is an author, journalist, and broadcaster living in London. She served for some years as a London Borough councillor and has also worked as a research assistant for Members of Parliament. She writes for various newspapers and magazines in Britain, America, and Australia, including Britain’s Catholic Times, and America’s National Catholic Register.

She is, in short, well-informed and well-spoken; a person that serious people take seriously. She has her finger on the pulse of European Christianity, particularly in the UK. When she says that persecution of Christians is in our near future, the statement carries weight.

That makes her recent article A Frightening Chat With a French Colleague an important read for all of us. Ms Bogle and her French colleague agree that the legal and social discrimination against Christians in Western Europe are growing. They also agree that the situation will probably worsen in the future.

Her fear that many Christians will fall away when the trials come are, I believe, accurate. I agree with her conclusion that, if we are to stand, we will need “a real knowledge of the Faith, a sincere and deep prayer-life, courage, and unity” with other Christians.

We must start standing up for our faith and we must stand together while we do it. I also think that we should pray for ourselves and for one another that we will each have the courage to stand for Jesus today and in the future.

I can think of no better time for us to begin this than now, in the second week of the Year of Faith.

Her article says in part:

A frightening chat with a French colleague.

We last met, very agreeably, in 2010 during the Pope’s visit to Britain which he was covering for a French Catholic newspaper. Late at night, after that glorious vigil in Hyde Park, we gathered at the house of friends, over glasses of wine and bowls of soup and slices of buttered toast, with lots of talk and a sense of rejoicing as the Papal visit was going so well and writing a memorable chapter in British history.

Today, still much talk and still a rejoicing in our shared faith and all that it means…but a gloomy sense of foreboding. Back in 2010, we knew full well that things were getting bad for Christians generally – that was why it was so good and necessary that the Pope’s visit lifted all our hearts and encouraged us – and now, two years on, things are measurably worse. Jean was in London to report on anti-Christian discrimination in Britain (problems over wearing a cross at work, nurses told they must take part in abortions, and the whole same-sex “marriage” horror, and so on). I had no good news to tell him, and he had none to tell me.

In France, as in Britain, the drive for same-sex “marriage” is going fiercely forward. Evangelicals and Catholics are united in opposition but face lethargy, confusion (“Surely if two people love each other, it doesn’t matter what sex they are…” etc), ignorance (“I can’t see there’ll be any problems!”) and prejudice. People who, ten years ago, would not have accepted that marriage could mean anything other than the union of a man and a woman now feel obliged to say that they think same-sex unions are really quite normal and right. It is harder and harder to achieve an open discussion as many people feel intimidated: a teacher, a social worker, a public official, can face sudden unemployment and possibly social disgrace for saying something deemed to be unacceptable and incorrect on this issue.
The conversation turned, as it so often does these days, to the future persecution of the Church. Nothing meriting the word “persecution” at the moment, we agreed, but young Catholics in their twenties assume it will arrive in their lifetime. It’s as if the New Movements and things like World Youth Day are boosting and helping them, urging them to get trained and ready and spiritually alert for tough times to come.
It will not be fun for any of us – those who talk eagerly about “a bit of suffering doing us good” or imagine fighting gloriously for noble traditions under a splendid banner may well be the first to succumb to pressure to abandon the Church…tough times call for real faith and love, and not for grand-standing. The need is for a real knowledge of the Faith, a sincere and deep prayer-life, courage, and unity.(Read more here.)

Miracle Story: Sometimes You Don’t Have to Ask, Redux

I published a post a few weeks ago telling the story of a young girl who saw a vision of Jesus while she was trapped in a sex-trafficking brothel in India.

The post said in part:

… taken as she was walking to school when she was around 7 and put in a brothel. She suffered terrible things which I will not go into here. She was confined in a tiny room and forced to have sex with many men each day. Her life was mostly that room and her tormentors. She had never heard of Jesus Christ in her young life.

She was alone in the room at one point, and she said that she saw a spot of glowing light in front of her. Then, she saw a man in the light who told her “I am Jesus and I will take care of you.” She did not know who this Jesus was, but she did understand that she was in the presence of God. In the face of every objective criteria to the contrary she believed Him when He said “I will take care of you.” Through a series of incredible events, she ended up here in Oklahoma, free from her captors, and living a new life.

