January 24, 2011

Mother Teresa speaks for the unborn

Saturday marked 38 years since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decisions in the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases. No greater legal and moral tragedy has been visited upon this country than these combined cases which ran rough-shod over state laws and legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever, including social and economic.

While some states legalized abortion prior to Roe, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling struck down all state laws that limited a woman's access to abortion. Since that time an estimated 52 million prenatal children have been aborted. Yet, amidst the darkness enshrouding America's legally sanctioned culture of death still shines Mother Teresa's 1994 address at a National Prayer Breakfast in defense of a culture of life and love. The words of Mother Teresa remain as timeless wisdom that desperately needs to be heard and heeded.
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WHATEVER YOU DID UNTO ONE OF THE LEAST, YOU DID UNTO ME
An address at the National Prayer Breakfast (Sponsored by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives) February 3, 1994:

On the last day, Jesus will say to those on His right hand, "Come, enter the Kingdom. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was sick and you visited me." Then Jesus will turn to those on His left hand and say, "Depart from me because I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink, I was sick and you did not visit me." These will ask Him, "When did we see You hungry, or thirsty or sick and did not come to Your help?" And Jesus will answer them, "Whatever you neglected to do unto one of these least of these, you neglected to do unto Me!"

As we have gathered here to pray together, I think it will be beautiful if we begin with a prayer that expresses very well what Jesus wants us to do for the least. St. Francis of Assisi understood very well these words of Jesus and His life is very well expressed by a prayer. And this prayer, which we say every day after Holy Communion, always surprises me very much, because it is very fitting for each one of us. And I always wonder whether 800 years ago when St. Francis lived, they had the same difficulties that we have today. I think that some of you already have this prayer of peace - so we will pray it together.

Let us thank God for the opportunity He has given us today to have come here to pray together. We have come here especially to pray for peace, joy and love. We are reminded that Jesus came to bring the good news to the poor. He had told us what is that good news when He said: "My peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you." He came not to give the peace of the world which is only that we don't bother each other. He came to give the peace of heart which comes from loving - from doing good to others.

And God loved the world so much that He gave His son - it was a giving. God gave His son to the Virgin Mary, and what did she do with Him? As soon as Jesus came into Mary's life, immediately she went in haste to give that good news. And as she came into the house of her cousin, Elizabeth, Scripture tells us that the unborn child - the child in the womb of Elizabeth - leapt with joy. While still in the womb of Mary - Jesus brought peace to John the Baptist who leapt for joy in the womb of Elizabeth. The unborn was the first one to proclaim the coming of Christ.

And as if that were not enough, as if it were not enough that God the Son should become one of us and bring peace and joy while still in the womb of Mary, Jesus also died on the Cross to show that greater love. He died for you and for me, and for the leper and for that man dying of hunger and that naked person lying in the street, no only of Calcutta, but of Africa, and everywhere. Our Sisters serve these poor people in 105 countries throughout the world. Jesus insisted that we love one another as He loves each one of us. Jesus gave His life to love us and He tells us that we also have to give whatever it takes to do good to one another. And in the Gospel Jesus says very clearly: "Love as I have loved you."

Jesus died on the Cross because that is what it took for Him to do good to us - to save us from our selfishness in sin. He gave up everything to do the Father's will - to show us that we too must be willing to give up everything to do God's will - to love one another as He loves each of us. If we are not willing to give whatever it takes to do good to one another, sin is still in us. That is why we too must give to each other until it hurts.

It is not enough for us to say: "I love God," but I also have to love my neighbor. St. John says that you are a liar if you say you love God and you don't love your neighbor. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live? And so it is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is not true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.

It hurt Jesus to love us. We have been created in His image for greater things, to love and to be loved. We must "put on Christ" as Scripture tells us. And so, we have been created to love as He loves us. Jesus makes Himself the hungry one, the naked one, the homeless one, the unwanted one, and He says, "You did it to Me." On the last day He will say to those on His right, "whatever you did to the least of these, you did to Me, and He will also say to those on His left, whatever you neglected to do for the least of these, you neglected to do it for Me."

When He was dying on the Cross, Jesus said, "I thirst." Jesus is thirsting for our love, and this is the thirst of everyone, poor and rich alike. We all thirst for the love of others, that they go out of their way to avoid harming us and to do good to us. This is the meaning of true love, to give
until it hurts.

I can never forget the experience I had in visiting a home where they kept all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them into an institution and forgotten them - maybe. I saw that in that home these old people had everything - good food, comfortable place, television, everything, but everyone was looking toward the door. And I did not see a single one with a smile on the face. I turned to Sister and I asked: "Why do these people who have every comfort here, why are they all looking toward the door? Why are they not smiling?"

