Former Manchester United footballer enjoying life as a priest

 

By Sean Ryan -16 July, 2017

 

A former Manchester United footballer turned priest has spoken

 

for the first time about how being a €600,000 a year footballer left

 

him feeling unfulfilled. Belfast-born Fr Philip Mulryne  OP was recently ordained a Dominican priest. He celebrated his first Mass in Belfast on 10 July and will take up a position as chaplain at

 

Newbridge College in Co. Kildare in August. Speaking to RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke about his decision to become a priest, Fr Philip (39) said that while he enjoyed his 13 years as a professional footballer which saw him play for Manchester United, Norwich and Northern Ireland, he eventually fell out of love with a “footballer lifestyle”.He added: “There’s no running away from that. I obviously lived

 

the life of a footballer and it’s well documented. Things were given to young men very quickly.”

 

Speaking about the lifestyle he said, “I had a Ferrari 360 Modena. I  always  said  to  myself,  if  I  get  to  the  Premier  League  with Norwich I’ll buy one of these. This was my dream car as a child. I had it for three months, then I sold it. I got bored of it.”He continued: “At the age of 20 I had to stop and think, why is thi stuff not satisfying me? I’m bored, it’s not enough, nothing’s ever

 

enough.”Fr  Philip  explained  that  he  hit  a  low  point  after  a  World  Cup Qualifier to England in 2005. He was sent home for breaking a curfew and going drinking. He said, “It was a turning point, it

 

made me reflect more. “As a footballer you’re caught up in the whole way of life. You never stop to take stock and think, this isn’t going to last forever. What am I going to do after?’’

 

He  took a year out of football in 2009 to return to Belfast, and later decided not to return to the game. He added, “I have to say I found it tremendously liberating and freeing. To be caught up in

 

that rat race of always accumulating and the pressure it brings, it was making me restless. The notion of living very simply from a faith perspective was very attractive to me

 

Sean Sheehy 2017 May

 

               

 

11:58 AM (8 hours ago)

 

               

 

to me

 

The Life-Giver

 

   A man was asked, “What do you do for a living?” He answered, “I live for a living!” Back in the 1950s a film titled, “I Want to Live” portrayed a woman who’d made immoral choices and ended up being convicted of murder by association with a murderer. She didn’t commit the crime but was nonetheless convicted and executed. She protested her conviction all the way to her execution pleading, “I want to live!” Judging by the number of people who commit suicide it seems that not everyone wants to live. Still we possess an instinct that life is precious. So we naturally try to prevent people from harming themselves. Life is precious because it’s a gift from God. If someone gave you a gift and you threw it away it would indicate that you didn’t appreciate it or the donor. We don’t create our own life. It’s the sine qua non for everything we yearn for – love, peace, happiness, freedom, joy, etc. This is why we want to preserve and live life as fully as possible and forever. No reasonable person wants to die except in a desperate attempt to escape hopelessness. Even people who commit suicide don’t want to die; rather they want to escape a perceived bottomless pit in their life that, in their mind, has reduced life to nothing. The motivation isn’t to stop living but to stop hurting. So, in a distorted manner of thinking, by ending their life they’re trying to end what seems to be making their life hopeless. As the Life-Giver, only God can provide us with the wherewithal to live and make life worth living by giving us the help to rise from what pulls us down. Easter celebrates life that survives suffering and death and enjoy an eternal heavenly existence.

 

   God didn’t create us to suffer and die. He created us to live for a living. But, through the abuse of free will, we separate our self from our Life-Giver and that puts us in the realm of suffering and death. Death is the result of separation from the Giver of life. It was to remedy this tragedy that God sent His Son, Jesus, the Word-made-flesh, to bring hope of life after death to the world. He revealed, “The thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it to the full.” (Jn 10:10) The “thief” is Satan who tricked Adam and Eve into thinking they could live without God only to have them experience death and suffering that has affected the whole human race. Sin causes suffering, whether personal, communal or institutional. But Jesus brought hope of healing and resurrection when He announced, “I have come not for the self-righteous, but to call sinners to repentance.” (Mt 9:13) Through God’s grace of repentance and the gift of forgiveness we’ve the power to overcome sin, overcome our suffering, and be resurrected from the dead.

 

   After Jesus’ Ascension, St. Peter told his listeners when they asked what did they needed to do: “Repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit … Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” (Acts2:38, 40) He comforted them by teaching them: “In His own body He brought your sins to the cross, so that all of us, dead to sin, could live in accord with God’s will. By His wounds you have been healed for you had gone astray like sheep but you have returned to the Shepherd and the guardian of your souls.” (1 Pt 2:24-25) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Life who enlivens our spirit and purifies our soul. If we focus only on the body we reap corruption because the body corrupts in death. But when we attend to the needs of our soul we attend to life that’s eternal because Jesus guards it.

 

   Jesus is our Shepherd who guards our soul by cleansing it from sin in Baptism and Confession, and nourishes it with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. This is why the Psalmist reminds us, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want … He refreshes my soul.” (Ps 23:1-3) As the Shepherd and Guardian of souls, Jesus “calls His own sheep by name and leads them out … He walks ahead of them and the sheep follow Him, because they recognize His voice.” (Jn 10:3-4) He identifies Himself as the “gate to the sheepfold.” “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be safe.” (Jn 10:9) As the Gatekeeper Jesus both protects us from harm and leads us to what nourishes our life so we can have it abundantly. We hear His voice through His Church as she proclaims His Word, guided by the Holy Spirit, and made visible in her Sacraments. Jesus is the Life-Giver and He alone leads us to the fullness of a life that’s joyful, peaceful, restful, loving, and eternal. If you want to have life to the full follow the Life-Giver in His Church. He alone reveals, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (Jn 14:6) (frsos)

 

 

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

               

 

Apr 26 (7 days ago)2017

 

               

 

The Breaking of Bread

 

   Anyone who reads the New Testament is familiar with what Jesus did on Thursday night as He celebrated the Passover Supper with His Apostles. During the meal, “… taking bread and giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying: ‘This is my body to be given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ He did the same with the chalice after eating, saying as He did so, ‘This chalice is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.’” (Lk 22:19-20; Mk 14:22-24; Mt 26:26-30; 1 Cor 11:23ff) The following Sunday afternoon two of Jesus’ disciples were walking home to Emmaus grieving over His crucifixion and deeply saddened that all their hopes and dreams had been dashed. As they covered the seven miles from Jerusalem to their home the risen Jesus appeared walking beside them, but they didn’t recognize Him. He asked them what they were discussing and they related their tale of woe. Then He chided them for not believing the Scriptures. “What little sense you have! How slow you are to believe all that the prophets have announced! Did not the Messiah have to undergo all this so as to enter into His glory?’ Beginning, then, with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted for them every passage of Scripture which referred to Him.” (Lk 24:25-27) Nearing home they invited Jesus to spend the night with them since it was getting late. He accepted their hospitality and, “When He had seated Himself with them to eat, He took bread, pronounced the blessing, then broke the bread and began to distribute it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; whereupon He vanished from their sight.” (Lk 24:30-31)

 

   Have you ever had an “aha” moment in your life? It’s a particular time, event, or experience when you have a sudden insight that makes sense of something. These two disciples had their “aha” moment when Jesus sat at their table and took bread, blessed it, broke it, and distributed it to them. The “breaking of bread” was the event, the experience that gave them the sudden realization that the man doing this was indeed Jesus Christ. After He vanished from their sight, “They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning inside us as He talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’” (Lk 24:32) Immediately, they set off for Jerusalem with their great news that they had seen Jesus. When they met their fellow disciples in Jerusalem, “They recounted what had happened on the road and how they had come to know Jesus in the breaking of bread.” (Lk 24:35)

