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Week of Novenas for Justice and Peace

Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Ugandan Martyrs

General Intentions:

The unjust exercise of authority

Sins and structures of sin against life

Work of Justice and Peace

+ Hear the truth when it is spoken to you. Discern the signs of the times and speak truth -- to power, to the people, and to the Church.

Saint Prayer for the Novena

St. Charles Lwanga and the Martyrs of Uganda, we come to you asking your prayers of intercession on behalf of all who suffer from the unjust exercise of authority. May you who were so cruelly persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ intercede for all who are oppressed, that they might be comforted by the Divine Mercy and empowered by the gift and grace of fortitude. May justice be the goal of all people and may all who are called by the name Christian join together in works of redemption directed at the sins and the structures of sin that afflict our communities.

In this Novena we honor Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe, protector of the unborn, patron of all those who are oppressed and persecuted. We also honor the noble Ugandan Martyrs, victims of a cruel and unjust king, martyrs of the Gospel cause of justice.

If there is anything that we can learn from human history, it is just how cheap human life is. Throughout all recorded history, we have drawn circles around certain groups and said, "These people are not human -- dispose of them as you choose." The list of crimes is endless, the holocausts too many to count, the price too great to contemplate for long.

It is the conceit of the late 20th century "moderns" and "post-moderns" that we have somehow learned something from this history. We look down our noses at the Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and those who condemned entire nations to death and destruction.

But if we are going to adopt a position of moral superiority, we should stop and conduct an examination of conscience. We condemn the Nazi's for killing the Jews -- but we turn a blind eye to the murder of unborn children by their doctors. Human life is precious and human dignity deserves respect and protection? Well, that's kind of yes and no, you know, it sort of kind of depends on where the person is located. Some people in some locations, well, you know, they just really aren't real people. They're just tissue. Tear 'em apart and flush 'em down the toilet.

Back when the crusade to legalize the murder of unborn children was just getting going, people said, "If we allow abortion, the next thing you know they will be killing old sick people." The supporters of abortion said, "Oh you are just being a radical alarmist. We would never do that. People are people, you can't kill them just because they are sick."

Twenty-five years later, one state has legalized the murder of sick and highly disabled people and the practice is widely touted as "humane" and "respectful of personal autonomy". It would be too impolite to admit what is really going on. Some sick people are really expensive to care for, and if they don't have assets or insurance -- if they are poor -- it is a lot cheaper just to kill them and put them out of our misery. We can even make it look like it is their idea.

There is enough tragedy in all of this to add numerous chapters onto the list of human horrors. Abandonment by father, violence against women, an unjust economic system, welfare "reform" policies that encourage abortion, sterilization, and mandatory contraception, demonization of the poor as inherently inferior, cartelized and corporatized health care (and that's just the beginning). Truly we need to go to Our Lady of Guadalupe -- who took upon herself the image of a young Aztec maiden, in a time when Aztec's weren't exactly the wealthy and affluent class, in a place where there was much oppression and injustice, and for the purpose of demonstrating God's love for and protection of the indigenous peoples who were at the mercy of the more-technologically-advanced-and-wealthier Spanish.

Truly we need to contemplate the examples of the Ugandan Martyrs, who suffered tremendous torments and fiery deaths for their Christian faith -- and specifically, their refusal to bow to the unjust demands of a tyrant.

May we plumb the depths of these mysteries and discover the will of God and Our Lady for us at this time, in this place, under the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

Daily Lectionary Meditations on Justice and Peace

Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul June 29

Memorial of the First Martyrs of Rome June 30

Selected Links

Works of Justice and Peace

Ugandan Martyrs Page (the "acta" of their martyrdoms)

Our Lady of Guadalupe Page truly one of the most beautiful pages I have found on the internet. A treasury of pictures and prayers.

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