I Can’t Get Next To You

The Temptations were once called the “kings of R&B” and ruled the airwaves from the ‘60s to the ‘90s. It’s unfortunate that most Millennials, both Generations Y and definitely Z, probably never heard of them or of Motown Records. The song is about a man who can do anything, except get close to a particular person he likes. The same can be true about the Catholic Church and Millennials. It’s not just the Catholic Church but all organized religions. Millennials, my children included, are all about technology, independence, and truth.  They are the largest demographic in the US and therefore wield an enormous amount of leverage in several markets.

As a Baby Boomer, working in a university setting, I deal with Millennials all day, every day.  I can tell you they do not think in the same traditional way that you or I do. Contrary to what is being put out there about them, they are creative, smart, and opinionated. They can be open to everything and closed to everything at the same time. They hold no loyalties, they trust no one, are in debt, but generally optimistic. They hold off on marriage, yet lead in out-of-wedlock births, while firmly believing children raised in 1-parent homes are bad for society. A recent Pew Study shows the divide.  Where 70% of past generations absolutely believed in God, only 58% of Millennials do with only 36% self-identifying as religious.1

Organized religion is low on their priority list. Many experienced “religion” from the church services they were forced to attend by their parents. They don’t like phonies and if Millennials aren’t learning or doing something constructive they are disengaged. The one truth they have embraced is Pro-Life. They are the catalyst driving the movement. Just tune in to the March For Life every January and look at the ages of those involved.

If we want Millennials to return to the Church we have to engage them. Millennials are desperate for truths and if you don’t give it to them straight, you’re out. They don’t want wishy-washy sayings or flip-flop beliefs; they want the history and the proof of who you are, what you believe in, and why. They want the blood and guts, the nuts and bolts, botta bing—botta boom.  Who was Jesus, what did He say, and what did He do?  Who are the saints, what did they say, and what did they do. Why do we have these sacraments? What do these symbols mean? Why do you do what you do?  You must be prepared with answers and fully engage them. They are interested and they will challenge you so be prepared.

In their book, The Millennials, Thom and Jess Rainer state that those Millennials who do strongly believe and identify with God “are passionate about their faith”. They want to be “radically” rooted in community, know Scripture, and love their neighbor.2 This could account for the uptick in young people returning to traditional Catholic churches.  Teach them the traditions of the church. Most Millennials have never heard of the Tridentine/Extraordinary Form/Latin Mass, Gregorian chant/Medieval sacred music/polyphonic music, and many are drawn to it.

You can’t expect Millennials to just wander into your church. You have to seek them out. They love an invitation. They are not shy about talking to older people—they like being mentored. You will have to come out of your comfort zone, though. You must make yourself available to them. If they know what you’re saying is truth they’ll return and listen for more. They are thirsty for knowledge. Be that fount.

I’m not saying all of them will listen. There are several who, like some of us, are jaded or firmly held in their beliefs and not open to other opinions. Many were raised in a secular home. As one Millennial put it, “I pray all the time but who am I praying to?” They are hungry for answers. Others are taught religion is a bad thing—guilt laden, judgmental, and close minded.  We need to show them that’s not so.

Don’t expect Millennials to come running to a “young adult” group meeting at the church. The first thing you should do is avoid the young adult moniker—they hate it. Go to them on their territory. Remember Theology on Tap? Why not host a short, engaging, lecture at the local coffee shop or art center? After the lecture open the floor to discussion.  Keep it fast-paced and make sure the topics are rooted in Scripture and relatable to today’s society. Explain what we can do together for others in our neighborhood.

Millennials want to change the world and make it a better place. Ask for their help organizing church/community events, teaching the youngsters and the oldsters the fundamentals of computers and safely navigating the Web, hosting a Millennial Bible Study, coordinating a food pantry day, neighborhood cleanup, or painting or remodeling for a neighbor in need, anything where they can lead the way and make a difference in their community—all in the name of being a good Christian. Include them in church services as lectors or ushers. Millennials are the most educated generation…utilize their skills and include them in parish councils. Millennials love social media.  You want to reach them, make sure your website is up to par and you must have an active Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. And who best to be in charge of your church’s social media?  A Millennial of course.

