TINY MIRACLES-Premature Babies Attest to the Dignity of Life

Hi all, I could not resist sharing this article from the NCR, June 9, with you.

He weighed less than 10 ounces when he was delivered by emergency cesarean at 24 weeks and five days. /when he was released from a Japanese hospital six months after his birth, he had grown to more than 7 pounds. According to a registry maintained by the University of Iowa, this micropreemie holds the record for the smallest newborn boy to be discharged from a hospital in good health.

Now anotoher baby has been recognized by the registry. “The smallest surviving baby in the world was released this month from a San Diago hospital after being born at just 8.6.” Fox 5 San Diego reported May 29.  Saybie, born at 23 weeks and three days in December, weighed 5.6 pounds when released from the neonatal intensive care unit.

These tiny babies reflect a study published in THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE that found that there are premature babies surviving outside the womb earlier than doctors once thought possible.

“Now, 90% of babies born at 28 weeks will survive.” Dr. William Stigall, a Catholic pediatric intensive at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Forth Worth, Texas, to the Register. “Now 23-24 weeks is the age of viability, meaning 50% of those babies will survive.”

Linda Raleigh’s youngest two children (no. 6&7) were born prematurely, one four weeks early and the other five.  Both premature babies spent weeks in the NICU, but now that they are 15 and 11 years old, it’s clear that being born early did not negatively impact them in mind or body.   “It really made me trust God a lot,” she added.  “He wants these little people born. They’re willed into existence by God.”

Giving a preemie required treatment is not always simple-or inexpensive. That’s where the line of viability can come into play, with some health care providers declining to treat infants born at an earlier stage. That NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE STUDY, for instance, found that hospitals vary widely in their approach to 22 week-olds: A few offered no active medical treatment, and at the other end of the spectrum, a handful offered assertive treatments.  Stigall explains that there are differences between ordinary and extraordinary interventions–something one must do and something one can do.  —-What doesn’t change is the infinite worth of that person.” he said. “The primary concern is the patient.

For Jessica Spradlin, that seemed obvious when she went into preterm labor and her son Kailor Dean was born at 22 weeks and four days, at the local hospital-closer than the facility where her specialist worked,  But the local hospital’s policy was to provide care for babies born at 23 weeks – and Kailor was a few days younger than that. So he received no medical assistance, and he died 51 minutes after being born.

“This is a baby that was prayed for, wanted and loved from the beginning.” recalled Spradlin. “They could have tried and failed, but at least they would have know every effort was made.”

Now Spradlin is focused on raising awareness of the fact that hospitals can have different policies for providing care to preemies – a fact that could literally make the difference between life and death. Even with assertive treatment and care, not every prematurely born baby will survive, but the miracle of life is clear, no mater how short its span.

She was just 21 years old when she gave birth to her fist son, Joshua, at 33 weeks and five days. —-now 16 years old, that prematurely born baby is a driving, piano playing, potential future law student. “  “I think the argument that it’s just a ‘clump of cells’ should be unraveling,” his mother said. 

by: Elisabeth Deffner

There you have it, the value of an unborn child, created by God, is unlimited. I know when a woman become unexpectedly pregnant, it can be frightening. The question, “What am I going to do now?” is definitely a problem. However, there are free clinics that will help her through the 9 months and beyond. If you know someone or if it happens to you, please call Catholic Charities or look in the phone book or call the birthing section of a hospital. Someone will know where there is a clinic and help, even a home for unwed mothers if you need that help, don’t go to Planned Parenthood or another abortion provider. Abortion is not the answer. If you can’t care for your child, someone else can and you can get back to your life.  Please act Responsibly.

 

 

NO INSTANT SOLUTIONS, CONT’D

I gave you the Peace Prayer the other day. Today we will start talking about how to pray it and use it for the good our ourselves, our neighbors and our Country.

We are asking for a great spiritual gift in the Peace Prayer. We are asking to live a life of gospel holiness, deep faith, compelling hop and self-giving love. We are asking to serve God and our brother and sisters. We are asking to be disciples.

Do we really want to pray such a prayer? Many of us are like the young Augustine: he was moved to ask God to make him chase and holy–but not just yet! Perhaps it would be more realistic to lower our goals this Lent and ask to be faithful in, say, the Ten Commandments rather then aspiring to become a self-giving instrument of God’s peace.

