When I Held My Son for the First Time, I Caught a Glimpse of God’s Joyful Love of Each Person

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Millennial writer Marcus Mescher writes:

I’ll never forget the first time I held my son. After a long and difficult labor, his heart rate dropped and we nearly lost him. A traumatic birth twisted his head and neck, causing him great pain. After a round of tests and being tightly swaddled, his face was beet red from screaming. He looked terrified and helpless. The instant I cradled him in my arms, my heart swelled. I felt like the Grinch listening to Christmas carols coming from Whoville (whose heart grows three sizes); I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest, erupting in sheer delight for this precious child. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much love. In that moment, I had an epiphany: This is exactly what God feels for each and every person: unconditional love, infinite joy, endless pride.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to put ourselves in touch with God who ceaselessly delights in us and whose will is realized through us. We pray to participate in the personal and social transformation ignited by this truth.

Take a moment to bask in God’s abundant, steadfast love for you.

The Ethics of Encounter is Everything Writing on Catholic Social Teaching Should Be

Maria Power writes:

In Marcus Mescher’s The Ethics of Encounter, we have an excellent example of how Francis’s teachings should be put into practice….

In five substantive chapters, he guides us through the practice of the ethics of encounter. He starts, as Catholic social teaching expects, by defining the problem, showing how American society is more divided than it has ever been—in part as a result of the ‘networked self’ resulting from digital technology. The second chapter, in common with Fratelli Tutti, offers a meditation on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. This parable guides us through the theology of neighbour that underpins the ethic of encounter. Mescher shows us how we can use the religious or prophetic imaginary to discern how to meet Christ in the other. The third chapter takes Gustavo Gutiérrez’s emphasis on friendship as its basis because ‘Gutiérrez’s emphasis on friendship provides a practical framework for assessing the moral demands of solidarity’ (p. 22). Chapter four deals with the virtues necessary to practice the ethics of encounter. These include courage, mercy, generosity, and humility. The final chapter uses the case study of Father Greg Boyle SJ’s Homeboy Industries to show how individuals and communities can be transformed by encounters which acknowledge the God-given dignity of every human being. Through the use of such a case study we are shown how even those believed to live on the extreme edges of society can be transformed by God’s love.

The Ethics of Encounter is everything writing on Catholic social teaching should be. It is grounded in the gospel, the Magisterium, and the lived experience of the kind of mercy that can truly transform lives. This book provides a method that can, and should be, replicated in other contexts, such as the United Kingdom.

Shining a Light on Assad’s Many Crimes Against Humanity

via CBS News:

The images you are about to see are the honest evidence of the greatest war crimes of the 21st century. President Biden and his national security team will soon face a horror that erupted a decade ago, when many of them were in the Obama administration. March will bring the 10th anniversary of the popular uprising that began Syria’s civil war. The Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, has gassed the innocent, bombed hospitals and schools, and made thousands disappear. The evidence is hard to watch but it should be seen. Many risked their lives to tell this story so that — even if Assad is never arrested — he will be, forever, handcuffed to the truth.

How to Build a Culture That Respects the Dignity of All People

Jeannie Gaffigan is a writer, director, producer, best-selling author, and philanthropist—as well as a great champion of life, human dignity, and protecting the vulnerable. In this episode, she discusses her decision to endorse Joe Biden, how whole life Biden voters should approach his presidency, her experience as a mother of five children, her time working on the Jim Gaffigan Show, and her book “When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People” on her experience with a pear-sized brain tumor.

Co-hosts Kristen Day and Robert Christian discuss the opportunities and challenges whole life advocates may face with Joe Biden in office, reflect upon the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol, and look at how whole life candidates performed in the 2020 elections.

It can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and below. You can support the show here: support.democratsforlife.org/product/2E…ife-rising

President Biden Reestablishing White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Christopher White writes:

President Joe Biden will reestablish the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, an office he pledges will serve a critical role in addressing COVID-19 recovery and systemic racism.

Melissa Rogers, who previously led the office from 2013 to 2017 during President Barack Obama’s second term, will serve as its executive director, while Josh Dickson, who led faith outreach for Biden during the 2020 campaign, will serve as deputy director. Trey Baker, who led African American engagement during the campaign and is currently a White House senior advisor for public engagement, will serve as the office’s liaison to Black communities….

