Welcome Friends!

A Catholic blog about faith, social issues, economics, culture, politics and poetry -- powered by Daily Mass & Rosary

If you like us, share us! Social media buttons are available at the end of each post.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Test of Courage in a Man: Choose Life

by Susan Fox

“Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is praised as “uniquely holy,” loved the Church as His bride, delivering Himself up for her. He did this that He might sanctify her. He united her to Himself as His own body and brought it to perfection by the gift of the Holy Spirit for God’s glory. Therefore in the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” (Vatican II, Chapter V, The Universal Call to Holiness, #39)

Fred Jaramillo, @chooseliferacer on Twitter gearing up
for his first race Friday July 24, 2015 at Bandimere
Speedway, Denver (photo by Susan Fox)
The test of courage in a man is not whether he undertakes great things without fear.

No. Courage is exercised in the face of fear.

So it is with @chooseliferacer, aka Fred Jaramillo, of Bosque Farms, New Mexico. Raised to love drag racing from the age of 5, and a drag racer since the age of 16, he perhaps could be called courageous because he engages in a dangerous sport. Twice before, violent accidents have taken place right behind the one-time National Champion of the Mopar Mile-High Races in Denver (Super Gas Class) involving his opponent – both times just barely missing him.

But in 2002, Jaramillo decided to marry two of his passions: drag racing and his Catholic faith. This took true grit.

For Fred admits he feared his opponents: people who support abortion. He feared their reaction to a message of life printed large on the side of his cars. He feared unpleasant encounters, sabotage of his autos, blasphemy and persecution.

As a pro-life Catholic, he put a small bumper sticker on his dragster that said, “Every 4th Baby is Aborted.” 

“Somebody saw it and asked if it was true,” Fred said in a break between racing at the 36th Annual Mopar Mile-High National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Nationals on Friday July 24, “The only reason he saw it was because he was close.”

This started Fred and his family – his crew chief and sister, Jenn Green, and fellow racer and father, Phil Jaramillo – to start thinking about the name on their dragsters. (They had four racing regularly until five years ago when they dropped to two. Crew chief Jenn Green was pregnant, and choose to stay at home with her child, another life affirming decision in an overwhelmingly Catholic pro-life family.)


“So we prayed about the name,” Fred said. And they picked the name “Choose Life.” Fred and his family had decided to live more closely for eternity -- exactly as Vatican II said a Catholic layman should.

“But by reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will. They live in the world, that is, they are engaged in each and every work and business of the earth and in the ordinary circumstances of social and family life, which, as it were, constitute their very existence. There they are called by God that, being led by the spirit to the Gospel, they may contribute to the sanctification of the world, as from within like leaven, by fulfilling their own particular duties. Thus, especially by the witness of their life, resplendent in faith, hope and charity they must manifest Christ to others.” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium.)
Uncle Fred Jaramillo sleeping with
his infant niece. Fred has five children,
five nieces & four nephews.

Photo courtesy of Jaramillo Family

Whew. That’s a lot of words to describe the fact that whatever a person’s vocation, the call to holiness is universal. In the Catholic Church, it was sometimes erroneously thought that the call to holiness was only for priests and nuns, not laity. But our understanding changed dramatically with Vatican II. Now the world is the oyster where the laity hopefully manifest Christ to others, as wives, husbands, fathers, car mechanics, newspaper reporters, and yes, even drag racers.

“We are to go out into the world and spread the good news. Our lives may be the only Bible some people ever read,” Fred said, “Our talent and our treasure is to be used for
Fred Jaramillo before the start of races Friday.
His T-shirt reads "Unborn babies feel pain."

Photo by Susan Fox
God’s glory, everything we have is ultimately His.”

In 2002, when they changed the name on the dragsters to “Choose Life,” the response was surprisingly positive. Indeed, I experienced the same thing on Friday. One woman seeing me intensely taking pictures of the Choose Life racecar said something really happy and positive. I don’t know exactly what she said (and she repeated it three times) because we were on the starting line, and it’s impossible to hear anything there. She did ask if Choose Life was my car, and I nodded vigorously, saying yes. Then she said, “......” -- a bunch of stuff I couldn’t hear. But her facial expressions showed happiness and good will. I didn’t leave the track with a black eye.

But one year, Fred met a man at the track who saw the name of the cars, and his reaction was violently negative. Fred said his childhood was so rough he thought he should have been aborted.  But Fred and his family all spoke to him. The next year when he ran into the same man he was friendly. He hadn’t changed his position, but he was a much more gentler person. That was a sign of God’s healing.

