Thursday, May 30, 2013

Update! Because so many of you helped Uju in her quest to keep Africa pro-life...


...I just had to share this with all of you!

A few days ago, I received the most amazing email from our dear friend Obianuju Ekeocha ("Uju"), who first came to my attention when she courageously wrote her open letter to billionaire Melinda Gates. She later wrote an excellent follow-up for the Bubble.

Since that time, her Nigerian bishop asked her to put together a pro-life conference back in Africa (Uju currently lives and works in England). Suffice to say, she was stunned and overwhelmed, not having the first idea how to begin such a monumental task. But the Lord provided the grace, and after this appeal (remember?), you provided the means. So many of you stepped up generously and donated enough funds to pay the airfare for top-notch pro-life speakers to headline this groundbreaking African conference.

Here are Uju's own words soon after she arrived for the big event:




Dearest Leila !!!!

Of course you would know that I will at least send you a mail from Nigeria! There is internet connection but it is not at my fingertips as I have it in the UK where composing an email is only as difficult as picking up my iPhone. Here I actually have to connect a modem to my lap top and then pray for a good reception.

Anyway, I am so glad that I can at least write you at this time.

I am well and Nigeria is as lively as ever. As you may have seen in my blog, I am so so so busy during these days and nights as I try to prepare the landing ground for dearest Nicole and the 2 other Americans. Everyone is so excited about their coming. 

Having said that, Brian Clowes of Human Life international has already arrived yesterday (Sunday) and has already given 2 powerful talks and he has also met HUNDREDS of people. He spoke to about 600 seminarians and afterwards he told me that he had never seen so many seminarians in his life! And that is only one of our 4 major seminaries in this region.
Leila, there is such a high excitement here because my people are about to wake up to the great importance of defending the Culture of life .

By Wednesday our conferences begin and I actually did not realise that I had been chosen to give the commencement speech !!!! Ok. I should have known that our Blessed Mother still has a few surprises for me at the fringe of her mantle. Please pray for me to do bravely.

I was invited by the archbishop to his place last Saturday and after our meeting he spoke with my dad and gave me such high praises and compliments. And of course this was a real honour unto my dad and my entire family.

Again I would beg for your prayers because so much responsibility has been placed on my little shoulders and as the yoke of our Lord is neither burdensome nor heavy I will gladly surrender to it.

Many more things are about to unfold and I pray for our Lord to give success to the work of our hands for the glory of his name.

Ok dearest sister, I will stop here and go to bed, mass is 6am !!! I will continue to pray for you and your intentions here in Nigeria because I know how much encouragement that I got from you. Feel free to share whatever I’ve said here.

Much love to you and yours.

Uju
From Enugu, Nigeria


Shortly after this email was written, our own Nicole (Mom and Then Some) arrived in Nigeria. Months earlier, upon hearing of Uju's desperate need, Nicole had selflessly and joyfully offered her pro-life expertise as president of Delaware Right to Life. After working tirelessly across an ocean ever since, they are together at the conference at last! In this photo (which makes me giddy!), Nicole is on the far left, and Uju is next to the bishop:


I love these beautiful people! Ahhhhh!

I cannot wait until the ladies are able to give a full account when it's all over.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for what you have done to help Uju and Nicole facilitate this miracle.

Be sure to check in with Uju's Culture of Life Africa blog and Culture of Life Africa facebook page for more updates. And please pray!






Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How they met!



Who said that blogging is a waste of time? Not me! Well, at least not in this case! Indirectly, it was blogging, after all, that led my daughter to find the "Athanasius" of her dreams (even if she didn't giggle)!



If you are a longtime reader of the Bubble, you may remember that for the first couple of years I had the following written at the end of my greeting on the right sidebar: "For fun, I like to make matches between devout Catholic singles. I'll let you know when one of those matches works out."

True that I have not had much success (understatement) in my matchmaking endeavors over the past several years, but attentive readers may have noticed that my sidebar has changed to this: "One of those matches seems to be working out…."




Indeed! When I prayed to God to give me just one "big" match and I'd be satisfied, I never expected it to be my own child. Our Lord is delightful and surprising! And for fun, He allowed the Catholic blogosphere to be the means by which this couple found each other.

I began this blog in April 2010, and by the fall of of that year, some of my Catholic blogging peers had become good facebook and email friends as well, including the beautiful young Mary Mascarello who blogged at The Screllos (now private). I had never met Mary in person, but our email friendship was strong. That November, we were joking via email about the need for Mary to set up my daughter with a relative or someone she knew, so that we could be related. I told her my daughter's "type" and told her to get on it, ha ha. She did! She almost immediately remembered a young man she had just met at a Theology on Tap meeting, and my daughter can summarize from there:
My mom, the ever-aspiring matchmaker, has always wanted to find me a good Catholic man to marry. I will grant her partial credit for this victory. In fall 2010, she gave her friend, Mary, the task of finding my future husband. Mary, who lives in the midwest, said she had met a nice-looking young man at Theology on Tap. She told my mom about him and I received an odd text from my mother saying, “His name is Carter”. Then I received a phone call telling me she had found my future husband. So the facebook creeping commenced…. he was tall, dark, handsome, loved Augustine and Aquinas. Meanwhile Mary had told Carter about me. He sent me a facebook message right before he was off to the March for Life in D.C. and before I was headed abroad to study in Orvieto, Italy. 