When she talks about this experience, her face glows. Her life, even more than her words, are a testimony to the redemptive power of God’s love. She is going to school, and plans to be a missionary to the trafficked girls in her native India. (Read more here.)

Several readers told me that Jesus is coming to Muslims in visions all over the world. I did a small bit of on-line searching and found numerous links to stories of Muslims who have been converted by a personal visit from Our Lord.

I think many of these stories are true. When a person who says that Jesus has come to him or her, converts and then is willing to face prison, torture and death rather than recant, I accept that at the very least, they believe what they are saying is true.

People will lie for attention, for money, for a competitive or social advantage. Some people even lie for recreation. People will certainly lie to avoid torture and death. But very few people will stand up to imprisonment, torture and death to defend one of their lies. This willingness to die for Christ has been one of His strongest witnesses for 2,000 years.

I’m going to chose one article out of the many I found, primarily because I found it in an August 24 issue of Christianity Today, which is a reliable publication. The article says in part:

… Tom Doyle has spent the last 11 years working as a missionary in the Middle East. He was initially skeptical about reports that God was speaking to Muslims in supernatural ways.

But his mindset changed when his friend told him: “God showed me that my theology does not determine his action.”

He’s made dozens of trips out to the region as director of e3 Partners’ work there, and heard many stories from Muslims about how they came to faith as a result of seeing Jesus in a dreams or vision…

…In one amazing story, a Muslim kidnaps a Christian in Cairo, one of the most dangerous places in the world to spread the Gospel, and takes him at gunpoint to an abandoned warehouse. Inside, he meets a group of 10 imams, who tell him they have been having dreams about Jesus and ask him to teach them about the Bible.

Dreams and visions have become common among Muslims in the Middle East who have embraced the Christian faith. Doyle says the dreams open the door for Muslims to hear about Jesus in countries where spreading the Gospel is forbidden.

While the West associates Islam with terrorism, Doyle believes the majority of Muslims are peace-loving.

“I believe Islamic terrorism is Satan’s attempt to keep the Gospel message away from Muslims,” he writes.

But Tom knows that even Satan can’t stop the Gospel from spreading.

“More Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus today than ever before,” Doyle writes. “In fact, we believe more Muslims have become followers of Jesus in the last ten years than in the last 14 centuries of Islam.” (Read the rest here.)

The article runs parallel to discussions about the New Evangelization which took place at the Synod in Rome this past week. I am a strong supporter of the New Evangelization. These miracles serve to remind us that all evangelization of any era must begin with prayer and hearts that are yielded to the Holy Spirit.

God is not just the object of our desire. He is also the source of our strength and the guide for our actions. We have been timid for a long time about evangelizing anybody, particularly in areas of the world where such work is greeted with violence. I think it’s interesting that these places are the precise ones where Jesus is taking things into His own hands and beginning the work for us.

In this Year of Faith we would do well to remember that nothing we do is of or for ourselves. We the instruments of His grace in this fallen world, and the doorway to that grace is prayer and a humble heart.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Historic Soviet Posters Exhibited at Protect Freedom of Religion Event

A woman throws away icons in a propaganda poster which states The Bright Light of Science Has Proven That There Is No God CNA 10/17/12

Is this poster a relic from a distant past that has no meaning for us today, or is it a reminder of what can happen to anyone who takes their freedoms lightly?

Given the rancor and aggressiveness of today’s militant secularists, that is a question all Christians should ask themselves.

This poster and 39 others like it were exhibited at the Protect Freedom of Religion event at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver this weekend. According to an interivew Father Doug Grandon, the priest who first discovered the posters, gave to CNA, the posters

” … remind us that societies can turn very deadly when you have a kind of radical secularism which manifests in an anti-Christian attitude … you see it in all its ugliness through the lens of these posters.”

Father Grandon “believes the posters are important for Coloradans to see because they “give us a warning that this could happen again. Where you have a disrespect for the freedom of religion, a rampant kind of secularism, this could happen again.”

