Collection of Stories and Observations.

I like to consider myself a Catholic Christian.  These are some of my stories and observations.

 

A Catholic On The Plane.

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What About the Sex?

 “Earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” – St. Thomas Moore

 

I once worked with a young man, John, who at one point wanted to be a priest and after two years in the Seminary, he left because it was not his calling.  He then married a protestant woman and left the Catholic faith.  As I was coming in to work one morning on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, he was talking to another of my co-workers and questioning him if he knew what the feast of the Immaculate Conception was all about.  John knew full well the answer to the question he was asking and it can be a trick question for those who do not take their Catholic faith seriously since many assume the Holy day is about Jesus.  It is not.  The feast is about Mary, the mother of God, who Catholics believe was conceived without the stain of original sin, thereby making her worthy to carry within her the son of God.  I managed to intervene just in case my other co-worker did not know the correct answer.  I can be bad like that. That lead John to start a conversation on how could Mary be immaculate and remain a virgin if she had other children?  The gospels he stated contained references to Jesus’s brothers.  The answer to that is; the Catholic faith holds that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life and ‘brothers’ in the Aramaic language refers to any close male relative, such as cousins or uncles or close family friends much in the same way the black community uses the word, “bro”.   This language does not have a separate word for blood related brothers alone.  John was upset with my answers and left saying, “If that was the case, (Mary remained a virgin), then poor Joseph (i.e. Joseph would not be able to have sex with his wife).”   He did not leave me the opportunity to ask, “What are you willing to give up to love, hold and raise the son of the living God in your arms and in your home, as your own son?”

“’Truly I tell you,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left home or bothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and gospel will fail to receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.’”  (Mark 10:29-30)

   Too often, I have heard people say, “If there is no sex in heaven, then why would I want to go there?”  It is a question bore out of ignorance of heaven and a question I can only answer with a story I made up.

   There once was a man who was raised by monkeys, (no, not Tarzan).  He lived in the jungle and ate all the food the monkeys showed him to eat.   There were fruits and bugs and worms that supplied his daily nourishment.  One day, a rich man from the other side of the world was visiting the jungle and found him.  He took pity on the man raised by monkeys and brought him to his home across the sea.  He had a banquet filled with all the finest foods and drinks prepared by the most renown chiefs of the world and placed in a beautiful banquet hall.  When the rich man opened the door to the feast, the poor monkey man said, “Where are the bugs and worms to eat?”.  Then sadly he left the feast saying, “If there are no bugs and worms here, then I do not want to be here as well.”   The moral of the story is this: If you settle for only the joys you know here on earth then you will be settling for joys that could never equal the joy of heaven.  Even the joy of sex is worms compared to the ecstasy of being in the presence of the living God.   Ignorance of the truth of heaven keeps people bound to the sin of earth.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those how love him.”  (1 Corinthians 2:9)

     Many saints were allowed to experience this ecstasy here on earth as shown by the phenomena of levitation.  It was said that St. Joseph of Cupertino levitated so often that for thirty-five years, his superiors would not allow him to partake in any community procession or exercise least he disturb the event.  He would go into ecstasy and be carried off for some distances. Over 70 of his levitations were recorded making him the patron saint of airline passengers.  It was told that after one priest said to him, “Father Joseph, how beautiful God has made Heaven,” the saint flew up and rested on top of an olive tree branch and remained kneeling there for over a half hour.  On occasion the levitations could last six to seven hours.  St. Joseph is not alone in this mystery as the list of saints known to levitate is quite long.

  “and I know that this man was caught up into paradise-whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know, God knows, was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.”  (2 Corinthians 12:3-4)

    Along with the demand that heaven include sex, is the notion that it is unnatural for men to be priests and never marry.  Our sex obsessed culture is so blind to the idea that men and women could give up the act of sex in order to serve God. I have actually heard people say that pedophilia would not happen if priests were allowed to marry which is so completely ignorant of the nature of pedophilia.  If marriage prevented pedophilia, then why are so many children attacked by married peoples or people in sexual relationships?  It is not about unmet sexual desire but about the unnatural desire to have sex with children and it a terrible sickness in and out of any type of sexual relationship.  Priests make the decision to abstain from sexual relationships in order to serve a greater love, the love of God.  That is what they are willing to sacrifice to hold and love the son of the living God.