The breathtaking duomo that crowns Orvieto was begun in the 13th century.
Very near to it is where St. Thomas Aquinas compiled his Catena Aurea.

He asked if he could write me letters. Of course I said yes. After all, what is more romantic than writing letters to a young man across the ocean from my room in a cobblestone, hilltop town? That’s right. Not much. On the first day of class, I received my first letter. The next day I spent a long time at the little paper shop down the street picking out the perfect stationery. We wrote letters back and forth across the ocean. I’d tell him about my Italian adventures and he’d tell me about the happenings in his life. We discussed literature, theology, our shared Catholic faith. When I came back to the states, we kept exchanging letters. 


Finally, he alluded to wanting to meet me. We decided to meet at a half-wayish point – at the University of Dallas, where my best friend went to school. Over my birthday weekend, eight months after we began writing letters and only a month after I had first heard his voice on the phone, I met the love of my life and future husband.






Fast forward to the proposal. By May 2012, Carter had moved to Arizona to be closer to my daughter, and we all knew it was just a matter of time before the lovebirds would be engaged. Again, I'll let my daughter take it from here:

On Christmas Day 2012, Carter was with his family in his hometown and I was with mine in Phoenix. After the Miller clan had opened an abundance of presents, Mom said she saw one last present behind the tree. To my surprise, there was a pretty all-white stocking with a white rose in it. There was no to/from tag, but inside the stocking was a small package. I opened it up to find the very first letters Carter had ever sent me. I was very, very confused because to my knowledge I had these letters in a special box down in a different town, where I was attending school. My mom played the fool and I called Carter, who pleaded ignorant. 
That night on my pillow I found another white rose and more letters. Over the next two days the white rose/letter combination kept appearing places… on my suitcase, in my shoes. Since no one would tell me what was going on, I dubbed this mysterious rose/letter giver the “Christmas gremlin”. On the 27th I left for Carter's hometown and apparently the gremlin had followed there, as the roses and letters continued! On the night of the 28th, I received the most recent letters Carter had sent me and I knew as I went to sleep that night that I would be engaged come the next day! (Well, that and the fact that when I had showed Carter a new lace dress my mom’s friend had given me, he told me I should “wear it tomorrow”.) 
Very early the next morning I awoke to a bed sprinkled in white rose petals and a new letter, which told me that it was snowing and to meet him in the backyard. Knowing what was about to happen, I naturally took about half an hour to 45 minutes getting ready. I walked downstairs and Carter was standing in the kitchen. He led me outside and guided me down the deck’s snow-covered steps (although it was not snowing!) to our favorite tree in the yard. And it was in this snowy winter wonderland that my future husband got down on one knee and asked for my hand in Holy Matrimony. And I said, “Of course!"

Yes, that is snow on his knee! No, she was not feeling the cold!




And there you have it! My passion for matchmaking and blogging has borne good fruit, thanks to the grace of a generous God (and the faithfulness of two great young people). Thank you for sharing in our joy as we prepare for the wedding which is fast approaching. Please keep this couple in your prayers, and let us pray for the strengthening of holy marriage in general, and the purity of young people. Despite the darkness and despair in this world, we must always be a people of great hope! God is an awesome God!


Engagement photos by Lexi Moody Photography





Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pope Francis knows the difference between redemption and salvation. Do you?



AP

Secularists and believers alike seem confused by the recent words of Pope Francis when he affirmed that all people, even atheists, are redeemed:
"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!"
Despite what one might conclude after reading the flurry of frenzied headlines that followed, the Holy Father was saying nothing new; the fact that Jesus Christ redeemed the world is age-old, standard Christian teaching. Consider the prayers we traditionally use for the Stations of the Cross:
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You, because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.
Yes, the whole world -- which includes all atheists, all sinners, all people, even all things -- was redeemed by the Blood of Christ that was shed for us on Calvary. Jesus paid the ransom (the word "redemption" literally means the "buying back" of a thing), and His atoning sacrifice opened the gates of Heaven, which had been previously closed to humanity due to Adam's sin.
"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all…."  1 Timothy 2:5-6
The Cross redeemed all. Bam!

But (and it's a big but)… not everyone will choose to accept the redeeming love of God and its invitation to salvation. While God didn't need our cooperation or permission to redeem us, without our cooperation and permission He will not save us. God is a gentleman, and He will not bring us into union with Him unless we desire that union. Redemption has come to all of us, thanks to Christ's atoning work on the Cross approximately 2,000 years ago, but salvation is an individual choice that we each must make, a gift that we can accept or reject even up to our dying breath.