 

   Jesus often mentioned the Scriptures regarding the promised Messiah. But hearing it didn’t convince them of His resurrection. It was in the “breaking of bread” that they recognized the action of Jesus and then the Scriptures made sense to them. The “breaking of bread” is another way of describing the Holy Eucharist that Jesus instituted on Holy Thursday evening and ordained the Apostles and their successors to continue His sacrifice: “This is my body, which is broken for you; do this as a memorial of me.” (1 Cor 11:24) St. Peter explains, “Through Jesus you believe in God who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Pt 1:17-21) It’s one thing to listen to God’s word but it’s in the action of the Eucharist that the Word becomes visible. It’s in the Eucharist that we see and adore Jesus’ Real Presence to and among us. It’s in the Eucharist that we’re able to proclaim with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28) St. Paul expresses it thus: “Is not the cup of blessing we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread we break a sharing in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor 10:16) The Eucharist is the celebration of the Risen Jesus really present, body, soul, and divinity in His Church and in each member who receives Him in Holy Communion. It’s through meeting Jesus in the Eucharist that He is able to enter into a Holy Communion with us, individually and communally, transforming us into a Holy Community. There He physically touches us and we touch Him.

 

   The Catholic Church, under the leadership of the Pope, successor of St. Peter, emphasizes and makes participation in the Holy Eucharist at Mass essential and obligatory. Why? Because the Christian faith is all about believing in the Risen Jesus who alone makes salvation possible. Refusing to participate in the Mass is a refusal to recognize and celebrate the Real Presence of the Risen Jesus. Jesus Himself reminds us, “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men – the Son of Man will acknowledge him before the angels of God. But the man who has disowned me in the presence of men will be disowned in the presence of the angels of God.” (Lk 12:8-9) The celebration of the Eucharist is our “aha” moment when we recognize and proclaim that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. It’s in the Mass that we recognize Jesus’ resurrection and put our self in the presence of God and His angels. (frsos)

 

 

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

               

 

Apr 5

 

               

 

to me

 

Holy Week: Sacrifice Brings Joy

 

   Charles Dickens gives us the character, Ebenezer Scrooge, in his Christmas Carol. Scrooge was a miser and as, a result, a miserable person. He hated Christmas because it was about generosity and gift-giving. It wasn’t until he had a change of heart and began to share that he regained his humanity and a spirit of joy. We all have to learn that sacrifice brings joy. It’s the antidote to selfishness which fosters a greedy spirit that isolates and keep us worried, fearing we’ll lose our possessions or won’t have enough to make us feel secure. Jesus taught us, “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn 15:13) Love is all about sacrifice, which is why sacrifice, as an expression of love, always bring joy when the focus is on giving rather than on receiving.

 

   This week is called “Holy Week” by Jesus’ Church. It begins with Palm (Passion) Sunday - people shouted “Hosannas” in the morning and roared “Crucify him!” in the evening - and concludes with Easter Sunday when we celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection - to the amazement of Mary Magdalene and His disciples - having conquered Satan, sin, suffering, and death. The Church proclaims the Gospel from the Passion Narratives found in the Gospel of Matthew on Palm or Passion Sunday and from St. John on Good Friday. In these narratives we find a description of the greatest act of self-sacrifice, humility, and love for others on the part of Jesus that the world has ever seen or will ever see again. Jesus epitomized His love of others - you, me, and everyone from the beginning of human history until the end of the world - in His passion, death, and resurrection. In laying down His life so that we might live demonstrates the ultimate in caring. He laid down His life for sinners – those who rebelled against God that they may repent and be saved. “It is precisely in this that God shows His love for us: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8) He underwent excruciating abuse from His betrayal by Judas, to agonizing in the Garden of Gethsemane, being scourged at the pillar, crowned with thorns, carrying His cross, abandoned by His disciples, with the exception of His Blessed Mother and John, and finally being nailed to a cross. On that cross Jesus called out in His agony and feeling of abandonment, fulfilling the prophecy in Psalm 22, “My God, my God why have you abandoned me?” (Mt 27:46) But, quoting Psalm 31, Jesus expressed His total trust in His Father when He prayed as His body hung upon the cross, “Into Your hands I commend my spirit; ….” (Ps 31:6)

 

   Jesus’ suffering was more excruciating than any suffering we might experience because He was totally innocent. “Though He was in the form of God … and it was thus that He humbled Himself obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!” (Phil 2:6, 8) Suffering of the innocent is far more painful than the suffering of the guilty. Jesus is the first to give human suffering a value. He shows us that it can be used to help others. He used His suffering to bring about salvation from sin and death for all who seek it. Jesus didn’t seek suffering but He accepted it as the price to be paid to ransom us from Satan’s sentence of death. In Gethsemane, He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass me by. Still, let it be as You would have it, not as I.” (Mt 26:39) No one wants suffering, but if it comes, we know that God can use it to help us do His will and become more like Jesus in our attitude and lifestyle, if we trust in Him.

 

   The events of Holy Week challenge a world that flees from suffering, rejects sacrifice, promotes greed, and wallows in selfishness. The delusion of such a world is that we can be happy without sacrifice.  Without sacrifice love is impossible. Without love happiness is impossible. To make sacrifices is impossible without a spirit of generosity and the realization that if we want to get we must give without counting the cost. Jesus teaches us to give for the sake of giving because it is in sacrificing, like Scrooge learned, that we find joy. Jesus reminds us, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will they pour into the fold of your garment. For the measure you measure with will be measured back to you.” (Lk 6:38)  This week is holy because Jesus gave Himself wholly for our salvation. His Good Friday sacrifice brought the joy of Easter Sunday. Christianity is all about ministering to others in Jesus’ Name. Thus we become like Him, and being like Him, we embrace suffering and willingly sacrifice ourselves for we know it will bring joy. (frsos)

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

               

 

Apr 12

 

               

 

to me

 

Easter with a Capital “V”

 

   The song “Everybody Loves a Winner” choruses, “Everybody loves a winner/Everybody loves a winner/But when you lose, you lose alone” When you win everyone wants to know you, even those you beat. But when you lose the well-wishers disappear. Laugh, and the world laughs with you; cry, and you cry alone.  Last Sunday I watched a Gaelic Football final between Kerry and Dublin. Dublin were forecast to win, even by Kerry followers. But the predicted losers won only to be greeted with effusive praise from their detractors. On Good Friday in Jerusalem it looked like Jesus lost. Feeling abandoned, He called out in agony, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46) Jesus cried alone.

 

   Have you ever been in a situation feeling all alone when friends distanced themselves from you? When Peter was identified by the servant girl as a friend of Jesus, he replied, “Woman, I do not know him.” (Lk 22:57) When a team is losing, fans often leave even before the game is over. But when the team is winning no one wants to leave. Why? Because we all want to identify with winners, not losers. We laugh when we win, but we cry when we lose.

 

   Easter is the culmination of Holy Week when Jesus was seen to be a loser and abandoned by His disciples. The man who had performed so many miracles, freed people from the possession of evil spirits, and even raised people from the dead, now hung crucified on a cross. Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus rescued from her sinfulness and showed her an unconditional love she’d never experienced before, was devastated. Jesus’ disciples, including His Mother, sought safety in prayer in an upper room thinking that all their hopes and dreams had been dashed by the crucifixion of their Teacher and Messiah. All seemed lost, fearing for their own life expecting the same fate as Jesus.

