Results filtered by “Deacon Jim Matthias”

Catholic Hall of Fame

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Over the past months, we have been doing reflections on the readings of the day. I found that when it was my turn to write, the day frequently fell on the feast day of a Saint. I always tried to include something about that Saint before getting into the reading or the reflection. I have to admit, I enjoyed finding out about each Saint. Their stories are rich in faith and inspiration. Often the story includes a change of heart and/or direction that changes ordinary sinners into extraordinary servants of God.

We are blessed to have so many Saints represented in the stained glass windows surrounding our church. We don’t worship saints - we admire them for their witness and virtue. It’s like our Catholic Hall of Fame. We keep pictures of our family members - even some who are no longer with us. We have images of saints to remind us of their testimony as to how Jesus Christ changed their lives.

People receiving the sacrament of Confirmation are still asked to adopt a new name, usually a saint or biblical character. It gives them another patron saint as protector and also a guide. We don’t pray to the saints but we can ask the saints to pray with us and for us. We might ask our fellow Christians to pray with/for us. Why not ask those Christians already in heaven?

Saints are amazing examples of God’s ability to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Saints are living examples of how God’s love and grace are available to all who are willing to accept it. We are all called to be saints, and we have hundreds of examples to show us the way.

Advocating for a Culture of Life

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“God will never forget those … who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land.”

This Scripture passage should serve as an appropriate lead in to Respect Life Month in October. We live in a self-gratifying society that uses things and disposes of things whenever something bigger, brighter, better, or newer comes along. It’s the world we live in. We cannot apply that same attitude when it comes to the dignity and safety of all human beings. Respecting life at all stages has been squeezed into four weeks during October, but it must become an effort where we live and speak for a culture of life every day of the year. Whether it’s a baby still in its mother’s womb, the poor and the needy, or a person nearing their end of life, everyone should be treated as a child of God and deserves the dignity given to each one of us by our Creator. For some, living as an advocate for life might mean strengthening our resolve to protect the most vulnerable and, in other cases, it may mean changing our hearts to recognize the dignity in all human beings.

On the Side of Angels

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When I attended my first March for Life in Washington D.C. recently, I was surprised at the number of youth attending the march, including some from St. Dominic, local high schools, and universities. They marched selflessly; with faith, hope, and love, trying to protect the God-given right to life of the unborn.

Sadly, it was just a few days later when media showed the ghoulish behavior of the New York governor and legislators celebrating a law that permits the killing of babies just days or even hours before they were to be born. In Virginia, a bill was narrowly defeated that would have allowed “delivered babies” to be made comfortable while the mother and doctor(s) decided whether to take the life of the newborn child.

To be clear, the Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a “grave immoral action” and that we are all entrusted by God to the noble mission of safeguarding life. The Catechism clearly explains “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.”

With the death-toll now surpassing 60 million surgical abortions, we can no longer sit on the sidelines and hope for this culture of death to go away. Do not be afraid. Pray and get active. Join a march or a life-chain, peacefully protest at an abortion center or participate in 40 days-for-life. Vote pro-life and tell your legislators to do the same. Teach your children about the sanctity of life from the womb to the tomb.

As Archbishop Listecki said at the Respect Life Mass, whenever we are serving on behalf of the voiceless and vulnerable, we will always be “on the side of the angels.”