Friday, November 30, 2007

Young Pro-Lifers...

+JMJ+
Come Holy Spirit!

Last week, after Thanksgiving Break, Elizabeth and I traveled to Ft. Lauderdale, and performed for the Religion Classes of Saint Mark Catholic Church. Our first show, for the younger audience (5th and 6th grade), met with some mixed reactions, mostly because, I think, abortion is a tough topic to speak about. As a matter of fact, one of the questions from the leaders was asking us to describe what an abortion is, just in case some of the kids didn't know what we were talking about. And, to be honest, the question really surprised me. It was a great question, and needed to be answered delicately, but honestly. Some people may think that young kids shouldn't have to know about abortion or what it is, but I disagree. We need to equip our young people with the truth. We need to tell them the right answers before it's too late - because pro-choice activists get a hold of them so young, and those kids really have no chance, because they've never been told that abortion is wrong, or why it is wrong. Now don't get me wrong - I'm not saying pull a five year old aside and try to explain death and murder of children to him, but a child reaches the age of reason at age 7. They at least should know that they can pray for babies and for their mothers. They should know that there is a struggle out there, and to not be afraid of it. Don't instill fear in these kids, but give them a chance against the lies that surround them - at school, on the radio, on the television, in the school classrooms and hallways. And as they get older, talk about the problems, the confusion, and the fact that a human person is a human person. We need to help them - not scare them, and not allow them to remain ignorant. The youth director had told us that because of the sensitive subject matter she wasn't positive that the show would be appropriate for the younger audience. Yet, she was sure she had made the right choice, precisely because the kids aren't getting the facts from school or even at home often times, and someone has to be able to talk to them about these topics.

The second show ran smoother with sound and technical equipment (no faulty microphones this time!) and the show was for 7th grade and higher. These kids responded really well and paid close attention to the story, and were very sensitive to the subject matter. After the show, they too asked a lot of great questions. Even some regarding feminist perspectives and women's rights... what do you say to a woman who argues that it is her right to keep or destroy this child? If it is within her body, it is her body and she has the right to say what happens to her...? ...so the premise of this argument is that her body is her 'property' and it is therefore her right to decide what she will do with the 'fetus' within her? Well, I guess I would argue... the baby has those exact same rights. The 'tissue' in question is actually the baby's body - a human body at that - with a blood flow that is separate from the mothers, and a heart that beats apart from the mother's. A woman provides the protection and nourishment that is necessary for survival, but we all need protection and nourishment, no matter what stage in life we are at. It's a faulty argument, based on the belief that a mother's body is somehow more important that the child's. They are both human, and equal. The mother is more developed, but the child's development and fight for survival is proof of his desire to live.

Another question was, "who decides when the baby becomes a human?" THAT was a fantastic question - actually one that the pro-choice argument hinges on... but the answer is simple.

Yet before we answer, imagine this: let's say that out of that whole room of 200 grade schoolers and high schoolers, we would allow one young man to determine when human life began. What if he decided that all children 12 and under no longer have the right to live, because they are not capable of what teenagers and adults can do... half of that room would march to their deaths. Well, what if I were the ultimate authority on when a human life should begin... I'm 24 years old, with brown hair and eyes. What if is said that anyone in that room with blonde hair or blue eyes had to die, because they were not like me, and clearly not old enough to understand the ways of the world (WWII anyone? Hitler and the Aryan Race?) Then over half of that room would not have walked out of that room that night. Well, that's the point. What human is actually capable of making that 'choice'? What man or woman out there should be given that kind of authority? The fact is that humans ARE HUMAN from the moment of conception. What else could they be? Just because they can't think rationally yet, doesn't make them unhuman... after all, we could say there are living persons who don't think rationally. We can't say that because their bodies are not fully developed then they are not human - after all, most humans don't have perfect bodies or limbs. Or soldiers who come back from war with broken bodies, lost limbs, etc? They are still human, regardless of their deformity - we all know that. Why can't an unborn baby be human, too? Some doctors will push the humanity question really far, and claim that a baby is not a human until 3 days after it is born. Sometimes a couple weeks after they are born, on the condition that the parents still want it... it's all too arbitrary. And there are too many facts.

