Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Hound of Heaven

God's love is so vast that we cannot fathom It.

We can experience God's love through many things.

Pope Benedict's trip to Brazil for World Youth Day shows once again that young people from around the world continue to respond to God's love.

The Pope called for holiness and the young people gave several ovations to his calls to follow Christ.

What a wonderful sign of God's presence among us. St. Paul writes, "Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; at the same time, pray for us, too, that God may open a door to us for the word, to speak of the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, that I may make it clear, as I must speak" (Colossians 4:2-3).

In reading this passage, I can't help remember St. Paul writing this while serving God in chains. He asks for prayer which transcends time and space.

He asks, "pray for us" which echoes down through history representing the successors of the Apostles to our time.

We are called by St. Paul to pray for our clergy today. There are many religious today who are living in bondage, chains suffering for Christ and his Church today.

St. Paul writes, "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38).

God's love is so vast that you cannot out run it. Psalms 121 says, "I raise my eyes towards the mountains. From where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. God will not allow your foot to slip; your guardian does not sleep. Truly, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps. The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. By day the sun cannot harm you, nor the moon by night. The Lord will guard you from all evil, will always guard your life. The Lord will guard your coming and going both now and forever".

We are loved so much by the God of heaven. St. John writes, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life" (John 3:16).

It becomes a matter that we respond to God's love by living a life of holiness as the Pope exhorts us to do. Jesus said, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13).

No matter what sins we have committed, Jesus will forgive them all if you repent from these sins. We can come to him in the Confessional with full confidence that you will be forgiven. I've been blessed to have seen people return back to the Catholic Faith after 35 years, 20, 15, 10, 5 years.

What a great blessing to see. For those still sitting on the fence, St. Paul writes, "Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).

God is like the "Hound of Heaven" because he is passionate for his love for us. We serve a great God!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Plenary Indulgence For The Year Of Faith

Catholics who participate in events connected with the 2012-2013 Year of Faith can receive a special indulgence, according to a decree issued by the Vatican on September 14, 2012. Pope Benedict established the Year of Faith to run from Oct. 11, 2012, to Nov. 24, 2013.

An Indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment due for sins that have been forgiven. It can be granted on behalf of the individual petitioner or on behalf of departed souls. The plenary indulgence is being offered to those who visit designated churches and shrines, to those who participate in local events connected to the Year of Faith, and to those who may be too ill or otherwise prevented from physical participation.

According to the Vatican decree, conditions for the special Year of Faith indulgence include the normal requirements set by the church for all plenary indulgences, that is: that the person truly repents of their sins, goes to confession, receives the Eucharist, and prays for the intentions of the Holy Father. A member of the Church who has fulfilled those conditions may acquire a plenary indulgence in any of the following ways:

A. Each Time they attend at least three sermons during a mission, or at least three lectures on the Second Vatican Council or on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

B. Each time they visit by way of pilgrimage a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or holy site designated by the local Bishop for the Year of Faith and there participate in a liturgy, or at least remain for an appropriate time of prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Creed in any legitimate form, and invocations of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, of the holy Apostles or patron saints.

In the Diocese of Austin the following four sites have been designated by Bishop Joe S. Vasquez for the Year of Faith plenary indulgence:

St. Mary Cathedral in Austin
St. Mary Parish in College Station
St. Mary Parish in Lampasas
St. Louis Parish in Waco

C. Each time they participate in the Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours adding the Creed, in any parish church in the diocese, on the days determined by the local Bishop.

In the Diocese of Austin the following days have been designated by Bishop Vasquez for the Year of Faith plenary indulgence:

February 13 Ash Wednesday
March 28 Holy Thursday
March 30 Easter Vigil
March 31 Easter Sunday
April 8 Solemnity of the Annunciation
May 19 Pentecost
August 15 Solemnity of the Assumption
November 1 All Saints Day
November 24 Solemnity of Christ the King

D. On any day they choose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a prayerful visit to the place where they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.

Members of the faithful who are truly repentant and are unable to take part in public liturgies for serious reasons (such as, for example, nuns who live in perpetually cloistered monasteries, prisoners, the elderly, the sick, and those who serve the sick in hospitals) will gain the plenary indulgence on the same condition, if, united in mind and spirit with the faithful present, especially at a moment when the words of the Holy Father or one of the Diocesan Bishops are broadcast via the television or radio, they recite at home, or where their impediment obliges them to be (for example, in the monastery chapel, in the hospital, in a clinic, in prison, etc.), the Our Father, the Creed in any legitimate form, and other prayers in conformity with the objectives of the Year of Faith, offering up their suffering or the hardship in their lives.