In announcing the reestablishment of the office, Biden sought to emphasize its history of bipartisan work and collaboration.

“There are not Democrats or Republicans dying from this pandemic, or losing their jobs, going hungry and facing eviction in this economic crisis, or facing the sting of systemic racism or the brunt of the climate crisis,” Biden said in a statement. “They are fellow human beings. They are fellow Americans. And this is not a nation that can, or will, simply stand by and watch the suffering around us. That is not who we are. That is not what faith calls us to be.”

In the statement, Biden said he was reestablishing the office “to work with leaders of different faiths and backgrounds who are the frontlines of their communities in crisis and who can help us heal, unite, and rebuild.”…

Following the announcement, Stephen Schneck, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, praised the reestablishment of the office and its new appointments.

“I know both Melissa Rogers and Josh Dickson and they are utterly terrific appointments,” he told NCR via email. “Melissa is one more sure and professional hand at the reins in President Biden’s White House. Josh proved his mettle in managing the faith outreach of President Biden’s campaign. Faith outreach in a campaign is a trial by fire and Josh did a superb job.”

Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

How Climate Change May Affect Your Health by Jane Brody: “But what if I told you that no matter where you live or how high your socioeconomic status, climate change can endanger your health, both physical and mental, now and in the future? Not only your health, but also the health of your children and grandchildren? Might you consider making changes to help mitigate the threat?”

Trumpism is American fascism by Michael Gerson: “Much about the United States’ political future will depend on shaping a compelling, responsible American conservatism as an alternative to the Trump temptation. This may or may not happen within the GOP. But for American democracy to fully function, civic republicanism will eventually need a home on the political right.”

On abortion, both Biden and the pro-life movement lack moral consistency by Michael Sean Winters: “I tremble for our country when I think of how God and history will judge us for getting the abortion issue so wrong, for failing to craft and support a feminism that cherishes each and every human life. I tremble, too, when I contemplate the backlash that awaits on the morrow of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe or Casey.”

The Seamless Garment must be properly understood  by Pedro Gabriel: “When we ignore or dismiss the importance of giving legal protection to the unborn, we put seams in the Seamless Garment. When we set aside the goal of supporting pro-life initiatives and legislation, our ethic of life is no longer consistent. The Seamless Garment must be properly understood, if it is to be adequately implemented. This is just as true today as it was before: the Seamless Garment is indeed the Catholic position.”

The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship by Amanda Mull: “The pandemic has evaporated entire categories of friendship, and by doing so, depleted the joys that make up a human life—and buoy human health. But that does present an opportunity. In the coming months, as we begin to add people back into our lives, we’ll now know what it’s like to be without them.”

Eternal memory belongs to God. Embrace each moment now. by Don Clemmer: “It’s God’s job to hold on to everything in eternity, the ultimate remembering Father. The real gift of those zillion snapshots that comprise the flipbook movie of parenthood is that the sheer deluge of experiences forces us to give up on trying to grasp every fleeting thing and just live it, gratefully, in the moment. Most of it will be forgotten, deleted, swept away, and that’s OK. It is a firehose of gift and a chaotic crash course in how to receive.”

WandaVision Is Trying to Teach Us Something About Grief by Josh Noem: “I had someone once describe the “work” of grief to me as making sense of your story in a new way. You thought you were in one story with a certain set of characters. And then one of them — a crucial character, someone without whom you’ve never imagined life — is suddenly gone. The work of grief in that situation is to figure out how your story goes on without that person.”

How Catholic media should cover Biden by Heidi Schlumpf: “But the media’s job remains the same: to tell the truth, uncover what may be hidden and hold the powerful accountable. Sure, we can now exhale, because power rests in the hands of someone who is clearly saner and more responsible than the previous office holder. Joe Biden does not get some kind of pass because he is a fellow, practicing Catholic. But our shared faith means we can draw on that tradition and those values in our coverage of him.”

Bill to require fathers to pay 50% of pregnancy costs advances through Utah House committee by Taylor Stevens: “A biological father could be responsible to pay half of the out-of-pocket pregnancy costs for the woman carrying their unborn child under a new bill that passed a House committee on Wednesday.”