Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Unborn as Lazarus

In today's Gospel (Luke 16: 19 - 31) we heard about Lazarus and the rich man. As our priest pointed out during the homily, the plight of Lazarus was not due to anything the rich man did to Lazarus - he didn't make him poor or hungry. The sin came from inaction - because he also didn't do anything for him. It was well within the means of the rich man to give shelter, food, alms - but his neglect was complete. Lazarus simply wasn't on his radar. This brought to mind the words we had just prayed in the Confiteor...

"I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do..."

In searching our hearts for acts of charity we must ask the question: what wrong have I done, what right have I failed to do? So how do we answer these pertinent questions when it comes to the unborn? We aren't necessarily the ones who have the abortions, perform the abortions or pay for the abortions. The ones of us who are already of the pro-life mindset would never dream of doing so. Even if we are converts to pro-life advocacy, we have asked for absolution, received forgiveness, done our penance and moved on as pro-life people of God. But even as we don't do anything to the unborn, how would we stand in the sight of God and answer Him if He said, 'my child, what have you done for them?'

As we move into October - Respect Life Month - let's see what we can do for the littlest souls. Next Sunday (October 6) will present one such opportunity. All over the nation communities will hold the annual Life Chain. This prayerful silent witness spotlighting the right to Life of the unborn and the wrong of abortion, gives us a chance to act. Check your church bulletin for the details, gather family and friends, and give a mere 2 hours of your day to the act of public witness and prayer.

Another positive action could be to participate in 40 Days for Life - going to abortion mills for 2 hour increments to peacefully pray. Hundreds of babies are saved every year from this effort. Others commit to praying the Rosary for Life during October. Another option is to join an online prayer group such as Pro-Life Prayer Partners and cooperatively pray assigned mysteries of the Rosary for the duration of events such as 40 Days for Life.

In Help Your Parish Become a Prayer Partner, I also outlined the creation of a pro-life display to encourage awareness, prayer, and action. These displays are cropping up in churches all over the country and provide information and suggestions. It's time to act! Let's see what we can do for these vulnerable brothers and sisters of ours.

Pope Francis has spoken clearly on the importance of advocating for the unborn:

“I ask everyone to continue to pay special attention to this most important issue of respect for human life from the moment of conception... safeguarding every human being from the very first moment of his or her existence.”
~ Pope Francis, Regina Caeli Address, May 12, 2013

**Here are some helpful suggestions and bits of information to get you started:

Prayer and Adoration

Say the Rosary or go to Adoration, and offer it for the unborn.
Find your nearest 40 Days for Life and join them in prayer - .
Search Facebook for - 40 Days for Life Prayer Partners – and join their community Rosary.
Add a Pro-Life Petition to your family prayer or ask your parish to add to the Mass Intentions.

Fasting and Almsgiving

Give up something you like – food, Facebook, dinner out, entertainment – and donate the money to a Pregnancy Care Center.
Find a local group and volunteer.
Save funds as a family and buy supplies for a struggling mother and her baby.

Learn and Inform

3 weeks - Her heart is already beating
6 weeks - She has her own bloodstream with blood circulating.
- Brain waves are present.
9 weeks - She squints, swallows, moves her tongue, and makes a fist.
- All of her organs are present – all she needs to do now is grow!
Understand and share the humanity of the unborn – they are complete people, just waiting to grow.
Encourage churches, schools, and organizations to allow a Pro-Life display.
Let the pro-life discussion enter into your everyday consciousness and conversation.
Volunteer for a Crisis Pregnancy Hotline such as Opportunities for Life. They answer calls 24/7 and gently support women and girls who find themselves in an unexpected pregnancy.

Encourage post-abortive women to seek out Rachel’s Vineyard for healing. Be kind and supportive.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Let's Stop Nitpicking Abortion

Sometimes the forest is ignored because too much time has been spent concentrating on the trees. The big picture loses out to the nitpicking of the small details. This becomes apparent when taking a long, hard look at the issue of abortion. For over 40 years now, we have been subjected to the pro-abortion side of things: a Supreme Court who created an imaginary law out of a feigned right to privacy, incrementalism when it comes to which babies to save, and details that do nothing more than present yet another point over which to argue. These thoughts brought me to take a look at what’s at stake here.