The decree on the Year of Faith indulgence said, "Since the primary objective is to develop sanctity of life to the highest degree possible on this earth, and thus to attain the most sublime level of pureness of soul, immense benefit may be derived from the great gift of indulgences which, by virtue of the power conferred upon her by Christ, the Church offers to everyone who, following the due norms, undertakes the special prescripts to obtain them."

Please seek the above information unique to each Diocese.

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The Catholic Defender: The Fourth Man in the Fire

King Nebuchadnezzar created a golden statue and wanted to honor his creation setting up a herald to cry out: "Nations and peoples of every language, when you here the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments, you are ordered to fall down and worship the golden statue".

The King ordered "Whoever does not fall down and worship shall be instantly cast into a white-hot furnace".

The Gentiles seem to have complied to this order, but the news was spread that the Jews did not play the game.

King Nebuchadnezzar became enraged and called for the Jewish administrators Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego to be brought before him.

The King became upset at them finding out that it was true, the Jews did not nor will not worship a false god, especially one made of gold. The King began to replay the music for the Jewish representatives only to find that they refused to comply.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stated, "There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue which you set up" (Daniel 3:16-18).

The king became very enraged and ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual and had some of the strongest men bind Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego and they were cast into the firery furnace.

The flames enkindled those who threw the Jews into the furnace. Yet, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego were seen walking in the fire singing praise to God.

With this scene, King Nebuchadnezzar began to praise the Lord recognizing the miracle.

As the three men were praising God, hearing them sing, King Nebuchadnezzer rose asking, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire, I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God" (Daniel 3:91-92).

Upon their release, not even the hair on their head had been singed, there was no evidence they had been in a fire. They were not even smoking!

Angels were seen as "sons of God" (Jb 1:6), in the singular case, I can't help but see Jesus involved in this.

Regardless if this is an image of Jesus or this fourth man was purely an angel from God, the power source is the same. Jesus is the Word made flesh. God's protection of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego, reveals that God can save his people.

We might find ourselves under extreme pressure and we too must cry out to God. The most important thing for us is to remain faithful to God and keep a song of praise in our heart towards God.

The Jews told the king, win, lose, or draw they would not bow down to any god but the one true God.

We too must have this kind of courage and strength to meet the challenges we face. This story from Daniel gives us hope that the Lord will be with us through any danger that lies ahead.

I have been delivered from the battlefield, I thank God for my life. We must continue to pray for our Nation, for our troops in harms way, and for our families.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

*BEST OF DTB #17* The Catholic Defender looks at The Mass

Have you ever listened to the radio or watched television and heard some minister invite you to a Bible-believing church?

When they say this, they may in effect be saying, “Catholics are not Bible believers because they depend on human tradition and precepts. Come join us where you can really get into the word.”

In response, former Catholics will be shouting, “Amen, brother,” and lukewarm Catholics will say, “Really? Wow, let’s check it out!”

If they really understood the Mass, they would realize, “Hey, the Catholic Church is the most Bible-believing church on any street corner.”

When I’ve invited Protestant friends to Mass, they are astonished to find that the songs, prayers, and scripture are so based on the foundation of Jesus Christ. He is the very core, the center of each Mass.

The Mass is divided into two basic parts: the liturgy of the word, and the liturgy of the Eucharist. The Mass begins with the entrance song, and the procession of the crucifix followed by the altar servers.

The lector boldly carries the word of God with respect and reverence. The priest follows at the rear of the formation.

The Celebrant will then greet the altar. The altar, once consecrated, represents the ‘most sacred’ and ‘whatever touches it will be sacred’ (Exodus 29:37)

It is a holy thing about to be celebrated. Hebrews 13:15 states, “Through him then let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise that is, the fruit of lips that confess this name.”
The celebrant after assuming his position behind the altar usually in front of his chair will preside over the liturgy of the word.

He greets the people, and all prepare to enter God’s presence by a common confession of unworthiness.

I Corinthian 11: 27-29 states, “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the Body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.”

