Thursday, January 29, 2009

An Encounter with "The Angry Young Man."

I had an odd morning yesterday.

After dropping my daughter off at school and a quick stop at the post office, I began my drive to work.

While pulling up to a red light, I glanced in my rear-view mirror to see a woman trying to get out of a car and a man pulling her back in. They were screaming and hitting each other. The light quickly turned green and I moved foward, wondering what my duty as a citizen and an Catholic man is in just such a situation.

At the next intersection, the light turned red as well. The car sped up and stopped behind me once again - and again the same scenario played out. I reached for my cell phone, about to call 911. I thought to myself, "by the time time I make the call, they may be gone and I'll lose my chance to help."

So I put my car in park, put on the hazard lights and got out, making my way to the car behind me.

Out pops the "angry young man," telling me I'd better get my *%$# back in the @#$%ing car. Again and again he tells me this. Calmly I ask him, "Does she want to get out of the car?" More cursing. "Does she want to get out of the car?"

I look a the woman, her head in her hands - partly out of sadness, but mostly out of embarrassment, I think. The AYM hops back in his car and speeds around me. So now I can get behind him and get his lisence plate number. I dial 911, talk to an operator, give her in the info and in an instant the bright green Honda CRX is down a residential street and gone. I try to loop around a few times to find it, but can't.

I do, however, see a cop looking around the same area I reported so I flag him down. I am able to describe the guy, the girl and the car to him.

I'm back in my car and on my way. I try to say a Rosary - for myself and both of those people. I can't. I just keep thinking, "Did I do enough?" What if he beats her again? Kills her? Would it be my fault?

Most of my morning is spent thinking about this encounter. It's a weird day.

Today I say a Rosary on the way to work. No fighting twenty-somethings. No confrontation. Just me and the Luminous Mysteries. Today I feel at peace. I did my best. If the Lord had wanted me to do more, I would have. He gives us strength that we might not think we have if He wants us to have it. The strength to pray, to forgive, to fight sin - to tackle an abuser if need be.

Today the Lord calms my fears. I hope he calms those two unfortunate souls as well.

Pray for them.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How About Some R.E.S.P.E.C.T for L.I.F.E.?

Today I watched the March for Life from Washington D.C. on the internet (thanks to EWTN).

I was uplifted and encouraged by the enthusiasm of the marchers - both young and old alike - who have been there year after year, and some for the first time.

I was especially happy to see all of the young people there. Those who came with their church youth groups, high school and college clubs, or lay ministries. They way they spoke of their love of life and love of the Church was inspiring.

And please know that unless you watched it first-hand (or were there) you will NOT be getting the proper coverage in your local or national new outlets. Some websites were reporting "tens of thousands", while those who were there marching said it was the largest they had seen in some time. Closer to 200,000 or more.

And as can be expected, reports focused more on President Obama and his "reaction" to the pleas from most of the speakers.

As an abstinence educator, I will someday be able to put into words how backwards his thought process is on reducing the number of teen pregnancies while also cutting funding for abstinence education. But for right now, I am just too angry.

I pray daily that this man who means so much to so many will give the r-e-s-p-e-c-t that is due to those who are most vulnerable.

After all, Aretha Franklin did sing at your inauguration.

Take care. T - C - B.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Real Pro-Life Men

Here is my interview with the Fathers for Good website... a part of the Knights of Columbus.

David Renshaw, founder of Real Catholic Men conferences, spoke with Fathers for Good about promoting the Culture of Life in his family and his Oregon community.

Fathers for Good: You live in Oregon, the first state to legalize physician assisted suicide. How does the law affect the culture there? Have you seen any impact among friends, family?

Renshaw: While the culture in Oregon has always been very “choice” oriented, the physician assisted suicide law has added another dimension to the pro-life fight. Physicians have made themselves into instruments of social change, rather than healers.

Even though it is a public law, it does not include any sort of mandatory reporting as to who will be notified when this choice is exercised, whether other options were given to the patient, whether the patient was depressed at the time, whether the patient was concerned about the cost of continuing care – nothing. There is a veil of secrecy around the public practice of this procedure. But what we have heard in darkness, we need to proclaim in the light.

The doctors and legislators tell us this is just another way to exercise one’s freedom, but the truth is these people are slaves to the sin in their lives. Slaves to idea that “might makes right,” as well as to their ego that tells them that they can deem someone worthy to live or die. The only one who can choose whether we live or die is the one who created us – our Heavenly Father. Our family and friends continue to pray and try to educate anyone who will lend us an ear.

FFG: How do you explain such a law to your kids when the message seems to be some people are better off dead?

Renshaw: My girls are 5 ½ and 4, and I have a 6-month-old son. During the last election we had to explain abortion to our oldest daughter because they were doing a mock election in her kindergarten class. I’m not quite sure she understood it completely, but it was a humbling moment to be sure.