Lastly and most importantly, when they see a parish community actually living their faith, knowledgeable in its teachings, knowing God and His Law, and loving each other, you will capture their hearts and souls. Who doesn’t enjoy being with people of all backgrounds and ages who love their Lord and their neighbor?  Isn’t that what living Catholic is all about? To get Millennials to the Catholic Church we need to change I Can’t Get Next To You to Come Together.


1 Pew Research Center, Social & Demographic Trends, Millennials in Adulthood, March 7, 2014 www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/millennials-in-adulthood/

2 The Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest Generation by Thom S. Rainier and Jess Rainer



Me Too?

The song by the same title, sung by Meghan Trainor, is about a woman who respects herself.  Toby Keith also sings a song by the same title about a man who loves his wife.  Both have powerful messages about love and respect for one’s self as well as for a loved one.

The Me Too that comes to mind in 2018 is the “new” Hollywood revelation about the sexual abuse of women by influential men in the industry. Everyone has heard stories of “casting couches” throughout history.  It’s only now that the women of Hollywood have decided to shed light on what should have been exposed years ago.  The stories of their “bravery” include Twitter hashtags and donning designer gowns that costs more than you or I earn in a year. Some members of this movement decided a long time ago to keep quiet even though they knew fellow actresses were being raped and abused.  Their choice silenced victims, thereby enabling predators, in the name of furthering their own careers. The hashtag that should be trending is #Shame.

True bravery is not found on Twitter or in designer showrooms.  It’s found where everyday men, women, and children deal with evil, have systematically called out bias and abuse, and are met with threats, name-calling, blackballing, jail, and even death—but  have never given up the fight.  Two groups were on display the 3rd week of January who claim to do all the above.  We saw the March for Life followed the next day by the Women’s March. The March for Life consists of diverse groups who have been protesting abortion for over 40 years. In fact, their walk is the largest human rights march in the world but goes unnoticed every year with little to no recognition or media coverage.  The Women’s March, on the other hand, is in its second year and is made up of mainly President Trump protestors and promoters of abortion on demand.  This march was covered on every television channel and news outlet for days.

If you watched the March for Life in Washington, DC or even one of the smaller marches held in cities across the US, you were struck by first, the young age of the participants, their contagious enthusiasm, happiness, smiles, and inspiring signs. The Women’s March was spiked with anger, hate, vile signs, hats, and costumes—not by all, but by too many.

I have a question for those members of the #Me Too/Women’s March.  If you can make a stand for equal pay, against sexual assault, and all abuses and injustices against women, why can’t you stand against the slaughter of future women in the womb?  Why?  Or should I ask #Why?

I’d also like to ask that question to most of the Democrats in the US Senate1 and the two female Republican Senators2 who voted down the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act held January 30, 2018.  Doctors and scientists have confirmed that infants in the womb can feel pain at the 20 week mark and probably earlier, yet these fellow humans still want to murder babies up to and including the moment before birth. This bill excluded cases of rape, incest, and the health of the mother so why didn’t they vote for it?  Why? #Why?

A Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll3 published in January of 2018 concluded that more than six in ten Americans support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy; this includes 56% of Pro-Choice Americans, 56% of Democrats, 74% Pro-Life Americans, 73% of Republicans, and 64% of Independents.  Those numbers are staggering.  So why did they vote against it?  We need to demand an answer.  However, our request will be met with the same disdain and silence as they bestow upon the peaceful protestors who attend the March for Life.

Question: Why does the modern feminist movement only relate to certain women?  Shouldn’t it relate to all women—even those who have had abortions and have suffered greatly because of it?  What about the millions of aborted baby girls?  Who would they have become?  Does it even cross the average Women’s March protestor’s mind that one of those aborted girls could have been their wife, sister, best friend, co-worker, teacher, supervisor, scientist, inventor, or even the organizer of a women’s march? I wonder how many Women’s Marchers even know Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other leading suffragettes were vehemently against abortion.  Instead they idolize Margaret Sanger, eugenicist, Nazi sympathizer, and racist.