“Some are born eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose to not marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Let anyone accept this who can.”  (Matthew 19:12)

    Sex is a wonderful gift from God.  God invented it and designed it for us to understand a small taste of heaven.  It is meant to give us an understanding of life in heaven. It is a glimpse of what God feels when He created us and the love He feels for us. It was to bound a man and woman together in love and to bring forth life in consecrated love.  In marriage, it is holy.  It was meant to be wonderful.  It was never meant to be the highest level of ecstasy we can ever experience.  

 “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for your love is better than wine.”  (Song of Songs 1:2)

 John, don’t settle for worms.

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They Cry for Us.

“What an irony that a society confronted with plastic bags filled with the remains of aborted babies should be more concerned about the problem of recycling the plastic”.  

~ Winifred Egan; Supporter of Right to Life ~

     A long number of years ago at a family gathering, my brother and his wife told a strange tale of being awakened at night by the sound of a crying baby.  My brother thought it must be a stray cat outside and would go looking around the house to no avail.  Nothing could be found that was making the noise.  It seemed to go on for weeks.  Only later we found out that my ex-sister-in-law had secretly had an abortion.  She could not have my brother’s baby get in her way of having an affair with a married man she worked with. Sadly, it would end two marriages and forever hurt the living children involved.  Some might say the phantom crying had nothing to do with the abortion. Perhaps the psychological effects of the abortion resulted in them hearing imaginary sounds, though this could not explain how my brother would hear the cries when he knew nothing of the abortion.  Others may dismiss the sounds altogether as simply some animal wailing in the night that no one saw.

“Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you people from afar.  The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.”  (Isaiah 49:1-2).

    This is not an isolated occurrence. It seems that life cries to life as many post-abortive men and women complain of the same experience.   Those who support abortion do not recognize the babies as human beings.  If they will not acknowledge the beating heart of human life within the mother’s womb, it must be nearly impossible for them to admit that this innocent human being also has a spirit that continues after death.  The carnage and mass grave sites are hidden within garbage dumps or ground up in garbage disposals.  Some body parts are sold for medical testing for profit.  Most believe they are buried and hidden forever like some small child who drops a coin and cannot find it so it must no longer exist.  But they do exist and their spirits live on.

  “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”   (Luke 1:41)

      In the book, “A Mother’s Ordeal”, Chi An Yang, would explain how she would go from being a pregnant women forced into abortion by the Chinese One Child policy and then later trained to preform forced abortions on other women in the same situation.  Dr. Wan, a kind and elderly obstetrician approached her and said, “When one day you are sent to the netherworld, you will have lots of little hands clawing at you.”   Like Chi An, he was forced to do the will of the Chinese Government and kill any babies for which the mothers did not have a legal quota.   They both knew that life does not end at death and both knew they would face the babies they had killed.  The Chinese did not stop at babies in the womb.  If the baby was born before they could kill him or her, then they stood by with lethal injections to plunge into the top of baby’s head.  Once we became able to kill the baby within the mother’s womb without necessarily killing the mother, it became open season.  It is estimated at nearly two billion souls have been aborted worldwide making it the largest holocaust in human history.   That is a lot of little crying spirits.

  “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?  Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it and will he not repay man according to his work?”          (Proverbs 24:11-12)

   Most everyone has heard a story of when after someone dies, a loved one will sense their spiritual presence.  Then why is it so hard to believe that life goes on.   We are connected on a spiritual level as much as we are a physical level.  God the Father, creator of life knows everyone one who is murdered.  He is not blind to their distress even in the womb nor is He deaf to their cries.  How long do we think He will allow us to continue in this destructive path before He intervenes? 

 “What have you done?  Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”   (Genesis 4:10)

   Babies in heaven do not feel cold or hunger.  They have no reason to cry because they are sick or afraid.  They cry out to God for their untimely deaths.  They cry because they know we have failed.  They cry because they know we will suffer for our foolish decisions.  They cry for us.