I am so used to seeing the smiles on our people, even the dying ones smile. And Sister said: "This is the way it is nearly everyday. They are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten." And see, this neglect to love brings spiritual poverty. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried. Are we there? Are we willing to give until it hurts in order to be with our families, or do we put our own interests first? These are the questions we must ask ourselves, especially as we begin this year of the family. We must remember that love begins at home and we must also remember that 'the future of humanity passes through the family.'

I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given to drugs. And I tried to find out why. Why is it like that, when those in the West have so many more things than those in the East? And the answer was: 'Because there is no one in the family to receive them.' Our children depend on us for everything - their health, their nutrition, their security, their coming to know and love God. For all of this, they look to us with trust, hope and expectation. But often father and mother are so busy they have no time for their children, or perhaps they are not even married or have given up on their marriage. So their children go to the streets and get involved in drugs or other things. We are talking of love of the child, which is were love and peace must begin. These are the things that break peace.

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today - abortion which brings people to such blindness.

And for this I appeal in India and I appeal everywhere - "Let us bring the child back." The child is God's gift to the family. Each child is created in the special image and likeness of God for greater things - to love and to be loved. In this year of the family we must bring the child back to the center of our care and concern. This is the only way that our world can survive because our children are the only hope for the future. As older people are called to God, only their children can take their places.

But what does God say to us? He says: "Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you in the palm of my hand." We are carved in the palm of His hand; that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God from conception and is called by God to love and loved, not only now in this life, but forever. God can never forget us.

The beautiful gift God has given our congregation is to fight abortion by adoption. We have already, from our house in Calcutta, over 3,000 children adoption. And I can't tell you what joy, what love, what peace those children have brought into those families. It has been a real gift of God for them and for us. I remember one of the little ones was very sick, so I sent for the father and the mother and I asked them: "Please give me back the sick child. I will give you a healthy one." And the father looked at me and said, "Mother Teresa, take my life first than take the child." So beautiful to see it--so much love, so much joy that little one has brought into that family. So pray for us that we continue this beautiful gift. And also I offer you--our Sisters are here--anybody who doesn't want the child, please give it to me. I want the child.

I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption - by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations: "Please don't destroy the child; we will take the child." So we always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: "Come, we will take care of you, we will get a home for your child." And we have a tremendous demand from couples who cannot have a child - but I never give a child to a couple who have done something not to have a child. Jesus said, "Anyone who receives a child in my name, receives me." By adopting a child, these couples receive Jesus but, by aborting a child, a couple refuses to receive Jesus.

Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child. From our children's home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3000 children from abortion. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents and have grown up so full of love and joy.

I know that couples have to plan their family and for that there is natural family planning. The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception. In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gifts of love in him or her.In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception. Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily.

I also know that there are great problems in the world - that many spouses do not love each other enough to practice natural family planning. We cannot solve all the problems in the world, but let us never bring in the worst problem of all, and that is to destroy love. And this is what happens when we tell people to practice contraception and abortion.

The poor are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things. Once one of them came to thank us for teaching her natural family planning and said: "You people who have practiced chastity, you are the best people to teach us natural family planning because it is nothing more than self-control out of love for each other." And what this poor person said is very true. These poor people maybe have nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home to live in, but they can still be great people when they are spiritually rich.

When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread. But a person who is shut out, who feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person who has been thrown out of society - that spiritual poverty is much harder to overcome. And abortion, which often follows from contraception, brings a people to be spiritually poor, and that is the worst poverty and the most difficult to overcome.

Those who are materially poor can be very wonderful people. One evening we went out and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a most terrible condition. I told the Sisters: "You take care of the other three; I will take care of the one who looks worse." So I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand, as she said one word only: "thank you" - and she died.

I could not help but examine my conscience before her. And I asked: "What would I say if I were in her place?" And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said: "I am hungry, I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain," or something. But she gave me much more - she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face. Then there was the man we picked up from the drain, half eaten by worms and, after we had brought him to the home, he only said, "I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die as an angel, loved and cared for." Then, after we had removed all the worms from his body, all he said, with a big smile, was: "Sister, I am going home to God" - and he died. It was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that without blaming anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel - this is the greatness of people who are spiritually rich even when they are materially poor.

We are not social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of some people, but we must be contemplatives in the heart of the world. For we must bring that presence of God into your family, for the family that prays together, stays together. There is so much hatred, so much misery, and we with our prayer, with our sacrifice, are beginning at home. Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do.