We must recognize that we are sinners and need his help (I Timothy 1:15). The priest may combine the Kyrie Eleison (Lord, Have Mercy) prayer to conclude the penitential rite. On Sundays which do not occur within the season of Lent or Advent, Catholics will sing or pray together ‘The Glory to God in the Highest,’ a song of praise and composite of truths sung by the angels on the first Christmas night.

So, this far into the Mass, we haven’t yet got to the word of God, but we have participated with ancient traditions so infused with scripture that it represents Biblical Christianity with the highest respect.

After the “Glory to God in the Highest,” the Celebrant collects the prayers of the assembly. St. Paul states in I Timothy 2:8, “It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up Holy hands, without anger or argument.” Together, we bring our needs and desires. The prayers are short, but pointed and forceful.

The scriptural reading now begins. The first reading usually is taken from the Old Testament. This reading usually correlates with the Gospel message from the New Testament. After the Old Testament reading is concluded, we have one of the Responsorial Psalms.

This is an antiphonal arrangement of a psalm intended to be a meditation on the word of God. This is either sung or recited alternately by the lector (the singer), and the congregation.

Then we read a New Testament passage, such as 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, “All scripture is inspired by God, and useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

When Paul wrote to Timothy, he had the Old Testament scripture in mind. It is right that we also keep the Old Testament and honor it.

The next reading is called “The Epistle,” and it’s always taken from the New Testament. It gives instruction for the Christian community to life the Christian life.

After the four Gospels, the New Testament begins with the book of Acts, written by St. Luke as an historical record of the early church.

The next 13 books, from Romans to Philemon, and ordered according to length from longest to shortest, are letters written by St. Paul. After Paul’s writings, comes the book of Hebrews.

The scholars at the council of Hippo (convened from A. D. 393-396 for the purpose of establishing the books of the Bible) were not sure that Paul wrote Hebrews, so they placed it after the rest of his writings.

After Hebrews comes the books called “The Catholic letters,” because they were written to the whole church, not just to a certain church or individual. These books are James, Peter 1 and 2, John 1, 2, and 3, Jude, and Revelation, written by Saint John.

The more you are involved with the order of the Mass, the more biblical you find it. After the epistle, all stand for the ‘Alleluia,’ and verse in preparation for the Gospel. During the season of Lent, the ‘Alleluia,’ is not sung; instead, a Gospel acclamation is used.

The celebrant proclaims the Gospel. The Gospel books are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The Gospel and the previous scripture reading are arranged on a three year cycle so that once every three years the entire Bible is proclaimed.

At the reading of the Gospel, the entire congregation stands to hear intently the words of Jesus Christ. Once the Gospel message is announced, we respond by making a sign of the cross on our forehead, mouth, and heart.

This sign means ‘My mind believes the truth, my lips speak the truth, and my heart loves the truth.’
By this time, your Protestant friend has really flipped out. He hasn’t seen so much Bible utilized and proclaimed at one time. He is beginning to wonder, “They say this is not a Bible-believing church.” That’s when I grab the young person on the shoulder and tell them, “Yeah, and you haven’t heard the half of it yet; take a seat.”

After the Gospel, the Homily is given which the priest uses to show practical application of the Gospel message. It’s preaching time! It pays to be attentive just to make sure the priest knows his ‘p’s’ and ‘q’s.’

After the sermon is pronounced,, the Nicene Creed is repeated by all the faithful. The creed is a profession of our faith, and a composite of truths that we Catholics have maintained since the apostles. Hebrews 4:14 states, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the Heavens, Jesus, the son of God, let us hold fast to our profession of faith.”

The Nicene Creed is an expansion of the Apostles Creed. The Nicene creed was composed at the council of Nicea in 325 A.D., reaffirmed at the Council of Constantinople in the same century.

The last act in this biblical-inspired drama is the petitions of the prayer of the faithful. We simply ask God for mercy and help in whatever the needs may be. This ends the Liturgy of the Word!

After the word of God has been proclaimed, the Eucharistic celebration of the Mass begins with the offertory procession.

The tithing (money) and gifts of bread and wine are brought to the Altar as a sign of the offering of our lives in union with Christ to the heavenly Father. Usually a song or hymn is sung.

Jesus tells this story about tithing. "A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents." Calling His disciples to Himself, He said to them; "Amen I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributers to the treasury. For they all contributed from the surplus wealth, but she from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood (Mark 12:41-44)."

We shall offer ourselves totally, not from a monetary (though one should give what they can), but of oneself.

Let our offering not be like Cain's, but more like Abel's. a sacrifice pleasing to God (Genesis 4:4-5).