In another case of persecution, a man walked up to Fred and demanded to know if he gave all the profits from his races to orphanages. Fred didn’t understand what he was getting at, and he said, “No.” The man argued, “You should.”

This is a common tactic of pro-abortionists. They attack pro-lifers by saying they should be doing the charity that they think would make abortion less frequent – instead of witnessing against the murder of unborn children. Actually, there is a shortage of children available to adopt and the help needed is at the starting line to make sure children are born. That is where Fred and his family are already thoroughly involved.

Through their involvement in the Catholic Knights of Columbus, the Jaramillos raise money for the non-profit Gabriel House Project, which helps pregnant women in need with spiritual, material and emotional support.  The charity provides housing, medical care, job training, parenting classes and jobs for pregnant women in need, married or unmarried -- it doesn’t matter.

The man with the orphanage question also was changed by his encounter with the Jaramillo family. He met them the next year, and cheerfully helped with the air compression on their tires. They had made another friend.

Fred Jaramillo has another passion. It’s called the Internet. He met his wife of 13 years, Deanna, on America Online. He’s on Facebook where he has long witnessed to the pro-life cause. But he resisted joining Twitter until 2013 when Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of murdering three children born alive in a late term abortion procedure.

Then Fred entered the Twitterverse to join pro-life tweet fests as @chooseliferacer. Now his Twitter page has almost 7,000 followers and proudly promotes “Defund Planned Parenthood.” It’s not uncommon to see the hashtag #PPSellsBabyParts (Planned Parenthood Sells Baby Parts) in his tweets since the Center for Medical Progress earlier this month began releasing undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials casually discussing the sale of human organs derived from children who are killed in abortions.

Once on Twitter, he naturally found a case that needed his help. A rape victim living in another city was pregnant with triplets and needed medical assistance and food. He sent food, money and baby items. One child died in the womb when she became dehydrated. A second child died after birth. But she had a healthy son, who was adopted by her cousins. “She sent us pictures of the ultrasound,” Fred said.

Drag racing is a funny sport. They don’t try to beat each other to the finish line. They try to stick to the index – 9.5 seconds in the Super Gas Class, which is amateur drag racing. So on Friday Fred won both of his qualifying races coming in at 9.59 seconds and 9.541 seconds. His opponents were alternately too fast and then too slow.

No one has a watch or any way to tell how fast they are going while they are racing, and the race is over literally in seconds! This was a great surprise to me. I started to climb the horrific steps to my seat to watch the race, and realized I couldn’t see the race, which I imagined must go on past the curve in the road to my left.

I started asking questions of a white haired man sitting next to me with orange plugs in his ears. Without taking his earplugs out, and after I repeated the questions numerous times, I finally discovered that the finish line was in my sight. It was those orange cones everyone went through seconds after they left the start! They race one quarter mile.

Choose Life Crew Chief Jenn Green watching as her brother Fred crosses the finish line on the left.
He won. His score is 9.541. His opponent was too slow at 9.583 seconds.  Susan Fox took the successful photo.
Now the actions of Fred’s Crew Chief Jenn Green, his sister, made sense. After both Fred and Phil, his father, took off, she anxiously stood in the middle of the start up line to watch the end of the race, and make sure her father and brother made it safely. The starting line is the best view of the finish.

She said she watched the race where Fred's opponent crashed into a wall. It looked like he dove right into her brother’s dragster, but actually he hit the wall right behind Fred. She found out later, the driver was telling himself, “I’m going to nail him to the tree,” meaning he was psyching himself out to do better than Fred. He emerged unhurt. The dragster was totaled.

Then on Saturday Fred lost his first qualifying race, coming in at an incredible 9.509 seconds. His opponent won by five hundredths of a second, coming in at 9.502.

Phil Jaramillo, however, won his first race on Saturday at 9.522 seconds. He qualified as 13th in his class. But Phil lost his second race. His time wasn’t bad but he finished off by three feet, according to Jenn. Oh well, done early, they came to my house for dinner, which turned into the finish line.

I think I’m hooked. Fred said I would be.

You called it, Bro!

“It pertains to them (the laity) in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are so closely associated that these may be effected and grow according to Christ and may be to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer.” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium.)

Would you like to read another post about a pro-life business? Pro-Life Coffee: A Lifeboat Tendered to Those Drowning in the Great Sea of the Culture of Death



Monday, July 27, 2015

I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 26, 2015
Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson, AZ

"Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)

In today's Gospel Reading (John 6:1-15), Jesus fed 5,000 people with five barley loaves and two fish.

