Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Origins of the Rosary

Origins of the Rosary

(original post: )

St. Dominic did not “create” the Rosary. He died in 1221, and the earliest recorded rosary similar to what we know today was dated in the 1300s. It is possible that he taught people to recite the first half of the Hail Mary. St. Peter Damian (1007 – 1072) told the story of a priest with only one virtue – saying that Angelic Salutation daily. (Luke 1:42a)

Soon, it was called the "Psalter of Our Lady", with peasants reciting the Angelic Salutation 150 times in a row as an imitation of the 150 psalms of the Divine Office. The rest of the Hail Mary (or in Latin, Ave Maria) was a monastic addition.

Several Cistercian orders developed some meditations on the life of Christ, divided the “Aves” into groups of ten, punctuated with a “Pater Noster” (Our Father). Finally, another Dominic, a Carthusian monk of Polish descent, popularized his version with 50 meditations to keep wandering minds focused on the task at hand. This version dates to the early 1400s, and was called a Rosenkranz – a garland of roses.
Knotted cords and beads for prayer counting predate the Hail Mary. They were also used to count “Paters.”
The genius of the Rosary was that anyone could say it. The rosary confraternities were free, and open to all. (Other religious confraternities had membership dues and requirements that suited only the nobility.) The Carthusians and their Dominican confreres were simply concerned with providing spiritual succor to their flocks, all of whom were reeling from the effect of the Hundred Years War and bubonic plague.

The Rosary also satisfied the need to idealize love and relationships. In Stories of the Rose, historian Anne Winston-Allen says, “Like most works of the devotional allegory genre, it calls up the language and images of the Old Testament Song of Songs and fuses them with the conventions and terminology of courtly love.”

Woodblock prints were widely used to disseminate popular religious images to those who couldn’t read. Rosary books, devotional paintings, and sculptures abounded on the rosary theme. At the same time, most peasants said the Rosary using a knotted cord. The first Rosary woodblock print dates to 1483, in Ulm. Each picture is framed in ten roses, one for each Ave.

Easy, artistic and free-- the Rosary endures as a devotion for rich and poor.

-- by Kristen West McGuire

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Three Gates

The three gates which all thoughts should pass through before that thought becomes speech:
1. Truth
2. Relevance
3. Kindness

Ask yourself before you speak, Is it true?, Is it relevant?, and Is it kind?
Let me just tell you, this will save you a lot of trouble.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

4th of July in Chicago

This is Baby Paul, super sweet, and tons of cute personality! He's a real charmer!

Here is Eileen, Colin, Chris, Uncle Martin and Aunt Janice. I am so happy we were able to go and visit them! We all had a very lovely day.

On Saturday, Aunt Janice and I walked all over downtown Chicago. It was so much fun! We went to this really cool Architectural Building, and then....

she took me to see Jersey Boys! What a fun show! Aunt Janice is standing below the sign here, but with the lighting it is hard to see her. After we saw the show, we went to a fun, trendy restaurant called Quartino. I wish KC would get one of these, it was really yummy!

On Sunday, on my last day there, she took me down to The Taste of Chicago. There was so much food there, it was so awesome! I had some Chicago-style pizza and an Italian Ice - Yummy!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Address at the 2008 March for Life in D.C.


Rep. Chris Smith’s address to the 2008 March for Life
By Rep. Chris Smith

“Today, 35 years after the infamous Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion on demand throughout pregnancy, we mourn the estimated 50 million innocent girls and boys whose lives were cut off by abortion—a staggering loss of children’s lives, equal to six times the total number of people living in my home state of New Jersey.” Someday future generations of Americans will look back on us and wonder how and why such a rich and seemingly enlightened society, so blessed and endowed with the capacity to protect and enhance vulnerable human life, could have instead so aggressively promoted death to children and the exploitation of women by abortion both here and overseas.They will note with keen sadness that some of our most prominent politicians and media icons often spoke of human or civil rights, while precluding virtually all protection to the most persecuted minority in the world today, unborn children.

On Sunday, Senator Barack Obama criticized Americans for both our moral deficit and empathy deficit and called on us to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

Can Senator Obama not see, appreciate or understand that the abortion culture that he and others so assiduously promote lacks all empathy for unborn children—be they Black, White, Latino or Asian—and is at best, profoundly misguided when it comes to mothers?

