29 June 2007

A little Early

Hey Villagers!!!
I am going to be away from a computer this week, so I wanted to let you know that JULY 3 is our patron St. Thomas' feast day and JULY 4 is the feast day of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. Both amazing saints for their love of and faith in Jesus!!!

"There is something of the apostle Thomas in ever hyman being. Each one is tempted by unbelief. We have to open our eyes and our heart to the light of the Holy Spirit. Then the open wounds of the risen Christ will speak to each of us." Pope John Paul the Great

Also...If you could remember me in your prayers between 6-14 July, I will be joining Fr. Antoine of the Community of St. John and Versa l'alto Ministries for a week long climbing/hiking spiritual retreat in the Colorado Rockies. Please pray for our safety and a spiritual renewal for all coming!

Thank you and God Bless!


The Year of St. Paul

"Benedict XVI has declared June 2008-June 2009 the year of St. Paul in celebration of the 2,000th anniversary of the saint's birth."( zenit.org)

Today we celebrate the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. And in a special way we begin a new year dedicated to contemplating and meditating St. Paul and how as a result of his conversion and love for our Lord Jesus he became the Apostle to the Gentiles and the defender of Truth.

I invite you to especially use this year starting today to dive into the depth of st. Paul and discover how he is drawing you to Christ.

Climbing to Jesus with Mary

27 June 2007

Hey Villagers!
I thought I would share this quote with you all:

"Friendship is nourished by sacrifice for the sake of serving one's friends and truyly loving them. And withoust such sacrifice there can be no real freindship, no truly healthy youth, no future for one's country, no genuine religion." Pope John Paul the Great

Also, this past Sunday was the solemnity of the Nativity of John the Bapitist. Christ called him one of the greatest prophets, and we must ask ourselves why? John the Baptist never lost sight of the Bridegroom. John knew he was suppose to "prepare the way of the Lord". John waited to gaze upon the Lord, and once his eyes finally rested upon the one he had waited, he encouraged and directed others to do the same.

The priest this weekend encouraged us to recognize in our lives those people who have introduced Christ to us, and humbly stepped back to allow us to freely run to Him. So I encourage you: Who is the person who has led you to Christ, has directed your gaze towards the Bridegroom, and always remembered what is essential..."He must increase, I must decrease" (Jn 3), who is your John the Baptist?

God Bless Villagers!

05 June 2007

Part II

Hello again awesome Villagers and happy feast of St. Boniface! St. Boniface is known for his martyrdom and missionary work among the 8th century Germanic tribes, both converting pagans to Christianity and correcting those Christians that had grown weak in their faith and were lapsing into paganism. How sadly our culture today resembles that culture of over 12 centuries ago. But how wonderful that our God is still working, still calling to His people, and still sending His servants to them--us!

I thought I'd share with you part 2 in my discussion with my friend the atheist. I won't post his response to my article (the entry below) lest his views be mistaken as views held by the Village, but in essence he responded by upholding his reasons for believing that abortion should not be banned. Those of you on facebook can read about it there. After a lot of prayer, and thought, and listening to what was at the heart of what my friend was saying and why we had different opinions, God helped me write the following. It's humbling to realize that however great my desire to evangelize might be, I can't do anything unless God provides 1) the opportunity and 2) the words or actions that will convict. I don't know for sure what effect these words had (warning: some of them are BIG words), but my trust is in the God who alone can touch hearts and who can do anything!

"Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness" --Psalm 115:1
The Heart of the Issue

I am glad that Dan saw fit to respond to my post, and pleased that we agreed on the point of religious tolerance after all, despite what initially seemed to be a disagreement. But I am not sure I want to engage in an incendiary debate on life and death issues in the unlikely venue of facebook. My concern is that such an exchange of thrusts with intellectual rapiers, particularly if we are both too well protected by the face-masks of our agendas to acknowledge a touché, would only end in a draw. Perhaps it would shed more light on things if I were to examine the reason for the dichotomy in our viewpoints?

Dan presents a reasonable list of variables in the equation of whether or not abortion should be banned (acquired, I believe, from balancedpolitics.org). The url for his note is:


I submit that in the realm of reason, all of these are debatable and may be argued from either side. How then do we know what reasoning is most correct? Surely in a matter of life and death, all interpretations are not equally valid. How can we know? The problem is, if our guiding principle is relativism, we can’t. In the sea of confusion, the compass of relativism is like the magic compass in Pirates of the Caribbean (pardon the analogy, it was simply convenient) that points to what it is we want. Thus guided by relativistic principles, we can consider arguments from both sides, see which side of the balance goes down, throw out arguments we decide are not worth our time, reconsider, and arrive at exactly what we want to believe, in, of course, a perfectly logical fashion.

Let’s look again at the variables in our equation. There is one that deserves special treatment, as it has the most grey area, and is the ultimate deciding factor in whether abortion is an innocuous medical procedure that should be legal or a form of murder that should be banned: is an unborn child a human life? This is the question that leaves our problem underspecified in the realm of reason. Its answer is confined to the realm of belief.