No, the reach of our prayers must exceed the grasp. There may be times when we don’t feel like praying a prayer that seems to put us on the spot as this one does. Yet we realize that we are called anew each day to live the gospel. We realize also that our responses of faith, ultimately are based on our will rather than on our feelings. We choose this, knowing full well that we may not be ready to choose it with our whole heart and soul. If we pray only when our faint heart conforms to all the aspirations of our prayer, how much praying would we do?

This Lent, let us humbly accept that, in our frailty, our prayer isn’t always as wholehearted as we’d like, and that, even on our best days, our weak wills may seem to be hedging.

So, folks, do we start praying and acting the St. Francis Peace Prayer? Do we start to change this Country, do we ask our teachers and our children to start acting the St. Francis Peace Prayer?  Do we start to being love, honesty, respect and hope back to this Country and our children? Do we do what really needs to be done to stop violence everywhere?

PRAYER;  Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light and where there is sadness, joy.

Give and show love, pardon, faith, hope, light and joy to the people around you today. If you are a teacher, please start with your family then the children at school. God bless you all.

 

A TEACHING MOMENT-OFFER IT UP

This was not the Blog I had planned for this AM but our Deacon Dave wrote in the church bulletin about a subject I have been talking about ever since I had breast cancer in 2001 or 2001.  My mother used to say this to me, it may be a Catholic way of praying that goes back hundreds of years, but it makes sense. OFFER IT UP…offer your suffering up for another, here it is:

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“I remember when I was much younger when I would stub my toe, get a cut on my finger, had a stomach ache, or just plain felt ill, my mother said I should, ‘offer it up.’ I often wondered just what that meant. Through the years, I would use those those words often, but her meaning never really sunk in deeply until I had encountered other types of sufferings later on in life.

Her explanation still rings in my ears. “Offer up your pain and suffering to God as a sacrifice.” My reply was often, ‘to what? For what?’ The teachings of the Church had not been firmly embedded in me at the time. I had no heard of ‘REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING’and if I had, I probably wouldn’t have understood it fully.

In short, redemptive suffering is attaching whatever pain, suffering, or discomfort you may have to Christ’s suffering on the cross for relief for the souls in Purgatory, for the specific relief of someone else’s pain and suffering, or given to God to be used as He sees fit.

It isn’t that Christ did not suffer enough, so that he needs our miseries to be added to his: it is just that he allows us to be part of the healing out of pure love.  The simplest and clearest analogy I’ve heard is that of a mother, baking a chocolate cake in the kitchen. She has everything she needs and doesn’t need anything or anyone else to help. In comes her little three year old daughter who says, ‘Mumma, can I help?’ And love receives. Love doesn’t say, ‘No thanks, I have enough, goodbye.’ So mother says, ‘Sure, honey.’ and the little girl throws in her attempt with a half beaten egg and mess of flower.

Shift gears. God doesn’t NEED our help. But if we offer our painful feet, our pesky cold, our cancer , our heart problems, our annoyance with the person who just cut us off in traffic to God and say, ‘GOD, PLEASE TAKE THIS___________as a gift and unite it to your suffering on the cross. Use it for.._____________or whatever way you wish.’  That is making the best possible use of suffering. WHY WASTE IT?”

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And there you have it.  WHY WASTE IT? Don’t think this is easy. Sometime the pain and suffering is so much you can’t think…teach others in your family to help you think about “Offering it up” when you are in extreme suffering that never seems to end. This is what is so wrong and so hard about assisted suicide, which is so wrong, and devastating, but sometime may seem the only answer for you or those who love you. Remember GOD HAS A PLAN, so offer up your suffering for someone who is worse off than you. Teach your family to do the same things.  It does mater, God does listen, He does have a plan for you and He is in control. (Suffering on this earth may get you straight to heaven, we won’t know until we get there)

PRAYER;  Heavenly Father, you cannot be outdone in generosity, for you have given us the gift of life in the Spirit. Give us the grace to be open to this gift, that we may serve you and our brothers and sisters. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

PENTECOST SUNDAY- the explanation

by Bishop Robert Barron

From all eternity, the Father looks at the Son and the Son looks at the Father. What each sees is utter perfection and beauty. And so each, as Venerable Fulton Sheen said, sighs his love for the other. This shared breath is what our tradition calls the Spiritus Sanctus, the love breathed back and forth between the Father and the Son.

