Showing posts with label On the sanctity of life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label On the sanctity of life. Show all posts

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Immaculate Conception and the Emnity with the Serpent

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

In the recent debates on the RH Bill, Congressman Edcel Lagman refused to look into the beginnings of life: “This House has no competence to tell when life begins,” he said. While scientists still debate on the question, the Church has a very simple answer: at conception. Life begins at conception. The mystery which we celebrate today tells us so: the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We believe that God infused an immaculate human soul into the fertilized ovum in the womb of St. Anne. (On account of the fact that the human soul is infused into the fertilized ovum, it is already a human person.) Mary has never been touched by sin in any way nor in any point in time. She has always been ‘full of grace’. The Lord has always been with her. The Holy Spirit has been dwelling in her soul since the first instance of her conception. (the mere fact that we speak of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Mary at the first instance of her conception already tells us of the existence of the human soul at the early point of her existence. For if it were not so, where would the Holy Spirit dwell in her?) The greatness of Mary has been hers even from the beginning of her life.

The book of Genesis speaks of a perpetual enmity between the serpent and the Woman, between his seed and her seed. The spiritual battle wages on until today and all of us are in it. We have to take sides, there is no neutral ground. Either you are on the side of the Woman or on the side of the serpent. Either you are her seed or the serpent’s own. In this battle between good and evil, God has entrusted his cause to the Woman who was conceived without sin. It is to her that God has given to crush the serpent under her feet. But why? Why did the Lord entrust this spiritual battle to the Woman? Why to a creature so small and humble? Why to someone who seems utterly powerless before the rebellious serpent? Why to the Immaculate Conception? Imagine, the Immaculate Conception refers to Mary at the most vulnerable and most defenseless point in her life. (The human being is most vulnerable and most defenseless at the moment of conception. Why is it so? Well, a morning after pill is enough to expel a fertilized ovum from the womb ) Why did God make this Immaculate Fertilized Ovum the general of His army? The answer is found in the epistle of St. Paul: “And he said to me: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Our Lady’s humility is so much the reverse of the pride of the serpent. While he declared “I will not serve,” Our Lady said, “Be it done unto me according to your word.” While the serpent, in his arrogance, deemed himself equal to God, our Lady called herself “the handmaid of the Lord.” In the Immaculate Conception, the Lord reveals to us the sufficiency of his grace.

And so, while the enemies of God bask in their self-proclaimed glory, while the enemies of the Church gloat over their money (63 million dollars) and political power, we kneel before the Immaculate Conception and entrust to her our humble cause. All seems lost in our struggle against the culture of death but we continue to have confidence in the Immaculata. To her hands God entrusted the spiritual battle. To her feet God gave the power to crush the serpent’s head. “Who is she that comes forth like the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?” (Song 6:10)

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

(CNA) Conversion of Planned Parenthood Manager

Sherman, Texas, Sep 9, 2011 / 04:14 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Ramona Trevino has a compelling story to tell about her exodus from the nation's largest abortion provider. But in her first public appearance, she chose to emphasize what God accomplished through a vigil outside the clinic she used to manage.

“My message is to glorify God, and to glorify what wonderful things all of you are doing and continue to do. I'm so excited, and honored, to hopefully be a part of that,” she told 40 Days for Life participants at a recent event outside the defunct Planned Parenthood facility in Sherman, Texas.

“People like me everywhere are waiting for a miracle. And that is indeed what happened … Three months later, this place is out of business.”

Trevino, its former manager, had already taken a “leap of faith” on May 6, “leaving behind my job … half of my family's income.” It meant “having to worry about how we were going to survive, and pay the mortgage, and put food on the table.”

She told the assembled members of 40 Days for Life that there had been “a tugging in my heart, on and off, during the three years that I was managing. And it was a tugging that it shames me to say, I did ignore.”

Although Trevino's clinic did not perform abortions, she “still had a hand in the referrals. I still had to give out the number, I still had to give out the information on the locations … where they could get an abortion.”

“That's a truth I finally had to face. And that was a truth that would be brought to light due to the wonderful 40 Days for Life vigil that was held out here.”

