The First Wednesday of Advent

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Father Thomas Merton, the famous Trappist monk and a personal hero of mine wrote in his book, Life and Holiness:

Every baptized Christian is obliged by his baptismal promises to renounce sin and to give himself completely, without compromise, to Christ, in order that he may fulfill his vocation, save his soul, enter into the mystery of God, and there find himself perfectly “in the light of Christ.”

As Saint Paul reminds us (1 Cor 6:19), we are “not our own.”  We belong entirely to Christ.  His spirit has taken possession of us at baptism.  We are the Temples of the Holy Spirit.  Our thoughts, our actions, our desires, are by rights more his than our own.  But we have to struggle to ensure that God always receives from us what we owe Him by right.

Many years ago, shortly after the last dinosaur had died, I worked in the retail business, for a national chain.  One day word came that the CEO, the founder, the namesake of the company was going to visit our store.  Panic set in.  Normally unflappable managers were suddenly transformed into grade school kids who’d been called to the principal’s office.

Every inch of the store was clean and shiny.  When the big day came, we were all following customers around the store, tidying up after them.  “The boss is coming!  The boss is coming!” To make a long story short (too late?), the visit was uneventful.  Once “the man” was gone, we went back to business as usual.

The days before that visit were our “Advent.”  We pulled out all the stops to be sure we were ready for the “big day.”  How’s that scenario relate to our preparations for Christ’s coming later this month?  Are we doing all that we can to put our houses in order?

A Sad Day

From the National Institutes of Health:

NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., today announced the approval of the first 13 human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines for use in NIH-funded research under the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research adopted in July 2009.

“I am happy to say that we now have human embryonic stem cell lines eligible for use by our research community under our new stem cell policy,” Dr. Collins said. “In accordance with the guidelines, these stem cell lines were derived from embryos that were donated under ethically sound informed consent processes. More lines are under review now, and we anticipate continuing to expand this list of responsibly derived lines eligible for NIH funding.” [emphasis mine, mb]

As of today, your tax dollars are being used to fund the immoral, unethical practice of embryonic stem cell research.  An early Christmas gift from your Uncle Sam.

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