The offering begins as the priest prepares the gift of bread and wine that will become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, also known as the "Eucharist".

Modeled after the Jewish prayers, the priest proclaims, "Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, through your goodness we have this bread to offer which will become the Bread of Life."
The next phase is the preparation of the gifts. Having prepared the gift of bread, the priest now prepares the gift of wine that will be changed into the blood of Christ.

This chalice becomes the vessel that will help us enact the everlasting Covenant that will be shed for all of us. As the wine is offered by the priest, so we offer ourselves. We ask God to share in His divine nature, just as Christ shared in our human nature.

As water became one with wine, in like manner we would wish to be united with Christ.

The celebrant washes his hands. This practice is a priestly cleaning. The Old Testament prefigures the New Testament. Exodus 29:1-2 states; "This is the rite you shall perform in consecrating them as priest... with fine wheat flour make unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil... Aaron and his sons, the priests of the Levi's. You shall also bring to the entrance of the meeting tent, and there wash them with water."

This washing of hands by the priest is symbolic of purification of the soul. Then the priest may approach the great sacrifice without blemish.

This is followed by a prayer that the sacrifice will be acceptable to God. 1 Peter 2:5 states, "You too are living stone, built as an edifice of spirit, into a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
The washing of hands is followed by prayer over the gifts, the most important of the offering prayers.

There are primarily four Eucharistic prayers used by cannon law: Eucharistic Prayer III is the most common used. Eucharistic Prayer 1 is used usually read during Christmas Mass, and special occasions.

It is during this consecration that the bread and wine are consecrated and the communitites highest attention and adoration is given. It is tradition that the bells ring at the word of Jesus, "This is my body" at the elevation! Then again with "Do this in memory of me".
During the middle ages, at the moment of the consecration, the tower bells would ring alearting the country side what was happening in the church. Farmers would stop, reflect and pray.

The Angelus, a popular devotion, was common at this time. Jesus renews for us His redemptive sacrifice. He does not suffer or die. This was offered only one!

Before us, Jesus makes present and active among us the power of His life, death, and resurrection.

As a form of prayer, some of the canons go back to the second century. As the priest elevates the host and then the chalice, Jesus is truely present under both species.

We can unify ourselves with Jesus, the one true mediation between God and individual. He offers Himself to the Father on our behalf.

The next phase is called, "The Intercessions"! Here the universal prayers for the church, communion with the saints, for all of us, for the needs, and for the deceased.

These petitions are joined in the rememberance of the passion, death, and resurrection and the Lord's second coming that is celebrated in the Eucharist (Luke 22:19).

The Eucharistic prayer is climaxed with the Doxology, and the great amen. The priest celebrates the host and the cup proclaiming, "Through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father forever and ever".
The Fathers of the Church considered the "Amen" as important for the laity as the words of consecration are for the priest. It is our achknowledgement to the truth of what is taking place.

The Lord's prayer is from the earliest times, the "table prayer" of the christians. For during this prayer we pray for our daily bread, our Eucharistic bread and it's fruits.

The next phase is the breaking of the bread. This is the oldest name given to the assymbly/service used in the book of Acts of the New Testament. This was a sign that all, though many, were one loaf, one bread, and one Body of Christ.

During the breaking of the bread, the Angus Des is sung or recited, which is the "Lamb of God" prayer.

The priest then holds the particle of the Eucharistic bread and uses the words spoken by St. John the Baptist. Older versions of the text says, "Behold the Lamb of God; behold Him who takes away the sins of the world."
Today it begins, "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to His supper."
Just like the centurion so long ago, we respond, "Lord I am not worthy to recieve you, but only the word and I shall be healed.

The communion procession, we as a community share in the body and blood of the Lord, communion with Him and each other.

This is a far greater fulfillment than the Manna given to the Israelites in the desert (John 6:25-51).

The Eucharist is a Latin word meaning "Thanksgiving"! We are called to recieve this gift and take this gift within us, to the whole world.

We are given the final blessing and like the great commission gave the disciples, we are send to go into the streets, the work place, the homes, to witness and share Christ to everyone we meet. Indeed, Jesus calls us to teach the Gospels to the ends of the earth.

Friday, January 25, 2013

*BEST OF DTB #31* The Catholic Defender looks at Abortion

It was 1995, Troop Medical Clinic (TMC) 3, I had just transferred to MEDDAC at Ft. Campbell from the Rakassans, 3/187 Infantry.