 

   It’s now Sunday morning, the third day since Jesus’ death and the disciples feel so alone and vulnerable. But something was about to change. That change was epitomized in the experience of Mary Magdalene. She came to the tomb as a final act of love toward Jesus to anoint His dead body. She had previously braved the ridicule of Simon the Pharisee to crash a banquet to anoint Jesus’s feet as a sign of her gratitude. “She brought in a vase of perfumed oil and stood behind Him as His feet, weeping so that her tears fell upon His feet. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissing them and perfuming them with the oil.” (Lk 7:37-38) At Jesus’ death this same Mary comes to anoint His body before final burial. But to her consternation she finds the tomb empty. So she runs to tell Peter and the others the news. They don’t believe her. “Meanwhile Mary stood weeping beside the tomb.” She was in the depths of grief and desolation. A man, whom she thinks is the gardener, asks her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who is it you are looking for?” (Jn 20:11-15) Then the man said her name, “Mary!” No one said or could say her name like Jesus. Spontaneously “She turned to Him and said in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ meaning ‘Teacher.’” She recognized her beloved Savior who rescued her from a loveless life and ran with open arms to clasp Him in joyful incredulity. Jesus, I’m sure with a smile, responded, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Rather go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God!’” (Jn 20:15-18) Mary ascended with the risen Jesus from the pit of grief and loss to the heights of joy and happiness; from death to life, despair to hope, losing to winning.

 

   Jesus, the apparent loser on Friday, let Mary see that He is the real winner. Easter is the celebration of victory with a capital “V”. The Webster dictionary defines victory as the “overcoming of an enemy or antagonist. It’s the achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties.” Easter reminds us to celebrate Jesus’ victory over suffering and death, the wages of sin. Jesus showed us that suffering has value when we use it as a means to salvation, either for ourselves or others. It leads us to salvation when we see it as a sign that we’re dependent on God for every good thing, especially a life that will enjoy complete and eternal happiness. Christianity is the only religion that can truthfully promise a happy life after death because its founder, Jesus, is the only one who raised people from the dead and also rose Himself from the dead. This is why faith in Jesus, as the source of our meaning, purpose, power, peace, happiness, and a joyful eternal destiny, is the only faith that can deliver on these hopes and desires. Christianity is for winners. Why, then, isn’t everybody Christian? Because Christianity is paradoxical: to win we must be willing to lose. It’s in losing our life to Jesus here on earth that we win life in Heaven. This is why we can greet one another with “Happy Easter!” (frsos)

 

 

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

               

 

Apr 19

 

               

 

to me

 

Faith Comes through Hearing

 

   There’s an adage that says, “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” This was the Apostle Thomas’ mind-set upon being told Jesus had risen from the dead. “His answer was, ‘I will never believe it without probing the nailprints in His hands, without putting my finger into the nailmarks and my hand into His side.’” (Jn 20:25) For Thomas, the idea of resurrection was too good to be true, therefore it probably wasn’t true. But probability and possibility aren’t the same. The probability doesn’t rule out possibility, especially where God is concerned. The Gospels record that a week later, “Despite the locked doors, Jesus came and stood before the disciples. ‘Peace be with you’, He said; then to Thomas: ‘Take your finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!’ Thomas said in response, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (Jn 20:27-28) Jesus addressed him, “You became a believer because you saw me. Happy are they who have not seen me and have believed.” (Jn 20:29) Thomas’ faith was conditional. He wanted to see before he would believe. Seeing is believing, but believing is seeing without seeing physically. How? We see through hearing.

 

   The Holy Spirit inspired St. Paul to write that, “Faith, then, comes through hearing, and what is heard is the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17) The three things that characterized the members of Jesus’ young Church were their devotion to “the teaching of the Apostles, the communal life, the breaking of bread (Eucharist), and prayers.” (Acts 2:42) First came the “teaching of the Apostles”. The Apostles teaching centred on what Jesus taught them – His word. Hearing Jesus’ word called them to faith and developed their trust in Jesus. Faith is what we rely on to give us meaning, purpose, value, power, and a hopeful destiny. To be Christian is to rely on Jesus to give us true meaning, a unique purpose and self-worth, to empower us to change things for the better, and give us a bright future in which to hope. To sustain our faith in Jesus to provide us with these gifts we need to hear Him speak to us. This is why we need to attend Sunday Mass as a minimum requirement to hear God’s word proclaimed and preached to us. If we don’t regularly hear God’s word our faith in Him will deteriorate and we will fall victim to false gods and their false promises.

 

   It was through listening to Jesus’ word preached by the Apostles that fostered a community spirit. They celebrated this community spirit in the “breaking of bread”, the Eucharistic celebration in which they recognized Jesus’ Real presence and the gift of Himself in Holy Communion as the nourishment for their souls. In the “breaking of bread” the Apostles carried out Jesus’ command at the Last Supper when He instituted the Holy Eucharist and ordained them to “Do this in memory of me.” (Lk 22:19) The fourth source of sustenance for the faith of the first followers of Jesus was prayer. What is prayer? It’s a response to God’s word to us. This is why the basis for prayer must be hearing God’s word first. St. Jerome, back in the 4th or early 5th century, insisted that “Ignorance of the Sacred Scriptures is ignorance of Jesus Christ.” Our prayer can’t be effective unless we’re hearing God first and then speaking to Him. Since God initiates our prayer, it follows that we must first listen to Him tell us who and what He is for us before we can speak to Him about who we are and what He wants us to be. If we don’t listen to God we can’t know Him. And if we don’t know Him, how can we speak to Him in an intimate and trusting manner, which is what prayer is all about. Only through listening to God’s word to us can we pray with the Psalmist, “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my Saviour.” (Ps 118:14)

 

   It’s through hearing Christ’s word that we’re able to believe in Him and love Him without seeing Him. In order for every man, woman, and child, to believe in Jesus and love Him He founded His Church to faithfully preach His Word and celebrate His presence in her Sacraments until the end of time. Through, with, and in Jesus’ Church the preaching of the Apostles, the communal life, the breaking of bread, and prayers continue. Since Jesus came to free us from sin He authorized His Church’s leadership through the power of His Spirit to forgive repentant sinners. “If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.” (Jn 20:22)   It is this forgiveness that makes us receptive to the “Peace” the risen Jesus offers us. Our faith in Jesus, then, comes through hearing God’s word which teaches us the way, truth, and life that leads to happiness. “Although you have not seen Him, you love Him; even though you do not see Him, you now believe in Him … as you attain faith’s goal, the salvation of your soul.” (1 Peter 1:3-9) We believe and love Him because we hear His saving Word. (frsos)

 

Yad Vashem

 

Last Letters from the Holocaust: 1942

 

 

 

  30 August 1942

 

Les Milles Camp, France

 

 

 

    "I can hold my head up high"

 

 

 

Anne Meininger's Last Letter

 

 

 

Anne Meininger wrote these words in her last letter, sent from France to her daughter, Hilde Garti, in Bulgaria.

 

 

 

Eugen Meininger and Anne née Stern lived in Göttingen, Germany. Eugen was in the cattle business. In 1913, their daughter Hilde was born, and their son Franz-Josef was born about 8 years later.  In October 1935, Eugen was informed that his trade license had been revoked, and that he had to stop working immediately.  Eugen died of heart failure at home the same day. He is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Göttingen.