The first step in unraveling our intricately knit pro-life journey is a basic biological fact. Even the pro-abortion side rarely argues against the humanity of the human product of conception any more. Furthermore, we know that it’s correct to call such an unborn human a baby. It’s not a puppy or kitten or fledgling — she’s a baby because she’s not an adult — yet. She does, however, contain everything needed to become a fully developed adult someday. Mincing our words at how we describe these little ones (fetuses) only serves to offer yet another micro-debatable topic. So stop being cautious about what it is that the Mom is carrying within her womb; it’s a baby, pure and simple. End of debate.


The Pain Capable Act that recently won passage in Texas is another example of micro-managing the pro-life issue. Yes, the pre-born baby feels pain. She feels pain at earlier than the widely accepted 20 weeks. As Maureen Condic, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah states: “The earliest ‘rudiment’ of the human nervous system forms by 28 days (four weeks) after sperm-egg fusion. At this stage, the primitive brain is already ‘patterned’; i.e. cells in different regions are specified to produce structures appropriate to their location in the nervous system as a whole.”

But is that really the issue at all? Is abortion only repugnant because the baby feels pain as she is dismembered, torn limb from limb? Or is there a much simpler reason to feel revulsion at the act of killing what was, just moments ago alive? Debating whether or not the baby feels pain is unnecessary when we acknowledge the first point: science proves she’s a baby. Any further delving into details creates yet another point of contention, and thus a distraction from the big picture. A child was present in the womb. She had the God-given right to live but it was taken from her without any consideration of her opinion of the matter.


There has been much talk about exceptions when it comes to the pro-life issue. Some will tell you that it’s okay to compromise, that babies born with defects, conceived by rape, or who endanger their mother’s health are somehow less worthy of being saved. They are expendable. Again, I direct you to the first point. Science proves she’s a baby. With that point being validly provable, no other circumstances can be validly argued to the contrary. Once there’s a life there, that life has God-given rights. It follows, then, that her humanity should be the prominent consideration. Anything else is weighing the worth of one life against another. This is something even society finds repugnant, at least in most cases, and certainly something a God-fearing Christian would not condone.


Instead of getting lost in the details, then, shouldn’t we consider the big picture? The humanity of the unborn, now irrefutably proven by science, is all the consideration we need to apply. The pro-life debate becomes simplified in that the little details don’t serve as distracting detours or points of contention. If we stick to the fact that the baby is indeed a human being, there is no need to argue and nitpick; doing so only distracts and sidelines the point. Maybe we just need to stick to the biology of life. A baby — even in her mother’s womb — is a human being. The fact that she feels pain, was conceived in less than ideal circumstances, and may not be the perfect specimen has absolutely nothing to do with her right to life. Her right to life began when she began, at fertilization.

+   +   +

I'm pleased to be participating in a Pro-Life themed blog share. Please check out the following blogs participating in the Pro-Life themed blog roll:

Chris from Campfire and Cleats
Jennifer from Catholic Inspired
Melody from Blossoming Joy
Direct links to the Pro-life Posts can be found below.

© 2013. Birgit Jones. All Rights Reserved - First published on Catholic Stand

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Naggable Offenses

My DH (web-speak for dear husband) is a constant source of entertainment for me. I honestly think he is one of the major reasons I was able to live through a breast cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy, and subsequent surgeries without losing even more of my mind. We have a real compatibility - and yet can attack and parry with the best of them with our razor-edged tongues. Once a source of slight discomfiture for our kids, they now see it for what it is - pure playful entertainment.

This morning I was nagging reminding DH for the upteenth time, about a small thing he needs to take care of - it involves carrying two containers from point A to point B. These boxes are too heavy for me and they have to do with his job, so this is undeniably his thing. In an attempt to cajole him into doing his duty - just one more time (sigh) - I mentioned it to him as he was walking out the door. That's when he coined the phrase - naggable offenses. You know, those simple tasks that would involve a miniscule amount of time - yet they seldom get done with just one request. You see, nagging, in its true sense is repetitive requests that have more to do with optional behavior. Sit up straight, get a haircut, go visit your grandmother, find a nice girl, etc. A 'naggable' offense, then, is the 'naggee's' fault. It's apparent to any right-thinking individual that, if these small tasks were done at the time of the request, there would be no need for repetition - and thus cause the aforementioned nagging.

