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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Dream of Me

Sleeping baby girlDoes he dream? His eyelids flutter, and the faintest smile settles in
Just a moment and is gone again, with a sigh
My finger is a snug prize in his delicate hand
He falls deeper into sleep and deeper into my cradling arm
Quiet breath
I rock and sing
I am lulled and drowsy, yet transfixed on his face

Is he flying home in his mind? Dancing through his cosmic playground?
Is he calling the stars out by name?1-stars-in-sky
What extraordinary things does he imagine?
Is any of this real? Is he really here in my arms?
How sublime and surreal!
He stepped into time and willed to be contained
In mortal flesh, on fleeting soil
My feet sink into the earth beneath me
Yet one glance at his face and I am raised to Heaven

mary holding JesusNo, I am the one who dreams
And finds my dream is fulfilled
Perfected
Heaven is mine to hold
I can scarcely stop my heart from pounding
My little Holy One
My tiny, Mighty God
How I adore You!

We are each the other’s child
I am Yours
You own me completely
And now You are mine
I lavish a mother’s kisses on the tender face of GodMary kissing Jesus
Who could imagine such a thing?

My child, my King, my Love
My heart and soul
Tonight I hum a gentle lullaby
You sleep, and I stare in awe
Dream of me
Your mother, Your child
Dream of me

 

© 2009 Jennifer Hartline

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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President Obama, You’re Right: Our First Job is to Protect All Our Children

at Catholic Online

Sandy hook victims

President Obama,

I have been one of your most severe critics for the last five years, and I make no apologies for it. But today I wanted to tell you in all sincerity that your speech to the community of Newtown on Sunday, December 16th was quite moving, heartfelt, thoughtful, and most of all, amazingly ironic.

I wonder if you yourself have even grasped the irony, and the profound meaning of your own words.

I pray with sincere pleading to God that this horrific, unimaginable slaughter of innocents in Newtown will prick your conscience and convict your heart of the other horrific slaughter of innocents that happens every single day in the United States; one in which you are an active participant and advocate: the killing of children in the womb by abortion.

You said in your speech:

“This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.
And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations?
Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?”

Well, Mr. Obama, the answer is an unequivocal “NO.” We most certainly are not doing enough to keep our children, ALL OF THEM, safe from harm. And yes, as a society, we most certainly ARE being judged by God.

You are quite right to say that if we don’t get our first job — caring for our children — right, we don’t get anything right. I couldn’t have said it better myself. And we’re not getting our first job right by a long shot.

In fact, we’re sacrificing our babies on a daily basis, and spilling their blood in the name of our “choice” and “freedom.” We’ve decided that our children must pay for our wants, our conveniences, our progress, our success, our liberation with their very own lives. They must die so that we can live as we wish.

Last Friday, a very disturbed man with a rifle gunned down 26 souls in cold blood. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that such reprehensible violence is truly shocking to us in America, or that we haven’t the ability to stomach it, look the other way, and even justify it. We can, and we do it every day.

We simply prefer our violence cloaked in the disguise of “rights” and “reproductive freedom”. Call it something other than what it really is, and suddenly it’s not an abhorrent crime — it’s a thing worthy of celebration and defense.

Every one of those 26 souls murdered in Newtown began their human life in the womb. The deaths of every tiny soul murdered in the womb are just as tragic as the little ones killed in Newtown.  It’s just that their deaths don’t make the headlines, and the photos of their tiny faces aren’t showered with affectionate tears.

Yet they are human beings, ALL. They are our children, ALL. Not only do we not protect them from harm, we gladly send them to be slaughtered and inflict the harm ourselves.Human foetus in the womb, artwork

If we want to discover the root of our society’s sickness, and find the cure for the rage and violence that is rearing its putrid head all over the nation, we are wasting our time if we do not honestly acknowledge the actual, literal blood on our own hands.

We have not only invited the beast of violence to feast on our children, we prepare the meal every single day.

We will never have peace again in the United States until we stop slaughtering our own babies. We will never be free of violence and rampage and horrific scenes like the one in Newtown until we decide that every child — including the child in the womb — is OUR child and we must do our first job and care for them all.

Mr. Obama, I am praying that you will decide today that what you said in your speech is absolutely true. We’re not doing right by our children, all of them. We have to do better. It must start with the child in the womb.

If you continue to deny the humanity of that child, then there is no value to the life of any child. There cannot be. Once a person is devalued at his or her weakest and most vulnerable moment, then all respect for life is lost. We need you to see the illogic and the insanity of your support for abortion, and to cease in advocating for the legalized child-killing we call “choice.”

The blood of our children cries out from the ground, Mr. Obama, and not only in Newtown. It is on your own hands. Whether that changes is entirely up to you. Let your heart be changed. I pray that your mind and your spirit will be pierced with the Light of Truth, especially this coming week as we celebrate the birth of Emmanuel, God With Us.

He came and shattered the barrier between mortal and Immortal; between Heaven and earth. He took on human flesh, and that means He began His human journey as that ‘clump of cells” we like to dismiss and destroy in our obsession with “rights.” His Majesty was hidden in a zygote. Was He any less God? Any less human? Are you willing to say His humanity was only realized upon His birth in Bethlehem?

Now is the time for you to stop and truly think. Stop denying the truth. Open your eyes, Mr. Obama. Our children — ALL OF THEM — are waiting for you to take action to protect them from harm.