 

 

 

Hilde married Robert Garti, a Bulgarian Jewish dentist who came to Germany to study, and moved with him to Bulgaria , where their daughters Renée (later Rina Lavie) and Jeneline-Jenny (later Gila Ofir) were born. In 1937, Franz-Josef immigrated to Eretz Israel (Mandatory Palestine) with the Youth Aliyah, and settled in Kfar Yehezkel.

 

 

 

 

 

My darling, darling children,

 

Today, on your birthday, my thoughts are intensively focused on you.  My dear Musch, I hope that you had a good time today, given the circumstances.  What wouldn't I give to be with you? We must be patient, that day will yet come.  We have been in the camp since Wednesday, and I am truly all right.  You at home don't need to worry about me.  I am together with many acquaintances, but we will not be staying here although I don't know when we will be leaving.  In any event, write to me at Gusty: 7 Rue St. Francois Le Sales, Annecy (Haute-Savoie). She will send the mail on to me.  

 

I hope that you are all right, my loves. Just don't worry about me unnecessarily.  The main thing is that we can receive news from each other.  Keep writing to me diligently, and send me sweet pictures.  It's the mischievous one's [Anne's son, Franz-Josef] birthday the day after tomorrow.  This year these are not happy days for me, but I can hold my head up high. You know your mother, she's brave like that. I would love to go to my friends, Otto and Marta, as then I would have pleasant, good people around me. They would definitely be able to help me.  Maybe I'll visit Tiltchen. The weather is very good, and I'm in the fresh air all day.  You probably have a lot of work.  If I was with you, I could be very busy and helpful. When I see you, I will open wide, surprised eyes. I wish it would already happen.

 

I'm finishing for today.  My four dear ones, stay well, and keep writing to me conscientiously.

 

I kiss you,

 

Your loving Mutti [Mother]

 

 

 

Was Jesus Really Tempted?

 

by Friar Jim Van Vurst, OFM

 

 

 

Yes, he was—and more than once! In fact, Matthew, Mark, and Luke give descriptions of Satan tempting Jesus, especially in the desert following his baptism. Mark briefly states that “Jesus was tempted,” while Matthew and Luke go into considerable detail of three separate times when Jesus was tempted by Satan. Jesus rebuked Satan, but the temptations continued.

 

 

 

But there is a reason why some believers struggle in accepting the fact that Jesus was tempted. That is because many tend to think that temptation is proof of sin. And that is simply not true.

 

 

 

The first point to stress is that Jesus, though divine in nature, was also human. That’s why Paul reminds us that Jesus became “like us” in all things but sin. What that tells us is that Jesus really did enter into our human experience. At the same time, however, we can be sure that you and I have never been tempted the way Jesus was. It would be vain on our part to compare our experiences in life to what Jesus experienced.

 

 

 

The important truth is that temptation is never a sin. Temptation is simply an invitation or pull toward sin. Basic moral theology insists that sin is not in the feelings, emotions, intellect, or fantasy. Sin can only reside in our hearts and in our will. But it is very easy to assume that, when our emotions and imaginations are bombarding us mercilessly, there must be sin in us somewhere. No! All that proves is that we are prone to temptation as wounded human beings.

 

 

 

Every human being experiences temptation. We are fooling ourselves if we make exceptions, as some do for the saints. Many ordinary Christians think the saints were so holy that they could bat away temptations without any trouble. Not true. Read their autobiographies and you will understand that, at times, they struggled in trying to live a life of faith, hope, and charity. That’s the important fact to remember. The reason anyone is tempted to commit sin is because he or she is struggling to be good, not because he or she is bad.

 

 

 

Just as Jesus was tempted all throughout his life, so was Jesus’ sinless mother, Mary. What a prize she would have been to Satan! Mary’s life was one of total faith in circumstances that would have provided Satan with ample opportunity for temptation. The experiences of both Jesus and Mary are truly a blessing for us to understand that temptation is not sin. It’s a struggle; frustrating at times, yes, but never itself a sin.

 

From Fr. Kevins Newsltter

MEET THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER

 

 

 

All of us have our thoughts/views on the beautiful parable of the Prodigal Son.  I love it – there are so very many aspects to it, but how many of us ever give any thought, care or indeed concern to the Prodigal Daughter?

 

 

 

Let us introduce you to her……

 

 

 

Great poets have sung the beauties of home,

 

 

 

its comfort, its love and its joys;

 

 

 

How back to the place of its sheltering dome

 

 

 

I welcome the Prodigal Boy.

 

 

 

The picture, his father with pardoning smiles and

 

 

 

glittering robes to unfurl,

 

 

 

but none of the poets though it worthwhile,

 

 

 

to sing of the Prodigal Girl.

 

 

 

The Prodigal Son can resume his old place,

 

 

 

as leader of fashion’s mad whirl,

 

 

 

with never a hit of his former disgrace –

 

 

 

not so for the Prodigal Girl.

 

 

 

The girl may come back to the home she had left,

 

 

 

but nothing is ever the same.

 

 

 

The shadow still lingers o’er the dear ones bereft,

 

 

 

society scoffs at her name.

 

 

 

Perhaps this is why when the Prodigal Girl,

 

 

 

gets lost in life’s devious track,

 

 

 

she thinks of the lips that will scornfully curl

 

 

 

and hasn’t the heart to come back.

 

 

 

Yes, welcome the Prodigal Son to his place,

 

 

 

kill the calf; fill the free flowing bowl,

 

 

 

but shut not the door on his frail sisters face,

 

 

 

remember she too has a soul.

 

Prayer for the New Year

 

Lord in this New Year which we have begun,

 

may we have enough happiness to keep us agreeable,

 

enough trials to keep us strong,

 

enough sorrow to keep us human,

 

enough Freedom to keep us happy,

 

enough failure to keep us humble,

 

enough success to keep us eager,

 

enough wealth to meet our needs,

 

enough faith to banish depression,

 

enough hope to look forward,

 

enough love to give us comfort,

 

And enough determination to

 

keep us going

 

 

 

 

A New Year's Prayer

 

May God make your year a happy one!

 

Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain,

 

But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;

 

Not by making your path easy,

 

But by making you sturdy to travel any path;

 

Not by taking hardships from you,

 

But by taking fear from your heart;

 

Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,

 

But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;

 

Not by making your life always pleasant,

 

But by showing you when people and their causes need you most,

 

and by making you anxious to be there to help.

 

God's love, peace, hope and joy to you for the year ahead.

 

Author Unknown

 

 

Temperance.

 

WHEN IRELAND'S CAUSE WAS SOLD FOR A BATTLE OF WHISKY.