 “They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?”  (Revelation 6:10)

  

Mosher, Stephen W.   “A Mother’s Ordeal, One Woman’s Fight Against China’s One-Child Policy.”   1993. Harper-Collins Publishers, New York, NY.  – As told by Chi An Yang.

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We Thrive Under Persecution.

“A faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted.”  John C Maxwell

   Not long after 9/11, I remember a sermon given by our pastor, Msgr. Gregory Mikesch, in which he said something to the effect, that just as improbably as it may have seemed to the early Christians when they were being lead into the Colosseum to be martyred, that one day Christianity would overtake Rome, it seems to us that one day, Muslim countries in the Middle East would also be come Christian nations.  Yet in spite or even because of the terrible persecution, Rome became the seat of Christianity.   What evil tried to conquer and wipe out, instead conquered evil, not through violence and war but through the silent, spirit-filled, faithful witness of the martyrs to faith in Jesus Christ.  So, when I saw a book at the Christian Book Store called, “Too Many To Jail, The Story of Iran’s New Christians” by Mark Bradley*, I was intrigued.  Could it be that the improbable is a reality?  And there it was in black and white, that by all counts there are at the very least 100,000 Christians in Iran with the possibility the number being closer to one million making the Christian Church in Iran one of the fastest growing in the world.   Gathering in homes to avoid persecution they are desperately seeking Jesus through the word of God.  Risking their families, jobs, homes and their very life’s they gather together in the very heart of a Muslim nation to praise Jesus as their Lord.  They also suffer greatly to follow Christ.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4) 

  Even more repressive is the regime of North Korea.  The North Korean Government  will say there are no Christians in their country, but they exist in spite of persecutions we only pray we never have to even think about.  They risk the loss of everything dear in life to praise Jesus.  Priests, Bishops and church leaders languish in prisons in Turkey, China, and Cuba to name a few.  ISIS has decimated the Christian populations of Iraq and Syria, burning Christians alive, crucifying children in front of their mothers and raping women and children.   Their sacrifice is not in vain.  It is bearing fruit in ways we could never guess.  The blood of the martyrs cries out to the throne of God.  God’s life and spirit is flowing through their veins and giving testimony to the love of God for his children.

“Your faith is more precious than gold, and by passing the test, it gives praise, glory, and honor to God. This will happen when Jesus Christ appears again.” (1 Peter 1:7)

    We take our faith for granted.  Our very nation was founded by poor masses of immigrants looking for a place they could pray without fear.  Yet, we go to church when it pleases us and think nothing of what it cost to our forefathers to give us our right to worship.  In so many nations of this world, just praying to Jesus will get you killed while we barely have the conviction to stand up for our faith lest the world laugh at us.  Too many times, our flesh wants us to stay in bed on Sunday mornings rather than get up and go to worship God in our faith filled community churches.  I have heard it said, “I can worship God all by myself in my own home.”   I wonder if this is the view God had in mind for his Kingdom.  I pretty sure there is no parable for the Kingdom of God being like the man who gets up, makes some coffee and reads a little scripture before he goes and plays golf.  

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  (Matthew 26:41)

   Perhaps that is the gift of persecution, is to be brought to an insatiable hunger for Christ, a desire so deep that nothing in this world can keep us from it and the internal and external struggle to achieve oneness with God becomes an indescribable obsession unstoppable no matter the cost.  It is almost as if the more we want that communion with Christ, the harder the forces of evil come against us. And yet, the stories of those being called to Christ in the heart of the Muslim world are filled with graces and spiritual experiences as they are purified in the fire of persecution making them spiritually rich.   Christianity thrives and explodes under persecution.

“Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”  (Romans 5:3-5)

My PSR students would come to class as if being dragged there and I truly believe some of them really were dragged there in many cases.  I told them how lucky they were to be able to come to class without fear. Like typical American thirteen year old boys and girls, they grimaced.   They never realized how close they came to not being allowed to use the local public high school rooms to meet for their religious education. In their sheltered uneducated minds, religion was being forced on them.  They could not comprehend the wonderful gift of freedom of religion they were enjoying.  Why do we really have to wait until it is gone to appreciate what we have? 

   “More over the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Romans 5:20)

 

 

*Monarch Books, Oxford, UK, & Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA 2014.