Dan chose an approach very common in engineering to solve the equation. He simply side-stepped it, stating that one cannot make laws that inconvenience people because other people believe something that the inconvenienced people don’t believe. He made the assumption that the realm of belief does not encroach on the realm of reason, or at least that its effect is negligible. Is his answer correct? If not, does he get partial credit for his approach to the solution?

I could approach the problem the same way Dan did. I could go back over the logic, tweak a few things, and get a different answer. Maybe he’ll agree that my math or logic or interpretation of things is more correct, or maybe we’ll end where we began with no clue whose arguments are better. Then I’ll have to confess that I already consulted the answer key, which used a different approach to the problem, and made sure my answer was consistent with that.

The key uses a different simplifying assumption concerning the realm of belief. This approach is also very common in engineering: if information is not given, it is because it can be deduced by invoking an external law that governs the given situation. The law to use is absolute truth, which governs the realm of belief. The absolute truth is not democratic: it decides what in the realm of belief is true, whether those affected by it believe so or not. It says that one must inconvenience the people who don’t believe something if that something is really very important (like that a human life is inviolable) and it happens to be the truth. In the sea of confusion, the compass of absolute truth points due north. The truth is fixed, unchanging, and unchangeable.

I leave Dan with the following sources to explore. Perhaps they will inform him of some things he did not realize before (for instance, that the pro-life movement includes non-Christian religions and secularists as well as Christians, and that it is not zygotes that are aborted, but fetuses with heart beats, brain waves, and developing human body parts), and perhaps lead him to solve the equation differently using his preferred approach. But moreover, I hope the gifts of intellect and reason he has been given will lead him to explore the realm of belief. It takes humility to descend the throne of one’s life, relinquish the title of god of one’s own destiny. It takes a humble faith to profess something beyond one’s understanding. But in realizing that we all began our being as zygotes, we were all born helpless and in need of love and care, and that one day we will all die whether or not we want to, and our reason cannot tell us what happens next, we can find this humility. And in a humble attitude, we can find God.





01 June 2007

On secular vs. tolerant, and pro-life vs. pro-right-to-life

Heyhey Village! Happy June! Since we've been talking so much about evangelization lately in the Village, I thought I'd share the following short article with you. It's a response I wrote to an acquaintance and facebook friend who is an atheist. He had some wrong ideas about religion in our country and the pro-life movement, which he revealed in a note on facebook (those of you who are on facebook might have seen it already!). It was a terrific opportunity to confront someone with different beliefs from mine with the truth, and I'm glad God gave me the courage to go ahead and speak up instead of doing my usual and keeping quiet! Hope it's edifying, I'll keep you posted on what happened next!


On secular vs. tolerant, and pro-life vs. pro-right-to-life

I stumbled across this statement in a note by chance, and felt compelled to respond.

“Those major politicians that are pro-life and spend millions campaigning against abortion instead of donating the money to save real lives are actually NOT PRO-LIFE. THEY ARE PRO-GOD. In a secular nation, this is simply unacceptable and despicable.”

First of all, I must protest that this is not a secular nation. According to the Constitution of the United States of America, Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free practice thereof. Neither establishing nor prohibiting. Thus this is not a secular nation, which says that all religion is taboo and ought not to intrude upon the realm of public discussion and opinion. Rather, this is a tolerant nation, which means that no religion shall be established to the diminution and persecution of other religions or lack of religion. The establishment of secularism, as a silence for those demonstrating a Christianity-based social conscience, is not a valid interpretation, but rather a complete contradiction of this ideal of the Founding Fathers. Rather, all religions are to be given respect and all people are permitted to worship as they please and to act politically based on their convictions, religious or not.

Second of all, I hope to clarify what the pro-life movement is, which more accurately would be phrased the Right to Life movement. The focus of this movement is on the unborn, because they are a group of people whose nation has declared that they do not have a right to be born if their parents don’t want them. Whereas in Africa, in the tragic case of the children who are dying there, the world knows and accepts that these are people who should be kept alive, and that the lack of food and clean water for them is a need that we as citizens of the world should be meeting. To help the children in Africa is to save lives that are in peril, even if it means sacrifice to ourselves as individuals and societies. To advocate for the unborn is to uphold the principle that it is wrong to deny an unborn child his or her life because we as individuals and societies don’t want to make sacrifices to support them. I hope you see the distinction and agree that that’s a reasonable point, and I’m sorry the “God-warrior” you met did not possess the articulation or perhaps understanding to explain it.

Finally, I want to address the point that scientifically, philosophically, psychologically, and legally, there are many reasons why abortion should not exist in our society. Abortion can be argued as wrong from many different angles, but why does the religious angle dominate? Maybe because it is only through the belief in a God of forgiveness that we can face the horror of what abortion is. Maybe as a secular society, we cannot face our sin without condemning someone, so we have to deny that it is sin. But with God, we can say yes, this is wrong, but there is mercy if we repent and turn away from sin. The way of a secular society leads to death. But the ways of God lead to life, and to hope.