I had been with them for nearly 5 years and now I am assigned to the TMC that supported the Rakassans.

That is a world of difference, but it would still be challenging.

One day, a female Soldier comes to my office and wanted to talk to me.

I took her to an exam room where she could talk in privacy.

She took a few moments until, finally, she wanted to talk to me about an abortion she had recently committed.

She was not married; she was having difficulty coping with what she done.

I asked her if she was Catholic and she replied “no”, that she was a member of the Assemblies of God. She told me that she had not been practicing her faith for some time.

I encouraged her to make an appointment with her Pastor, or find her unit’s Chaplain if she needed to speak with a Professional.

I wanted to encourage her to get the kind of help she needed from her spiritual tradition.

That was not the time to discuss religion except that I told her I was Catholic.

I told her that as a representative of Christ, I forgive her for what she did. I think she needed to hear that.

We spoke for a short time but her issue and concern stuck with me for a good while.

I have always been pro-life, politically; I have always supported pro-life Candidates for all elections.

Since that time, I have felt a compassion for those who have had abortions who live with the knowledge they killed their children.

Despair can set in and take control of a young life. There was a national suicide hot line based out of California that reported 45% of those calling them for help were over abortion.

Allot of women are faced with many issues that can make them feel trapped.

Many times it is parents who are pressuring them to have abortions; sometimes it is a boy friend or even husband that pressures them.

Sometimes, it is the Mother who wants to end their pregnancies.

I have spoken with women who displayed great courage and dedication giving life to their child. Other times, the child never had a chance.

Since 1973, we have had more than 50,000,000 babies killed by abortion.

We have basically wiped out a generation of people who are not able to speak for themselves; they are forever silent except on that great and glorious day of the Lord. Their voice will be heard then.

In order to change lives, we must also work to change conditions that give women support and encouragement.

Love within the families, having a strong Father and Mother role model is very important.

That is almost counterculture in today’s society as divorce is common, the family unit is under attack, and people are all over the country separated from loved ones.

Children are being raised without Fathers. Many Father’s are not acting responsible towards their children.

In many cases, the Mother is trying to carry the load. Many Father’s do not lead by example.

As a result, many Daughters do not have a healthy image of Fathers or Mothers.

That has made it difficult for them to see God the Father or the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I have been watching some of the debates on FOX News and can't help respond to one of the liberals who appear on there speaking as if women are supportive to abortion as a voting block.

I think the women's vote will be more pro-life than what the NOW Gang care to admit.

Most Americans oppose abortion on demand so depending on who is asking the question, abortion advocates can bend results.

Women's issues will aways need to be front and center, but liberals sugar coat the issues as they compete for tax dollars such as Planned Parenthood.

The Federal Government has paid billions supporting abortion many using this as a birth control.

Millions of woman have fell into this trap, a sad consequence of the sexual revolution, a battlefield where often times women are the casualties.

Where women are made objects and not respected as a child of God.

The answer really is found in Jesus Christ, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

The problem and challenge is getting Christians to follow the Lord living out his teaching.

To heal the family, individuals, we need God's love, forgiveness, and mercy. Love and Compassion does not equal toleration and acceptance.

Heaven intervened when the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531 to stop human sacrifice.

Today, we call upon the Lord and His Mother to end the human sacrifices today.

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7 Quick Takes: The Conversion of Paul and Marching for Life


A few days ago, a stained glass artist named Rachel Curling emailed me and gave permission to use this piece of stained glass beauty in order to help celebrate today's Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.
Stained glass image courtesy of

This piece was created in honor of the event and the feast day. It captures that moment when Paul is confronted with Christ's voice and answers his call to conversion with the words, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do!" He humbly surrenders, as the image denotes. You can see his "Yes!" in his very body. He is completely open to the will of the Christ. That same Christ he had not recognized as his Messiah. The same Christ he was persecuting by attacking His body, the Church. This is a profound moment for Paul, for the Church as well, but let us not forget that Paul's conversion is an important window into our own continual call to conversion and deeper union with Our Lord, too. We need to take it personally!

Like Mary, like you or I, like anyone who has answered that call to conversion, Paul could have refused. Like Paul as Saul, we do Him harm. We may not hold any coats while Christians are killed, but every sin has a painful effect upon our world, ourselves, and our God. Each sin needs repentance, each sinner conversion, with each and every sin.