This got me thinking about how many naggable offenses we have accumulated over the course of our lives in our relationship with God. I found myself thinking of those times that we hear the Holy Spirit whisper to our hearts. Go to confession, get up and go to weekday Mass, visit the sick, write a thoughtful note to someone who seems sad - the list could (and does) go on and on. What if we jumped into action as soon as we became aware of these opportunities? Or perhaps we could even become more sensitive to the call to do good. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we started inventing great things to do in service to others - and therefore to God? But our God is a loving and patient God. He continues to give us opportunity after opportunity, even if we are slow to respond. If we are truly working toward bettering our relationship with Him, however, it's necessary to stimulate our awareness of what it is that He desires of us. These naggable offenses weaken our souls and desensitise our consciences as we tuck them away into our minds like unruly children. In our quest for Eternal life, let us resolve to heighten our listening skills, not to put off for tomorrow what we are called to do today and to willingly serve our loving Creator.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Approved for Diocesan Use - Pro-Life Display for Your Church

In a previous post I shared my quest to gain approval, for the 40 Days for Life display, from my diocese. Last night I presented the idea and won approval! It's been used in a diocese in Iowa for two years now. Below are just a few thoughts to help you get this life-saving display into your church, school or organization.

Now it's up to YOU to get this into as many churches, schools and organizations as possible! On your mark, get set, gooooo - Pro-LIFE!

Sample email to Send:

Dear Pro-Life Advocate,
Thank you for your commitment to Life! Attached you will find complete instructions on how to create a 40 Days for Life display for your church, school or organization. With these easy to follow instructions and about $30, you will able to become an active Pro-Life advocate - helping to save the lives of the unborn and encouraging others to do the same. 
Follow this link for the ProLIFE posters and suggested layout.

You can also read a detailed account of how to build this display by going to the Designs by Birgit blog.
In His name for Life, Birgit J

PS. This is how your completed display will look...

It's so simple to share a pro-life message!

Sample Bulletin Insert: 

**Are you being called to act on behalf of the unborn, but don't know exactly how?**Our parish has provided a way to do something simple, yet powerful during 40 Days for LIFE. Please take the time to check out the Pro-Life display at the rear of the church. In addition to the Pro-life posters, you will find a Pro-Life Fact Sheet as well as a Prayer Commitment form to fill out. Check out how easy it can be to do something tangible for the Unborn. Please also encourage others to participate, as a way to do your part. Thank you, on behalf of our littlest brothers and sisters!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pope Slaps Back Pro-Choice Hopes

Today, the hopes of those, who were somehow foolish enough to think Pope Francis was a fan of abortion, were dashed. The day after a controversial, misrepresented interview, he set the record straight.

According to Life Site News, "In a meeting with Catholic gynaecologists this morning Pope Francis strongly condemned abortion as a manifestation of a “throwaway culture.”
"Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world," the pope said".

I created this meme to make sure that everyone could rest at ease. The Pope is still Catholic! To share from Facebook, click here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Must See Pro-Life, Pro-Adoption Video from "Kansas" Lead Singer

The pro-life movement is churning out wonderful media on a regular basis these days, but sometimes something so poignant, so powerful comes along that you simply must share it in every way possible. This video, by former 'Kansas' lead singer (think 'Dust in the Wind'), is so moving and gives his own pro-life testimony in such a profound way as to beg special attention.

Published on Sep 15, 2013

Former "Kansas" lead singer and producer John Elefante is using his newest single "This Time," to share the story of his adopted daughter's birth, and in the process, bring some attention to Online for Life (OFL), an educational non-profit working to rescue babies from abortion so they can live to make their mark on the world.

"I can't imagine life without my daughter, Sami, and it just breaks my heart that pregnant young women much like her birth mother, instead of choosing life for their babies, are denying them the chance to be born," Elefante said. "If our song can in any way bring attention to this issue and encourage those who are considering abortion to choose life through options such as adoption, then we couldn't be happier.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

40 Days for Life: Help Your Parish Become a Prayer Partner

Click to enlarge photo of display.
In a post last week, I shared an inspiration to create a Pro-Life display for churches, schools, and organizations to use in order to rally support of 40 Days for Life (September 25 through November 3). Last year, the 24/7 peaceful prayer vigil saved at least 603 babies from abortion - and most likely there are more, of which organizers are just not aware.