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Machiavelli, You Are Wrong.

Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.  Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires.  The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering.  The avoidance of struggle is a struggle.  The denial of failure is a failure.  Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.”  – Mark Mason.   “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.”

 

    In the summer of 1939, at the address, Number 4, Tiergartenstrasse,  Hitler’s solution for building his master race began.  Nicknamed after the address, the  T4 program was described as “Mercy Killing” and Hitler’s program did not start with the killing of Jews or Gypsies.  It started with the handicapped.  Within twenty months, the T4 organizations killed 70,000 to 90,000 disabled people. They found the use of lethal injection easier to use on babies and young children, but far too slow for use on adults.  The adults were harder to deal with.  Germans, known for their efficiency, pioneered the use of ‘shower’ rooms perfect for killing the disabled and later perfected in killing Jews at Auschwitz and other concentration camps.    We cringe today thinking about it.  But maybe not.

  Aug. of 2017, Iceland boasted that they had eradicated Downs Syndrome.  How did they do it?  Did they find a cure?  Did they develop a treatment?   Did they work on the Human Genome and discover how to turn off the functions of the extra chromosome 23?   Sadly no.  They started their own T4 program.  Seek out the defective babies before they are born and kill them.  Problem solved. And they are not alone.  In the Danish Government boasts of a 98% kill rate. United States is between 80 to 90%.  In our efforts to create a society without suffering, we have started with the easiest to kill.   We can test and find these babies before they become a problem to society.  How very convenient. 

   “In as much as you have done it to one of the least of my brothers or sisters, that you have done unto me.”   (Matthew 25:40)

   If people delude themselves into thinking that this will only apply to Downs Syndrome babies, they are sadly mistaken.  It is already done again children with other physical defects such as cleft-lips and other physical malformations.  Sex-selection in China and India has caused projections of 30 to 40 million more men than women of marriageable age in both countries by 2020. [1] Already, there is a horrible increase of young female children being used in sex-trafficking in China, and it is directly related to the shortage of available women and placed squarely at the feet of the one-child policy. [2][3]

“These six things the Lord hates:  yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, “  (Proverbs 6:16-17)

 

  I did not know when I was expecting Collin, that he had Downs Syndrome.  While at dinner with one of Chuck’s clients who was also expecting, before Collin was born, we both agreed that even if our babies had problems, it would not matter.  We would not abort.  It was a shock when Collin was born with Downs, but looking back now, I think, “why was I so scared?”   He is a joy.  Not perfect, but full of love.  Not brilliant, but gentle and loving.  I do not wish that all families would have a Downs Syndrome child, but I would hope they would know and be loved by such a one as this.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10)

    Any nation that thinks killing the handicapped is making its nation stronger is so wrong.  They are killing their spirit.  Any nation that thinks this so-called “Mercy Killing” will make them more compassionate is ignorant.   You will never become more compassionate without someone to show compassion to in the greatest and deepest position, that of being a parent to a special needs child.   Mercy killing is just another phrase for murder.   Any nation that thinks this act will make them a smarter more intelligent nation, has just proved how wrong they can be by showing their stupidity in action. 

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  (Proverbs 3:5)

    In our attempt to prevent suffering, we create greater suffering.  In our attempt to avoid giving, we lose what little we have.  In our attempts to create good out of evil, we create greater evil.   In a bid to avoid grief, we never really love.  

    For you see, Machiavelli, the end can never justify the means because the means will never create good, if they are evil.  It never worked for Hitler and his T4 program.  It will not work for Iceland or America.

“Give and it will be given to you:  good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be given to you.  For with the same measure you measure, it will be measured back to you.”  (Luke 6:38)

 

References.

1.       Hsu, Jeremy. “There are more Boys Than Girls in China and India”.  Scientific American. Aug. 2008.

2.       Fetterly, Madeline.  “Sex Trafficking and China’s One Child Policy.”   The Diplomat.  Nov. 2014.

3.       Morse, Anne Roback.  “Sex Trafficking in China.”  Population Research Institute.  June 2013.

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HOLY WATER!!