He had the apostles gather the leftovers, which filled 12 wicker baskets.  This feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle which is present in all four Gospels, so it is a significant event. 


A huge crowd was following Jesus after He went across the Sea of Galilee because they had seen and heard of His healings and His miracles. So they were attracted to Him, literally captivated by Him.

The Jewish Feast of Passover was near, so we know that Our Lord’s ministry is soon coming to an end and that He would be taken away to be crucified. 


Jesus and His disciples climbed to the top of the mountain and saw an immense crowd climbing up towards them. Our Lord knows the crowd is hungry, so He performs takes pity on them. 


Now, if we want to truly understand the significance of today’s event in the Gospel, we must first understand that it was truly a miracle. 


In fact, over the past several years there have been false theologians, who say that the multiplication of the loaves and fish was not a miracle. They say the real miracle was not the multiplication of loaves, but the act of caring. The people had plenty of food with them hidden under their coats and Jesus taught them to share. So they all pulled out their surplus of food from under their robes and everyone shared with his neighbor. 


That is the lesson, they say. Jesus did not do a physical miracle; the real miracle was convincing people to share with others.


Fr. John Paul Shea 
My brothers and sisters, what took place in today’s Gospel was a Divine miracle! This is the real lesson that we are to understand in today’s Gospel—that it was a supernatural event. 

In fact, Jesus performed miracles  to show that the Kingdom of God has come into our midst. The people in today’s Gospel understood this. This is why “when the people saw the sign [Our Lord] had done, they said, 'This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.'”


Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly the Prophet! He is the one who has come into our world to lead us into heaven! And He has given us His Church as His Mystical Body until He comes again. 


Our Lord wants us to do acts of generosity. He wants us to feed the poor and visit the sick. But acts of charity are not the primary focus of our Church. The primary goal of our Church is to lead souls to heaven.

Our Church is not a human institution. It is a heavenly institution. We come to Church to experience God! We come into His presence so that we can be fed with the food of heaven in the Holy Eucharist, and then we go out and do acts of mercy.

In fact, the miraculous feeding of the 5000 people is a foreshadowing of the miraculous feeding of the Holy Eucharist, which we will hear about  at Mass next week. The Gospel of John states that the next day after this miracle  that Jesus and His disciples had crossed to the other side of the sea. The crowd of people noticed that Jesus was gone, so they go looking for Him. 


When the crowd comes toward Jesus after crossing the sea, Jesus tells them yes, you are looking for me because you ate the loaves and were filled. But, “do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which [I] will give you (John 6:27). Jesus further says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. And the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world (John 6:51). 
The miracle of the loaves and fish find its fulfillment in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the living Bread! He has come down from heaven, and He feeds us with Himself so that we may have eternal life. 


In the beginning of this homily I related how over the past several years that many false theologians have tried to say that the multiplication of the loaves and fish was not a miracle.

This sort of thinking has become the mentality of many Catholics today. Science and technology coupled with our secular, relativistic culture has darkened the minds to many to the supernatural reality of our Church. In fact, since the 1960s many Churches have taken the tabernacle from behind the altar and put it off to the side.


Many modern Churches have been built to look more like a social hall or movie theater instead of a reflection of the heavenly Jerusalem. And many Catholics have lost awareness of the TRUE PRESENCE of our Lord in the Eucharist which is the ultimate miracle God has provided. 
 
Many today look at our Church as if it is a sort of political party or social club. We hear the terms so often today of liberal and conservative Catholics. Yet, when it comes to the teachings of our Church, there is no such thing as left or right Catholics. 


This sort of thinking is an earthly mentality. We either want to follow the teachings of our Church or we don’t! And if we don’t want to follow the teachings handed down to us by the apostles through the Catholic Church, including the moral teachings, then there are hundreds of other Churches we can join which will cater to our own earthly desires. 

Of course, these Churches, or what we would call "ecclesial communities," do not have the real Bread from Heaven because they have broken away from the Church instituted by Jesus Christ. 


My brothers and sisters, today’s Gospel passage of the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish calls us not to focus on what is here below but on what is above! This is why we come to Mass! The crowd in today’s Gospel followed Our Lord because they had filled their bellies and witnessed miracles. We come to our Lord in faith. 

And when we come to Him in faith, it is then that Our Lord provides for us not simply with earthly food, but with heavenly food—the gift of eternal life. Let us come to Him in humility. For He alone will satisfy our needs.