Only God can decide when a baby becomes human, and science proves it. If we look to biology, the answer is not debatable - life begins at conception. All the genes and chromosomes are present for a human life to begin. So, in answer to your question: God decides. -God bless, Mary

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Questions

The Edge group had such good questions that we decided to post them. Here are the ones we can remember:
Q: "If a twelve year old girl was raped, what would you say to that?"
A: It is a terrible situation for the girl, a traumatic time for her during which she needs support and a lot of help. She has to know that it is not her fault, and neither is it the baby's fault. Two wrongs don't make a right. Rape is a terrible wrong, but killing the life that is now growing inside of the girl will not make things right. The girl, and her parents or friends who may encourage an abortion, should know that the baby is a new and innocent human life who does not need to die. I have a friend whose mother nearly had an abortion in a similar situation, but decided at the last second to keep her baby. Because of that choice, I now have a beautiful friend who has helped heal her mother from the pain she experienced. Life is beautiful and women who find themselves pregnant either through rape or by a mistake should know that they do have a choice: a choice to keep their baby. They do not need to feel alone or trapped by their circumstances, but feel free to carry to fruition the beautiful life they carry within their bodies.
Q: "What are some examples to prove that the baby is a human? I am writing a paper for school."
A: Well, even the simplest of biology texts can show that the baby is human even when really tiny - from the moment of conception. Each of us started out in the same way - from a human mother and father, with human DNA. We all looked exactly as we were supposed to even when we were just a few weeks old, and we all grew into the people we are now, not into a dog or a cat. Each stage of development is how we are supposed to look at that age. We are never simply a blob of cells, each of those cells has a specific role to play in the growth of every human. You can watch the ultrasounds of babies sucking their thumbs, of moving away from pokes and uncomfortable positions. The baby has her own blood system her whole life. She receives nourishment from the mother's blood, but the mothers blood does not flow in her body. Her heart beats, her brain is alive, her fingerprints are formed. Everything that is necessary for that tiny human to become a big human is present, and simply needs time to develop - just like we all needed time to develop. That doesn't mean unborn humans are any less human - just because they are not fully developed yet. Look it up in your Biology Book: Child/Baby/Fetal Development - it is so amazing! They have pictures and everything! video
Q: "How much does an abortion cost?"
A: It differs from clinic to clinic, but typically the price is between 300 and 500 dollars. The price also depends however, on the type of abortificient she chooses to use: surgical, chemical, with pills, etc.
Q: "Do abortion doctors ever try to persuade the mother not to have abortion?"
A: In the clinics where that is their job, the doctors do not. They know that the mother has already made her decision and feel they have no need to provide her with options. Other doctors in hospitals or their own practices might offer alternatives, and there are many pregnancy crisis centers that will talk over the options with any woman willing to listen. Adoption is frequently a road taken. There are some couples who cannot have children, and would love to adopt a baby from a mother who cannot care for her child.
Q: "How common is the post-abortion depression as portrayed in this play?"
A: Very common. There are numerous studies published in this topic. The women actually do feel a loss in their life that they didn't expect would happen following an abortion. In fact, this play was inspired by real stories about women who suffer terribly after having an abortion. Sadly, it is just real life drama put on a stage.
Q: "I heard about a case where a pregnant mother was murdered, and the murderer was charged with killing two people. How is abortion legal if the killing of an unborn child then was called 'murder'?
A: Exactly. The laws are not consistent. In the Scott Peterson case, he was charged with the murder of his unborn child. Also, in cases of vehicular homicide, the death of a pregnant woman counts as two deaths, not one. But if an abortion doctor takes the life of a child, that's legal and he gets paid for it. ... Can anyone explain this one? We sure don't get it.
Q: "Don't abortion doctors feel guilty for what they do?"
A: Some doctors in hospitals are required to perform abortions or they will lose their jobs. They might feel like its OK to do some abortions just to make it through their schooling. They try to convince themselves that it's not so bad. Others leave the hospital to start their own practices or try to find one that does not make them do abortions. Sometimes a doctor who has been doing abortion for a long time will suddenly realize that what he is doing is wrong and stop. (Look up Dr. Bernard Nathanson - he is a former abortionist and has written a couple books on the topic, describing how terrible the procedure is and how traumatic for doctors, nurses, and for the women going through them, a side that is never talked about in public.) You will see ads on TV talking about the quick and easy abortions with happy people, but the reality of abortion is a lot uglier than you would want to imagine.
video
Q: "If a woman considering an abortion approached you, what would you say to her?"
A: A woman in that situation needs to know she is loved and that she is not alone. She does not need to be condemned or shouted at. You have to understand that she is probably lonely and scared, and most likely feels like she has no other choice. Maybe her boyfriend has left her, or maybe he doesn't know that the baby is a part of him just as much as it is part of her and so also feels like he has no right to choose life. Find out why the woman wants to abort her baby's life. Sometimes it's because she has no money to raise a child. This woman should know that there are lots of places that can help her financially. Crisis pregnancy centers have donors and volunteers who offer safe places for the mother. They can give her baby food and diapers and give the mother all the prenatal care she needs. There are also homes for unwed mothers that will care for both the mother and the baby. There are childless couples who will adopt babies whose mothers cannot care for them. Most of all, though, the woman has to know how beautiful it is that she is able to carry a new life inside of her, something men and even angels cannot do. She is sharing in the creative power of God and no matter how trapped she feels now, the child is filled with love for her and will increase the love she shares with all the people around her. Many women decide against having an abortion later look back and cannot imagine having gone through with it, considering the beauty and joy of the child they now have. - Elizabeth