Anger at the indifference for human life is not just targeted at politicians and protestors.  Days before the March For Life a story broke by the Lepanto Institute4, and confirmed by Dutch radio that Lilianne Ploumen was honored by, of all people, Pope Francis, with the title of Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great. Ms. Ploumen is responsible for She Decides, an organization that funded over $300 million dollars to international agencies for the sole reason of performing or promoting abortions worldwide.  Ms. Ploumen was also the Director of Programs and on the Board of Directors for CORDAID, the Dutch Catholic aid relief agency that was caught funding Planned Parenthood and dispensing contraception.4

This action has infuriated and confused many Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  Not only does it baffle the faithful who have been praying and peacefully protesting for an end to abortion, it’s also a direct slap in the face to those millions of marchers who come from all over the world for 40+ years to participate in the March for Life. Not to mention the priests, nuns, and laypeople who have dedicated their lives to end this culture of death and minister to young mothers and babies as well as their parish congregations.

 History will judge us.  More importantly, God will judge us—all of us.  If you haven’t already, it’s time you stand on the side of good, the side of truth.  On that note, I’d like to ask the members of the #MeToo movement and the Women’s March, are you sure your Twitter key phrase is #MeToo, or is it really #Me-NotYou?


1 Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) Democrats who voted in favor of Act

2 Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Republicans who voted against Act

3 Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll, January, 2018.  To view all results or to view or print a pdf version of the Poll click here: www.kofc.org/en/news/polls.html#/

4 www.lepantoinstitute.org/pope-francis/pope-francis-awards-architect-safe-abortion-fund-potifical-honor/


The song by the same name was performed by Pearl Jam and is about a child with a disability.  Usually my articles and the titles of the songs by the same name have nothing in common, but this one… If you follow the news like me you may be aware of the Bonnie Liltz story.  Actually, the real victim of this story is not Bonnie but her late daughter, Courtney. You see Courtney was adopted by Bonnie at the age of 2.  Courtney had cerebral palsy and had to have 24-hour care.  However, the young woman was thriving. Speaking, when doctors said she wouldn’t, feeding herself, and using a computer. According to Bonnie Liltz, “she was a happy girl”1.

On May 27, 2015, after twenty plus years of caring for Courtney, Bonnie decided Courtney’s life must end.  She came to this conclusion because she, Bonnie, was battling cancer and other health issues.  Courtney had no say-so in the matter.  Bonnie mixed a cocktail of several drugs and fed it to her daughter, Courtney. She then attempted to take her own life, but was unsuccessful.

Bonnie Liltz, who is still ill, and very much alive is upset because the Illinois courts think she should—I don’t know—go to jail for murdering her daughter.2 You see Bonnie doesn’t want to go to jail.  She is now asking for “mercy” from Bruce Rauner, the governor of Illinois.  It also appears that because Bonnie is so ill the state jail just can’t seem to take good care of her.  Hmmm. Now let’s think back.  Isn’t it ironic that it was for this same reason that Bonnie decided to kill Courtney? Yes, you read that right. Bonnie worried that she couldn’t care for Courtney if she was too ill and she didn’t want to subject Courtney to state care because it wasn’t adequate—so, she killed her out of “mercy and love”. That’s amazing.

Also amazing is how many times Bonnie Liltz refers to God and the “gift” she received from Him when she adopted Courtney, and how “all life is precious”.  Really, wow!  So being Courtney was a gift from God how does Bonnie reconcile that she, not God, would decide to snuff out that gift?  And now that she is the ill one who cannot receive individualized care, it becomes a whole different story?

Bonnie, who is currently out on bond, didn’t like state sponsored jail life and is now asking for clemency to spare her from the horrors of it.  The Illinois Department of Corrections (state) just can’t provide the (individual) healthcare that Bonnie is accustomed to. You know, eating what she wants, taking her medications, and good quality physical and mental care.  She lost 14 pounds in jail! This is the same argument she made for taking Courtney’s life.  The state could not take care of her in the same manner that she, an individual citizen, could.

