Forward March!

So, today is the annual March for Life on in Washington, D.C.  It’s live streaming on EWTN, right here.  It gets rolling around noon, I think, and is worth a peek or staying tuned in. My Tom and Hannah and Marta and Hannah’s best buddy Anna are all there, cold and tired but standing up for what they believe.  I’m proud of them for it!

Many of you might not be comfortable with the advocacy for this issue. I get that.  And I spent years, years ago, in the camp of “pro-choice, not my place to dictate to others” etc etc etc.  And, it’s not  my place to dictate to anyone, to be sure.   But it is my place and my blog to say what I believe and why I  believe this March for Life means something.

The March for Life is important because in our modern culture, life has been trivialized and denigrated and devalued.  It has.  Look around  you, look at the news.  Our popular culture and the focus on celebrities marginalize anyone who isn’t “hot” or the new “it” tabloid darling.  We feed on sound bites and scandal; effectively turning even those with true tangible need into mere commodities.  The images provide the hook and maybe, if they’re lucky, a soundbite.  Sound cynical? Well, maybe.  But I see it.  And that mindset provides the slippery slope to dismiss, or worse, to rank people by a skewed perceived ability to meet or attain the feeding frenzy of our warp speed. attention deficit, pop media values. And it’s wrong.  It is, in fact, I’ll say it, evil.  Evil devalues us, all of us.

This March for Life also is a march for ALL life, the unborn, yes, but also the disabled, the aged, all who are devalued because somehow, they are not good enough.  This March fights stands up against the tide of ingrained racism and stereotypes and valuation that has become entrenched in our culture.  This march is a march to stand up for the value of ALL human life, for it’s dignity, period.  I am Catholic.  I am prolife.  I am a mom.  I am pro-life.  I am a woman. I am pro-life.

But here, once again, is why I’m prolife.  These are what turned me for good and for ever.  Take a look, again:

>March Intentions

>Benedict XVI will be praying in March that all nations grow in appreciation of the dignity and value of women and their roles in society.

I love our Pope and am glad to have him praying for us gals. {Every month he has special intentions that are published and then the whole church (by which I mean, around the world!) also prays in union for his intentions.}

Granted, I have a bias, but I think that women and their contributions to building this world of ours and keeping it a better place, are, of course, incalculable. And I’m not talking only about the high profile ladies: the politicians and celebs and so on. I’m talking about the ones that go unnamed, like the one in the Haitian painting, above, or the ones that sit in the carpool pickup line, or hold their cranky child on their lap, or the ones who are only remembered now in our prayers and the stories of our children, like Guday, or Godada. As a mom, this pulls me in…as an adoptive mom, this reaffirms the eternal and deep connection between us women and what we do and how we do it. I’m just saying….our Pope, he gets it. I love that.

>I couldn’t resist….

>Archbishop Timothy Dolan leads a procession following a mass at the Missionaries of Charity home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. With support from Catholic Relief Services, the home serves more than 1,000 children and adults who are orphaned or ill. Photo by Jim Stipe/CRS.

A few of my favorite things, together:

Go see this, a bit on another side to this man: a man with a heart for the needy, for orphans, for the poor. And even for Ethiopia. He’s been chairman of board of Catholic Relief Services since 2007. No wonder he’s got a joyful heart!

What’s not to like? A holy faithful man, a new Archbishop, and his trips to Ethiopia and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity – one of their home for orphans, and Catholic Relief Services….. Let’s count: that’s three, or four, no, five (?) of my favorite topics, all in one picture. Now, that’s a photo op, in my book!

h/t: American Papist

>A tragic loss.

>All over the Catholic blogosphere is the shocking news of the sudden death of Catholic author, speaker and blogger, Michael Dubriel.
I didn’t know him, of course.
But I knew his books, we have his books. We have given away his books.
I know his wife’s (Amy Welborn) books and blog and have sent her posts to family many a time and given her books as gifts and giveaways.

