Intercession: Today's intercession is for "those whose work involves promoting abortion and contraceptive use: may God help them understand that the casual sex they foster undermines the capacity for self-giving, faithful and enduring love that is the longing of every heart."
"I hate when adults use the term 'sexually active,'" Juno MacGuff from the movie Juno says. "What does that even mean?" That's kind of how I feel when people say, "Practice safe sex." "What does that even mean?" I think to myself. Well, when people usually said it, they meant using some form of contraception to avoid pregnancy. I never was comfortable with the term "safe sex" to avoid pregnancy: it seems more appropriate to call it "preventative sex." Is that being particular?
Still, "safe sex" ignores other consequences of sex. How do birth control pills protect you emotionally? How does an IUD ensure that you are having sex with a person who values you and will give to you selflessly? When we interfere by the use of contraception, we make sex suit us instead of celebrating the procreative and unitive purposes of sex.
Reflection: Today's reflection is on "the newly canonized American saint, Mother Marianne Cope, OSF (1838-1918). St. Marianne Cope emigrated with her family from Germany as an infant and grew up in Utica, NY. She joined the Sisters of St. Francis at the age of twenty-four and later helped to found and operate two regional hospitals in upstate New York. In 1883, she answered the plea of Hawaii's king to operate hospitals and care for the victims of leprosy, traveling to Hawaii with six Franciscan sisters. During the last thirty years of her life, she chose to be exiled on the island of Molokai where she cared for women and children with leprosy. She was a life-long witness to the equal dignity and value of every human being. She brought beauty and order to the lives of these outcasts, and provided them with educational and religious instruction as well as teaching them music and the decorative arts. St. Marianne, help us to see the beauty and value in every human life!"
Throughout this novena, I have found myself thinking more positively about others. Not that I go around all day thinking, "This person is awful and I can't stand that person." However, when you commit to fostering a pro-life attitude, you realize that the cause is about more than the unborn. You see in every day life the value and beauty of others. You learn to see people as Christ sees them. It is a very powerful thing. I hope others have this experience too, that they will see their family and friends and strangers not as burdensome or inconsequential, but as people who, as Pope Francis would say, bear the face of Jesus Christ.Act of Reparation: Learn how to pray the Angelus prayer, and get into the habit of saying it every day--at noon or at 6 pm or on awakening (or all three times).
I actually have written the Angelus into my daily schedule and said it right before starting today's novena. Very cool how that works out! If you don't know the Angelus prayer, it is as follows:
The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour ofour death. Amen.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
Hail Mary . . .
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary . . .
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.Amen.