So far the courts are having none of it. She was sentenced to 4 years for involuntary manslaughter, which is a far lighter sentence then the one she bestowed upon her daughter.  It’s becoming the norm for judges to sentence killers of the innocent to lesser stints in jail and it’s wrong.  There is that slippery slope that pro-life advocates keep spotlighting. If abortion is legal, why stop at the fetus just before it’s born? Why not after birth and maybe up to say, 2 years old or older? And what about the disabled? That leads to the elderly. We’ve already started legalizing suicide for the sick, so why stop there?  You know, all in the name of “compassion”.

Thanks to abortion (the proverbial foot in the door), we are seeing this happen all too frequently. Mothers who no longer want to care for their child will kill them, out of mercy of course, and judges pass on lenient sentences. The child doesn’t have to be ill, just inconvenient. Some cases are more heinous than others, yet it’s difficult for Americans to wrap their heads around a mother who can kill her own child. This must stop or it will end with infanticide and worse.

Christians are taught that all life is precious from womb to the tomb. We are against capital punishment as well. It’s a hard sell when you look at some of these horrific serial offenders.  God teaches us that everyone can change. We must forgive.  St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans 12:19 that vengeance belongs only with God.  However, God never said there should be no justice for the innocent and oppressed.  In fact that very thing is mentioned quite often in the Bible.  Jesus summed it all up in one sentence: love your neighbor as yourself. If you follow that golden rule you’ll never go wrong.

Back to Bonnie Liltz.  I’m sure Bonnie was a selfless mother at one time.  She cared for her disabled daughter for over 20 years. Being a mom is a thankless job on a good day. One may have looked at her and thought her a saint at one time. I agree with her thinking that the state could never take care of Courtney like she did. She was worried about her daughter and what would become of her once she was too ill or dead.  However, her end game was all wrong.

It’s very easy to feel compassion for a mother with a very ill child. How can that be murder? The mother thought the best place for her daughter was with God in Heaven. She didn’t stab or shoot her. She just went to sleep and never woke up. There was no pain1. Tell that to the millions of mothers who have and still are caring for their sick children.

Answer me this, would you feel comfortable with another person making the decision to end your life? What happens when you’re too old or too sick to take care of you? If this becomes the norm it will eventually make its way mainstream and come for all of us.  Eugenics is making a comeback.  It seems that the more we forget our history the more it just keeps circling back.

Bonnie Liltz references God so often that I wonder if she belonged to a church or a support group. If she did, she could have talked to her pastor or friends who could have reached out and got her the help she so desperately needed. She was overwhelmed, distraught, ill, and confused. Someone could have counseled her and this tragedy would never have happened.

If Governor Rauner has an ounce of sense, and I’m not sure that he does since he lied to his constituents and just made Illinois the most abortion friendly state in the union, he will uphold the Illinois courts and keep Bonnie Liltz in jail.


1 Suburban Mom Who Killed Disabled Daughter in Botched Murder-Suicide Speaks Publicly for 1st Time; Carol Marin and Don Moseley, NBC 5 Carol Marin Reports, August 31, 2016.

2 Bonnie Liltz initially was charged with murder but plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter.


This is the official theme for Respect Life Sunday1, which is always celebrated on the first Sunday in October.  In fact, October is Respect Life Month. If your church isn’t celebrating life this month…find another church.

I never thought here in the United States of America that any citizen would be afraid to take a stand for life.  It’s the first inalienable right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and we, as Americans and Christians, have the right and the obligation to defend it. If we do not, it could be taken from us.  We are living in a time where the 1st Amendment2 is under attack along with common sense, civility, morality, basic science, and possessing a spine. Why are we so quiet when we should be up-in-arms?

Abortion is murder.  There is no way around it.  It brings about death—period.  A fetus in the womb is a little human. What would happen if someone had the audacity to destroy a field of cocoons before the mature butterflies could emerge?  We all know what would happen.  Social media would light up, celebrities would be outraged, and news outlets would interview lepidopterists to tell you how butterflies impact the planet.  Death threats on the fiends and their families would ensue, and Jimmy Kimmel would be crying on his talk show.  I just used the example of butterflies but I could have substituted any animal3.