This will be the second year in a row that several parishes in another state will be using memes created by Designs by Birgit, in conjunction with 40 Days for Life. As promised, I have laid out a simple to follow set of instructions so that, you too, can be a pro-life advocate in your parish or diocese.

Below you will find everything you need to make this life advocating tool for your parish:

List of Materials:

  • 36” x 48” Tri-Fold Display – Hobby Lobby ($11.99)
  • 11 - Printed Pro-life Posters –Go to Pro-Life Share Folder And save them on a thumb drive. Staples will print them for $ .98 each. 
  • 1 - Can of spray mount photo adhesive - Hobby Lobby ($5.99) enough to use many times.
  • Paper Cutter (optional) – for $4, Staples will trim for you.
  • Stick on 2" letters for your chosen title (i.e. Pray for Life!)
  • Printed quotes or developmental stats (Optional Facts) 

Display Instructions:

  • Lay Display on flat surface – either tabletop or floor
  • Trim pro-life posters of excess white. They are varied in size and shape.
  • Follow layout instructions below (or use the posters of your choice) and observe for even spacing and proper order, being careful not to position any posters on the folds of the display.
  • Leaving the other posters in place begin to lightly spray them on the back with adhesive, one by one, and quickly place in proper position. Smooth them down as you go.
  • Affix your chosen title, using the letters you have purchased. For example: Pray for Life !
  • Add some Optional Pro-Life Facts, if so desired.
  • Set on an easel or tabletop for display and keep Pro-life Information handouts nearby.

Build it and They Will Come!

So for around $30, you can make a huge difference in the lives of your church family. You will be helping share information, inspiring others to act, and saving the lives of the unborn! I'd call that a Win - Win situation with very little effort or cost. Won't you join the pro-life movement in this very tangible way? If you have any questions or comments, please comment below or send an email to 

In His Name for Life,
       Birgit J

Sample Instruction Screenshot

Sample Pro-Life Display Schematic and Instruction Sheet (Follow the links above to print out these materials):

Sample Layout (click to enlarge)

Sample Prayer Pledge Screenshot
Sample Informational Handout screenshot

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where Were You on 9/11?

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 found me sitting in our homeschool classroom with our youngest son - aged 13. We had attended Mass that morning and had just started digging into assignments for the day. My husband was out of town and the house was library quiet. When we heard of the hit on the first tower, we turned on the television and watched in horror as the second tower was struck. At the onset my mind just wouldn't wrap around what was happening - surely it was just pilot error that had lead to the first impact.Then came the collapse of both towers. Next came the impact at the Pentagon and finally the diverted plane went down in a Pennsylvania field...

After the final impact, nothing could distract us from being glued to the television - we needed to stay informed, needed to figure out what on earth was happening. Confusion reigned. When the live feeds turned to previously aired clips and analysis began to become repetitive, we drove to our little rural parish church, St Elizabeth, about 6 miles away. It was cool, dim and safe there. We couldn't get close enough to the Lord Jesus Christ in the tabernacle - so we knelt on the Prie Dieu for altar boys, right next to the altar. There my mind slowed down - we were safe! I don't know how long we stayed there, but it was quite a while - we just didn't want to leave - but finally, it was time to get back home.

I remember the eerie silence of the skies afterward - we live near the route to our local airport and seeing/hearing planes is something to which we are accustomed. Sometimes we can count a dozen or more jet streams at a time - the kids like to break the previous record. But all of a sudden, the sky was a clear blue - no white trails of vapor to be seen. It was a time of reflection - about mortality, the cruelty of man against man, and the power of God's love and protection.

When the planes began flying again, it chilled my soul - that stone cold feeling you get out of fear of the unknown. Yet those feelings soon passed. We humans are wonderfully adaptable and eventually we began to find normalcy once more. So here we are, 12 years later, perched precariously at the edge of war with Syria. Al Qaeda still figures into the mix and continues hostility toward westerners and Christians, in particular. And yet prayer and faith sustain us.

In 2007, my family and I visited New York City. We stayed in the Financial District and passed by the gaping hole, where the twin towers once stood - every day for a week. The news images didn't do the destruction justice - what a monstrous reminder of the attack! Although our home in Kentucky is geographically distant, each year on the anniversary of 9/11, the emotions come bubbling to the surface again. Yet life goes on; families grieved, and a nation came together. Carriage rides through Central Park, Times Square, and the spectacular view from the Empire State building are still a wonder to behold. In resilience, we continue.