This is horrible hard news and we send our prayers and thoughts to the family.

For those of you who might be interested, Danielle Bean is setting up a fund for the family (and she is trustworthy, it will get to them), go here.
And even more: all the proceeds from their books go to the children’s college fund, ever more needed now.

So, go look, his books are great, as are hers. Yes, they are about Catholicism but in an easy, down to earth style of writing that makes them easily understood and readable. If you have any interest at all….buy them, they are worth a look and they go to a good cause.
Anchoress has an easy link to the books.

Some of the ones we especially like are “The Power of the Cross
and “The Words We Pray
and “Here. Now
and “The How to Book of the Mass”
Perhaps most useful of all, Fr. Z is gathering a spiritual bouquet for the family. Go here.

Please, pray for the repose of his soul and keep this family in your prayers.

>Dorothy Day


Today is the birthday of Dorothy Day.

Dorothy Day is a complicated gal. She is a controversial woman, some have called for her beatification, some have decried the thought. She was an atheist and then a convert to Catholicism; a lifelong social activist who lived with and served and advocated for the poor. She was no ‘goody two shoes’ who floated among us, she got cranky and was tough. Her politics were controversial; but really they were simple – they were the politics not of a machine but of Christ and His Church. She was devoted to her faith and the Church and the sacraments, her daughter and grandchildren; she struggled to live a life of humble service to others.

In this, she is a good role model, she tried to persevere even when she was ill or irritable or filled with worry. Like the more familiar Mother Teresa, she struggled to see Christ in those she encountered. She was the founder of the well known Catholic Worker Movement, and frankly, was known and still has the reputation of being something of a troublemaker.

She is in good company. Many of our great saints have been irascible, difficult people. I have read of, and spoken with, people who have met Mother Teresa and they too have said, she was a “pistol” and was a force to be reckoned with. It is a saccharin stereotype to think all saints are or were sweet, kindly, easy, and compelling. Sometimes, I suspect God calls those who are willing to be less popular, who can take the heat, with determination. It gives me hope for us pushy folks.

Dorothy was a voracious reader, something else I like about her. I have been reading her diaries, “The Duty of Delight,” (see below) and they are worth your time – though they are slow going. Slow because they are the sort of reading where you scan the entries of everyday life and then a line jumps out and sears you; you have to close the book and catch your breath and think, soak it in for few minutes.

She has a number of famous quotes. But here are one or two of my favorites:

Dorothy quotes Dostoevsky (from the Brothers Karamozov): “Love in practice is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.” (By Father Zossima, in Bros Karamozov) and then she goes on to say:

“Love is being cut away to bear more love.”

“Our lives must be a pure act of love, repeated many times over.”

“Life itself is a haphazard, untidy, messy affair.”

Dorothy Day searched for Christ in the men and women she served and struggled to love. Mother Teresa did the same. This is the appeal of these women to me: how they spent their lives in the struggle to serve, to love, better and more; and how in that very attempt, despite failures, frustrations, and frailties, they found their purpose and joy.

>Marathon news


photo from London Telegraph

Pope Benedict XVI has begun a marathon.

Our Pope -and many others, Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Protestant and Jew- is reading the entire bible in a seven day span. It is a marathon week. It is going out over the television and airwaves, across Italy and ultimately, to the world.

And for anyone who thinks that this is a mere trivial exercise, take a look at these pics and be reminded of the world presence this Pope has. These are from World Youth Day in Cologne, a few years back. Coffeedoc took Buddybug and Booboo and it was packed, over a million youth from around the world.

Now you’re talking multicultural!

The Anchoress has a good bit of the timely balm of these words. Like her, I don’t think it’s just a coincidence of timing. I think our Holy Father is a wise man and knows how to bring out the big guns.

This marathon reading then is transformed into a seven day prayer, participated in and shared by countless, throughout the world, just when we need it most. It’s a nervous time, worldwide. And instead of being worried about hitting rock bottom, we can remember to touch the foundation, the rock and stand back up again.