It is too easy to contemplate a life like his from this end of History. We take such faith as a matter of course. Of course he goes blind and on his way. Of course Paul is Baptized in Damascus by the very people he had planned on persecuting. Of course he writes, speaks, and converts Christians in his time and to this very day. He's Paul. Everybody knows him!

What we tend to forget is that he had no guarantees that those wary Christians would ever trust him. He was Saul, the man who took part in the very first Christian martyrdom. This man helped kill Saint Stephen! Saul's reputation proceeded him whenever he went among Christians. A yes to Christ meant he would be outlawed by his current friends and by all the authorities in power, Jewish and Roman. A yes meant he would have to trust the Christians and be humbled by his past actions. Christ didn't make any guarantees and Paul said yes. As far as he knew, Christ might have had in mind for him a glorious martyrdom in Damascus at the hands of just about anyone.

Yet Paul never hesitates. He gives his fiat as soon as he understands Who is behind the voice. What trust, what surrender that is! Blinded, he journeys to his fate as a new convert to a persecuted faith.

As you look upon this artwork, would it not be a dazzling wonder to ask God for a turning away from your misguided roads, just like His servant Paul. Even the smallest mite of such a moment, even in a more ordinary life, would be miraculous.


Who doesn't know the story of Saint Paul's conversion? It's worth a look, again and again, year after year. Here is one of the readings for today that you could hear if you were blessed enough to attend a Mass.

Acts 22: 3-16
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

"On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'
I replied, 'Who are you, sir?'
And he said to me,
'I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.'
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, 'What shall I do, sir?'
The Lord answered me, 'Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.'
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

"A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
'Saul, my brother, regain your sight.'
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
'The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.'"


I am going to interview the stained glass artist Rachel Curling on the Podcast next month, so stayed tuned for details!


2013 March for Life is Underway

Image Source: A Slice of Smith Life blog
Out in the cold and damp and marching for Life!


Tracy Smith, blogger at A Slice of Smith Life, was gracious enough to share the above photo from last year's cold and damp March for Life (2013's is cold and snowy). She is a veteran of several Marches and has archived her photos and videos of the last few years. Go take a look and see how exciting the March for Life can be. I've only managed to attend our local events, which are smaller but wonderfully exciting. Just imagine the DC March with a hundred thousand marchers with you! Visit Tracy's blog to catch a glimpse of the awesomeness that is the March for Life!


The Pope Tweeted the Marchers!

Source: Catholic News Agency

.- Pope Benedict has sent a Twitter message expressing his solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of people marching in America this week for a culture of life and an end to abortion.

“I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life,” he tweeted Jan. 25.

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Today is my Fast Once a Week for Life day. I am so happy to have my fasting day coincide with the March for Life today. My heart and my small sacrifices and prayers go out to all the women who have had an abortion.

Peace to you, sisters.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Stories of My Great GrandFather

It is always interesting to learn about your family heritage and it can also be a lot of fun.

My Brother, Randy and his wife have done a lot of family research for me and we have some possible notable historical figures.

On my Mother's Grandfather's side of the house, Daniel Boone might be a distant cousin and on my Mother's Grandmother's side of the house, we might be related to an Indian Warrior remembered as Black Hawk of the Sauk and Fox Tribe.

Of all the family history that I can know for sure, nobody tops my Great, Great Grand Father, Donald Hartley of Kentucky.

He was a traveler along side Daniel Boone and some might say a bit more rugged. He participated in many adventures opening up the wild west.

From his fighting of Indians, he developed a great respect for the various tribes as he learned to survive in the Wilderness.

At that time there were many dangers that lurked about.

Indian wars were a raging and men like my Great Grandfather paved the way for many to follow.

The story of the early trailblazing opened up the way for the covered wagons and for civilization to spread west towards the great Mississippi.

Sometimes all he would have is his coonskin cap and the clothes on his back. The story is told of one occasion when he outran two Indians 25 miles with the furs on his back. He had later stated that he simply needed the money.

Then about 1801, while out patrolling for the Army, he ran into a Catholic Priest and from that time on, he was never the same.

He began to reach out to the Indians telling them of the love of Jesus and His holy Catholic Church.

So successful was my Grandfather that it is said that whole tribes began to follow the way of Christ.

Ultimately, reaching Sitting Bull. Many do not realize that Sitting Bull was himself a convert to the Catholic Faith and history may not say it, but it was through my Grandfather!