The most vocal among us are the hundreds of thousands of mainly young people who march through the streets of Washington, DC each January, braving the cold, snowy, or rainy conditions, to participate in the March For Life, the largest pro-life event in the world.  Although huge, it’s rarely if ever covered by any mainstream media outlet in the 40+ years of its existence.  Why?  Because they don’t want you to see it, hear it, or even know about it. And thinking about what abortion is and does makes everyone uncomfortable.  Well it should.  Murdering babies for the sake of convenience is the real inconvenient truth.  These pro-life advocates are fervently trying to shine a light on the millions of murdered innocents who can’t speak for themselves.

Remember the parable of the lamp in Mark 4:21-25? “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.  Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear! Take notice of what you are hearing. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.” How do you think Jesus delivered this story?  Did he sit with his head down, muttering quietly about truth, light, and a visible Church?  I doubt that.  I’m positive he stood, raised his voice, and was physically expressive.  He wanted his message to be heard, understood, and spread. There were no microphones, TV, radio, or the internet. Jesus was not timid and quiet.  Jesus was a revolutionary.  He upset the olive cart.  He rocked the boat. Get that image of the get-along, go-along, hippie Jesus out of your head. He had to be a mesmerizing and energetic speaker.

Yet, here we sit silent, except for a few, while Planned Parenthood profits off the murder of and selling of babies and their body parts.  Those self-taught investigative journalists who exposed PP are facing jail time and God bless them—they don’t care. And we should be just as fearless.  Nothing changes unless we demand and enact the change.  We’ve all heard the excuses: “I don’t want to upset so-in-so. She’ll start a war with me on Facebook.” “Nobody is going to listen to me, I’m just one person.” “You say it for me.” Stop it.  The time has come for every person to stand up and speak out. The more we remain docile lambs, the easier it is for them to keep chipping away at our rights.

It’s already happening.  Can someone give me the definition of “hate” speech?  The First Amendment protects all speech, not some, all and especially speech which makes you uncomfortable. Do you think speaking out against abortion isn’t provocative?  Go to any college campus and just walk around with pro-life literature. I won’t even suggest that you engage in debate because you’ll never get that far. There is a good chance you will be assaulted, physically and definitely verbally, and tossed off the campus. If you’re a student, you’ll be sent to the Dean of Students and be given a lecture on misogyny, and when and if you can go to a “free speech zone”, along with being publicly shamed and shunned. Ask your kids if you don’t believe me.

Think of all those Christians—men, women, and children—who have been and still are being martyred for their faith.  We, in the United States, are not subject to anything remotely like this.  However, many of our brothers and sisters are being denied a seat at the table because they practice their faith, which is in violation of the 1st Amendment. One needs look no further than Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Barrett, who is a nominee to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, was drilled on her faith and how it would impede her judgement should she serve on the bench.  Senator Diane Feinstein (D) California stated, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.” Big issue=abortion. Senator Dick Durbin (D) Illinois was blunt and asked, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?”4  I guess the good senators never heard about the unconstitutionality of religious tests as spelled out in Article 6 Section 3.

The science against abortion is staggering. Fetuses, by 8 weeks after fertilization react to touch and by 20 weeks can feel pain5, yet the abortions continue and in some states, babies can be aborted just before delivery.  Will “abortion” after birth be next? Iceland aborts 100% of babies born with Down syndrome6.  Here in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  report a decrease in children born with Down, even though survival rates are up from 10 years old to about 47 in 20077.  Sympathetic judges are sentencing parents who murder their disabled children to ridiculously low sentences. Where do we draw the line?

Oh, that the dogma should live loudly in us all.