Did you enjoy this homily? There are more. 
Please read: How Desperate Are We for God?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

After Confession: The Gift

By Christopher Ziegler
Poet Christopher Ziegler can be found @CZWriting on Twitter

My mind had fallen
In a muddy rut of sin.
I did not know
How it had happened,
Or where I had tripped the snare
That snagged me.
I was lost.

Delusions and temptations
Were closing in all around
While grace seemed to be slipping
Further, further away.

So I went to confession
And spilled my lapses without guile.

At once I felt a weight was lifted.
The clouds cleared my mind
And I beheld the start of my rut.

I remembered the precise thought
That had swapped God’s will
With my own judgement.

The very thing I chastise others for doing,
I myself had done—
I had indulged the pride of life.

As if to mock God,
My foe had tricked me into hypocrisy.
I am too easily deceived
By that foul cunning.

I must keep my heart meek
At all times and in all questions.
The instant I raise my heart on high,
Gentleness and patience vanish
And I fall prey to my weakness.

God knows best, and I—nothing.
But He gives forgiveness,
And, in confession,
The gift of knowledge.


Would you like to read more about the Sacrament of Confession? Twilight's Confession

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Original Justice: Marriage Between One Man and One Woman

by Lawrence Fox
Editor’s Note: This is the sequel to Genderless “Marriage” Threatens the Foundation of Civilization  in which Lawrence wrote,  “The fruitful bonding between man and woman is the most fundamental form of original justice.”

Commentator Mark Hoffman accused Lawrence of not knowing the definition of “justice,” which he defined as
"the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments." Now we see what Mark was missing.


It was a common practice for ancient rulers to form images of themselves and place them within temples throughout their kingdom. Perhaps they wished to be worshiped. Maybe they just wanted to be honored.

But God – from a completely different motive -- did likewise. He placed within the temple of His creation His own image, that of man – male and female. Then He breathed on them, and blessed them with the Gift of His Holy Spirit.

Adam and Eve were God’s ambassadors within creation. We know from the writings of St. Paul, especially the Letter to the Colossians, that Jesus is the perfect Image (icon) of God since in Him dwelt the fullness (pleroma) of Divinity. Pleroma was a Greek word used by philosophers to identify the overabundance of divinity, which emanates from the One, the source of all life.

It seems several of the early Church Fathers considered that God planned that Adam and Eve be made in the image of God’s Son, the incarnated Jesus Christ, “who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Male and Female He made them in His Image 

Now that is something to contemplate. With the creation of Adam and Eve, God saw all that He made and it was very good. In essence, material creation was complete, there was no evil, and God rested on the Sabbath.

The Book of Genesis states that Adam and Eve were made in God’s likeness.  St. John in his 1st Letter states “We are already children of God but what we shall be has not yet been revealed but we know that we shall be like Him (Jesus) when He comes for we shall see Him as He is.”  To see the Face of God, one must be like Him.  

Adam and Eve as such were without sin and full of the Life of God, and therefore in God’s likeness.  Blessed with the supernatural gift of holiness, they were able to walk and talk with God in the Garden.  From the beginning, they were in communion with God and participated in God’s Divine Nature. This sanctifying grace was a free gift from God, Who could have made Adam and Eve naturally whole with nothing more.

But God created Adam and Eve among all the creatures for Himself, so that they would know, love and serve Him in this life and be happy with Him in eternity.  Adam and Eve came from God and their destiny was to return to God.

God brought all the animals to Adam to see what he would name them and whatever he named them they were so named. Man -- Adam and Eve – was given other preternatural gifts such as infused wisdom which means they knew the purpose of things. By naming the animals, the original male and female knew and identified their purpose and their universal substance. Today, man has completely lost the concept of the purpose of things. 

Both Adam and Eve freely walked  naked in the Garden, but they were not ashamed. They possessed in their being and manifested in their state of marriage God’s original justice within Creation. They were in harmony with God, with themselves, with each other, and with creation. Perhaps this is where modernists would say God does not create junk.

Adam and Eve’s original justice was to be lived within God’s command and blessing, “Be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over the earth.” Adam said, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. I shall call her woman for she came forth from the side of man." And Jesus added, "And for this reason a man shall leave father and mother and cling to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.”

God commanded Adam and Eve to till the Garden. He said that they could eat of all the fruits of the Garden except for one. They were not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God so warned them that on the day they did eat of that tree, they would die. 

Adam and Eve possessed immortality. They were not created for death or illness or ignorance. Adam and Eve were to be parents and teachers of the human race.

The serpent identified by Jesus as “a murderer and liar from the beginning” convinced Adam and Eve to put their
"You shall be like god."
hands to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He caused them to doubt God’s goodness and lied: “You shall be like god knowing good and evil.”