This is the same Holy Spirit that hovered over the chaotic waters at creation, that spoke through the prophets and patriarchs, that overshadowed the Virgin at the Annunciation, that drove Jesus into the desert, and that the Lord breathed (appropriately enough) on his disciples the night of Easter. How marvelous that this sacred breath is associated with the forgiveness of sins: Receive the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.  

In an acrobatic act of love, the Father sent the Son all the way to the limits of godforsakenness, all the way to the furthest end of our rebellion and isolation. This is the central drama of the cross. Then, in the Holy Spirit, he drew the whole fallen world, which the Son had embraced, back to himself. And this is precisely why the Spirit is the great principle of mercy. In the words of absolution, the priest prays, “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.”

On the feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the fact that this breath, this wind, this hurricane of mercy has been loosed upon the world.

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Jesus told us: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”(Jn 14:15-17)

Jesus knew the difficulties we would face in life. He knew the help and the strength and the wisdom and courage that would be needed so as to not fall into severe discouragement or even despair. When you were baptized, the Holy Spirit was given you to lead you into the fullness of Truth itself. He was given you to accompany you through the struggles and the joys that life on this earth would bring.  It is not a pious idea; it is not a metaphor. God chose to share with you, His very own Spirit.  When you became his sons and daughters in baptism, you genuinely were brought into the family of God. He desires to accompany you through all your daily activities and relationships. He wants to impart his priorities, equip you with all you need to live his will which is guaranteed to bring you to eternal life.

So often, I think we heard these truths when we were young and then discarded them as we grew older. We never really understood that God so loved us that he would not only never abandon us, but he would walk with us through every moment of life. The catch? There is no catch. We just have to invite him in to our everyday life–every day–and watch how he will guide us, if we ask for his help. Jesus wants to share his very own Spirit-that is, the love between the Father and the Son-a love so great that it is the third person of the Trinity.  The Holy Spirit dwelling in you longs to care for you, guide you and lead you home to union with the Father and the Son for all eternity.

Today is the feast of Pentecost. Pray for your family, for your pastor, your parish, your friends, yourself. Pray with faith. God knows even better than we the state of the world and the Church. He knows our needs as only a loving father can. He wants to supply what he knows we need. Let’s trust him and ask. (in part-from the “Catholic TV Monthly)

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PRAYER: Today, O Lord, through the mystery of Pentecost, you sanctify your Church in every place and nation. Pour out the gifts of the Spirit upon the whole world, and bring to completion in the hearts of your faithful the work of love which you began with your first proclamation of the kingdom, who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen (from the MAGNIFICAT)

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Remember, without the gifts of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost there would be no Christianity and no Church. The apostles and the disciples would never have had tht courage to leave that upper room and spread the word of Jesus Christ throughout the world. The Word would have died in that upper room. Ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit daily to help you do, go and say what Jesus wants. Ask for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in every word you speak.

GO WITH GOD…….AND HAVE A BLESSED LIFE. YOU CAN BE TREMENDOUS WITH HIS HELP!

MARY, MOTHER FOR LIFE

O Mary, Mother of the Life Within, all life we entrust to You: the life of every expectant mother and the child within her womb, the life of every human body, the life of every human soul, the life of every newborn child and the life of all grown olf. You held the Lord to Your own Heart and drew Him so close in. So draw us now in all our needs, O Mother of the Life Within.

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PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF HOPE

O Blessed virgin Mary, mother of grace, hope of the world. Hear us, your children, who cry to you.

Oh Mother of Mercy, have pity on me in my distress. You are all-powerful with your divine Son. He can refuse no request of your immaculate heart. Show yourself at true mother to me by being my advocate before His throne.

Above all I pray, O dearest mother, that through your most powerful intercession my heart may be filled with holy hope, so that in life’s darkest hour I may never fail to trust in God my Savior, but by walking in the way of His commandments I may be united with Him, and with you in the eternal joys of heaven.

Mary, our hope, have pity on us. Hope of the hopeless, pray for us.   (from the Novena to Our Lady of Hope.)

