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

PRESIDENT SIGNED INTO LAW…

ANOTHER GOOD THING PRES. TRUMP HAS DONE:

WE HAVE AN OPIOID EPIDEMIC.. I EXPECT EVERYONE KNOWS THAT BY NOW?

HOW ARE OFFICIALS RESPONDING TO THE CRISIS? According to an article by AARP Mag. The Dept of Health and Human Services is administering nearly a billion dollars in grants over the next two years to states and territories for prevention programs, treatment and training for health professionals. Meanwhile, 46 states now have caps on the quantity of opioid drugs that a Medicaid patient can receive, and 42 states have established medical criteria that a person must meet before getting a prescription through Medicaid. (Hopefully some of these grants will be used to help working and retired persons that make and pay the taxes in the country(my thought). PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS CREATED A COMMISSION ON DRUG ADDICTION, HEADED BY NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, TO STUDY THE ISSUE. AND CONGRESS PASSED LEGISLATION IN 2016 TO AID THOSE STRUGGLING WITH PAIN AND ADDICTION.

WHAT ARE OPIOIDS? Opioids are powerful drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Traditionally these drugs have been used by people who are recovering from surgery or coping with highly painful diseases or injuries. Opioids are narcotics, meaning they affect your mood or behavior and can cause drowsiness.  They work by attaching to receptors in the brain and other areas of the body, inhibiting the transmission of pain signals. Opioids can also create a sense of euphoria, and they are highly addictive.  Opioids are related to opium, Modern factory produced opioids are only slightly different in chemical makeup from the opiates derived from opium poppy flowers. The mood-altering effects of opium have been know for centuries.

WHY IS THIS AN EPIDEMIC?

Prescription opioids were initially administered primarily for short term bouts of pain. But starting in the 1990’s doctors began to prescribe them more to treat chronic pain. Long-term use led to higher levels of addiction and overdoses among wide swaths of the population. Since 1999 the number of overdose deaths that were attributed to opioid misuse has quadrupled. About half of those deaths in 2015 were from prescription opioid drugs.

NOTE: according to this article, BECAUSE people over 50 tend to have more pain, they seem to be more susceptible to opioid drug overdoses.  In 2015, 22,598 Americans dies from prescription opioid overdoses, according to data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Maine rated 6th in the list of states that had the highest rates of death per 100,000 residents with 16.3%.  1. W. VA 28.9; 2 New Hamp. 28.0; 3 Rhode Isl. 19.8; 4.Mass. 17.0; 5 Ohio 16.4;  6 Maine 16.3; 7 Kentucky 15.3; 8 Utah 15.1; 9. Tenn. 13.1; 10. Maryland 12.2.

In my opinion it is high time doctors fine non-addictive drugs to alleviate pain. Also, the doctors and the adds need to stop telling us we can live pain free. The fact is pain is part of life.  We can offer pain up to God for other suffering people or for people in Purgatory When I was growing up adults used to tell us when we complained about minor things, “offer it up”. Perhaps we should get back to that?

 

 

GOOD THINGS PRES. TRUMP DOES FOR US

PRESIDENT TRUMP DID;;;; I am so tired of reading all the stuff Pres. Trump doesn’t do or things that don’t please certain individuals or the liberal press that when i get a chance, from now on, I am posting things that he does that are good for everyone, even those that criticize constantly. so today;

VIETNAM WAR VETS HAVE THEIR DAY. President Trump signed a proclamation into law that officially designates March 29 an annual national day of recognition for veterans of the Vietnam War. It recognizes the day in 1973 when the bulk of U.S. troops left South Vietnam, and Hanoi released the remaining U.S.POWs.

“This makes it official, which pleases VFW,” said Carlos Fuentes, director of VFW’s National Legislative Service. “Vietnam War veterans deserve to be recognized with their own official day.” Public Law 115-15, The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017. encourages citizens, businesses and other institutions to display the U.S. flag on March 29. Sen Joe Donnelly (D-Ind) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R.Pa.)authorized the legislation.
According to statistics compiled by VFW magazine:
3,403,100 million personnel (including 514,300 off shore) served in the South China Sea waters. 2,594,000 personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam from Jan. 1 1965 to March 28, 1973. 303,704 personnel were wounded. 47,418 personnel died of hostile causes, 10,811 personnel died of non-hostile causes. (as a reference 50,000 personnel died in WWII) According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, as of March 29 a total of 1,580 U.S. military personnel and 31 civilians are still unaccounted for from the war.Please pass this along.