Its Fantastimagical!

Yes it was! A perfect word (thanks to Nicole!) for a great experience in Land O'Lakes Florida! We performed our pro-life drama "Sarah's Secret" for Our Lady of the Rosary's LifeTeen and Edge groups on two successive nights. The first night was for the LifeTeen group. We had around 150 highschoolers. We were able to transform the church hall into a stage complete with a dressing room (with a chalkboard blocking one doorway with the warning: "Dressing room! No entrance!") The lights and sound went really well (although they had mikes for us, we forgot to put them on!) and we had some great volunteers to run them for us.
The next night was a performance at 6:30 for the Edge group, 110ish 7/8 graders. We made a quick Wal-Mart trip to pick up batteries for our camera (which had given out on us the night before) beforehand, and arrived at the chuuch at 6:10. Whew! Close! But we had everything set up from the night before, so we were fine. Or so we thought. For the second scene, I'm supposed to come on with a birthday cake, singing to my daughter, and telling her to blow out the candles. After the opening scene, I dash backstage to change into the next costume, and I can't find the cake! Now what!? I searched and searched, praying, "Please, God! Find the cake!" I hear my cue, and steady myself to go out without the cake, but still singing "happy birthday," and just hope that between the two of us we can cover the missing lines. Then I hear Mary, calling in her little girl voice, some of the sweetest words I have ever heard: "Oh! Mommy baked a cake for us! And here it is right here!" What relief! We carried off the transition without skipping a beat! We were laughing about this afterwards, because on stage Mary was prattling away with her tea set, and when she saw the cake, she could just imagine me frantically searching for the thing, and was trying to figure out a smooth way to let me know she had it. God is so good! He has such a sense of humor. He gave us a bit of a scare, but covered for us anyways!
Afterwards, the kids had really great questions, and the q&a lasted for a while. We were able to talk with a lot of the Core member and kids as well and several of them helped us pack up our props and costumes.
Think the night was over? Not even close! Time to get down and dirty with the volleyball team! No one was keeping score, and a good thing that was too, because we were ...hmmm... 'occasionally' inaccurate with our aim. Ok, occasionally is perhaps too kind a word, but we had a blast! It was indeed fantastimagical! -Elizabeth
video

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Birthday...

+JMJ+
Come Holy Spirit!

We've started working on the Christmas Shows. I love Christmas! We are touring in December. If you are interested in the shows, see the calendar HERE: http://www.thewordinc.org/calendar/calendar.htm

I love Christmas. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Parties like these celebrations are so beautiful and so meaningful. It got me to thinking...

Think of the thousands of years humans have lived on this earth. Imagine how different we all are: the times other people lived in, where they came from, what they ate, what they wore, what they did for fun, what they did for work… and no matter who they were, or what they did, right or wrong… there are a few things we all share in common – all of us… One spiritual resemblance between every person who has lived on earth is this: that we are made in the image and likeness of God. That God has given us life, and we are invited to live with HIM in heaven forever after we die… each of us. How we respond to that invitation is up to us. Regardless, God loved each one of them, and loves each one of us…

Yet, one physical resemblance between us all is this – our day of birth. The day we entered from our mother’s wombs and saw the world for the first time. It’s the first time our mother got to meet us, the first time she got to see what we looked like. Our birthday is our day to celebrate: "hey world! I’m here! I made it!" Each year we stop and celebrate a person's life, what he did this year, how much he changed, and much he grew. It gives us an excuse for us to stop and tell our loved ones how much we love and care about them…

We have this day in common with every person who has ever been born! As different as we all live and work and dress, we all share this one day.