1 For more information and resources visit: http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/2017/respect-life-digital-resources.cfm

2 https://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/

3 The Lion Sleeps Tonight https://lifelinesbylucie.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/the-lion-sleeps-tonight/

4 Chicago Tribune Editorial: Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges September 11, 2017

5 Doctors on Fetal Pain www.doctorsonfetalpain.com/fetal-pain-the-evidence/

6 CBS News on Assignment “What kind of society to you want to live in?”: Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing. Julian Quinones, Arijeta Lajka August 14, 2017

7 https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/downsyndrome/data.html


There are numerous songs written for mothers, but it just sounds better when it’s sung in Italian.  I’m just sayin’.  The month of May goes hand-in-hand with moms.  Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May in the US.  If you celebrated your First Communion, chances are it was on or near Mother’s Day.  May is also the month for proms and school graduations.  When I think May, I think planting flowers and gardens.  May is also the month of Mary.  It’s just a beautiful month.

As a mom, I can say there is no greater calling than being a mother.  It is the most gratifying and frustrating job on the planet.  I’ve accomplished much in my life, but the greatest achievement is my children.  It’s the ultimate gift God gave to women.  It’s a universal fact that the pains of childbirth are instantly forgotten when you hold your child in your arms for the very first time.  Little hands can make a big mess, but who wouldn’t give to hold that hand in yours?  Our children bring boundless joy into our lives, as well as anxiety sometimes—but who remembers that?  Your love for them is unconditional.

You will only have one mother.  It’s true.  And when she’s gone it leaves a hole in your heart that never mends.  It doesn’t matter how old you are when you lose your mother.  A good friend, who is well over 65, is going through terrible loss this week.  Her dad passed away last week and her mom is not expected to live through this week.  She told me this morning that she got through her dad’s funeral just fine, but is dreading the call that her mom is gone.  It’s different when it’s your mother.

It’s not like Dad is less important.  His responsibilities and relationship to his children are just different than Mom’s. I grieved when my father died, but it was a different sense of loss when I lost my mother.  She is the one who is always there…no matter your age.  She gave birth to you, she fed you, she cared for your every want and need.  She was the one who bandaged your scraped knee, fretted over you when you had the chicken pox or flu, wiped your runny nose, held you when you cried and was there for every disappointment and achievement—large and small.  Dad may have you walked you down the aisle, but it was Mom who was there when you chose your dress and she probably planned the wedding with you.  If you’re lucky, she is your best friend.  After your husband, she was the first one you told when you were pregnant.  She was the first one at the hospital, and the first person outside of you and your husband, to hold her grandchild.

For those of you blessed to still have your mother with you, make sure you tell her how much you love her and appreciate everything she does for you.  Take her out to eat this Sunday or better yet—you cook a great meal for her.  You don’t have to buy anything that costs mega dollars.  Just get her something that makes her think of you.  Actually, the best gift you can give to her…is you.  All she wants to do is see and talk to you as frequently as possible.

It’s good to remember our heavenly mother as well.  Sometimes we forget that Mary was a human woman.  She laughed and she cried.  She celebrated and she grieved.  I’m sure she went through the same emotions every mother does when her son spoke his first word and took his first step.  I’m sure the child, Jesus, made his mother gifts and I bet she prized every one of them. We know how upset both Mary and Joseph were when they discovered that a 12-year-old Jesus was not with the rest of the family, returning from a feast in Jerusalem.  It took them three full days to find him!  Think how you or I feel when we turn our heads for just an instant and our child is not in vision.  I can’t even imagine the agony she went through when she witnessed her son tortured and crucified, or the elation when she was told of his resurrection.  Although she knew she’d be with him again in heaven, you know she longed for him when he returned to the Father.

The first miracle ever performed by Jesus was at Mary’s request.  She knew who He was and what He could do.  They were attending a friend’s wedding reception when the wine ran out. Mary told Jesus and he responded with something along the lines of, I’m not ready.  What do you want me to do?  Mary was undeterred.  She told a server to do whatever Jesus told him to do.  Because she knew he was going to do it.  And although it may not have been his hour, he turned the water into wine because his mother said so.  There is no greater bond between that of a mother and child.

This Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima.  This Sunday is Mother’s Day.  Like I said above, all mom really wants is to spend time with you.  Don’t forget that Mary would love a moment of your time as well.  It won’t cost you a cent to say a prayer for all mothers, or to say the Rosary, a request made by Our Lady to the children at Fatima.  In fact, she identified herself to them as Our Lady of the Rosary.

