Life being challenged as we await the Source of All LifeBy: Bishop Edward M. Rice
During Advent, Christians await the coming of the Christ-child and, in the season of Christmas, we celebrate his arrival among us. Our Savior is born! In the second chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke we read of the encounter between the angels and the shepherds announcing this great event.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
This scripture, and the rest of the Nativity story narrated by St. Luke, has moved the hardest hearts and inspired countless works of art for thousands of years. Shortened to “Peace on Earth,” the abridged message of the angels became a greeting card staple.
But Planned Parenthood just cannot help themselves from using this season, with the most joyful and glorious birth story in human history, as an opportunity to promote abortion and contraception. In past years, aping the message of the angels, they produced mock Christmas cards with the words, “Choice on Earth.” Other “holiday” cards featured drawings of intrauterine devices (IUDs). Is it their intention to imply that the Blessed Mother, finding herself pregnant and unmarried, should have had an abortion?
But this year they have out done themselves. In the midst of Advent, two Missouri Planned Parenthood affiliates filed suit in Federal court to have Missouri’s existing clinic health and safety protections abolished. (See p. 1 “Missouri News” segment for more information.)
If successful, Planned Parenthood could perform abortions in two large cities within the diocese, Springfield and Joplin. While abortion is never healthy for the unborn child who is targeted for death, unregulated and uninspected abortion clinics pose a serious risk to the life and health of women. If Planned Parenthood cares about the health of women, and not merely performing as many abortions as possible, why are they going to court to strike down these laws? What we are seeing is evidence of Planned Parenthoods true colors and its flagrant disregard for women.
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, let us pray for a greater respect for human life in our culture and in the courts.
When he came to us as man,
The Son of God scattered the darkness of this world,
And filled this holy day with his glory.
May the God of infinite goodness
Scatter the darkness of sin and brighten your hearts with holiness. Amen
God sent his angels to shepherds
To herald the great joy of our Savior’s birth.
May he fill you with joy
And make you heralds of his gospel. Amen
When the Word became man,
Earth was joined to heaven.
May he give you his peace and good will,
And fellowship with all the heavenly host. Amen
May almighty God bless you,
The father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
—Sacramentary, *Solemn blessing or prayer over the people, Christmas-Mass during the day.
As it is every year, the annual Christmas Collection will go to support our diocesan seminarians and retired priests. We have 14 young men currently in formation for the priesthood! Along with these good men comes a happy challenge: the expense of educating our future priests. The cost for the total vocation program for the diocese this year will be over $700,000.
The Christmas Collection also provides for the needs of our 16 retired priests, some of which still serve in various parishes and ministries. Few things are more important for the future of the Church than supporting the young men who respond to the call of Christ to become priests and attending to the needs of our elderly priests. I ask that you be generous in support of the Christmas Collection.
New Year’s Eve
“What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” we are often asked by friends and family. No doubt, this year will be no different. How about spending an hour with me in Adoration? I will be at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Springfield, at 11 p.m. in prayer before our Lord in the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. We will have Benediction and go straight into the liturgy at 12-midnight for the Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God. January 1 is also World Day of Prayer for Peace. All are invited to come pray in thanksgiving for the blessings of the past year and as a fresh start to a new year in our Lord. ©TM