Sitting Bull would eventually lead Buffalo Bill to the Catholic faith, he was just baptized two days before his death.

History may never speak about the exploits of my Grandfather as he helped shape the American West, but he will never be forgotten by the many Indians who still remember him today as the "Catholic Defender", whom from where I get my title.

So when people think of the Catholic Defender today, always remember that I dedicate everything I do for my Mother's honor in the memory of my Great Grandfather.

Recently, an old historical video was discovered that shows my Grandfather leading a band of pioneers into hostile Indian territory.

What a prize this is. I do not know how or who placed the sound with the video.

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The Catholic Defender: Prolife Event at Jefferson City

We are quickly moving towards this Saturday's Pro-life Rally at the State Capital Building in Jefferson City Missouri. Our mission is to help Christians come together as the Body of Christ to do God’s will. Our strategy is to pray, discuss, and act on past and current issues that are detrimental to the good of our Christian nation and our souls. Our objective is to help wake up Christians, to stop the moral decline in our country, and to put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions. We put our complete trust in Christ to guide our steps, to give us direction, and to surround us with HIS presence, Power, Protection, and Blessings. We must continually edify and encourage each other to stay in the battle as humble servant warriors for the King of Kings, for the lives and souls of HIS children.

40 Days for Life is an intensive pro-life campaign that focuses on 40 days of prayer, fasting, peaceful vigil at abortion facilities, and grassroots educational outreach. The 40-day time frame is drawn from examples throughout Biblical history where God brought about world-changing transformation in 40-day periods. Our Spring Campaign will run from March 9 to April 17, and we will be praying outside the Planned Parenthood at 711 Providence Rd in Columbia, MO. If you are interested in joining this effort and helping to make a life-saving impact, please contact Mike and Kathy Forck at 573-491-3522.
Missouri’s First Annual
March and Rally for LIFE

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Speakers at the event:

Bishop James Johnston
Considering the more than 50 million lives lost to abortion since Roe v. Wade, the suffering of women and families who carry the burdens associated with abortion, and the undermining of the dignity of human life, Bishop Johnston of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese encourages placing all these things at the feet of Jesus for His help and healing; only God can address these wounds. He invites everyone to respond with love but also great resolve, to be advocates for human life and witnesses to hope, praying and fasting for the conversion of America, that it may once again become a safe place for the weakest and most vulnerable—particularly the unborn.

Coach Dave Daubenmire
Following a successful battle with the ACLU to defend his first amendment rights, Coach Dave Daubenmire founded Pass the Salt Ministries, and Minutemen United, to encourage Christians to engage in the cultural war. He participates in Shake the Nation conferences; delivers a weekly radio show from Columbus, Ohio; has written the book A Season Ordered by the Lord; and has co-authored Where Are Our Shepherds.

Fr. Dylan Schrader
A newly ordained priest of the Jefferson City Diocese, Fr. Schrader is an associate pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Columbia, MO. He is a 40 Days for Life core team member who participates regularly in the peaceful prayer vigil outside the local Planned Parenthood, praying to God for an end to abortion.

Dr. Patrick Johnston
A family practice physician, Dr. Johnston founded the Association of Pro-Life Physicians (, dedicated to promoting life and not giving referrals for abortion, and the Alliance to Reform Education Funding, which promotes Christian education for every Christian child and resists the ungodliness of public education. He and his wife, Elizabeth, are committed to revival in the church, and to the restoration of Biblical law and constitutional government in America.

Sgt. Donald Hartley
A Veteran for Life, Sgt. Hartley served as an Army Medic for 26 years. Awarded Two Bronze Star Medals for recent action in Iraq. Responsible for over 8,000 combat patrol missions, he led teams of medics into hostile areas, caring for over 400 soldiers with traumatic injuries. Upholding the oath he took to "protect and defend the Constitution of the U.S. against all enemies, both foreign and domestic," he stands with other veterans against all who put the lives and souls of children in harm’s way. A servant of the King of Kings, he calls for civil leaders to put an end to the American Holocaust: Abortion.

Fr. Vincent Bertrand
A priest of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, Fr. Bertrand founded the SMSU Life Advocates and the Missouri Chapter of the National Youth Pro-Life Coalition. He was the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, and has been an active member of Voice for Life, Birthright, Missouri Right to Life, National Right to Life, and many other pro-life organizations for over 35 years.

Please keep the fire burning, the prayers to end abortion.