“From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the Cross, but return; so holy water must have great virtue. For my own part, whenever I take it, my soul feels a particular and most notable consolation.” – St. Teresa of Avila

 

 

     As a good Catholic, I have a small supply of holy water around my home for use of blessing my family, home and vehicles.  But once in a while, I take a plastic bottle – preferably sixteen ounces or more, fill it up with holy water at church and bring it home to thoroughly bless and pray over every door, window and corner, inside and out as well as the property line of my house.  A couple of years ago, it paid off very dramatically.  A terrible thunder storm hit our neighborhood.  Everyone who lived around us was busily having things fixed at their house.  They concurred the worse of the lightning strikes hit the yard of the house directly in front of our house.  They lost their irrigation system and several other electronic devices.  The house to the left and right of us lost garage door openers and copy machines.  Almost everyone on the block lost their cable.  Up and down the street were stories of loss, TVs, garage door openers, computers, for one thing or another.  But at our house, nothing was lost, not even the cable was down.  The wings of the angels protected our home that day through the blessing of Holy Water.

  I do not believe in co-incidences.  Everything happens for a reason.  And as a Catholic, I love the wonderful blessing of holy water.  Water is blessed in the name of Jesus Christ and becomes holy by the virtue of Christ’s Baptism. Sprinkling the holy water, it is as if you are spreading the blood of Christ all around you and your home and family.   The history of holy water, it is true, can only be reliably traced to the fifth and sixth centuries where a blessing of water and oil at Mass is found in a Syriac composition called the “testamentum Domini”.   Less reliable sources give history to the second century so that it is reasonable to assume the use of water for purification and expiation purposes required under Jewish Laws would have in some form been incorporated into the early Christian churches.  And though there are blessing for water, oil and salt, I prefer the blessed water over the other two even though they contain the same amount of healing and protecting powers as the water.  Holy water does not leave a mess to clean up after.  

   There are numerous examples of the symbolic use of water in purification leading to healing of body and soul in the bible.

 The healing of Naaman from leprosy by washing in the river Jordan.   “So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”  (2 Kings 5:14).

 The healing waters of the Pool at Bethesda.  “For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the water stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. (John 5:4) 

The baptism of John for the forgiveness of sins. “I baptize with water, but there stands one among you whom you do not know.  It is He will, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worth to loose.”   (John 1:30)

  Jesus disciples baptizing more than John.  “Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but his disciples.  (John 4:2) 

 Jesus as the source of the living water.  “If you knew the gift of God, and who it was who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”  (John 4:10)

As they pierced his side, “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’s side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.” (John 19:34)

        It is well known by those who do exorcisms that demonic forces hate anything blessed including the blessed water and oil.   Father Walter Halloran, as a seminarian, assisted the priests, Father Raymond Bishop and Father William Bowdern, who presided over the famous exorcism that occurred in St. Louis in the late 1940’s.  He stated that at one point a bottle of holy water they had set on a dresser was thrown across the room during one of the sessions.   

    The healing waters of Lourdes, still flow and there are still healing miracle happening there.  See www.miraclehunter.com/marian_apparitions/approved_apparitions/lourdes .

     When Catholics bless themselves with holy water, they are renewing their baptismal promises.   As we make the sign of the cross, saying, “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen”. By this, we declare our rejection of Satan and all his empty works and promises.  We declare our belief in God the Father and creator, His only Son Jesus, our Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit.  We believe in one Holy Catholic church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

   It is said that you can never have too much grace or blessings in your life.  So spread the holy water and renew your baptismal promises with this final piece of the baptismal promise:

God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever.

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It is not all about you.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.  – Mother Teresa.

Recently, Collin posted another picture of his Sims City Game to my Facebook page.  Horrors! I like to think that my Facebook page is all about me. To a point that would be correct.  I control my page as best as I can but from time to time Collin interferes. Facebook has become a world-wide phenomenon.  It has helped families become better connected.  It has given all who participate a vehicle for communication above and beyond the imagination of prior generations.  My page tells the world about who I am.  I like to think it reflects what I stand for, what I am all about. There is nothing wrong with our daily two minute shout out to the world unless we forget, as Christians, it really should not be all about us.

