Intercession: Today's intercession is for "scientists and pharmaceutical employees who help create and manufacture contraceptive and abortifacient drugs: that the Lord will open their eyes to the moral danger and health risks these drugs pose for women and prompt them to work only on medications that benefit human life."
The small side effects of birth control are pretty well-known: bloating, headaches, weight gain, mood changes... Did you know the more serious ones: blood clots, increased blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, a higher risk of certain cancers...? Before we even get into potential lives destroyed in the womb by birth control, we have a host of health problems to worry about. Can we address women's health, actual women's health, in a way which side-steps all of these side effects while simultaneously respecting life? Haley's NFP series at Carrots for Michaelmas does much more work than I could on the subject, and I especially like Melissa's (Faith in All Times, a blog for Catholic women dealing with infertility) post on treating endometriosis with NFP (how awesome is that?).
Reflection: Today's reflection is on today's first reading from Acts 9:1-22:
Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight.” But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.
He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. All who heard him were astounded and said, “Is not this the man who in Jerusalem ravaged those who call upon this name, and came here expressly to take them back in chains to the chief priests?” But Saul grew all the stronger and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus, proving that this is the Christ.Saul was "breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord" and sought to capture them. Certainly this is not much more drastic than anything we experience in the country today, but sometimes it seems as though it is only the next step in what Christians will experience. However, the story doesn't end this way. Saul is converted by his encounter with God--truly the only way anyone can be converted--and given a new name, Paul, who becomes one of the most revered saints. When we despair with this right to life issue, or with any issue, we should remember St. Paul's conversion. With God, all things are possible.
Act of Reparation: Do you love your cup of tea or coffee in the morning? Fast from caffeine today or try your coffee black.
I asked my mom to make sure I'm up early today because we have a baby shower we're going to today and I wanted to get a few things done before (like this blog post). The first thing my mind jumped to was a nice hot cuppa. Then I remembered the acts of reparation for today. You don't really appreciate the privilege of something until you can no longer have it, so no caffeine is kicking my butt right now.
I also wanted to do "Read about a Church teaching that you don't understand in the Catechism." I think I'm going to read up on Part Three: Chapter Three. God's Salvation: Law and Grace.