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Because it is Monday

and we could use more dreams like his

Like I said when I posted this on Facebook, I only catch little side blows of racism. I just have had some looks and comments as I go past with my brood, just enough for my blood to simmer, my sarcasm to unsheath, and an understanding to dawn that I don't have a clue how bad it really can be. I'm very grateful to men and women like Martin Luther King, Jr., so that my family can not only exist, but it can exist in relative peace. Would we Martins be possible in the world my  mother grew up in sixty odd years ago? A world with signs that read, "The sun won't go down on a black man in Acme, Texas"?

I just wonder.
The Martins (with some Godmothers)
at our last trip to the courthouse to adopt more Martins.

All human dreams are imperfect, but I hope one day to live more perfectly the dream my God has in mind for me.

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The Catholic Defender: I Am Prolife

I want to thank my close and good friend, Secret Agent Man (deepertruth's "Guardian Angel") for his trusting me and asking me to participate in this effort to stop abortion.

It has been a great honor to have played a role in this event.

Recently, while at an abortion clinic in Arizona, partly through efforts of The Guardian Angel, another baby was saved from certain extermination.

This past week I was at an abortion clinic and we had one Mother who listened to us and hopefully will not have an abortion. If you would like to hear my speech at Jefferson City Missouri, you can listen it here:

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you very much, I beg of you to spare the life of the unborn child, whom I have spiritually adopted.

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*BEST OF DTB #128* Blog for CHOICE Day

NARAL Pro-CHOICE America is calling on all the anti-life bloggers to blog for CHOICE. “Blog for CHOICE Day”, they call it. Well I am going to "Blog for CHOICE" as well, but unlike them, I will be very specific about what CHOICE I am blogging about.
The definition of CHOICE is: the right or opportunity of choosing, having an alternative. So I have to ask those who call themselves pro-CHOICE, what are you choosing, what are the alternatives given to women in a crisis pregnancy? The stats of our nation’s number one abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, shows that 96.3% of their services to pregnant women in 2008 were abortions and the other 3.7% were adoptions and prenatal care. * So with that, we can come to the conclusion, that to them CHOICE means ABORTION, with obviously little focus on any alternatives.
Now what is interesting, on NARAL’s website, it writes about Crisis Pregnancy Centers and has this to say “While CPCs may falsely suggest that they provide a full range of reproductive health services, they clearly do not.” Well that’s a very disingenuous statement coming from a movement, that cant own up to what their CHOICE is and how little CHOICE women are given at abortion “clinics”. They also, don’t ever call themselves, by what they really are, abortion “clinics”, but disguise their name as “women “health” centers.
If we look at women who have had abortions, 64% of American women felt pressured by others, more than half felt rushed or uncertain, yet 67% received no counseling, 79% were not told about available alternatives, 84% said they were not fully informed.** Does this sound like CHOICE to you? Is CHOICE coerced, rushed and uninformed ?
It certainly is no secret that Crisis Pregnancy Centers do not provide abortion services nor do they refer women to the NO-CHOICE abortion mills, because some choices are ugly and wrong. CPC’s provide women and their unborn child, with the help they need , to get through the pregnancy, support their child, or put that child up for adoption. They are given alternatives that they won’t regret, they are given information to make the CHOICE best for both them and their child, and they are not forced or coerced to make the decision that is best for the both of them. Now, doesn’t that sound more like CHOICE? And don’t ALL WOMEN and their unborn children deserve the best CHOICES, regardless of how that pregnancy came about?
The anti-life movement, has hijacked the word CHOICE, they misuse and distort its meaning, doing so, because they can’t fess up, to what their CHOICE really is. ABORTION. If you support something which is so ugly, you can’t use the word, maybe you should rethink what you are CHOOSING!
So based on the facts, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for NARAL to call upon their bloggers to “Blog for ABORTION Day”? or “Blog for NO CHOICE day?”
Tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of supporters of CHOICE will be marching in Washington D.C. They will be marching for the right choices, they will be marching for the CHOICE that gives life, not takes life, the CHOICE that heals, not harms. The Author of Life, will not bless America, until America truly becomes pro-CHOICE.
" I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live" Deut 30:19.

This blog was submitted by Deeper Truth member - Margie Sindelar

If you are in, or know someone who is in a crisis pregnancy, call 1-800-395-HELP.
If you have had an abortion, visit Rachael's Vineyard OR Hope After Abortion

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