Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Mother and Our Lady of the Snows

Hard to believe, but today is the 3rd anniversary of my mom's passing through the door of death into Heaven. My sisters and I had the grace of being at her side when she died. The funeral arrangements came together smoothly. Those who had to travel, even back from El Salvador, arrived safely. We were even given permission to use one of our parish's chapels in spite of the logistical difficulties, due no doubt to my mother's intercessory influence in Heaven--she could always get things done!

One time when I was visiting her, my mom had a card with a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (and maybe also the Immaculate Heart of Mary as they are often pictured together). She looked at the picture for a moment and then kissed it reverently. It was an intimate, incredible grace to witness that.

It often snowed at significant times during my mom's illness: going into the hospital, when I visited, when she was transferred to the nursing home and the night between the last wake and her Mass of Christian Burial. Yes, it was January and snow is not that unusual. But one of the Blessed Mother's lesser known titles is Our Lady of the Snows. (That title refers to a snowfall in Rome on August 5th, A.D. 352 on the Esquiline Hill indicating where what is now the Basilica of St. Mary Major was to be built). I came to regard these snows as reminders of God's care for my mom.

Our Lady of the Snows, ora pro nobis.

Friday, January 22, 2010

37 Years Since Roe v. Wade

Today marks the 37th year since Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in 1973. (I was going to say 37th anniversary, but those are usually happy ocassions). We have lost over 40 million children since that time, about 4000 a day. That's just in the US. Worldwide, the numbers are a staggering 46 million per year (approximately). That's about 126,000 per day worldwide!

Data from the Census Bureau on abortions in the US can be found here in this pdf file (note that the numbers must be multiplied by 1000 (as it says, "1,609 represents 1,609,000 which the the number of abortions in 1990!). Another summary using the CDC and Alan Guttmacher Institute's figures can be found here. And from, a list of 10 abortion facts here. This analysis reported by shows the number of abortions may be as high as 52 million!

To give some perspective, here are the annual mortality rates for leading causes of death. Death from heart disease and cancer combined is 1,191,524. Remember there were 1,609,000 deaths of babies from abortion in 1990. But abortion is apparently not considered a cause of death because babies (or fetuses, if you must) are not people according to these statistics.

Is there some good news? Yes! Here is an article on Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

St. Vincent, pray for us!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Mary, Mother of God

Today, January 1, the Church celebrates the the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The title "Mother of God" was given to Mary formally at the council of Ephesus in AD 431. It is not meant to exalt Mary so much as to emphasize that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully Man. Mary is not the mother of Jesus human nature only, but since she gave birth to the person of Jesus Christ, who was both God and Man, she gave birth to the Son of God as well as the Son of Man.

Since Mary is also the Queen of Peace, the Church also celebrates the World Day of Peace today. Pope Bendict's theme for today is 'If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation." His message can be found here.