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THE AMERICAN HEALTHCARE AC

OK, folks, you will see all kinds of scare tactics on this to force the Senate to vote down this new Healthcare Act.

Let’s face it, Obama Care (The Affordable Care Act) that is only affordable for those who don’t work and don’t pay taxes, or for those who qualify for help. The rest of the taxpayers in this country can’t afford the good coverage that they receive. Also, they are loosing Insurance Companies like flies. It is a failure, but Democrats refused to make the necessary changes or can’t. Also, the Govt. has gone into areas where they have no business going, “forcing employers and employees to pay for abortion which they believe is murder”. This bill changes the necessary ingredients and leave it open for more corrections in the future.  Here is some of the reliable information I thought you might be interested in. _______________________________________________________________________________

WHAT’S THE BIG PICTURE?
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
HAVEN’T I HEARD THIS BEFORE?
Yes. About six weeks ago, Republicans came close to voting on the AHCA. Ultimately, the bill was pulled. So, moderate and conservative Republicans spent time working together to improve the legislation.
WHAT ARE THE DETAILS?
The updated AHCA is the same bill as before, but with three important changes.
Palmer/Schweikert Amendment: creates a new federal risk-sharing program, a high-risk pool that will lower costs for people with pre-existing conditions, and lower costs for everyone else.
The MacArthur Amendment: allows states to apply for waivers to three of Obamacare’s costliest mandates: essential health benefits; age rating; and community rating, but only if the state has a risk-sharing program to help individuals with pre-existing conditions afford coverage.This new flexibility will allow states to design insurance frameworks that are right for their unique populations, providing superior care and lowering costs for patients.
The Upton-Long Amendment: dedicates $8 billion solely to reducing premiums and other out-of-pocket costs for patients in the individual market with pre-existing conditions who do not maintain continuous coverage and who live in states that receive a waiver to redesign their insurance market.
SO… IS IT LAW?
Not quite. Next it goes to the Senate and then to the White House, where it is signed into law. Don’t worry. We’ll keep you updated every step of the way.

WAIT, IS CONGRESS EXEMPT?

No. Yesterday, Congress also voted on the McSally Bill, which ensures that Members of Congress and their staff live by the same health care rules as everyone else.
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NOW FROM THE HOUSE GOP
We did it!
Today, the House voted to pass the American Health Care Act, fulfilling the promises we made to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Today, we voted to offer relief to all Americans suffering under Obamacare’s burdensome weight.
Today, we made history.
Once signed into law, our country will have relief from soaring premiums, evaporating choices, and top-down government mandates. Through the AHCA, we are lowering costs, increasing choice, and returning power back to the people.
Together with President Trump, we’ve passed a bill that:
Dismantles Obamacare taxes
Eliminates the individual and employer mandate penalties
Protects those with pre-existing conditions
Modernizes and strengthens Medicaid
Empowers individuals and families through HSAs
Provides monthly tax credits for low- and middle-income families
While this is a monumental first step, it is only the first step. There is still work to be done.
Secretary Tom Price at the Department of Health and Human Services will take administrative actions to create a healthier insurance market and alleviate the burden the harmful health care mandates imposed on Americans.
Congress will also consider more smaller pieces of legislation to continually improve our health care system.
Thank you so much for your support. Now, let’s celebrate the passing of the AHCA!____

FROZEN EMBRYOS POSE HUGE MORAL DILEMMA

Imagine waking up one day to learn you are being sued by your own, yet-to-be-born embryos. Sounds absurd, right? Well, It’s actually already happened. In December, Modern Family star Sofia Vergara was hit with a unique lawsuit that rocked the legal underpinnings of human fertility science. The lawsuit actually names the embryos as plaintiffs against her. Before they broke up, Vergara created two frozen embryos with former fiance’ Nick Loeb. She wants to keep them frozen “indefinitely,” while Loeb, fighting on behalf of the embryos, wants a surrogate birth mother to bring them to term. The legal battle over the embryos sounds like a roiling Hollywood drama that only a star could have. But it actually reflects a growing moral and legal dilemma.