But what do we take away from tragedies such as this? As earthly mortals we live our lives vulnerable, yet filled with hope. We have something that can't be taken away - the security of being the children of the Living God. He alone is the Author of life and death. His Kingdom is our final goal. Knowing this, for a fact, diminishes our earthly fears. And New York City continues to be the city that never sleeps and her citizens have moved ahead. They, and we, will never forget but will find comfort knowing our life on earth is a transitional step. What we do here determines our lodgings for Eternity. With Eternal Life will come complete peace, joy, and pure love.

On this anniversary of a national tragedy, let us pray for all involved: New Yorkers, citizens of Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania as well as all Americans - but also for those who lurk in the depths of depravity, committing atrocities on fellow humans. May they have a change of heart and seek God!

Where were you? What were you doing on 9-11-2001? What memories can you share?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pope Francis Wants a Mess? Let's Stir Up Some Pro-life Passion

It's no secret, I view the world through pro-life glasses. Right after my main focus as a Catholic wife and mother, being a pro-life advocate is my calling. Recently Pope Francis was quoted as telling the attendees at World Youth Day to 'make a mess' and 'take the Church to the streets'. Of course, my instant reaction was to find a way to inspire and encourage pro-life advocates to become foot soldiers for Life. The Holy Father has a valid point when he urges us not to remain cloistered in our own little vacuum. We need to get out and act - as the Church Militant that we are. Although it's virtuous to pray for the unborn and aged, it's even better to put those prayers into action.

Did you know that there will be another 40 Days for Life held, from September 25 - November 3? During the 40 days of the event, the faithful go to Planned Parenthood and other abortion mills, to hold a peaceful prayer vigil - 24/7. To date, there are 306 cities, from coast to coast, signed up. The effort from last year saw at least 608 babies saved from abortion! What a wonderful way to be pro-life, a couple hours at a time one baby at a time.

If it isn't possible for you to pray in front of an abortion mill, there are plenty of other ways to become involved. Check out the vast array of pro-life memes I have created for use by churches, friends, and fans. One Facebook acquaintance, Kathy, developed an amazing plan last year. During the 40 days for Life event, she received permission to place a tri-fold Pro-Life Display Board at the back of ten parishes in her diocese. Using Designs by Birgit pro-life memes, by having them blown up to poster size, she created a visual reminder for the parishioners to pray, fast, and act on behalf of our littlest brothers and sisters. I received a call from her again, yesterday, and she is going to being doing this again - for a second year! 

After speaking with Kathy, she in turn, inspired me into action. First there was a meeting with our Gospel of Life chairman; as a member, I laid out this plan of action as something I'd like to pursue. Then I decided to put together an instructional 'kit', listing materials and attaching meme files, so that other parishes will have a quick 'how to' guide for their own pro-life display. Stay tuned as I work on the details and then I will share the specifics here. Hopefully, I will receive the blessing of the diocese and can then begin urging local parishes to join in.

Pope Francis Wants a Mess? Let's Stir Up Some Pro-life Passion!

Stir Up Pro-Life Passion

  • UPDATE: 40 Days for Life: Help Your Parish Become a Prayer Partner everything you need to encourage pro-life activity in your church, school or organization.
  • 40 Days for Life Prayer Partners - join your prayers with many others by committing to a decade of the Rosary throughout the 40 Days campaign.
  • Pray the Rosary for the unborn - ask others to join you.
  • Have a Mass said for the Unborn, mothers, and fathers.
  • Find a struggling mom and give her a hand: baby sitting, diapers, food, money.
  • Volunteer at a Pregnancy Care Center.
  • Attend a 40 Days for Life event - pray in front of a Planned Parenthood: they all refer for abortion, even if they don't do them on site.
  • Ask your parish to support a pro-life display.
  • Ask your pastor to allow a fund raiser for a local Pregnancy Care Center.
  • Volunteer for Opportunities for Life - a pregnancy support hotline 24-7.
  • Speak to a youth group about the stages of development of unborn children.
What are your ideas? Will you share them with us? 

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Catholic Inspired