GOD BLESS YOU ALL, PRAY FOR OUR PREGNANT MOTHERS AND THEIR UNBORN CHILDREN, THAT THEY MAY IGNORE THE WORLD, SEEK HELP, AND BRING GOD’S BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN INTO THE WORLD.

 

 

THE LITTLE BLUE BOOK, ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS SEASONS

Dedicated to Bishop Ken Untener who was inspired to create the Little Books. There are several short reflections on the infancy narrative of St. Luke, that I enjoyed and think you all will also, food for thought.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL, On Nov. 24, 2013 Pope Francis issued a pastoral exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel) which urged a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to the world. “I INVITE ALL Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day,” wrote Pope Francis in the exhortation, whose publication came at the conclusion of the Year of Faith

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ZECHARIAH AND ELIZABETH go home. I’m not told where this is but later, when Mary visits their home, I learn that it was “a town of Judah” (the same part of the land as Jerusalem) in the “hill country.”

Elizabeth soon learns that she is pregnant, as the angel had promised, and she expresses heer joy at what God has done for her.  PRAYERS of THANKSGIVING are the easiest to say. Every day, even on bad days, I come across all sorts of things that can remind me of God’s goodness–trees, little children, warm water in the shower, the sound of birds, a good burger, the sun, moon, stars, a kindness someone does for me. (and I will add,”the beauty around me after a wet snow storm, when the trees and every bush is covered in white). If I keep my eyes open for them, I can catch lots of things I never really noticed as “gifts” before–things that deserve a simple word of thanks to God.  If I haven’t done it often enough this week, right now might be a good time for a prayer of thanksgiving to God.

SPEND SOME QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD

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FINDING JOY AT CHRISTMAS

We often feel Christmas should be a “sugar plum” day with no touch of sadness. We feel we mustn’t let the sad parts of our lives into this special day. Suffering spois it. Let only gladness fill the air.

BUT CONSIDER ANOTHER APPROACH: Instead of avoiding all the sadness and trying to create a Hallmark Christmas, savor the richness of a savior born into a broken world, for broken hearts, to bring healing.

This is the feast of a God who so loved this world-my world-with its better and worse. Let the love of this feast touch the better and the worse, and I’ll find a deep down joy that can bring tears to my eyes. This mixture fits the feast. The event as Bethlehem wasn’t a Disney World experience. It was a time of both bliss and sorrow.

The joy of Christmas is that light overcomes darkness. It’s the good news of the angel to the shepherds: Today a savior has been born for you…for all that is happy in you, and all that is sad in you. Don’t hide the sad feelings. For some, it is the first Christmas with a newborn child or a grandchild. For others, it is the first Christmas without  their mother, father, husband, wife, child, close friend. For all of us it is Christmas celebrated in imperfect lives in an imperfect world.

WHEN WE remember who Jesus was and why he came, we can let him come into our real life, and then experience what it means to have a merry Christmas.

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SPEND SOME QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD.

More another time……………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO WE DO WHAT GOD WANTS US TO DO?

Consider John the Baptist: He was a fiery preacher who drew great crowds…and then everything fell apart.

Jesus, whom John had hoped would be the promised Messiah, seemed to be moving in a different direction from what John anticipated. Jesus seemed to be “wasting” his time curing people who were crippled and blind and deaf

John was arrested and thrown into jail. If Jesus was the Messiah, something wasn’t working. The Romans were still in control and there had been no great shift in power.

Then there was John’s death, as senseless as a drive by shooting: Killed for the price of a dance, because of a king who got drunk at a party and made a promise to a teenage girl… killed by some guard who grumbled about having to get up late and go chop off the head of someone he didn’t even know.

This does not appear to be the stuff of greatness. But Jesus said that John was one of the greatest who ever lived.

Where did this greatness come from?

John the Baptist tried to do what was given him to do, and do it for God, and do it with God.

And  when my efforts, insignificant as they may seem to be, are connected with God, I AM INVOLVED IN SOMETHING COLOSSAL, SOMETHING GREAT.

From the LITTLE BLUE  BOOK___________________________________

How do you know what God wants you to do? Ask Him. Here is a prayer I say now, every day. I got it from a book by Scott Hann and his wife, HOME TO ROME. Her father taught her to say this prayer and it works for me:

“Lord, let me be what you want me to be, do what you want me to do and go where you want me to go.” I love you.”

And then pay attention to your day, and what God puts before you.