If we are contemplatives in the heart of the world with all its problems, these problems can never discourage us. We must always remember what God ells us in Scripture: "Even if a mother could forget the child in her womb" - something impossible, but even if she could forget - "I will never forget you."

And so here I am talking with you. I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there. Be that good news to your own people first. And find out about your next-door neighbors. Do you know who they are?

I had the most extraordinary experience of love of neighbor with a Hindu family. A gentleman came to our house and said: "Mother Teresa, there is a family who have not eaten for so long. Do something." So I took some rice and went there immediately. And I saw the children - their eyes shining with hunger. I don't know if you have ever seen hunger. But I have seen it very often. And the mother of the family took the rice I gave her and went out. When she came back, I asked her: "Where did you go? What did you do?" And she gave me a very simple answer: "They are hungry also." What struck me was that she knew - and who are they? A Muslim family - and she knew. I didn't bring any more rice that evening because I wanted them, Hindus and Muslims, to enjoy the joy of sharing.

But there were those children, radiating joy, sharing the joy and peace with their mother because she had the love to give until it hurts. And you see this is where love begins - at home in the family.

So, as the example of this family shows, God will never forget us and there is something you and I can always do. We can keep the joy of loving Jesus in our hearts, and share that joy with all we come in contact with. Let us make that one point - that no child will be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, or killed and thrown away. And give until it hurts - with a smile.

As you know, we have a number of homes here in the United States, where people need tender love and care. This is the joy of sharing. Come and share. We have the young people suffering with AIDS. They need that tender love and care. But such beautiful--I've never yet seen a young man or anybody displeased or angry or frightened, really going home to God. Such a beautiful smile, always. So let us pray that we have the gift of sharing the joy with others and giving until it hurts.

Because I talk so much of giving with a smile, once a professor from the United States asked me: "Are you married?" And I said: "Yes, and I find it sometimes very difficult to smile at my spouse, Jesus, because He can be very demanding - sometimes." This is really something true. And this is where love comes in - when it is demanding, and yet we can give it with joy.

One of the most demanding things for me is traveling everywhere - and with publicity. I have said to Jesus that if I don't go to heaven for anything else, I will be going to heaven for all the traveling with all the publicity, because it has purified me and sacrificed me and made me really ready to go home to God.

If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world. From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak - the unborn child - must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for.

Let us love one another as God loves each one of us. And where does this love begin? In our own home. How does it begin? By praying together Prayer for us that we continue God's work with great love. The sisters, the brothers, and the fathers and the lay missionaries of Charity and co-workers: we are all one heart full of love, that we may bring that joy of love everywhere we go. And my prayer for you is that through this love for one another, for this peace and joy in the family, that you may grow in holiness. Holiness is not the luxury of the few; it is a simply duty, for you and for me, because Jesus has very clearly stated, "Be ye holy as my father in heaven is holy." So let us pray for each other that we grow in love for each other, and through this love become holy as Jesus wants us to be for he died out of love for us.

One day I met a lady who was dying of cancer in a most terrible condition. And I told her, I say, "You know, this terrible pain is only the kiss of Jesus--a sign that you have come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you." And she joined her hands together and said, "Mother Teresa, please tell Jesus to stop kissing me."

So pray for us that we continue God's work with great love and I will pray for you, for all your families. And also I want to thank the families who have been so generous in giving their daughters to us to consecrate their life to Jesus by the vow of poverty, chastity, obedience, and by giving wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor. This is our fourth vow in our congregation. And we have a novitiate in San Francisco where we have many beautiful vocations who are wanting to give their whole life to Jesus in the service of the poorest of the poor.
So once more I thank you for giving you children to God. And pray for us that we continue God's work with great love.

God bless you all!

January 13, 2011

Pope John Paul II update

Just a quick announcement to say the beatification of Pope John Paul II is moving right along...


.- Vatican officials have concluded that a miraculous healing credited to the intercession of Pope John Paul II is authentic.

The decision clears the way for the Church to declare the late Pope “blessed,” the final stage on the road to sainthood. The Pope’s beatification could take place as early as April 2, the sixth anniversary of his death, according to veteran Vatican analyst Andrea Tornielli, who broke the news in the Jan. 12 edition of the Italian newspaper, Il Giornale.

Tornielli reported that cardinals and bishops from the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints had convened Jan. 11 and "examined and approved the miracle attributed to the intercession of John Paul II.”

The case involves the healing of a French religious sister from Parkinson's disease. Doctors had diagnosed Sister Marie Simon-Pierre with the condition in 2001. Her fellow sisters had prayed for the late Pope's intercession, however it was not until Sister Simon-Pierre wrote the pontiff’s name on a paper one night in June 2005 that the miracle occurred.