(Note: It was U.S. President Barack Obama who stood before the graduates at Notre Dame University in 2009, and said, “Faith must entertain a healthy degree of doubt in order to overcome fanaticism.”  It was a serpentine statement on the same level as the lie in the Garden.  We can conclude based upon the sage advice of Obama that Jesus was a fanatic, so was Paul and Peter, since they went to their deaths possessing unwavering certainty. In the meantime, Obama believes the fanatic Islamic State (ISIS) is not an expression of Islam.)

Adam and Eve were in God’s image, but placing their hand to the tree, they chose to “know good and evil apart from God’s Divine Revelation.”

Ex-Liberal Christopher Ziegler makes the same point in Obergefell v Hodges: The New Tower of Babel  with respect to Same Sex “Marriage.”

“Man wants to seize the fruit and forsake the source, to 'worship the creature more than the Creator' (Romans 1:25),” Ziegler wrote. “He (modern man) will take the fruits of the tree, those things which are delectable to the eye, and reject the root and branch, which is God.”

This rejection of Divine Revelation continues to be a major cause of sin in the world. They saw that the fruit was delightful to the eyes, good for food, and profitable for wisdom and so they ate it and suddenly discovered they were naked. Adam and Eve lost their original justice, their likeness of God,  and experienced the condition known as concupiscence. They hid from God.  They hid from each other, sewing fig leaves to cover themselves since they could not control their passions.

Eve blamed the serpent for her actions, and Adam blamed God and Eve. As such, they were no longer in harmony with God, neither with each other nor with creation. God clothed them by killing an animal and covered them with animal skin. This foreshadowed the Old Testament rule, “There was no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood.”

But animal blood could not make a person holy. God promised them a Redeemer who would put enmity between the woman and her seed and the serpent and serpent’s seed.  (Gen. 3:15) Adam and Eve handed down the loss of God’s likeness as original sin to all generations. Hence we cannot assume that because God did not make junk that he made us with sinful inclinations. Those came from our first parents.

Original sin simply means the absence of the good (sanctifying grace), which should have been there and passed on from parent to child. Man and woman had to wait for the Messiah to come. In Him, they would become “born again” in sanctifying grace.
  
Jesus was sent by God to redeem mankind from the slavery of sin and to restore God’s likeness within humanity. Jesus emptied himself and became man. He was obedient -- even unto death on the Cross. All that was lost by Adam and Eve’s disobedience was restored by Jesus’ perfect obedience. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, the baptized become God’s adopted children in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, washed with the Blood of the Lamb, and sealed by the Holy Spirit for eternal resurrected life.

On Holy Thursday, Jesus instituted God’s New Covenant of Love by first bathing his disciples’ feet and then celebrating the New and Everlasting Covenant in His Body and Blood.

The Temple sacrifices were coming to an end. God now gave to His people the Eucharistic Celebration by which humanity returns in justice a holy and perfect sacrifice to the Father in thanksgiving for the goodness of His Creation and Redemption in Christ Jesus.

The knot of sin was untied. Adam and Eve in the Garden decided, “Not God’s will but our will be done.”
garden, a point of decision 
Jesus in the Garden decided, “Not my will but God’s will be done.”

Jesus’ death on the cross reconciles humanity with God, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus’ death on the cross brings rest, “It is finished.” In Christ Jesus, humanity is able to return to the Garden (the Kingdom of God, the Church) victorious over sin and death. Jesus said, “Where I am so you shall be.” Jesus is the heart of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.

Jesus’ death on the cross brings about the grace of renewal, “From His side flowed blood and water.” Jesus -- by his sleep in the tomb --renews the Sabbath day rest of the First Creation. Jesus goes into hell (the place of the dead) and leads the saints of the Old Testament into heaven including Adam and Eve. Jesus’ rising on the 8th Day manifests God’s Eternal Rest and New Creation, bringing forth complete victory over sin and death.

As a result of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, the baptized are drawn back into an original justice with God, with themselves, each other, and with creation.  The moral law is now lived in and through the power of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Man, who comes from God, is now able to return to God in Jesus Christ, who ascended to the Father, “to my God and your God, to my Father and your Father.”


The Church is the Bride of Christ. God maintains – even in Redemption --- the image of the fruitful bonding between one man and one woman – as the most fundamental form of original justice.

Like this piece? Perhaps you'd like to read Lawrence's poem Tasks at Hand: A Poem about the Delights of Faithful Marriage