The Friday Five: On Terrorist Attacks, Abortion and the Paradox of our Faith

By: Elise Italiano, Director of Communications

I know that we just celebrated the Epiphany of Our Lord this week, but I haven’t been able to think of much else than a solemnity that we celebrate many months from now — The Triumph of the Cross on September 14.  The Cross saves. This is the paradox of our Christian faith — that light comes from darkness, that life comes from death.

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1. It’s been a week of news detailing heartache and heartbreak, which is particularly difficult to stomach at the beginning of a new year, which tends to begin with hope and resolve. But as as our shepherd, Bishop Loverde, reminds us, the more we invest in our relationship with the Lord Jesus, the more prepared we are to face our suffering with Him. A strong spiritual life is essential for a happy, healthy new year.

2. What is the Christian response to evil? According to Pope Francis, it is prayer and the offering up of Christ on the cross in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Though many are weighing in on the terrorist attack in Paris this week, analyzing religiously motivated violence, as well as the boundaries or limits of free speech, the Holy Father’s answer was simply to pray — to bring Christ to the victims’ families, to bring Christ to a wounded Europe, and to present Christ to the perpetrators. I continue to find comfort in the way that Pope Francis leads by example, and brings people the healing power of the Christ on the cross.

3. What is a single life worth? Earlier this week on the blog, contributor Deacon Silva reflected on the life and death of St. Mary of Sorrows parishioner Courtney Lenaburg, who very recently passed away at age 22. Deacon recounted that Courtney suffered from an unknown seizure disorder which began on the day of her Baptism. I can’t help but wonder why the Lord Jesus chose this particular soul to carry this particular cross, but I do know, as St. Francis de Sales says, that He weighed it carefully. And the testimony of her family is that she carried it with grace. What a powerful reminder that we are baptized into the death of the Lord, but only as a way to eternal life with Him.

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4. More than 50 million American children have been lost to abortion. And millions and men and women live with grief that accompanies it. It would be understandable to give into despair, 42 years after Roe v. Wade, and to assume that this is how it will always be. But as Christians we know that “hope does not disappoint” (Rom 5:5). In a few weeks, hundreds of thousands of people will come to Washington, D.C., to advocate for just laws which protect all human lives, many of whom will stay in our diocese and join us in prayer. Bishop Loverde and his brother bishops ask all of us to join them in a Novena for Life from January 17-25. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thes 5:16-18). Rejoice, pray, be thankful. Persistent prayer will build the culture of life. #9daysforlife and #9díasporlavida

5. I’ll close with today’s reflection from the Magnificat, in which we read that the infant Jesus, he who was revealed to the Magi at the Epiphany, desires to come close to us in poverty and humility. And it is in this that we are able to approach Him as we carry our own crosses.

“When I look at the crib and the little infant Jesus in the straw, and the shepherds and the Apostles and all those who started what was in fact something great, I think to myself that our poverty and our weakness are the very things the Lord desires, so that it can be He alone acting through us; we are only the instruments, which He can handle without putting up the least resistance. In his immense love, Christ the Beloved willed to take the only form capable of reaching the hardest hearts, those hearts most closed in on themselves, most weighed down by guilt and pain, those who would have been broken by his cross or frightened by his majesty.” -Little Sister Magdeleine of Jesus

May you have a blessed weekend, filled with all good, beautiful, and hopeful things.

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