Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

Pope Benedict XVI held a prayer vigil on November 27th leading Christians in intercession for the protection of human life and the family. At the conclusion of gathering the Pope offered the following prayer for the unborn in which he asks God to bless families and to inspire society to embrace each and every human life. Though not all Christians see eye to eye on all nuances of theology – we do not all beseech the Saints and Mary with our requests for instance – we DO stand in unified agreement on the core matters of life and faith. In this Christians agree together and pray with Benedict XVI for Life!

Below is the prayer translated into English:

Lord Jesus,
You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.

Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you.

Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.

Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
render fruitful their love.

Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.

Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.

Give creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realize and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children.

Console the married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.

Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Charity,
the consolation of your divine Heart.

Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Savior,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity.

‘Anty Christ’ at the Smithsonian

A Smithsonian museum video of ants crawling on a crucified Christ has triggered a backlash from the head of the Catholic League president Bill Donohue who claims that the artwork is “hate speech.” 

“A Fire in My Belly,” by late artist David Wojnarowicz, is part of “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery which runs through Feb. 13. 

Donohue said the four-minute video “was designed to insult and inflict injury and assault the sensibilities of Christians.” He blasted the museum’s federal funding. 

“If the government can’t fund the promotion of religion, it shouldn’t be in the business of funding animus to religion,” he suggested.

Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas declined to comment “on people’s opinions on art.”

Does Donohue have a point? If government cannot fund pro-religion art, can if fund anti-religion art?


Myth.jpgChristmas is upon us, with gifts – and the economic boon that results – feasts a plenty – and the inevitable weight gain that results – and fanciful tales of the jolly old man in red with his tiny helpers and magical reindeer. In all the hype it’s easy to forget the origin Christmas – Jesus.

But a billboard at the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey boldly reminds us of the essence of the holiday, then roundly rejects it. The billboard, sponsored by the American Atheists argues that the account of Jesus’s birth is just as fantastical as a legend of the plump man in a red suit. It reads, “You KNOW it’s a Myth / This Season, Celebrate REASON!”

American Atheists claim they are merely encouraging other “secret” atheists to stop celebrating the holiday, however secular it has become. On their website they write, “Millions of atheists are closeted, choosing to go along to get along, and feigning religion to their friends, family, and coworkers.”

Okay… But it seems to me that the atheists are missing one key point here.  Their claim that “reason” and “faith” are mutually exclusive is presumptive and itself a “leap of faith.” The fact is, there is SOLID historical and archaeological evidence to support the Biblical accounts, including the birth of Jesus. There’s more supportable details for an actual historical person Jesus than for Julius Caesar or Socrates. Is faith in their existence not reasonable?

As for the miraculous elements of Jesus’ birth claimed in the Bible, well, just how “certain” are we about what is and isn’t possible in this universe? Science itself in the last 100 years has ceased to be so predictably reasonable…  Read even a layman’s book on quantum mechanics and any myth of certainty flies out the window… Reason as the sole tool to finding truth is itself now a myth… So why not believe in Something, Someone higher and better?  That is what makes sense, sense of the world.

What are your thoughts?

South Koreans are calling for revenge today over this week’s deadly North Korean artillery shelling. Tensions remain high amid fears of more clashes between the bitter rivals. China has upped the ante in the conflict by objecting to joint military exercises by South Korea and the U.S. Meanwhile, the North is trying to justify the attacks a angered world community.

“God, we call on you to bring justice, mercy and peace in the Korean Peninsula. We ask that your Spirit will work within the minds, emotions, and wills of the key decision-makers on both sides. Defuse any tensions of distrust between China and the U.S. Bring peace and openness in North Korea. May their people awaken to the mass deception of their government leaders. We pray for your will and way to prevail… In Jesus’ name, the Prince of Peace.”