What kind of nation requires its babies to die for the sake of the adults? That is what America has become, and if that is what we choose to remain, then we no longer deserve any freedom at all. Indeed, we no longer deserve the blessing of God.

Peace be with you and your family this Christmas. I pray that in 2013 you will work to restore peace to our nation by hastening the day when we will no longer slaughter our own children. The child in the womb is counting on your protection.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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26 Souls

Let perpetual light shine on them, O Lord.

Mother of Sorrows, wrap your arms around their anguished families.  Come, Emmanuel.

Sandy hook victims

 

Help us all to release their killer into Your justice and mercy, and let love lift us out of hatred and anger.  Amen.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Rejoicing in Sorrow

My heart is in Newtown and probably will be for quite a while. Searching for Christmas joy in the midst of unutterable pain and grief. The sudden, shocking death in my immediate family just a few weeks ago began this strange mix of sorrow and hopeful expectation, and the horror in Newtown just sealed the deal.  This is no ordinary, light-hearted Christmas.

This homily by Deacon Greg Kandra is what I need to read over and over. Jesus is still Emmanuel. He is nearer to us than we know. And His Blessed Mother knows our anguish, our tears, and our wounds better than anyone else. I run to her for comfort and beg her to carry us all in her loving arms to the cradle this year.

OSMBLue

 

Holy Family

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Weeping for Newtown

weeping_angel

Weeping_Angel_Covered_Eyes

Our-Lady-of-Sorrows-1

Massacre-at-Sandy-Hook-Elementary-in-Newtown-Conn_3_2Sandy Hook kids

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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I Heard the Bells

BellsFrom Wikipedia:

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is a Christmas carol based on the 1863 poem “Christmas Bells” by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

During the American Civil War, Longfellow’s oldest son Charles Appleton Longfellow joined the Union cause as a soldier without his father’s blessing. Longfellow was informed by a letter dated March 14, 1863, after Charles had left. “I have tried hard to resist the temptation of going without your leave but I cannot any longer,” he wrote. “I feel it to be my first duty to do what I can for my country and I would willingly lay down my life for it if it would be of any good”.[2] Charles soon got an appointment as a lieutenant but, in November, he was severely wounded[3] in the Battle of New Hope Church (in Virginia) during the Mine Run Campaign. Coupled with the recent loss of his wife Frances, who died as a result of an accidental fire, Longfellow was inspired to write “Christmas Bells”.

 

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

alexander_nevski_cathedral_bellsGuadalupe cathedral

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Advent Well Spent

celtic wreathA couple of years ago I was delighted to be introduced to a new Advent tradition.  The trouble is, I’m not really sure what to call it.  It’s not really a game, but it’s an activity the whole family does together.  Yet it’s very personal and prayerful as well.  It’s a group as well as an individual thing.

I first heard about it on another Catholic blog, and then my spiritual director surprised me by telling me that in Europe, monasteries and convents all over used to practice this tradition, and in his order they still do every year.  Since some religious houses have many people participating, his order’s version included many more “characters”.  But my family uses the pared-down version which I’ll post below.  (If you’d like the lengthier version, just ask and I’ll send it to you.)

It’s become my favorite Advent tradition, and honestly, I try to continue “being” my character all year long because it’s something I can really wrap my head and my heart around.  It’s small, but profound and fruitful.

So it works like this:  Print the following list of Advent/Christmas characters and every member of the family draws one.  You trust that the one you draw is the one God wants you to have, and you spend Advent trying to practice the virtues that character best demonstrates.  Tell the other family members who you drew, and you can gently encourage each other in this goal.  But make it a matter of private prayer, and it’ll make Advent time well-spent.

nativity2

Mary
Virtues: Meekness, humility, obedience, purity. Trust in God’s plan, surrender to His will. She cradles her Child in her arms, in quiet and joyful awe.

Joseph
Virtues: Humility, leadership and trust in God. Chastity and patience. Faithfully guards Mary and the Divine Child.

Christmas Star
Virtues: Steadfastness. Provide a steady light to guide weary pilgrims. A source of guidance and illumination. Be clear and bright in the darkened world.

Angel
Virtues: Proclaims the “tidings of great joy.” Always ready to tell the world about the Christ Child. A source of inspiration. Always obedient to the will of God.

Donkey
Virtues: Long-suffering  humility, gentleness. Patiently bears all burdens. He looks silently, in amazement. Be amazed for all those who are no longer amazed. Be reverent to the Lord!

Ox
Virtues: Hard work, diligence, patience and sacrifice. He offers the strength and warmth of his body to comfort the Child.

Shepherd
Virtues: Leadership, joy. Listens to God. Kindness to the lambs. Goodness, tenderness, watchful care. Lays down his life for the sheep.

Lamb
Virtues: Docility, innocence, obedience and trust. Stop wanting to be great! He loves all that is little so much!

A little field mouse
Virtues: persistence, hard work, humility, awe
Always in such a hurry, scurrying about! But once the little mouse slips inside the stable and sees the Child, everything else becomes insignificant. Go to HIM often!

Manger
Virtues: Love, gentleness, warmth, steadiness
It was the Divine Child’s first resting place on earth, and how He longs to find a warm manger – full of love – in your heart!

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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