So when Pope Francis said that everyone is redeemed, even atheists, he was correct! It's a basic Christian tenet taught by Scripture, Tradition, and every pope before him -- but one that implies nothing about any individual's salvation. I wish that more journalists (and more Christians) were well-versed in the basics of the Faith, but the buzz and controversy gives us an opportunity to teach and clarify these truths for the world.


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For an even better explanation, check out Brandon Vogt's article on StrangeNotions.com:









Sunday, May 19, 2013

Still no time to blog...

…so here are some things that inspired me this week:





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Have a beautiful Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Church!


 Jean II Restout







Monday, May 13, 2013

The irony of the CBSNews headline:






See, Gosnell is only guilty of murdering three babies, because the thousands of other babies he killed (same ages, same sizes) were killed legally.

It's sort of like when the Nazis killed the Jews. It wasn't murder, you understand, because in Germany at that time, the law said it was okay.

And if men make laws saying that it's okay to target and kill certain groups of human beings, then, well, it must be okay, right?

There are surely no other abortionists guilty of murdering any other babies day in and day out, they are only efficiently providing "reproductive health services". Aside from those three murdered babies (an anomaly!), all is well in Abortionville, USA. Nothing to see here, move along now….









Saturday, May 11, 2013

Life is good!

Been off the grid for a couple of days and had a wonderful time at our eldest daughter's college graduation!


We are so proud of her, and we are looking forward to our other daughter's high school graduation in just a few weeks!

And I must say, it's been so peaceful, beautiful, incredible not to be reading and talking about all the darkness in the world, not debating about down being up and up being down, but instead just being grateful to the Lord for every grace and blessing (which is easier to do when one walks away from screens for a bit)!

In keeping with the joy theme, I hope to tell you in the next post how my daughter and her fiancĂ© met, so stay tuned!



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Monday, May 6, 2013

Invite your atheist friends to StrangeNotions.com!



Hooray!


Whenever I get an email from Brandon Vogt, I know it's gonna be good. The email I received this morning was the best yet.

His new site, two years in the making and designed to be the central place of dialogue between Catholics and atheists, has just launched! It's called StrangeNotions.com, and as Brandon explains:
Strange Notions gets its name from St. Paul's speech at the Areopagus in Acts 17:16-34. There he proclaimed the Resurrection to the intellectual elite of the ancient world, who responded by saying, "you bring some strange notions to our ears; we should like to know what these things mean." 
StrangeNotions.com helps those asking the same thing today. Open-minded atheists will encounter reasonable arguments for God and his Church, maybe for the first time in their lives, and like St. Paul's listeners they’ll leave intrigued by these strange notions.

Hot dog!

The list of contributors includes friends of the Bubble (Dr. Stacy Trasancos, Jennifer Fulwiler, Dr. Kevin Vost, Trent Horn, Steve Gershom, Devin Rose, Joe Heschmeyer) and other Catholic rock stars (Fr. Robert Spitzer, Dr. Peter Kreeft, John C. Wright, Dr. Janet Smith, Fr. Robert Barron [swoon!!!], Leah Libresco, Jimmy Akin). Not to mention the myriad other giant minds

I am giddy. I am floating on a cloud. Here, watch the trailer:


And now, clear your schedule, grab a cup of tea, go to the site and start exploring:


Better yet, direct your atheist friends there. Truth be told, not every Catholic is able to debate these issues skillfully or possess the relevant knowledge, but the friendly, faithful, brilliant, and lettered contributors at StrangeNotions.com have that ability and are at your service. Let them engage your atheist friends and family with respect and intellectual rigor. 

Bookmark it, share it on facebook, feature it on your blog, email it to everyone you know. 

Did I mention that I am giddy?

Thanks, Brandon, for all you do!

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Gosnell is not an anomaly.


I finally had the chance to sit down and watch the 21-minute documentary on Gosnell's House of Horrors abortion clinic, which was produced as Gosnell awaited trial. Pay special attention to the women's testimonies:





Another young victim (just sixteen at the time of her late-term abortion by Gosnell) has a hard story to tell:



Now of course, you all know the narrative. We are supposed to believe that Gosnell's actions and attitudes are a shocking anomaly. However, I fail to see a moral difference between Gosnell and what is revealed in the following Live Action videos.


Bronx, NY:




Washington, DC:




My hometown, Phoenix, AZ:





And of course, the man we elected President of the United States, our highest leader:



Honestly, I can hardly believe we are having this discussion. I cannot believe this is even a debate. When evil itself is right in front of our eyes, and we cannot see it, or we calmly look away, or we justify and condone it, who are we? 

One of the clearest and most cringe-worthy examples of the avenging conscience that I've ever witnessed is this explosive exchange between pro-life Lila Rose and pro-"choice" Tamara Holder: 


I actually felt sorry for Tamara, but her language, anger, and facial expressions confirmed for me that she knows. She knows. 





Lord, have mercy. On Gosnell, on the abortionists and staff in the videos, on Barack Obama, on Tamara Holder, and on all of us.

Holy Innocents, pray for us.





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