 

The Sacred Heart Review, Number 12, 13 March 1909

 

We are all more or less familiar with the part played by the unfortunate love of liquor in the Irish rebellion of 1798. The tale has often been told, (although no lasting lesson has been learned from it,) of advantages won by valour and lost by liquor in that struggle of Wexford's peasantry against the disciplined might of England. But an earlier example of the unholy and traitorous part played by liquor in Irish history is, perhaps, not so well known. In view of the coming feast of St. Patrick, it may be well to recall it. In 1601 when a Spanish force, sent over to help Ireland win back her ancient independence, was occupying the town of Kinsale it was besieged by the English. But the English were in turn surrounded by an Irish army under O'Neil and O'Donnell, and thus were placed between two fires. It was decided that a general attack should be made on the English by the forces of O'Neil and O'Donnell on the one hand, and the Spaniards on the other. This attack might or might not have succeeded, according as the English, whom it was hoped to take by surprise, fought well or ill, but, anyway, there was treason in the ranks of the Irish, the English were apprised of the proposed attack , and the Irish and Spanish forces were disastrously defeated. This is how it came about: A certain Brian MacMahon whose son, it seems, had been, some years before, a page to Sir George Carew in England, " for old time's sake " sent a message to Carew asking for a bottle of whisky. The whisky was sent, and so grateful was MacMahon for the gift that he informed Carew of the intended attack. "The list of Irish traitors is a long one," says the Rev. E. A. D'Alton in his history of Ireland, "but our history records no more infamous transaction than this bartering of faith and country for a bottle of whisky." The Irishmen who drink to excess on St. Patrick's Day are guilty of a crime against their birth land and their religion which differs only in degree from that of Brian MacMahon. Drunkenness on St. Patrick's Day is a species of treason to the old land and the old faith which every loyal Irishmen should reprobate and condemn.

 

From Father Kevin

AGENTS OF THE LORD

 

 

 

A very kind, sensitive and supportive parishioner introduced me to the film Evan Almighty.  It’s is perfect for a family evening over Christmas, to warm your hearts and reaffirm your ideals.  The hero is an ambitious young congressman who is persuaded to pray for help with his mission to ‘change the world’.  God responds.  He tells him to build an Ark and then provides the materials to make it along with the pairs of animals to fill it up.  The messengers of God embodied the one who could not be embodied, spoke for the one who had no physical voice and brought help from the one who had no hands.  As often as not, he or she looked just like a human being, even maybe, just like Morgan Freeman from the above film.  We rarely now speak of providence, but we still talk about angels.  We know precisely what “you’re an angel” means.  An angel turns up unexpected and unasked at just the right moment and knows exactly what help is needed.  I still bless the memory of Mike, for example, all six feet of him, who appeared from nowhere to rescue me when my car broke down in Manchester.  Without money or a phone, I was totally frightened.  It happened back in the mid 80’s when I was on Vocation work while based in Liverpool.  Did Mike, I wonder, think of himself as an answer to a prayer?  The providence of God is mediated through his creatures and so “In the sixth month the Angel Gabriel was sent from God”.  His message was that the gap between God and His creation was to be closed in a way more intimate than could ever have been imagined.  Emmanuel means ‘God is with us – the word made flesh’.  These lovely days of Christmas let all of us make an extra special effort in having meaningful encounters with Jesus. We are all agents of the Lord.

 

 

MESSAGE FROM CHAIRPERSON OF THE PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL

 Dec 2016

At this very special and holy time for us all, I would like to thank all those in the Parish who contribute to the life and spirit of our Parish community. We are very fortunate in Moyvane and Knockanure to have so many Parishioners who actively and willingly give of their time, ideas and resources to assist Fr Kevin, the PPC and Liturgy Group in maintaining and developing such a spiritually active Parish. The PPC has been actively engaged with the other Parishes in the Pastoral Area, in what has been a challenging year due to the changes that have occurred and we will continue this engagement into the New Year with a view to enhancing and developing the spiritual life of our Parish community and Pastoral Area.  Within the Parish, our worship and celebrations have been enriched by the enthusiasm and efforts of our Parish Priest, Fr. Kevin and on behalf of us all I would like to thank him for his devotion to the Parish and ask that we always keep in him in our prayers. Finally, on behalf of the PPC I would like to wish you all a very joyful, peaceful and Holy Christmas and every blessing for 2017.

 

                                                                                                                                           Amanda Coulson.

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

Intelligent Management

 

   The word ‘manage’ originally meant the handling or training of horses. Today it means treating or controlling someone or something. We manage all sorts of things – ourselves, relationships, business, work, family, money, home, property, etc. Our ultimate purpose in management is our own happiness and to that end we treat people and things. The way we manage is determined by what we think is in it for us. We’re motivated in our behaviour by what we think will make us secure. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re selfish. Selfishness means that we focus primarily on personal gain at the expense of others. It’s a fact that even when we focus on helping others we know that there’s something in it for us also even though that isn’t our primary motivation. To make sure that we’re not acting for purely selfish reasons we need to daily examine our true motivation for our behaviour.

 

   We’re born with a built-in tendency toward selfishness and sin. Jesus came to save us from these tendencies. This is why we constantly need the Holy Spirit to join our spirit and purify it so that we’re motivated by generosity, honesty, and justice in our dealings with others at home, at work, in Church, or at play. Whom am I serving? How am I managing my time, talent, money? Jesus is the model and the standard for good management. For Jesus good management is all about using our gifts to serve others.  “Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest, and whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all. Such is the case with the Son of Man who has come, not to be served by others, but to serve, to give his own life as a ransom for the many.” (Mt 20:25-28)

 

   God created man and woman to be managers of the earth in His behalf. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish, birds, and all living things that move on the earth.” (Gen 1:28) We’re the guardians of the earth in God’s behalf, and that means treating it with respect and love. It also means that we’re accountable to God for our management. Are we managing the earth for our own selfish ends or are we managing it according to God’s will? Will our style of management bring us happiness or sadness in the end? Time and again God accused His people of mismanaging the earth by using it to satisfy their own greed. “Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!” (Amos 8:4) God called Amos to preach social justice and expose the abuse of the poor by the rich. God warned, “Never will I forget a thing they have done!” (Amos 8:7) Nothing escapes Divine Justice. We’ll all have to account for our use of this world’s goods.

 

   As a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so a community is only as just as its treatment of its weakest members. Are we treating them with compassion and justice? If you and I view our life as God’s managers of His world, we’ll be able to determine whether our stewardship is self-serving or other-serving. An executive with a religious organization said that viewing your life in terms of stewardship is like driving a leased car. “You can do what you like with it, but you must return it to its owner at a certain time. You will be held accountable for the condition in which it’s returned.” Many people think that their life is their own and aren’t accountable for how they use it. They act as if they own the earth and can do with it what suits them. But that isn’t the case. As St. Paul reminds us, “You are not your own. You have been purchased, and at a great price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor 6:19-20)

 

   God “wants all men and women to be saved and come to know the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3) The truth is this: “God is one. One also is the mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ who gave Himself as a ransom for all.” (1 Tim 2:5-6) Jesus alone can secure life and happiness for us. He tells the story of the wily steward who is fired for mismanagement. Knowing he’s out of a job the manager endears himself to the owner’s debtors by lowering their bills. The owner credits him for his deviousness in looking out for his own security. Jesus teaches us, ““The worldly take more initiative than the other-worldly when it comes to dealing with their own kind. Make friends for yourselves through your use of this world’s goods, so that they fail you, a lasting reception will be yours.” (Lk 16:8-9) Jesus’ lesson is that just as the unjust manager used his intelligence to secure friends to help him now that he was unemployed, so we must use our intelligence to make friends with those who can help us when our body fails us. Intelligent management treats people and the world in a manner that nurtures friendship with Jesus to whom we’re accountable as the managers of God’s earth. (frsos)

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

Who’s Way?

 

   Frank Sinatra sang, “I Did it My Way” It began with, “And now, the end is near/ And so I face the final curtain/ My friend, I’ll say it clear/ I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain/I’ve lived a life that’s full/ I’ve travelled each and every highway/But more, much more than this/I did it my way.” We all have a tendency to think our way is the best. The key question is, “Where will my way get me?” A way is a road, or a method that leads to a desired destination or the accomplishment of something. The way we choose to live will definitely lead us to the “final curtain”. But what will I find beyond that curtain as a result of the way I have taken?