In an interview with CNA, Trevino gave more details of her story, explaining how she tried to reconcile her Catholic faith with her work at Planned Parenthood. She also described the dramatic change of heart that coincided with the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

“I was raised Catholic, but I didn't really have a lot of formation in my faith as a kid,” said Trevino. “When I was a little girl … I felt like I was being called to the religious life.” But she “didn't have the formation, as a young child, to elaborate on that calling.”

Instead of becoming a nun, Trevino became pregnant in high school. She left school, and was in a non-Catholic marriage for eight years.

Two years after her subsequent marriage within the Church, Trevino learned about a part-time position at Planned Parenthood from a coworker at her former government job. She had gone through more extensive Catholic formation to prepare for marriage, but still lacked a proper understanding of issues surrounding sexuality and human life.

“I think there was still a lot about my faith that I didn't know – that I didn't get,” she recalled.

Trevino, who says she was “always pro-life,” also lacked an understanding of Planned Parenthood's leading role in the abortion industry. She associated the organization mostly with contraception, which she regarded as wrong for Catholics, but not for others.

“It didn't take me long before I became uncomfortable working there,” she remembered. “It was probably within the first three or four months. The thing that struck me hard was when I had to do my first referral for an abortion.”

“We provided pregnancy tests. So a lot of women would come in to confirm pregnancy, and if they were pregnant sometimes they would want an abortion. And we would have to counsel them on the information, the referrals, how far along they were, and that type of thing.”

“I remember the very first time I had to do that. I went into my office, I closed the door, and I cried. I guess it was something that I didn't think I was actually going to have to do. I was naïve, and I was too focused on the opportunity of being a manager.”

The referrals came relatively infrequently in the small Texas town, and other staff sometimes handled them. When they did occur, Trevino found ways to soothe her conscience.

“I would say prayers for them, and I would justify my actions all the time. I'd come home a wreck, and ask my husband 'Am I guilty?' And I would talk myself out of it, to justify it: 'Really, I'm not making the decision for her; when she walks out the door or gets off the phone, it's up to her what she does. I really am not responsible for what she chooses.''”

I would constantly try to feed myself lies,” she said. “Eventually it got to me. I wasn't standing up for those babies. I wasn't trying to save their lives … Over time, I couldn't deny it to myself anymore.”

Trevino also became disillusioned with policies she said were geared toward “pushing things on people” for financial gain. “It's about making money. You didn't get the sense that they really, truly cared about these women they way they say they did.”

But the clinic manager's decision to leave Planned Parenthood and its practices behind, is mysterious even to her.

“I can't explain it on a human level. To me, it's all divine.”

The point when she says “everything began to change” was December 2010. She tuned in to her local Catholic radio station for the first time, and heard a show on women's post-abortion experiences. Almost every caller spoke of having an abortion through Planned Parenthood. She also learned about “the workings of contraception,” and its ability to cause an abortion.

“I began to tune in every day,” she said. She learned about Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood employee who chronicled her pro-life conversion in the bestselling book “UnPlanned.”

One night, coming back from the clinic, “I was listening to Catholic radio … I remember a woman saying: 'One day, when we die and we meet our maker, he's going to ask: “What did you do to prevent and stop abortion?”’ Right there, it was like a dagger in my heart.”

She began praying the Rosary during Lent, and said that on the third day, “the blinders just completely came off my eyes.” She dropped her excuses about working at a non-abortion-facility, and “understood why working for Planned Parenthood was wrong.”

“Shortly after, the first 40 Days for Life vigil was held outside the clinic. I got the courage to go out and talk to them, and ask for their prayers.” Trevino says she felt the strength God gave her through the prayers of the pro-life volunteers.

And it's possible that another intercessor, whom the Church celebrated just after Easter, may have been offering his prayers as she neared her decision.

It was on Divine Mercy Sunday, the day that Blessed Pope John Paul II was beatified … At that time, I said I was probably going to leave Planned Parenthood in June. But I remember, on Divine Mercy Sunday … I just couldn't control my tears. Because at that moment I just felt God calling me.”

“I just took that leap of faith, and trusted God, and said: 'I'm out. I'm done.'”

Trevino, who hopes to pursue a pro-life ministry in the future, will give a keynote speech in Dallas on Sept. 27 as 40 Days for Life begins its fall campaign.