Love, Sacrificially.

I admire poets and authors of books. I read quite often, and never come away without some better understanding of life or the pains and anxieties of existence. The need for social interaction, the common weaknesses and episodes of life. Why should we seek an explanation when often enough, none is needed. Our events just happen, and they are profound when it hits our head deep enough – because we are brought to life, to the realization of our actuality – the fact that we are alive, and that what we do has implications in this world because God has deigned us to love one another. The absence of our love for the other is often an action costing great price.

God is love, and when we ignore our duty to love at the truest and divinest, we fall quite a distance from the Lord and His direction. Tonight, I was reading the great author Flannery O’Connor, an American Catholic who lived in the deeply Protestant state of Georgia. I often find her short stories to be both a criticism of racism, but at the same time, a moving allegory of the nature of divine grace. With further reading, I came upon this quote.

The operation of the Church is entirely set up for the sinner; which creates much misunderstanding among the smug.

Our contemporary understanding of religious life scarcely remembers this fact. The media will skew us, and paint us with a brush, as if being Catholic – or Christian, for that matter, was a lifestyle choice. The public will do anything now, to erase the fact that the western world was once deeply religious. The New World was evangelized by Roman Catholic and Church of England missionaries, Ireland was once a bastion of the faith, and Great Britain was a churchgoing island. Lately, the Irish have spat in the face of God Almighty, and have voted to allow the slaughter of the young and innocent: the unborn.

My conclusion is that this modern world is, indeed, becoming far too smug. We trod all over the religious, religion, and the sacred. It is our way, or no way. God’s way isn’t on the ballot anymore.

The Anglican Communion has been crumbling from the top down – the Episcopal Church has been sanctioned, the Church of England is considering “gender change” services and treating them as if it were a sacramental occasion. The Anglican Church of Canada has continually pressed forward against scripture and tradition, voting to adopt language in the Prayerbook for same-sex marriage. These moral tragedies, these impossibilities: of course, all in the name of love and mercy.

But, you see, the root of the problem is sentimentality. We wish to be open to all, but in being open to all you lose the meaning of religion. If everything is allowed, we are but animals who receive communion on Sundays. Thanks be to God I was born in the true Church of Christ, receiving leadership since Christ ascended through His Vicar.

The symptom of all this is our lack of love for another. True love is sacrificial, but yet firm and grounded in the scriptures of Holy Writ. If we’re all happy now, and all lovey dove, then we have the abandonment of our eternal happiness written on our foreheads. Yes, our God forgives each and everyone of us – but to be granted that forgiveness, we must rely upon the assistance of His grace throughout our every trial. Acceptance for “the way you are” isn’t true happiness. It is a ladder, well balanced, which can fall at any kick or strong breeze.

There is nothing for us to do than to cleave like a new-born to Our Lord, and receive our sacraments, pray our rosaries, and love one another with a smiling and open forgiveness; never to forget our duty to spread the wonderful and dizzying news of the love of Him who made us, sustains us, and redeems us. O’Connor says that the Church is set up for the sinner. This is so true. Everything the Church has to offer us is, indeed, for each and everyone of us individually for our eternal happiness and for the making of great saints who love their Lord, and His Blessed Mother, His saints, and each other. For we are all His creation, and so we come from this equal and level ground beneath the cross. We, being flesh and bone, are all of the same seed. Therefore it is our duty to get our friends to heaven. Allowing our friends to sin, without revealing them the true nature of their actions, is a sin itself.

And now, let us pray to the Lord for Ireland. Let us all pray for the wee unborn, for mothers contemplating the termination of the life of their little one, for troubled families, for the depressed and the suicidal and those who struggle with anxiety.

Let us pray that those suffering might find relief in Christ, whose Sacred Heart burns for us, and all who suffer. He is suffering with them, with us, and His mercy will never abandon us.

Let us pray to the Blessed Mother, the Mother of God, who is also our mother. All we need to do is say her name and like a loving mother, here she will be.

And finally, thank your Guardian Angel for loving and protecting you.

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A Woman’s Right to Choose

One particular person I admire, who is dear to my heart, and remains on my mind every time I pray, is my great grandmother. Nan Uí Bhriain – everyone called her Nan O’Brien – yet she faithfully wrote the full form of her name.

She gave birth to six children, my grandmother was the second; she struggled to carry many children to full term, and so many passed on within the womb. She was a remarkable woman so I’m told. I never did meet her, yet her legacy lives on like a river that never dries up. She died when my own ‘Nan’ was 15. My great-grandfather was stricken with grief from that day on, unable to cope with her loss. He turned to alcohol often, but more often relied on my grandmother – now the oldest; my uncle (the firstborn) had drowned in a boating accident, which added to their collective grief.

But ‘Nan O’Brien’ was a force from God. While her husband worked, she also worked – along with raising a family, she was the housekeeper for the rectory and its four priests. She met many throughout her life, one whose cause for canonisation is at the diocesan level and remains an unofficial patron of the town she loved and lived in. She taught her children that love was an unconditional thing, and that anyone you met was subject to it. I know this is true because of how my own dear nan responds to the people around her: she brings food to her sick friends, and she admonishes those she knows who have gone wrong or members of our family who have made great mistakes, yet she always tells them she loves them. I think whoever meets her confrontation knows her forgiveness is at the end of the tunnel, because she forgives all of her friends, all of our family.

Is that a perfect family? Of course not! Besides the Holy Family, no family is perfect. My grandmother has told me of many lessons she learned in her life, and one of those was about life and forgiveness. Broad topics, eh?

One night as my grandmother lay in bed, her mother came trotting home from her friend’s house. She burst through the bottom door crying, weeping, screeching for her husband. About ten minutes later, after he asked her what’s wrong, he apparently ran outside and cried on the bank behind the house. Half an hour later, everyone was asleep.

Nine months later, my grandmother had a new younger sister.

My dear readers, I confide in you: the dear public, a lesson. That night when love wept, a woman was taken by another’s husband. By force, not by choice. My great-grandmother was raped, and she conceived of a child.

The night of tears wasn’t an ordeal. It was a moment: reality came to light, human vengeance perished, and love overcame all.

My grandmother told me about this after we watched a programme about abortion. Nan always wore her faith on her sleeve. Someone in my family was conceived in an unorthodox way, yet lives today as a mother and wife, an aunt and friend herself.

Abortion is murder.