 

   Someone asked Jesus, “Lord, are there few in number who are to be saved?” (Lk13:24a) He answered, “Try to come in through the narrow door. Many, I tell you will try to enter and be unable.” (Lk 13:24b) Jesus is the narrow door to Heaven and happiness. In His last discourse He promised His disciples, “I am indeed going to prepare a place for you, and then I shall come back to take you with me, that where I am you also may be. You know the way that leads where I go.” (Jn 14:3-4) Thomas asked, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (Jn 14:5) Jesus told him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (Jn 14:6) Frank Sinatra might have done it his way, but Jesus’ way is the only way to Heaven.

 

   To live according to Jesus’ way means choosing Him as our Teacher, our Lord, our Leader, our Saviour, the One who loves us unconditionally and calls us into membership of His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. He said Himself, “If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up the cross, and begin to follow in my footsteps.” (Mt 16:24) Following Jesus requires us to put Him first in our lives to show us the way to Heaven. Having come down from Heaven, Jesus alone knows the way to Heaven. To follow Jesus means to totally obey, trust, and sacrifice my will for the sake of His. Knowing the world in which we live, Jesus, God’s Word-made-flesh, is able to show us what we should move towards and steer clear of. Like a tour guide, Jesus leads us to the places of interest and away from the no-go areas. When we let our ego or someone else do the guiding we’re destined to choose the wrong way. Jesus warns us, “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would a man show is he were to gain the whole world and lose his soul in the process? What can a man offer in exchange for his very self?” (Mt 16: 25-26) When we lose our life to Jesus He helps us see and possess it in a way that we could never see ad possess it before. But if we try to save our life by doing things our way we’re guaranteed to end in failure.

 

   Sadly, there are people who say they are followers of Jesus but don’t do things His way. Jesus founded only one Church on Peter as visible head on earth. He gave him the keys of the Kingdom and the power to bind and loose in His Name. He provided this Church with visible signs of His presence, namely the seven Sacraments. Jesus provided His Church with the visible sign of His Real presence wherein He makes a gift of Himself, body, blood, soul, and divinity, to her members in the Holy Mass. In these signs Jesus strengthens, encourages, nourishes and guides us on the way through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, so many have rejected Jesus’ Church and her Sacraments to follow Him according to their own way. Jesus says that many will try to enter Heaven and be unable. They’ll ask, “Sir, open for us … We ate and drank in your company. You taught in our streets.” (Lk 13:25a, 27a) Jesus’ answer is, “I do not know where you come from.”  (Lk 13: 27b) Their way can’t get them to Heaven. Thus, Jesus warned, “The invited are many, but the elect are few.” (Mt 22:14)

 

   We create a mess when we live life our way. Our way is prone to sin, selfishness, egotism, and domination that disrespects human life and creates conflict, violence, and destruction. Jesus’ way is the way of love where caring for one another is the order of the day, freedom to reach the fullness of our human potential, justice that guarantees each person’s due, and peace that follows from doing right by God, our self and others. This is why every man, woman, and child needs Christianity - Jesus’ way - if he or she is to have any hope of fulfilment and happiness in Heaven. Sadly, the Way of Jesus is the way less travelled. (frsos)

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

Decision Involves Division

 

   Jesus’ first words to His disciples after His resurrection were, “Peace be with you.” (Jn 20:21) In His last discourse He said, “Peace is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift to you; I do not give it to you as the world gives peace. Do not be distressed or fearful.” (Jn 14:27) In Isaiah’s messianic prophecy the Messiah is associated with peace. “His dominion is vast and forever peaceful.” (Is 9:6) Christians know Jesus as the “Prince of Peace”.  But why in His providential call to repentance did Jesus warn, “Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you but rather division.” (Lk 12:51)  How could Jesus, as the Prince of Peace, come for division?

 

   God created us and bestowed on us the gift of free will. Because of free will we have the ability to say Yes or No to any person or anything, including God Himself. Free will gives us the ability to make choices. Choices call for decisions. Decision creates division when people choose opposing values, tasks, methods, viewpoints, philosophies, etc. People who fear division fear making decisions. But God doesn’t want us to be mugwumps or fence-straddlers. Jesus said, “Say, ‘Yes’ when you mean ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ when you mean ‘No.’” (Mt 5:37) The word ‘decision’ comes from Latin and means ‘to cut off.’ A decision is the act of choosing or “cutting off” one option from among the others. Decision always implies options, otherwise there’s no decision involved. People often put it as “having no choice”. When Jesus said He came for division He meant that people either freely decide to unite with Him as their Lord and Saviour or divide themselves from Him. The decision involves division. This is clearly expressed by Jesus in Matthew 25 where people’s decisions divide them from one another as sheep and goats are separated from one another.

 

    God sent Jeremiah to prophesy that Jerusalem would be destroyed if the people remained unfaithful to their Covenant agreement. He called the people to make a decision to repent and obey God’s Commandments or to continue on their materialistic and idolatrous path of destruction. They decided to reject Jeremiah and separated themselves from God. The princes charged that Jeremiah’s teaching wasn’t politically acceptable. “This man ought to be put to death … he is not interested in the welfare of our people, but in their ruin.” (Jer 38:4) Several hundred years later the high priest, Caiaphas, at Jesus’ trial, called for a decision that caused division between the Jewish leaders and Jesus when he urged, “You have no understanding whatever! Can you not see that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed?” (Jn 11:49-50)

 

   Decisions foster peaceful unity only among those who choose the truth. Jesus is the Truth personified. Jesus didn’t come to establish peace on the earth because it would require Him to impose His will on each of us. To do that He would have to deprive us of free will. We inherit a fallen nature that’s prone to sin, disease, and death. Jesus didn’t come to prevent us from sinning or rid us of disease and death. He did come to give us the option of choosing a future free from sin, suffering, and death. That future promises the joy of being in His Father’s presence in union with Him and the Holy Spirit surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses”. (Heb 12:1) Jesus commissioned His Apostles to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation. The man who believes in it and accepts Baptism will be saved; the man who refuses to believe in it will be condemned.” (Mk 16:15-16) Thus He made it possible for each person to decide to accept or reject Him. It’s a choice we each have to make. Jesus is Prince of Peace because He alone can make us right with God, ourselves and with one another. In choosing Him we choose the means to practice justice which is the foundation of our inner peace of mind, heart, and soul.

 

   The peace that Jesus offers comes from the knowledge that He is with us and will lift us up from our fallen state. At His birth the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to those on whom His favour rests.” (Lk 2:14) God’s favour rests on those who decide to do His will by uniting themselves with Jesus. To solidify that union the Holy Spirit joins our spirit to help us “throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily … (and) not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection.” (Heb 12:1-2) The sin that “clings so easily” is our ego that wants to be first and causes division between us and God. We mustn’t be afraid to decide for Jesus even though it may divide us from those who reject Him. Deciding for Jesus is deciding for a peace that only He can give. (frsos)

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

God’s Mercy: Merci Beaucoup

 

   Pope Francis designated December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016 as a period of time to reflect on mercy as an essential virtue for human maturity and the growth of community. He invited everyone to actualize love, kindness, and generosity in their lives by encountering the incredible mercy of God revealed in and through Jesus Christ. What is mercy? In Latin and French it means reward, gift, kindness, grace, or pity. It’s the disposition to forgive and show compassion. Since all good things come from God, mercy comes from Him to us, to be exercised toward one another. St. Paul personally experienced God’s mercy and wrote, “I have been mercifully treated … Indeed the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus … Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Tim 1:13-15) God’s mercy toward us empowers us to be compassionate toward others.