  “When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.”  (1 Corinthians 13:11)

Which is why it is becoming easier to think that the world revolves around us.  It was for the better part of human history that we thought the sun revolved around the earth until we discovered that there was a larger point of view and that we were only a very small aspect of the universe.  Once we realized that we are not the center of the universe, we begin to mature.  Reflecting on Jesus’s Mother Mary, a priest once told me that the basis of all sin is selfishness or self-centeredness.  Me first. My needs over your needs.  My demands over your demands.  My feelings over your feelings.   Selfishness looks to see if our needs are being met at the very least the same rate as everyone else then complains and demands its fair share.  Would that all things could be equal. But that would not be life as we really know it.   Mary, he explained, free of sin, a requirement for being allowed to carry the son of God within her, was free of selfishness.  She was able to choose love over hate, gentleness over violence, kindness over anger and others before herself.  And this was not because she was a door mat or because she had no self-esteem.  It was her choice because full of grace was full of love.

  “Love is patient, love is kind.”  (1 Corinthians 13:4)

With the advent of our instant mass communication, never before have so many people have their lives affected so quickly by so little wisdom.  More and more people can connect but it is almost as if the more we communicate on a mass level the less we connect on a simpler intimate level.  We have the ability to broadcast to the whole world our daily thoughts.  Disagreements and fights are no longer only between two or three but between hundreds and thousands of people who have never met.  Everyone seems to have an opinion that everyone needs to listen to. Anonymity makes it easier to say or write things we would never say or write in a personal way so much so that social graces have become the first causalities.

“If I give away everything I own and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing”     (1 Corinthians 13:3)

Sometimes the things posted are so hurtful to me that I wonder why I even participate.  Oh, I do not mean the wonderful pictures of loved ones. Most everyone I know posts pictures of their loved ones. To love our families and neighbors and friends as we love ourselves is the other half of the holiness equation of loving your neighbor as yourself. Showing genuine delight in one another’s children and grandchildren and spouses and friends makes us part of the greater overall family of God.  Caring about other’s losses and hopes and dreams is what makes us brothers and sisters to one another.

“[love] is not jealous, is not pompous; it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)

At a time when our country is wheeling from so many disasters, the extent of natural disasters are nearly dwarfed by the horrible violence in our land.   People scream for more secular laws on the books when they refuse to obey the laws of God already written in stone. They have forgotten, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness and thou shall not commit adultery. But that is the real problem is it not?   It is not that there are not enough laws, it is the laws that exist need to be written in our hearts, living in our actions and lingering in our speech.  We sowed the whirlwind of violence and hate and we now reap the great and terrible storm.  Our houses will fall because we did not build them on the rock of Christ.  We built them on the false hope of government handouts and our ten minutes of Facebook Fame.

“[love] does not rejoice over wrong doing but rejoices with the truth.”                                   (1 Corinthians 13: 6) 

Too often opinions expressed in twenty worded posts are set up as truth without any evidence or proof when they are merely someone’s opinion at best, or lies at the worst.  Then the texts are sent out as obliquely aimed arrows against one another, some of who may have been family and friends.  Take no prisoners and extend no forgiveness.  The depth and the willingness to forgive one another is directly proportional to our ability and our willingness to love each other.   Love is not some accident or magic happenstance, it is a choice. With all the negative posts, the choice is apparently clear and love is not an option for many.

 “[love] it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests.  It is not quick-tempered it does not brood over injury.”   (1 Corinthians 13:6)

When I realized how many times the communication is lacking in love, I am reminded by God that in heaven, those who refuse to love each other now, will most certainly love one another in heaven.  Sadly, we only have to wait.  Not a matter of if but soon enough.  Once we understand that it is not all about us, we can humble ourselves and be a real use to God. Every day there should be a post reminding us that God is in control and we are thankful to him to who knows our needs even before we post them because it should never be all about me and certainly not all about you.

“Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

The rest of the prayer by St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

 

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

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A Catholic Meets a Stripper.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

As young widows, my friend, Terry and I decided to join a bowling league.  We were truly terrible bowlers and our only advantage was our high handicap.  As time went on, we met others in the league and would go for a light snack after bowling.  One person in our group was a vivacious young lady named Josie*.   Josie had light brown curly hair and an easy laugh.  She carried herself in such a way which said, “No inhibitions”.   It seemed like she did not have a care in the world but looks are indeed deceiving.