Yet, this one day is exactly what separates us from every aborted baby – from the unborn. This is one day they are never allowed to share with us. They shared life on earth, because from the moment of conception they are human, they are real, they are alive. But they never got to share a day of birth. So, tonight, we offer a tribute in memory of all the friends, the relatives, the children, the loved ones we never got to meet… tonight we remember all the birthdays that never were… they are not forgotten. Their memory inspires us to speak their names, and tell the world what it is missing. We have to speak out and share their stories. We have to reach out to the mothers and fathers that are suffering silently. It is our duty to proclaim the dignity of human life! To demand the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all those in the womb. We must protect life from conception to death. We must stand up. Silence is acceptance. We must speak out and be heard. We must choose life, and unite those babies with the rest of mankind, and give them a birthday that will change the history of the world. God bless, Mary

Monday, November 12, 2007

12 Apostles...

+JMJ+
Come Holy Spirit!

The Twelve Apostles were called by Jesus Christ to be His hands and feet in this world. He called them out of their every day lives and He taught them face to face. These twelve heard His voice and knew what He looked like. They watched God walk on the earth He created, among His own people. Jesus then commissioned these twelve to 'go out to all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.' And they did...

Last Thursday night we witnessed an amazing show of faith - but this show was not on a stage. Sure, we, the MSP performed on a stage under lights with music and costume, but what WE saw, sitting on the seats in front of us, were twelve disciples of Christ, who came together for the cause of life. Their faith was something inspiring...

'Imago Dei' is St. Leo University's pro-life group, begun only last year by a freshman girl. I don't know whether or not there has ever been a pro-life group here before. It is composed of students who unite for those made in the image and likeness of God, begging and pleading the world around them to respect the lives of all humans, from conception to a natural death. They, like the first Apostles, have been called by Christ to be witnesses of the truth to a culture that would rather not hear it. They have been called to share the life and love of Christ in the streets, in their dorms, in their classrooms. And maybe they won't lose their life for these truths, but they will sacrifice much to stand in opposition to what is legally accepted and condoned.

These 12 students have a tremendous and beautiful responsibility, because people are usually not willing to hear that an unborn fetus is really a human, and that abortion is murder. And it kills not only the child, but in so many ways, the mother as well. Yet grief and sorrow over aborting a baby is not politically correct, so mothers (yes, they are still mothers) live in silent shame with their forbidden grief, burying a secret that is too terrible to tell. 'Imago Dei' exists to fight against and expose the lies of a pro-choice game.

The truth is, abortion kills Someone - with a body, with a soul, with a heart, with a Name. To abort or terminate a life, humans voluntarily murder other humans, and get paid for it. Mothers opt for death instead of life because, often, they have no other choice (isn't that ironic? A woman is 'pro-choice' often because she has no other choice). And mothers need to be told that there ARE alternatives. They need to be told there are people who WOULD raise her child and care for him. Other mothers must be told that forgiveness is possible. Tell a woman considering an abortion that she has options, she has choices, and that she and her baby will be loved - they are loved.

There are so many lies spun around us, and this group is one that is untangling an ugly web and letting the light shine through. That young freshman girl saw the need for a pro-life influence at her school, and she did something about it. She inspired other people to join her. Jesus commissioned only 12 to take His Message to the whole world. I have no doubt those twelve, by God's amazing grace, will save many many lives and give many others His Truth.

Can you imagine what our United States of America could be if more disciples for life spoke up and made themselves heard? God bless, Mary

Friday, November 9, 2007

Immokalee...

+JMJ+

Last week we performed "Rachel: Lost and Found" for Our Lady of Gaudelupe Youth Group in Immokalee Fl. We got there early and started setting up in the church hall. It was not a large place and had only a small stage without a sound system for us to use and no lighting system either... that is, until we brainstormed up a solution! Using our crafty Liberal Arts minds, we looked about and found two house lamps. So far so good. A step in the right directon, but they both lacked one essential ingredient: light bulbs! With a volunteer from the parish, we stole, ahem, borrowed, two bulbs from the restrooms and overcome that obstacle. Where to put them... one occupied a seat in the front row (lucky it!) and the other rested securely on top of a tall cardboard box, complete with an aluminium pan as a shade/light magnifier. The sound system we had a bit more trouble with. We could speak loudly enough, but the whirring fans and echoes from our music gave us a run for our money. We turned the music low enough for our voices to be heard, but then it was so low we couldn't hear any of the cues. So we just went on without them and all was well.
As for the crowd, we expected 40 or so people, but ended up with 75! Yet there were plenty of chairs, and the more ears to hear the message the better!
With so many kids, the game at the end got a bit out of hand during the organization stage, but once we got started, everyone got into it and we all had a great time. There were a few kids who were clearly attentive and others who saw the whole thing as a joke, but if even one soul was touched or one seed planted, then we can count the evening as a success.
God be praised!

MSP Picture