 

  The need for mercy, and why it’s essential for human maturity, is that it disposes us to forgive one another’s injustices. God’s mercy is personified in Jesus’ coming to call sinners to repentance and seek forgiveness. Why do we need to repent and seek forgiveness? Because we’re all sinners. Sin is rampant in the world. St. John clearly states what Jesus revealed to the Apostles, “If we say, ‘We have never sinned,’ we make Him a liar and His word isn’t in us.” (1 Jn 1:10) It’s because we’re all sinners that Jesus empowered His Apostles to forgive sin. For this reason He gave His Church the Sacrament of Reconciliation, commonly known as “Confession.”  “‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ Then He breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.’” (Jn 20:21-22) In this manner Jesus has empowered His Church through her bishops and priests to bestow His mercy on those who repent of their sin and seek reconciliation with Him and His people.

 

   We can’t appreciate mercy and forgiveness unless we’re acutely consciousness of our sin. We must be willing to pray with the Psalmist, “Have mercy on me, O God, in Your goodness; in the greatness of Your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.” (Ps 51:3-4) The reason people act unmercifully is because they ignore their own sinfulness and their need for God’s mercy themselves. If you or I think we haven’t sinned, why should we seek mercy? Only the sinner recognizes his or her need for compassion. There’s a woeful loss of a sense of sin in the world today, even in some members of Jesus’ Church. This breeds self-righteousness and the illusion that there’s no need for God, Jesus, or His Church. The more the sense of sin is dumbed down the less conscious people become of their own sinfulness and dismiss their need for repentance and forgiveness.  Where there’s no forgiveness relationships die and people’s souls remain tarnished. All this dehumanizes the sinner who thinks he or she is sinless. Today sin is legalized in abortion, same-sex marriage, and euthanasia, prostitution. It’s alive and well in divorce, sex trafficking, political corruption, murder, disrespect, biased media, suicide, illegal drugs, etc. What’s legal isn’t always what’s moral. People forget that one day they’ll die and be answerable to God for their un-repented sins.

 

    God is merciful, no doubt about it. But He forgives only those who admit their sin and seek forgiveness. God, in His justice, holds everyone accountable for their actions and for how they’ve used the gifts He gave them in this world. Jesus emphasized God’s mercy in His parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son. He pointed out in these parables that, “There will be more joy in Heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.” (Lk 15:7.10) God constantly call His children to avail themselves of His mercy by repenting and amending their life. Jesus’ Church emphasizes God’s mercy in her teaching on Purgatory.

 

   The Old Testament is filled with acts of God’s mercy toward His people who sinned against Him by disobeying His Commandments, committing sins of idolatry, adultery, and inhospitality. Sin is putting someone or something else before God in our life. In sin we create a golden calf and worship it. (Ex 32:7-11) The golden calf is always our personal attempt to seek what satisfies us rather than seeking what pleases God. But we reap what we sow; if we sow in corruption, we’ll reap corruption. (Gal 6:8) If we’re merciful God will treat us mercifully. Charity, which is compassion, covers a multitude of sins. Consciousness of our sinfulness causes us to turn to God’s mercy which brings us the joy of knowing His love and care for us. This evokes a spirit of gratitude in us knowing that we’re not domed by our sins. The more we recognize God’s mercy towards us the more we will be inclined to be merciful towards others. Only the self-confessed repentant sinner receiving God’s mercy can say to Him daily, “Merci beaucoup.”  (frsos)

 

 

 

Humility: Key to Virtuous Living

 

   Virtuous living means practicing good habits. Good habits are those thoughts, words and actions that promote health of mind, soul, and body. There are three virtues that depend on God for their actualization in our life, namely supernatural faith, hope, and charity. We depend on God to give us the grace to believe in Him as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ, now present in His Church. Only God can give us the hope we need to believe that the best is still to come. Since God is love, only He can give us the love we need to love ourselves and our neighbour despite our flaws and sinfulness. These divine virtues are essential in order for us to be able to aspire to a sense of fulfilment that is beyond our natural ability to attain. Yes, we want to have faith, hope, and love but without relying on God’s faith in us, His hope for us, and His unconditional love for us we would not be able to believe, hope, and love especially when faced with betrayal, doubt, apathy, despair, hate, and suffering. These three divine virtues provide the foundation for the practise of the natural virtues of prudence in our decisions, justice in how we treat others, perseverance in the face of obstacles, and temperance by avoiding excesses in all things. All other good habits flow from these. Humility is essential to prevent virtues from becoming vices. It helps us control our tendency to be prideful and vain in our accomplishments.

 

   The Holy Spirit inspired the author of Sirach to write: “My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favour with God. For great is the power of God; by the humble He is glorified” (Sir 3:17-19) Divine revelation tells us that humility brings love and God’s favour and leads the humble person to glorify Him. What is humility? The word is derived from the Latin ‘humus,’ which means earth or soil. But it is more than just earth; it is like a sponge that holds water in the soil and enriches it.   In French it means modesty or sweetness. Scientists explain how humus enriches soil. “Soils that have a high humus content, have abundant living biological activity to convert plant residues, leaf litter, animal dung and various biomass into stable humus.” What humus does for soil, humility does for us. It calls for a balanced and modest view of themselves and the recognition that all good things come from God including our gifts and talents.

 

   In His first instruction to His Apostles Jesus emphasized humility when He taught them, “Blest are the lowly; they shall inherit the land.” (Mt 5:5) To be lowly is to humbly accept our total dependence on God and our need for one another. This is why the lowly person is always grateful. This is highlighted in Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The tax collector humbly sought God’s mercy recognizing himself as a sinner. The Pharisee proudly talked about his accomplishments. Jesus ended the story by telling His listeners, “Believe me, this man went home from the temple justified but the other did not. Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled while he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Mt 18:14) The Holy Spirit revealed in the Psalms, “a heart contrite and humbled, O God, You will not spurn.” (Ps 51:19) Humility is an essential disposition if we’re to receive God’s attention. St. Paul reminds us, “Let him who would boast, boast in the Lord. It is not the man who recommends himself who is approved but the man whom the Lord recommends.” (2 Cor 10:17-18)

 

   Jesus epitomized humility in His thoughts, words and actions. “Though His state was divine, yet He did not cling to His equality with God but emptied Himself to assume the conditions of a slave, and became as men are  ...” (Phil 2:6-7)  He said of Himself, “Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome … learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.” (Mt 11: 28-29) Jesus is completely approachable because He is so humble of heart. He considered humility so important that He devoted another parable to highlight its importance when practising the virtue of hospitality. Jesus advises, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding party, do not sit in the place of honour in case some greater dignitary has been invited  ...” (Lk 14:8) There’s a big difference between being humble and being humiliated. The truly humble person can’t be humiliated because he or she already takes the lowest place in any gathering. The person who lacks humility is the one who risks being humiliated.

 

   We are all born with an ego that wants to be centre stage. Despite maturity and learning to put others first the ego still battles for attention. Humility keeps the ego in check. Whose company would you prefer, that of an egotistical person or one who is humble? Humility makes us approachable and keeps us realistic and grateful in the practise of our other virtues. It’s the antidote to pride that seeks superiority and vanity that seeks praise. It keeps us grounded, down to earth, and enriches us in all that we do and say. It keeps us modest and moderate. “You have been told what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)(frsos)

 

 

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

Where’s God’s Heart?