“Not as Man sees does God see because man see the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:8)

She told people she worked for the Democratic Party at an office in Illinois but what she only told a few of us was that she also worked as a stripper in East St. Louis.   Then, as if she needed to justify her career choice, she explained how she had been horribly raped as a young girl.  Her rapist was unknown to her and she had been so traumatized by the event that she had to be hospitalized as she could not speak or walk for three months. I do not claim to understand why she chose to become a stripper.  I did not know her long enough to really know her.  It seemed to me that it was her need to prove to the world that she was in control of her own sexual abuse.  It has been said that young abuse and rape victims will often trade guilt for the shame of what was done to them in order to obtain a much skewed sense of control back into their lives.  It’s a trade that comes with a terrible price of lowering self-esteem and the denial of self-love.  I suspect it never occurred to Josie, that her actions as a stripper might provoke in some unstable men the need to seek out young victims to rape.  It is the cycle of evil.  As things go, I never saw Josie again after the league ended and I often wonder what became of her.

   “But I say to you, everyone who looks at a women with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  (Matthew 5:28)

I met Maggie* under very different circumstances.  Maggie was a young prostitute who had been pimped all over the Midwest.   Maggie was in a world of trouble.  Her pimp had been arrested along with all of his ‘crib’ and Maggie would find out that he knew one of the girls had Aids and he had sex with them all thereby spreading the disease.   Maggie probably had Aids.  Only God would know how many of their customers would also be infected as well as their mates and offspring. Maggie was lost and afraid.  How did she ever get into such a situation?  Seems her cousin told her about a guy at a hotel by the airport that had great drugs and she was going to party with him.  She invited Maggie along for the party.  The drugs were the bait and once high, she submitted to sex.  Was she really a willing partner?  No one knows but drugs, sex, low self-esteem are a dangerous combination.  Drugs eased the pain of being used for sex and sex got money for more drugs and pretty soon the cycle drove her down to the deepest part of the hole a soul can go down and still be breathing.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

If I could speak to either woman today, I would tell them of the love of Jesus that never wanted them to be hurt or victimized the way they were.  Joyce Meyers gave a wonderful series of talks on “Beauty for Ashes”.  She speaks of how out of the ashes our lives have become, there is still hope in the God who died to save us.  There is still hope for the hopeless.  There is help for the helpless and there is love for the loveless.  There is a God bigger than our pain.  A God who grants forgiveness even when our sins are as red as blood.  A God who already provided for the future. A God who is crazy in love with us.  A God who does not want either Maggie or Josie to suffer one more day.  But He will not force himself on us.  He waits knocking at the door to our hearts.  I would tell them, “Maggie, Josie, For God’s sake, open the door already! What do you think you have to lose? Haven’t you already lost everything?”

“He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the broken hearted. To proclaim liberty to the captives and release the prisoners. To announce a year of favor from the Lord, a day of vindication by our God to comfort all who mourn; To place on those who mourn in Zion beauty for ashes. To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning, a glorious mantel instead of a listless spirit.”           (Isaiah 61: 1-3)

Some will tell you that pornography and prostitution are victimless crimes.  Some will tell you they are or should be legal.  Some will even tell you that no one gets hurt.  But I can say that I have never met a girl who growing up said, “I want to be a stripper” or “I want to be a prostitute”.   Those who want it to be legal, are blind to the cycle of evil they themselves have succumbed and the victims around them they have helped create as they use someone’s mother, daughter or sister like so much easy prey.  Those that sell themselves are more than likely already victims before, during and after.   Victimless crimes, I think not.  Those who claim so neither understand what real victimhood consists of and what constitutes sin and how that destroys all who are involved.  Satan understands this very well.  He knows that hurting people hurt others.  He does what he can to keep the cycle of pain and sin going strong.

“You say, ‘The Lord’s way is not fair!’ Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, or are not your ways unfair?”   (Ezekiel 18:25)

 

*No real names used!!!

Joyce Meyers, “Beauty for Ashes”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrTvgFq89yQ

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