“If we forget these horrific historical examples, and if we become lethargic in our political involvement, our prayers, in our practice of religion, our culture could be lost. It could happen even here.”

The CNA article says in part:

The October 1917 revolution in Russia led to the atheistic, communist government of the Soviet Union which hoped to eradicate religion, and in particular the Catholic Church, from its empire.

To do this, the government produced thousands of different propaganda posters which denigrated Christianity and which the Soviet Central Committee described in 1931 as “a powerful tool in the reconstruction of the individual, his ideology, his way of life, his economic activity.”

Between 1919 and 1922, 7.5 million of these posters were distributed in the Soviet Union. As many as 250,000 copies of a given poster could be made in the 1930s. The propaganda posters continued to be made through 1983.

The posters showing the Bolshevik worldview fall into three basic categories: icons of the worker, women, and the enemy. The Soviet government also produced anti-religious cartoons and postcards.

The posters contain such imagery as Lenin sweeping clergy from the earth, hypocritical priests, and Christians as sheep being fleeced by their priests. (Read more here.)

HHS Mandate: It’s That Simple

The strum und drang surrounding the HHS Mandate complicates the issue beyond comprehension for a lot of people.

The mandate attacks religious freedom. I think it’s a bellwether of government enforced religious discrimination to come. As such, it as serious as any issue can be. It puts the government of the United States in the position of attacking the first freedom guaranteed to the people of the United States, the freedom to practice their religious faith without government interference.

In addition to those high-flying arguments against the HHS Mandate, we also have common sense. That is what a new ad by the Catholic Archdiocese of St Louis brings to the discussion about the mandate: Common sense.

The ad, which is called It’s That Simple, begins by saying, “You wouldn’t force an atheist to buy a Bible,” and goes on to “You wouldn’t force a vegetarian to buy a hamburger, then why would you force a Catholic employer to buy your birth control?” Each question is punctuated by the statement “It’s that simple.”

And it is. That simple, I mean.

It’s That Simple is well worth watching. Have a look below.

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Less of Me: The Diet, Week Three

Gimpy the Foot

I skipped posting about The Diet last week. The only thing I could’ve said was “Ouch!”

I took a fall about a week ago. Broke my foot. Had surgery. Now, I’m wheelchair-bound for 8 or 9 weeks and then back to surgery. After that, it’s rehab for me and my gimpy foot. The doc says it will be about 5 months before my battered foot and I are healed and fully well again.

Nothing I had planned in terms of bettering my health — except, possibly, getting 8 hours sleep — seems do-able right now.

I never knew how much I liked my feet until I lost the use of one of them. They were just sort of there, at the end of my legs, doing their job. I didn’t think they were beautiful, but now I know that two uncomplaining feet are among the most beautiful things in the world.  I am a newly minted feet fan. Two of them. In working order. That’s better than chocolate.

I honestly think that if I wasn’t so overweight I might not have injured myself so badly. That’s my theory at least. My husband said, “How did you smash it like that?” and I told him, “I guess I dropped my whole weight on it.”

The nurse at the hospital told me to stop doing that to myself, that things just happen. Said it as they were wheeling me into surgery, “Honey you stop doin’ that to yourself. Things just happen. Don’t tell yourself stuff like that.”

That was nice of her, but I still think that the amount of weight your bring down on your bones is bound to affect how much torque you put them through. Just guessing. But it does seem logical.

I’m not talking about beating myself up here. If my love affair with junk food and the resulting heft I brought to the fall made the injury worse, then I’m the one who’s paying the price. My overeating. My injury. My payment.

But I have come to the conclusion that this is a price I don’t want to pay again. There’s no doubt that my weight has made things tougher on my husband and kids as they’ve had to shove my wheelchair around. I also know that it makes it harder for me to paddle along with the wheelchair myself.

All this gives seeing Less of Me a whole other level of incentive.

There are real limits to what I can do now. My first job is to take care of my sore baby and get well enough to be more active. But I’m already thinking ahead to the days when I’m quasi mobile and can at least do some things.

We have a women’s health spa/workout place not far from our house called Mademoiselle Ladies Fitness. They have the full set up of weight machines, ellipticals, bikes and pool. But what I’m aiming for at first are the passive work-out tables. I have a friend who used these a few years ago because her condition wouldn’t allow her to do the more strenuous things and she says they actually do work.