She was cured by the next morning and immediately took up her work as a nurse in a maternity ward.

January 8, 2011

Obama: No Whistleblowing on My Watch

Source: CommonDreams.org
The US Military Should Be Ashamed of Its Treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning
by Ann Wright

Candidate Obama said "Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal."

As a U.S. presidential candidate in 2008, in referring to the Bush Administration's use of phone companies to illegally spy on Americans, Barack Obama said, "We only know these crimes took place because insiders blew the whistle at great personal risk ... Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal." Candidate Obama was referring to the Bush Administration's use of phone companies to illegally spy on Americans.

President Obama says No whistleblowing on my watch!

Yet, Obama, as he has on so many issues as President, is taking a 180 degree turn from his comments as a candidate, comments on which the American people relied and elected him.

Now, the Obama administration's warning to Bradley Manning and to other whistle blowers is this: blow the whistle on government criminal actions and we will put you in solitary confinement before you are charged, much less go to trial.  You will be treated as an "enemy combatant," in America's ongoing wars on about everything, including the truth.

Evidence of Murder of Civilians in Iraq by US military helicopter pilots

Bradley Manning,  a U.S. Army Private First Class (PFC) intelligence analyst who turned 23 years old in late December, allegedly leaked a video of a US helicopter attack that killed at least eleven Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters reporters, to the website Wikileaks. Two Iraqi children were also severely wounded in the attack. 

PFC Manning's alleged actions are just as important as those of the whistleblowers who informed us of the Bush administration's use of phone companies to illegally spy on Americans.  The video taken from the U.S. military helicopter that fired the killing rounds of ammunition,  graphically showed US military pilots firing on and killing innocent civilians in Iraq.  In addition to this "Collateral Murder" video, PFC Manning is suspected by the government of leaking the "Afghan War Diaries" - tens of thousands of battlefield reports that explicitly describe civilian deaths and cover-ups, corrupt officials, collusion with warlords, and a failing US/NATO war effort.

Manning had the legal responsibility to disclose evidence, even classified evidence, of criminal actions conducted by government officials

If indeed, Manning did give the video to Wikileaks, his actions show clearly that he reasonably believed that war crimes were being covered up, and that he took action based on that belief.  Exposing criminal actions done under the cover of government orders is a responsibility and duty of military personnel as codified in the Uniform Code of Military Justice as well as the Geneva conventions and the Nuremberg Principles.

Nuremberg Principle I

Principle I states, "Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment."

Principle II

Principle II states, "The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law."

Principle III

Principle III states, "The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law."

Principle IV

Principle IV states: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him".

This principle could be paraphrased as follows: "It is not an acceptable excuse to say 'I was just following my superior's orders'".

Classifying the evidence of criminal actions does not make the actions untouchable

Reporting criminal actions done by others and providing evidence of those criminal actions, especially when the evidence of criminal actions have been covered up by "classifying" the evidence, is not illegal, but in fact, is a very brave response.

Punishment before the Trial-Solitary Confinement

Manning has now been in prison in solitary confinement for 7 months and still neither the U.S. military nor the U.S. government has indicted him for any offense.  Manning essentially is being treated by the U.S. government as an American citizen "enemy combatant."

Manning's treatment in detention, pre-trial confinement in prison is cruel and unusual.  He is being kept in solitary confinement, alone in a cell for 23 hours a day.  He is forbidden to exercise in his cell.  He is deprived of sleep.  He is not given a pillow or sheets for his steel bed, although recently after publicity about he conditions in the prison, he was given a mattress for the bed.  Prison medical personnel now "administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation."

US Soldier Treated as Those Detained in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo

The U.S. military's treatment of Manning is tragically consistent with its treatment of persons detained in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo.  America's military uses harsh conditions and torture, physical or mental, for those who have not been convicted of any crimes used to break the person to provide whatever information the military wants to receive.  This type of treatment is inhumane, immoral and wrong for those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo and is wrong for Bradley Manning.

Nothing to be Proud of

Nothing in this to be proud of, President Obama. Nothing in this to be proud of, US Military.

If you, the reader, are offended by this, please -- Raise Hell for Bradley, the undeclared American "enemy combatant."

Contribute to Manning's defense fund at www.couragetoresist.org


* Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.  She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia.  In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.  She is the co-author of the book "Dissent: Voices of Conscience."  (www.voicesofconscience.com)

January 2, 2011

John Pilger: Julian Assange Interview



An extended interview with Julian Assange recorded during filming of John Pilger's latest film 'The War You Don't See'.

Visit johnpilger.com

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