Scott Hahn and Emily Stimpson Chapman have written a marvelous and timely book, Hope to Die: The Christian Meaning of Death and the Resurrection of the Body. It not only explains the Christian meaning of death, and of the afterlife, but also the importance Christianity places on the body. The logic of relics and of the Sacraments makes profound sense when we understand them in this context. They ground their discussion, not only in light of contemporary Church teaching, but also in the teachings of the Church Fathers and of the Bible. Death is a reality we all have to face—it’s the one certitude everyone is prepared to admit, but so few are prepared to embrace. Hope to Die goes a long way in helping us prepare well for that moment, not only by helping us understand it better, but as importantly, in encouraging us to live so as to prepare ourselves for that final moment, which we do not know when will come. Instead of fearing that moment, this book encourages hope, and explains why, in some sense, what comes after death, should be something for which we yearn. They situate Church teaching on death, the body, the resurrection, heaven, etc., in the pages of Scripture, showing the organic growth as the Tradition continues to reflect on these important matters, and apply them in our changing contexts over time. They show how the body itself is a sort of sacrament; it has spiritual significance. They cover a host of related topics including Christian burials, funerals, death, judgement, the bodily resurrection, Catholic devotions including relics, and the Eucharist. My favorite chapter, I think, was chapter 9, on what heaven will be like, and how our lives will finally make sense, as will the lives of others, and all of human history. We should spend our whole lives lovingly preparing for the next, when everything in our life that seemed a mystery will finally make sense as we lovingly contemplate God’s fatherly providence with Him, the author of our lives and of human history. This is a book you will want to read, and reread over and over again during key moments of your life. It is available for pre-order here: https://stpaulcenter.com/product/hope-to-die-the-christian-meaning-of-death-and-the-resurrection-of-the-body/?fbclid=IwAR0eKnf4ZO2FWeLLeS6v7gLzQSyPpHz2uRerNw_6HgMFyW-FUsx_FSqBX8o
Caritas et Veritas is proud to announce that Apple has approved the very first Pro-Life iPhone app for distribution!
Life Rosary – Meditations and Prayers is a meditation and instructive aid for those praying the Rosary. It does NOT replace your Rosary beads, but rather helps you focus on the mysteries of the Rosary.
Fr. Frank Pavone from Priests for Life has shared additional prayers and meditations to compliment and focus your attention on life and human dignity. Each day of the week includes special prayers for mothers, the unborn, for forgiveness, governments, and the world.
Our Pro-Life Rosary app is priced at $1 to help raise money for pro-life causes. All of the proceeds go to support pro-life initiatives and organizations, including Priests for Life. Our first iPhone app is free and was downloaded 25,000 times in 6 months. With your help in promoting this latest app, we could raise $25,000 or more for pro-life initiatives this year!
Prayer is the foundation of all that we do in defense of human life. Our efforts—whether educational, pastoral, or legislative—will be less than fully fruitful if we do not change hearts and if we do not ourselves overcome our own spiritual blindness. Only with prayer—prayer that storms the heavens for justice and mercy, prayer that cleanses our hearts and our souls—will the culture of death that surrounds us today be replaced with a culture of life.1
I’d like to focus on three points in the pastoral plan that every one of us can take action.
Pray for life at every Mass
Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life.2
As a new Catholic I was impressed by the prayers for life offered daily at Mass. If your parish does not participate in this request from the USCCB, please consider adding it to the book of petitions or speak with your pastor about including prayers for life at every Mass.
During this season of Lent I’m walking through the four approaches to pro-life action as suggested by the USCCB’s Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities. With each of the approaches I hope to discuss how we might get involved in tangible and practical ways to “respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life.”1
The Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities begins with Education and offers some essentials for action:
Biblical and theological foundations that attest to the sanctity and dignity of human life
Scientific information concerning the humanity of unborn children, especially that made available by modern genetic science and technology
American founding principles, as articulated in the Declaration of Independence, that reflect unchanging truths about the human person
Society’s responsibility to safeguard every human life, to defend life by non-violent means wherever possible, and never purposely to destroy innocent human life
Discussion of effective and compassionate care for those who are terminally ill and for persons with disabilities
Information about effective, compassionate, and morally acceptable solutions to the very real and difficult problems that can exist for a woman during and after pregnancy, as well as help for those who suffer from the consequences of abortion
Lent is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting to prepare us for the hope-filled death and Resurrection of our Lord. This can include giving something up (think chocolate and television, not exercise and vegetables), or focusing more intently on a particular spiritual discipline (i.e. Lectio Divina or the Rosary). Lent (like Advent) can be a great time to build a habit that continues throughout the rest of the year.
For me, as I received the mark of ashes today, I’m particularly filled with a deep repentance for my apathy for the unborn. It’s not for lack of belief, but rather my belief has come with little action. But as St. John tells us in his first epistle, we ought to be concerned when our belief does not love with actions and truth.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)
The economy is in the spotlight daily. It is discussed frequently on the news, on blogs, and around water coolers. There is a sense of anxiety and worry among many. We have tightened our wallets, reexamined our budgets, and many have had to look for new jobs. On a national level we have bailed out banks and companies at unprecedented levels. Perhaps one of the areas that has not been discussed is the impact the economy is having on life issues and is there a type of economy that protects life over another.
First, according to the Associated Press, there is an increase in abortions due to lack of money to pay for an abortion. Stephanie Poggi of the National Network of Abortion Funds, which helps women in need pay for abortions, said calls to the network’s national helpline have nearly quadrupled from a year ago. “A lot of women who never thought they’d need help are turning to us,” Poggi said. “They’re telling us, ‘I’ve already put off paying my rent, my electric bill. I’m cutting back on my food.’ They’ve run through all the options.”