The set up looks like this:

The exercises you can do with them look like this:

 

Whaddaya think? Would this work with Gimpy the Foot?

I also cracked my hip bone. Even though it is going to heal on its own with no intervention, it’s still sore. Maybe I should say, Gimpy the Leg. I dunno. All I know is that this little event has made me realize what a wonderful thing a healthy, pain-free body is. It’s also brought home how very fortunate I am that I don’t have diabetes to complicate all this, and how much I don’t want to spend any more days at the hospital being a patient.

How do I work toward the goal of a healthier me from this wheelchair? 

Ideas? Thoughts? And a little encouragement, please. Tell me what you think. 

 

Christian Persecution: 10,000 Egyptian Christians Stand for Jesus at One Thing

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An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide face arrest, interrogation and even death for their faith in Christ. Many millions more face discrimination and alienation.

Yet they do no recant their faith. In the face of violent persecution, Christians the world over continue to stand for Christ.

This was particularly apparent when 10,000 Egyptian Christians recently gathered in the desert for a three-day praise and worship service. According to Open Doors World Watch, Egypt is ranked 15 out of the 50 countries that are the worse persecutors of Christians.

The three-day service was called “One Thing” after Psalm 27:4: “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

The Open Doors article about the One Thing reads in part:

Increased persecution, the election of a Muslim Brotherhood president, and the death of the Coptic Church pope has led to thousands

fleeing Egypt in fear of the future.

But there have been rays of the light of Jesus breaking through the gloom.

Earlier this month about 10,000 Christian young people came from all across Egypt for three days to worship the Lord and to seek God’s blessing for their country. The worshippers, mostly ranging from ages 13 to 30, gathered from 10 o’clock in the morning until 8 each evening. Many traveled hundreds of miles to the worship site in the middle of the desert north of Cairo.

“To sit among over 10,000 young people, worship with them in a roaring holy noise, listen to powerful and challenging messages and pray for God’s powerful presence in our lives; really, it is hard to describe in words,” says a Christian leader. “Sitting at the very back of the small soccer stadium gave me a good view of the scene. Thousands were sitting to my right, thousands to my left and thousands more in the middle. Hardly any empty gaps!

“The wonderful fact is that these young people came from all over Egypt. About 3,000 of them came all the way from many cities located in southern Egypt. They were accommodated in conference facilities available nearby. As for the remaining 7,000, they had to come all the way, every day, riding in the morning from Cairo and Alexandria in about 130 big buses, and then ride back home every evening for the night.”

According to the church leader, another 2 million followed the event on Internet and live satellite transmission.(Read more here.)

Christian Persecution: Christians Attacked, Forced to Worship Idols in India

“When his 12-year-old daughter asked the extremists why they were attacking her father, they began to beat her too.” Sadly, this kind of brutality directed at Christians is commonplace in India. The pastor and his daughter were later forced to worship Hindu idols.


08/07/2012 India (MNN) – While believers were gathered at his home singing worship songs, a mob of Hindu extremists brutally attacked Raju*, a church leader trained by Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India.

Mission India’s Dave Stravers said about 20 men broke into Raju’s home wielding clubs. Radicals destroyed things in the home and then turned their rage to Raju. When his 12-year old daughter asked the extremists why they were attacking her father, they began to beat her too.

“Persecution is a growing reality in India,” said Stravers. After violently attacking Raju and his family, extremists proceeded to drag the believer and his wife to a nearby Hindu temple.

“They smeared vermillion, which is like a finger-paint, on their foreheads and pushed their heads down…and forced them to worship the idols in the temple,” Stravers explained.

“This is a pretty typical thing; it happens quite often in India.”

Last month, the Evangelical Fellowship of India observed weekly attacks on Christians. Hindu extremists throughout India threatened and beat believers, often accusing them of ‘forcible conversions’. (Read more here.

Christian Persecution: Muslim Trafficking Networks Target Coptic Christian Women

This is a such a tragic story.  As you watch this news package from CBN News, please pray for Mary and all of the Christian girls who are being targeted by Muslims.  

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