Why does dismembering a child with sharp knives, pulverizing a child with powerful suction devices or chemically poisoning a baby with any number of toxic chemicals, fail to elicit so much as a scintilla of empathy, moral outrage, mercy or compassion by America’s liberal elite?

Abortion destroys the life of our “brothers and sisters” and the pro-abortion movement is the quintessential example of an “Empathy Deficit.”Human life begins at the moment of fertilization. Every second thereafter is simply a stage of development. By day 22 after fertilization the heart is beating and brain waves can be detected at 44 days. By week five tiny hands and feet begin to develop and by week 7 the baby is already kicking and swimming in the womb. Ultrasound technology gives us a window into the robust lives of unborn children showing them even in the earliest weeks of pregnancy, moving, turning, and stretching. We now know that in the second trimester babies have the capacity to feel pain. Future generations will wonder why it took so long for Congress, the President and the courts to stop just one hideous painful method of death, partial-birth abortion. And why dismembering a child with sharp knives, pulverizing a child with powerful suction devices or chemically poisoning a baby with any number of toxic chemicals, failed to elicit so much as a scintilla of empathy, mercy or compassion by some, especially America’s liberal elite, for the victims.

Abortion can never be construed as a human right, even if Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say it is. It is a human rights abuse against the weakest and most vulnerable—treating these young persons as a sexually transmitted disease, a parasite, a piece of junk to be destroyed. And the whole notion of wantedness and unwantedness turns a child into an object. Unborn babies have dignity, inherent value and infinite worth. Because these kids are so defenseless, politicians and jurists must now, at long last, rise above perceived political self-interest, surface appeal arguments crafted by pro-abortion focus groups and pollsters, and a raft of junk science to protect the fundamental human rights of unborn children.Let’s be blunt. Abortion is violence against children. It is extreme child abuse. It is cruelty to children. Sadly, abortion is not only legal until birth but the daily perpetrators of this terrible injustice are massively subsidized by liberal politicians who enrich the abortion industry with taxpayer funds.

Generations to come will reflect with dismay and incredulity that, notwithstanding modest pro-life legislative gains in Congress and the States, in 2008 the largest abortion provider in the nation, Planned Parenthood, continued to receive huge amounts of taxpayer funds. This ubiquitous seemingly benign organization is in the grisly business of systematically dismembering the fragile bodies of unborn children with sharp knives and hideous suction machines, or killing them with poison. As I said recently on the floor of the House of Representatives, it’s time to take a second look at Planned Parenthood, “Child Abuse, Incorporated”, for the millions of children it has killed and continues to kill, all the while receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from local, state, and federal governments.

For the abortion industry, business is good. In 2005 Planned Parenthood alone increased the number of abortions it performed in its so-called family planning clinics by 10,000 for a total of nearly 265,000 abortions. With its nation-wide clinic building boom well underway that number of slaughtered babies will likely rise to 300,000 per year or more.
Human rights defenders worthy of the name must at a minimum move to abolish government subsidies for those who destroy children. We must also tenaciously fight for the day when every life, born or unborn, is respected and protected by law.

There are at least two victims in every abortion (Three when twins are involved). It’s time to recognize and accept the inconvenient truth that abortion exploits women. Women deserve better than abortion. Nonviolent, humane solutions need to be found for women facing the challenge of an unexpected pregnancy without adequate financial resources or emotional support. A woman’s unborn child may be easily scraped from her womb, but the memory is not so easily scraped from her heart and mind—some women experience severe psychological consequences including clinical depression.

Dr. Alveda King, niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has had two abortions. Today, she has joined the growing coalition of women who deeply regret their abortions and are “Silent No More.” Out of deep personal pain and compassion for others, they challenge us to respect, protect and tangibly love both the mother and the child. The women of Silent No More give post-abortive women a safe place to grieve and a roadmap for reconciliation. And to society at large, these brave women compel us to rethink and reassess the far-too-cheap sophistry of our abortion culture. Reflecting on her uncle’s famous speech, Alveda King asks: “How can the ‘Dream’ survive if we murder the children?”

Future generations will look on those who March for Life with gratitude for their unwavering resolve to protect both women and unborn children from abortion. Thirty-five years after Roe, pro-life ranks have swelled with abortion survivors—courageous post-abortive women, fathers grieving the loss of their son or daughter, siblings who mourn the abortion death of a brother or sister and students who miss every third classmate denied a chance to live. Through their efforts, combined with the dedication of pro-life advocates of all ages, and united in prayer and fasting, America’s dark night of child slaughter will soon come to an end.”

(Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) is currently serving his 14th term and is Co-Chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus)

For more information, go to:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

PA and the Poconos

I'm in PA right now, enjoying my vacation. Mom and dad are here and we are at Uncle Bob and Aunt Jill's house getting ready for a yummy dinner out on the deck. It is a beautiful evening and their brand new "water feature" is very cool.

We spent the last several days in the Pocono Mountains here in North Eastern PA, and we saw harness racing and the Pocono Raceway, which is a Nascar race car track. We got a free tour of the track and even got to ride in the pace car.

We were able to go and pay a visit to Alex and Gloria and little Lydia up near Scranton, PA which was only about a half hour from where we were staying. That was a real treat to get to spend an evening with them.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pray for Priests

On the Feast of the Sacred Heart, we are asked to pray for the sanctification of priests. The following prayer is worth saying more often!

St. Therese's Prayer for Priests

O Holy Father, may the torrents of love flowing from the sacred wounds of Thy Divine Son bring forth priests like unto the beloved disciple John who stood at the foot of the Cross; priests: who as a pledge of Thine own most tender love will lovingly give Thy Divine Son to the souls of men.
May Thy priests be faithful guardians of Thy Church, as John was of Mary, whom he received into his house. Taught by this loving Mother who suffered so much on Calvary, may they display a mother’s care and thoughtfulness towards Thy children. May they teach souls to enter into close union with Thee through Mary who, as the Gate of Heaven, is specially the guardian of the treasures of Thy Divine Heart.
Give us priests who are on fire, and who are true children of Mary, priests who will give Jesus to souls with the same tenderness and care with which Mary carried the Little Child of Bethlehem.
Mother of sorrows and of love, out of compassion for Thy beloved Son, open in our hearts deep wells of love, so that we may console Him and give Him a generation of priests formed in thy school and having all the tender thoughtfulness of thine own spotless love. Amen.

From: Secretum Meum Mihi Press

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The March for LIFE 2008

We left Kansas City, MO on Saturday, January 19th in 4 big coach buses, holding about 50 people on each bus. It was a 24 hour bus ride out to Washington DC.
I was lucky enough to get to meet up with my cousin, Aaron the first night I was there. He took me out to this delicious seafood restaurant, Legal Seafood, and then afterward he came with me to a pub that was next to my hotel and got to meet a bunch of my friends, including my roommate. It was so cool and totally fun!

The reason for the March for Life is that it marks the day the Supreme Court passed the decision on Roe v. Wade that made it legal to have an abortion for any reason at any time during the 9 months of pregnancy. 3000 babies a day die as a result of abortion. Abortion is by far the leading cause of death in America. We march for and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

This is my friend Brook and myself in the hotel right before going out to sightsee on the day before the March. It was really cold outside so we were all bundled up! We went to the Mall and we saw the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, the Korean War memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. We also walked to the Capitol building, and we saw several other federal buildings on our walk.

Washington Monument......

The Lincoln Memorial.....

Brook on the steps by the Capitol.

We stopped by the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land. Unfortunately we didn't have much time to check it out since we had to get over to the Basilica to get a seat.
This is St. Francis with the Child Jesus.

We got seats right in the front row! It was the most amazing and memorable mass I've ever been to. The Basilica, which is the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, was so beautiful. There were hundreds of seminarians, Deacons, Priests, Bishops and Cardinals there. I had never seen so many in one place before!

This is the mosaic of Jesus that was behind the altar. He has fire coming off of his halo! He looked like a warrior Jesus.

Here were some of the Bishops that attended the mass. Bishop Finn, the Bishop of KC is the second one from the left. We Love Bishop Finn!!!!

This is Sherri and me and Ryan at the March Rally on the 22nd. It was freezing out there, but that didn't stop us from speaking up for the babies!

The Silent No More campaign was there. They have a very profound presence. Women and men who are speaking up about regretting their abortions, or being involved with one. Abortion doesn't rewind anything, it only causes hurt and pain.

Some of the signs that were present during the March. This was a life changing experience for me. Life is so precious and sacred, it is a gift. Let's all work to make the womb a safer place to live!