This weekend (January 18th) we’ll be attending a Roe v. Wade rally in downtown Portland, and it will offer another opportunity to explain how precious life is.

FFG: How do you pass the pro-life message to your children?

Renshaw: We are blessed to have many friends who have had babies in the last few years, as well as some who are currently pregnant. What a wonderful chance to tell a child that “there is a baby in there.” To see their eyes light up lets you know that they completely understand what that means – more so than many adults. To see their own mother (or family member or friend) go through a pregnancy and deliver a beautiful new life -- there’s no better teaching tool than that.

FFG: Tell us about Real Catholic Men? When did you start it, what is the goal?

Renshaw: Real Catholic Men started as both a positive and negative reaction. I was blessed with meeting many men (the type of men I had never encountered before) who were so alive in their faith that I wanted to know what they had -- and what I was missing.

At the same time, I was growing increasingly frustrated with men who were not living up to their God-given roles of husbands, fathers, sons – MEN! Real Catholic Men is now in the process of planning our second conference in June 2009, gearing up for podcasting and – God willing – producing a radio program that will help us with our goal: to reach as many men as possible and bring them closer to their faith, their families and their Lord.

For more information, visit the Real Catholic Men website.

Monday, January 19, 2009

For Whom The Bells Tolled

Yesterday I attended a Roe V. Wade Memorial Rally in downtown Portland, Oregon.

The rally started with the tolling of bells. 50 of them. One for each MILLION babies that have been killed in the womb.

I was reminded of a phrase I heard first in high school - and have heard many times since: "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."

To be honest, I couldn't remember where it was from, or what the context was, but I somehow knew that it (pardon the pun) rang true with where I was and what I was there to support.

The line comes from a poem by John Donne written in 1624. The same poem contains another famous line: "No man is an island." Here is the complete work.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, ask not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

This poem is so unbelievably appropriate. These unborn who have no voice - murdered before they even had a fighting chance - are part of us. Their death is our death. Their loss is our loss. The pro-choice people will tell you that each man IS an island. They can make their own decision because they affect no one but themselves.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

When those bells tolled, they not only tolled for the 50 million lost... but they tolled for each and every human being who has come before us, is here now, or will ever be.

Every life is sacred! EVERY life!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009 Can Be The "Year of the Catholic Man"

Dear Men of God,

2009 offers us a unique opportunity to be all that we can be in terms of living our faith to the fullest - and in full view for all to see.In a societal sense - things look a bit rough. Many of us are losing our jobs or have been "cut back" in our hours. While prices go up, our incomes go down. This - as you can imagine - causes our stress level to go up, which in turn can bring about serious sin: anger, physical abuse, escape to pornography, etc.

I don't want to get all "political" here, but our President-elect vows to "protect a woman's right to choose" by quickly passing the Freedom of Choice Act (F.O.C.A.) - a bill that will undeniably kill more babies each year than our country has EVER seen. The death toll stands at 50+ million lives lost. That could be paled in short-order.

Our call is to remain steadfast in Jesus Christ and follow HIM - especially in the current climate. Pray harder than ever before. Not just in your bedrooms or churches, but in front of (and with) your children. In public restaurants. Attach prayer cards to your computer monitors - at home and at work! Turn off the television and read, play games with your family, attend Bible study groups, help the less-fortunate. Don't just be hearers of the Word, but be doers of the Word!

Make yourself - and your faith - visible. Go to rallies. This weekend (Jan. 18th) I'll be at the Roe V. Wade Memorial Rally in downtown Portland, Oregon. You should do the same if one comes available. Say a Rosary in front of an abortion clinic, strip club or adult book store.

This is our call. This is our duty. In good economic times and in bad. Who cares how much money you're making? You must live your faith regardless of your financial status - or if you "feel like it."

Be a Real Catholic Man. Make 2009 a year of re-discovery when it comes to the reality of Christ in your life.

Live your faith out loud! God bless you all.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Humble beginnings to a New Year

The idea of "deserving" something. It has been on my mind lately. Do we, as mere humans - yet God's most prized creation - deserve anything? I mean, if we work hard, do we deserve rewards or is it just part of the system we live in?

I have been working very hard lately (as at most times) to be a better Catholic. I attended Mass 3 times this week. I went to Confession. I prayed the Rosary. I read Scripture.

During this time, I received a nice donation to RCM from a gentleman who attended the 2008 Conference. In the weeks previous I had gotten other dontations which allowed me to purchase some equipment for podcasting (which will begin soon).

So my question is... did I "deserve" this stuff because of my striving to be better?

Or is that a question that turns us inward, when we should be looking to God?

I don't think it's about us. It never is. It's always about God and His glory. I do what I do to glorify God, not to get "stuff". Or accolades. Or recognition. I do it because more than anything, I want to spread the truth about God's love and how its fullness can be found in the Catholic Church.

I feel like one of those football players who scores a touchdown, then points to the heavens. He knows where his success came from. As do I.

In, through and with Christ... all things are possible.