Remember, it doesn’t take much to make your mamma happy.  It’s true because every mother in the word said so!

Sugar Shack

The song by the same title was performed by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs way back in 1963.  The lyricist simply told a tale about a coffee shop.  Not so for the “controversial” movie The Shack, based on a novel by the same name by author, William Paul Young.  I try viewing as many faith-based films as I can.  Sometimes I just can’t find a theater nearby.  I had no problem as The Shack is playing everywhere, most likely because Octavia Spencer and Tim McGraw are starring in the film.

The film opens with a troubled young boy, named Mack, who lives with his mother and abusive father.  Not many people in his small town acknowledge the abuse, except for one black neighbor, played by Octavia Spencer, who comforts him with her home cooking. When home life becomes unbearable, young Mack, who feels deserted by God, makes a horrible decision.  We quickly fast forward to the present.  Mack is now a man, living with his deeply religious wife and their three children. On a camping trip his youngest daughter is kidnapped and murdered.  The film does not dwell on this so don’t be put off thinking it will be bloody because it’s not.

Mack blames himself for his daughter’s death and cannot shake his depression.  He receives a letter from “Papa”, his wife’s name for God, inviting Mack to meet at the very shack where his daughter was killed. Mack decides to go and is shocked to find “Papa” is the same black woman who consoled him in his youth. Papa explains that Mack couldn’t accept a father figure at this time.  He meets Jesus, a Jewish carpenter, and the Holy Spirit, a beautiful Asian woman.  Towards the end of the film Papa decides Mack needs a father to take him through the rest of his journey of forgiveness and Papa becomes a mature, Native American man.  Again, the viewer knows exactly why God chose this form.

It’s this portrayal of the Holy Trinity that has several Christians upset.  I accepted God’s explanation of why He appeared in these forms.  Mack despised his father and couldn’t forgive himself for not being there for his daughter. He did not have a father figure he could rely on.  The Holy Spirit is portrayed as an attractive, soft-spoken, attentive Asian gardener.  Many Christians associate the Holy Spirit as a dove, ray of sunlight, a spiritual counselor and consoler.  Anyone who gardens knows how devoted you must be to your plants and flowers.  You protect them from predators and the elements as well as nourish them.  The same as the Holy Spirit is in her garden of souls.  All three display the wounds of crucifixion…something I’ve never seen before but makes perfect sense.

More importantly, The Shack is a story of forgiveness and how God loves ALL his children—the good and the bad.  It also emphasizes our free will to make our own choices.  Mack thought God had deserted him when he was a boy, but he comes to learn God was with him every step of the way, even when he made the wrong choice.  God never forgot about him and never stopped loving him.

I would definitely recommend this film not only for its message of forgiveness but also for showcasing the relationship individuals have with God.



Remember this song from the Bee Gees about a man who relies on his words to win his sweetheart over?  Well this article has nothing to do about a sweetheart.  It deals instead with wording and spin.

We’re all familiar with advertising.  A winning ad campaign can send a company or a cause soaring into the stratosphere.  One would hope a solid strategy deals with facts, but that’s not always the case.  Let’s look at the adage; breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  How did that get started?  Some argue it was Dr. John Kellogg who wanted to sell his cereal product.  Others say it was the “father of public relations” Edward Bernays who was hired by a company to sell more bacon.  They as well as others convinced our parents that eating a hearty meal was essential to good health.  Is it fact or fiction?  That is still being debated today.

One of the best campaigns in recent times is the anti-smoking movement.  Everyone remembers the hundreds of people lying in the street, representing those who died from lung cancer.  To me, those were far more effective than the new campaign designed to shock you with cancer victims.

Where is this all leading?  If you read this blog on a regular basis you know where I stand on abortion. I watch the Walk for Life in Washington, DC every year and every year it grows in size—even last’s year’s blizzard couldn’t keep the people away.  This year, because I was off work, I watched the event more closely.  I read the banners held by the diverse groups who attended, naming their church, school, or organization.  Every one of them had the words Pro-Life on their signs and even their clothing.