According to a 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 7.4 million U.S. women have undergone in vitro fertilization-having babies via embryos fertilized outside the womb. Typically, many more embryos are created than can be implanted, and the remaining ones are cryogenically preserved.

It remains to be seen if the untested strategy of embryos suing their own mother will work, but so far the legal community appears to be taking it seriously. The lawsuit requests that the embryos “be entrusted to their natural father Leob, who is willing that they be born and become eligible to receive their inheritance.”

The number of frozen embryos is staggering-over 1 million by some estimates. And it’s growing every day.

In response, several groups advocate “embryo adoption,” that is, the transfer of fertilized embryos from couples that no longer need or want them to infertile couples very eager to have children.

Embryo adoptions already account for about 2 percent of reproductive procedures in the United States. The annual number of these births as more than doubled since 2011. But the growth in cryopreserved embryos is increasing even faster.

To some, the problem of what to do with the growing number of so-called “snowflake children” is nothing less than a moral crisis.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, for example, HAS CALLED FROZEN EMBRYOS “HUMAN BEINGS deserving the full love and protections granted any child.”

(this article goes on to talk about how out of control this whole situation is and that people are creating children with no thought about what to do with the ones they don’t want.) Dr. Jeffrey Keenan of the National Embryo Donation Center says it’s time for the law to catch up with IVF technology.

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This article was in March NEWSMAX Magazine, written by Troy Anderson. I don’t usually pay attention to what Hollywood Stars do but this article is very important. If a decision is made about these frozen embryos, could affect abortion laws all over our Country not only concerning frozen embryos.

They are being called unborn children. If the ruling acknowledges that embryos are legally unborn children then, having an abortion could make a woman legally liable for murder. Also, the father would have the right to insist that the baby be carried to term and allowed to be born. I would imagine he could sue if he wanted. Science has already proved that an embryo is a baby, but our laws have not caught up.  I pray Loeb wins his suit. It could mean the end of abortion as it is being used in this day and age.

Just to point our, I was actually listening today on the Presence Radio FM that the Catholic Church is against IVF  and freezing embryos for moral and natural reasons, and it seems with good reason.  If you are interested in why, there should be some answers at http://www.Catholic.com I think it is.

Here is a reading from the bible I came across regarding abortion: Book of Genesis: (1-13)

God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them”Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth. Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered. Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants. Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat. For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from one man in regard to his fellow man I will demand an accounting for human life. If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has man been made. Be fertile, then and multiply; abound on the earth and subdue it.

—————Sounds to me like we are going to answer for every child killed and it’s approaching something like 60 million now?  Pray folks, for this country and every person in it. May God have Mercy on our souls.

 

 

THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION

I meant to write this Sat. March 25, since that was the Feast of the Annunciation. This is the day we celebrate:  Luke 1:26-38

The Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.: Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

CANTICLE OF MARY:  And Mary told Elizabeth  (Luke 1:46-55)

MY SOUL proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the might from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.

GLORY TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, and to the HOLY SPIRIT, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen


The Glory Be to the Father is a prayer Catholics say often.  If only we would be as willing to do what God asks without question.   Here is a prayer for that:

Jesus, You became flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pray for me, that I may deny myself and choose God’s will for my life, for I know and believe that He is a good Father and will lead me to salvation. Amen

 

HISTORY OF LENT AND WHY 40 DAYS

The Catholic TV monthly magazine had an article about the History of Lent. I thought maybe some of you might be interested:

History of Lent-what did fasting used to look like: The Lenten season, preparation for Easter, has been observed from the onset of Christ’s Church, although there have been inconsistencies with duration and practices.  The Council of Nicea, 325AD, established Easter’s fluid date as the Sunday following the first full moon of the vernal equinox. In 461 AD, Pope St. Leo established the duration as 40 consecutive days before Easter. Pope Gregory the Great, in the sixth century, added the dispensing of ashes the preceding Wednesday (Ash Wednesday), making Lent 46 days. Sundays were considered feast days and not included in the count. (However, my mother informed us kids that if we gave up Movies for Lent we could not go on Sundays, or it wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice. Connie)

