Are we deaf to God's voice?
There is a lot of noise in the world today. Our ears get blasted every day with noise from alarm clocks to radios to televisions to cars. It's amazing we all don't go deaf!
Mary C. Uhler
But besides the physical noise - and maybe partly because of the physical noise - many people may be experiencing spiritual deafness. Pope Benedict XVI warns about this "hardness of hearing" in his book, God's Revolution (Ignatius Press, 2006).
He describes it this way: "Put simply, we are no longer able to hear God - there are too many different frequencies filling our ears." With this hardness of hearing, the Holy Father says "we naturally lose our ability to speak with him and to him. And so we end up losing a decisive capacity for perception. We risk losing our inner senses."
What can we do to prevent this spiritual deafness? Pope Benedict reminds us that Jesus cured the deaf-mute by touching his mouth and saying "Be opened." Jesus continues to do the same thing today. At our Baptism he touched each of us and said, "Be opened." He enabled us to hear God's voice and to be able to talk to him.
Baptism is the beginning of our relationship with God, but we must continue to communicate with him. He can help heal our hardness of hearing if we ask for his help through prayer. We can begin with the prayer he taught us, the "Our Father." But there are many other wonderful prayers. One of my favorites is the "Memorare" and, of course, the Rosary, which includes the "Our Father" and "Hail Mary," plus meditations on the life of Jesus.
Lent might be an especially appropriate time to get away from some of the noise in our lives and spend time listening to God in quiet prayer. Find a space for prayer, go to Eucharistic Adoration, attend daily Mass. Pope Benedict XVI gives us hope that God will cure our spiritual deafness, "He listens to us and, if we are attentive, we can also hear him speaking back."
We reserve the right to edit or reject letters. Limit letters to 200 words or less. All letters must be signed. Please include your city or town of residence.
Send letters to:
The Catholic Herald
702 S. High Point Rd.
Madison, WI 53719-3522
Urge legislators to vote against emergency contraception
To the editor:
Recently Bishop Morlino and Bishop Listecki wrote letters to each of the members of the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate, urging them to vote against the Emergency Contraception (EC) Hospital Mandate (legislative bills AB 377 and SB 129). In spite of the effort of these two bishops and other pro-life organizations, both houses passed their respective bills.
Due to some technical issues, the vote will need final passage in the Senate sometime in late February. If that were to happen, this bill would then go to Catholic Governor Jim Doyle, who unfortunately will sign the bill into law. Before that happens, please call, write, or e-mail your state senators, urging them to vote against this measure. They can be contacted at 1-800-362-9472 or at http://waml.legis.state.wi.us/
There are several problems with this legislation, but three issues you can address are:
1) This bill would, by implication, redefine the beginning of life from the point of fertilization (a date we all know that life begins) to implantation (five to six days after fertilization).
2) There is no conscience protection clause in this bill, so doctors and nurses would be forced to administer the emergency contraception drug, even if they were morally opposed to it.
3) Perhaps most importantly, this bill will set a very dangerous precedent. For if EC can cause an abortion (which it can), then once medical personnel are required to dispense drugs that can cause an abortion at the earliest stages of pregnancy, it is only a matter of time before legislation will follow that will force them to perform abortions at all stages
For a more complete explanation of all of the medical and ethical issues, visit the Pro-Life Wisconsin Web site at www.prolifewisconsin.org or call them at 262-796-1111.
Greg Wagner, Middleton
Real Presence eclipses all other forms of presence
To the editor:
In his commentary "Christ's presence in Scripture and Eucharist" (Catholic Herald, Feb. 14 [print edition only]), Fr. John Dietzen discusses various ways Christ is present in His Church. However, his commentary, as well as the series by Fr. Tom Margevicius, "Understanding the Mass," neglect to accentuate one special unique "presence," the Real Presence, which eclipses all other forms of presence and is the foundation of Catholic dogma that distinguishes Catholics from other Christian denominations.
As Vatican II teaches, Christ is present in many ways in His Church, such as in His word, in Church's prayer, in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned. He is present in all the Sacraments of which He is the author (Lumen Gentium, 48). One needs to acknowledge, however, that "sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it" (Catechism of the
Catholic Church, 1324). The sacramental representation of Christ's sacrifice in the Mass involves a most special "presence in the fullest sense: a substantial presence whereby Christ, the God-Man, is wholly and entirely present" (John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia).
In an unchanging manner, the Council of Trent (DS, 1640, 1651), Pope Paul VI (Mysterium Fidei, 39), Vatican II (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7), and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC, 1374) thought about Real Presence over the centuries, emphasizing that in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ, is truly, really, and substantially contained" (Council of Trent, DS 1651; also CCC 1374).
Real Presence surpasses all other forms of presence, because it is a very special presence, it is Christ Himself, His presence par excellence. As pointed out by Cardinal Francis Arinze, Real Presence "surpasses all other forms of presence. It is much more than his presence in the Word of God proclaimed in the liturgical assembly, or his presence in the people of God gathered in worship, or his presence and action in the priest celebrant, or even his presence and action in all the other Sacraments."
Jacek M. Cianciara, Madison