There were, of course, some people protesting the Pro-Life March.  They made themselves heard and seen, as is their right.  It also gave me the opportunity to see what their signs read.  All had Pro-Choice, along with My Body—My choice.  It’s a women’s right to choose, etc.

Interesting.  Against abortion: Pro-Life.  For abortion: Pro-Choice.  Everyone is pro something.  This got me thinking about word association.  We’ve all played the game.  Someone shouts out a word and you have to say the first word that pops into your head.  Let’s play using the breakfast theme.  Bacon—eggs, morning—evening, hearty—light, toast—jam.  You get the idea.

Now let’s play using abortion as the theme.  Life—death, abortion—death, woman—person, baby—little person, choice—uh, um, property…cut?  OK.  If I say I’m against abortion I identify as pro-life but those who advocate for abortion should then be called pro-death or anti-life, but they’re not.  When I watched coverage of the March on local channels, at least those who covered it, people who are against abortion were labeled anti-abortion (negative) while those who advocate for abortion were identified as pro-choice (positive).  This is how wording can be manipulated to influence you.

There is no escaping it.  The opposite of life is death.  If a woman decides to have an abortion she is choosing the death of her unborn baby.  What “choice” does the baby have?  Couple all of this with the exposé on Planned Parenthood’s selling of baby organs to the highest bidder, and the latest outrage—rewarding their employees who perform the most abortions with pizza parties, along with suppressing stories of women and men who suffer psychologically throughout their lives, and tell me again where the choice is.  Why can’t mothers-to-be, be given the “choice” to undergo an ultrasound as opposed to them hearing the claim their child is nothing but a bunch of cells?  Isn’t that a choice?  If the baby could talk I’m betting he or she would be pro-life.

All this leads me back to the power of messaging.  The very successful advertising of the cigarette industry can work just as well for the Pro-Life movement, yet they don’t take advantage of it—and the media won’t help.  The same way young people dropped in Times Square representing people who died from lung cancer, young people can do the same, representing the millions who died at the hands of legal abortion.  Or how about those animal commercials that sneak up on you when you’re watching your favorite television show?  Just think if the sad talking lady was speaking about the millions and millions of innocent babies tortured and murdered every day at the hands of ruthless, money-making abortion mills.  They could show their torn, little bodies refrigerated until the evil biologics company purchases them for experiments; or worse, show them tossed into the garbage.  For just “insert the amount” a day you could save a child’s life… Yeah, you’ll never see that ad.

Being Pro-Life is not “just a religious thing”.  I saw several Atheists for Life signs in that March.  Where are the science and technology communities?   They should be front and center.  We’ve come a long way from “quickening” when doctors believed life began only when the mother could feel the baby kicking.  The ultrasound should have shut down the abortion industry—but it didn’t—probably because of the money it generates.  Just a couple of weeks ago, it was reported in an Atlantic Magazine article titled, “How Ultrasound Became Political” by Moira Weigel, stating there was “no heart to speak of” in a 6 week fetus.  They later removed it because it’s a lie.  It also states how couples view ultrasounds as their baby’s first picture.  Well isn’t it?  Most outrageous was the claim that “Ultrasound made it possible for the male doctor to evaluate the fetus without female interference.” Wow.  Pretty desperate.  Now do you see how words matter?

Late term abortion is flat out murder.  How can you say this is a blob of cells when babies the same age are alive and well?  There are nurses on record who say the child is born alive and they are forced to leave it alone in a closet to die.  Where will people draw the line?  Is infanticide the next step?  Will you be able to “abort” your child up to the age of 12?  If your teenager is getting to be a handful can you abort them too?  How about grandma?  Eugenics is making a comeback with some of the same people who call themselves Pro-Choice.

Technology makes stunning advances at lightning paced speed every day.  There is no doubt in my mind that someone will come up with an app to connect you with your growing baby in utero in real time.  I’m convinced that soon abortion will be exposed as one of the worst human atrocities of our time.  When that happens, no amount of words will ever be able to heal the wounds it afflicted, the losses suffered, or the violence and money it generated.


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