Initially, all forms of meat, fish and animal products were excluded for the entirety of Lent. People were allowed one meal per day, after 3 pm. In the 1400’s that time was revised to noon. Eventually, a small snack was included to sustain energy. Over time, fish, meat and eventually dairy products were allowed. However, fasting was require all 40 days. It wasn’t until 1966 that fast days were lessened to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday only. (Now, we give up meat on Fridays during Lent, along with Ash Wednesday)

WHY 40 DAYS????The number 40 has ecclesial significance: Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai before receiving the Ten Commandments; Jesus spent 40 days in prayer and fasting prior to beginning his ministry. So, too, we spend 40 days preparing to do God’s work.

WHY  DO WE HAVE PENITENTIAL SEASONS?  (This is a question many Christians ask Catholics, who quite often don’t know the answer) Jesus gave the example of a penitential retreat, spending prayerful time in the desert preparing for His ministry, reflecting on God’s will and determining how He’d freely make that happen. Penitential seasons offer us this same opportunity to withdraw from our routines and evaluate our spiritual progress or regression. We do this through reflection and repentance, which enable us to identify our weaknesses and make reparation to amend our sinful ways. Penitential seasons create time to reflect on our need to make God the focal point of our lives. The result can be spiritually rewarding. (Many Catholics spend extra time in prayer. Go to extra Masses, the Stations of the Cross, and other spiritual reading during Lent)

WHAT ARE THE CURRENT RULES FOR LENT IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?

All Catholics, ages 14 and up, are bound by the law of abstinence. Abstinence means refraining from the consumption of meat (land animals) on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. Why Friday? To unite ourselves with Jesus’ sacrifice, made for us on Good Friday.

All Catholics, ages 18-59, are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting is defined as eating one full, meatless meal on prescribed days. Bits of food can be taken at other traditional meal times though their combined total should not equal a full meal.

Penitential practices, like fasting and abstinence, are intended to refocus our thoughts and intentions toward God. Lent’s 40 days include Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday (the Lenten fast continues until Holy Saturday), not including Sundays. Sundays are optional but encouraged. For health reasons, the infirm, ill, and pregnant or nursing mothers are exempt.

Three other Lenten disciplines are prayer (daily conversation with the Lord) fasting (from behaviors which detract from our relationship with God) and  almsgiving (sharing our resources, ensuring the basic needs of human dignity).

I WILL ADD; many Catholics like to go to the  Stations of the Cross usually on Friday if it is available in their Churches. The Stations of the Cross actually started before the Crusades when Christian were free to go to Jerusalem.  I read where they used to journey from Rome and Europe to Israel to follow the footsteps of Jesus to the Cross. Much like people do now. Then when the Muslims took over the Holy Lands and the Christians could not go there, they started setting up outdoor statues or pictures of what we now call the Passion of Christ. From the Last Supper to the capture in the garden, the whippings and crown of thorns thru the town, past the women, and when he had help carrying the cross and when He was nailed to the cross. Now Catholic Churches have pictures or carvings on the wall that go around the church, 14 stations showing the Passion of Jesus.  People say prayers at each station and they are called the Stations of the Cross.  It follows the story of His Passion in the Bible Gospels. Usually on Good Friday, when possible, the Stations are said at 3PM, the time that Jesus died.

GIVING ALMS: During Lent as with other times of the year, but especially during Lent, we can give up something we spend money on, coffee, candy, movies, whatever, and give that money to the poor. Examples; the Salvation Army, Local Food Cupboards or you can look up Catholic Relief Services (CRS) or Catholic Charities for example, all these organizations help people who are desperate for help.  Catholics have what we call a “Rice Bowl” we put on the table or somewhere in our home where everyone can drop money in, on Easter we put the money in an envelope marked RICE BOWL put it in the collection basket,and the Church sends all the money to Catholic Relief Services to feed the poor in other countries.  You can look up CRS Rice Bowl on line: http://www.crsricebowl.org. To get more information. Catholics have been donating to CRS for many years. They are all over the world helping and teaching the poor how to  feed and support themselves and they are at places of devastation like Haiti helping people to recover and start over.