 

   I was talking to a woman recently who related a sad story about a child suffering from cancer. She queried, “Is there a God?” I’ve heard many ask the same question when faced with tragedy, disease, and death. My answer was, “Yes, there has to be a God who can give us faith, hope, and love when our faith is shattered, love wanes, and hope is dashed.” Without a God who cares and can lift us up from the pit of suffering and death, life in this world is nonsense. God assures us, as He did St. Paul in his suffering, “My grace is enough for you, for in weakness my power reaches perfection.” (2 Cor 12:9a) It’s up to us to let God’s grace perfect us. In our suffering God asks us to look beyond world’s inability to heal us. Disease, whether mental or physical, is the result of Adam and Eve’s sin which has infected the human nature we each inherit from the moment of conception. Suffering and death had no part in God’s original plan. But it’s God who comes to our rescue by establishing His Kingdom in this world so that we can look forward to the fullness of joy in His Kingdom in Heaven. Jesus established God’s Kingdom here on earth – where we can begin to taste His love, freedom, justice, and peace. Jesus didn’t come to make this world His kingdom. He pointed out, “My Kingdom does not belong to this world. … My Kingdom is not here.” (Jn 18:36) Jesus’ Church, founded on Peter, is the visible sign of God’s Kingdom here on earth so that every man, woman and child could enter and know that He would raise them up from suffering and death if they believed in Him. Without Jesus there is no future for you or me or anyone else.

 

   God glorifies everyone whom He calls into His kingdom. (Wis 18:6-9) He calls everyone to enter His Kingdom through the Sacrament of Baptism in which Jesus binds us to Himself as His adopted brothers and sisters. The believer in God is able to proclaim, “Blessed the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen for His own inheritance … Our soul waits for the Lord who is our help and our shield. May Your kindness be upon us who have put our hope in you.”  (Ps 33:12, 20) By entering God’s Kingdom we become new persons, enjoying a blessed status, and an eternally happy destiny, armed with a divine faith, love and hope. How does this happen? God promised us, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I will put my spirit in you and make you live by my commandments, careful to sincerely respect my observances.” (Ezek 36:26-27) He makes us more fully human and alive.

 

   Jesus teaches us, “Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be.” (Lk 12:34) Where’s your heart? There’s your treasure! Where’s God’s heart? What does He treasure? He treasures what He loves. What does God love? He loves His creation and He especially loves every person whom He has created to guide the world back to Him. How do we know that God’s loves us? Jesus stated, “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn 15:13) Jesus, God’s Word in the flesh, demonstrated this highest love for mankind in His passion, death, and resurrection. To realize that God has put His heart in you as His treasure, just reflect on the Crucifix. This calls for faith. Faith is simply believing that God is faithful to His promises. The great compliment Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, paid Mary, the mother of Jesus, was, “Blessed is she who believed that the Lord’s words to her would be fulfilled.” (Lk 1:45) The Holy Spirit reveals the power of faith: “Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.” (Heb 11:1) Faith is God’s gift to trust in His love in all situations.

 

   Faith is about believing what God has revealed to us about Himself, about us and our purpose on this earth. God’s revelation gives us a knowledge that we could never attain through science. It lets us see that God’s heart is in our wellbeing and welfare. He treasures us and calls us to join our heart to His as our greatest treasure. How do we show that our heart is in God as our greatest treasure? By putting our trust in Jesus Christ and living each day as His disciple. Each day we should invite the Holy Spirit to join our spirit and refresh, purify, encourage, and enlighten it so that we may be ready to meet Jesus as our Judge at the moment of death. Jesus cautions us, “Be on guard, therefore. The Son of Man will come when you least expect Him.” (Lk 12:40) Yes, there is a God who always puts His heart in you because He treasures you. (frsos)

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

Insuring Your Future

 

   Insurance is a fact of life in the western world. You can buy insurance for practically everything - life, health, home, property, pet, vehicle, travel, etc. Insurance is the guarantee of compensation for loss of what’s insured. But there’s no insurance that guarantees the prevention of loss. Life insurance doesn’t guarantee life. It isn’t the person whose life is insured that benefits but those who are named as beneficiaries after his or her death. It doesn’t do the insured person much good except knowing that others will benefit from his or her death. Jesus warns against the false thinking that we can insure our future happiness by our own plans. You can’t buy insurance that guarantees life after death. A rich man’s harvest was so good that he had to extend his barns. Pleased with himself, he reflected, “You have blessings in reserve for years to come. Relax! Eat heartily, drink well. Enjoy yourself.” Lk 12:19) Then God spoke to him, “You fool! This very night your life shall be required of you. To whom will all this piled-up wealth of yours go?” (Lk 12:20) Jesus warns His listeners, “That’s the way it works for the man who grows rich for himself instead of growing rich in the sight of God.” (Lk 12:21) The man had a full barn but an empty soul.

 

   Would you insure your home, car, or property with a company who couldn’t compensate you in case of loss? But what about your future? What insurance have you taken out that guarantees you a happy life after death? The only Company that can insure you against loss of life and love at the moment of death is Jesus’ Church. It’s also the only Company that can insure your family and friends that their relationship with you hasn’t ended. So often we live as if we’re never going to die and work on insuring our own happiness by seeking material comforts. This fuels a spirit of greed. Jesus, when asked to intervene in a family dispute over property, answered, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be wealthy, but his possessions do not guarantee him life.” (Lk 12:14-15) The only one who can guarantee life’s continuity is the Life-Giver Himself, namely the God the Father , through Jesus Christ, by the Power of the Holy Spirit.

 

   Some years ago Carly Simon sang, “You’re So Vain”. The chorus is: “You’re so vain/ You probably think this song is about you/ You’re so vain, / I’ll bet you think this song is about you/ Don’t you? / Don’t you?” The word vanity comes from Latin and means ‘empty.’ The Psalmist asked, “Men of rank, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love what is vain and chase after what is falsehood?” (Ps 4:3) In Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth, in speaking of how people live, warned, “Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” (Eccl 1:2) Vanity differs from pride. Pride is acting superior to others. It doesn’t necessarily seek praise. Vanity, on the other hand, is acting in a manner that seeks praise and self-admiration. The cult of celebrity reflects vanity in all its emptiness. A vain person seeks self-adulation, lapping up praise like a hungry cat drinking milk. Hence the tendency to attribute all accomplishments to oneself so as to gain all the glory. This is the pathology of narcissism. It’s defined as an “inordinate fascination with oneself, or excessive self-love, self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism.” From a psychological perspective narcissism is the “erotic gratification derived from one’s own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.”

 

   In many ways western culture promotes vanity. It’s a business that emphasizes “body beautiful” but ignores the soul’s need for God and produces stunted personalities. The antidote to vanity, narcissism, and erotic gratification is Jesus Christ who emphasizes serving others and union with God who alone insures a developed personality and a joyful life that never ends. Thus, St. Paul urges, “Let your thoughts be on Heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth … When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with Him in glory” (Col 3:1-4) Vanity obsesses about instant self-gratification, which fuels greed, and self-admiration, which puts the ego at the centre where God, the Creator and Life-Giver, should be. St. Paul, in order to insure our future fulfilment, urges us to, “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, selfishness, evil desires, and the lust that is idolatry. … Put aside all anger and quick temper, malice, insults, and foul language. These are the sins which provoke God’s wrath. Stop lying to one another.” (Col 3: 5-10) When you ask God’s Spirit to join your spirit you put on the new way of life given you by Jesus and you reject the old way of sin. At every Holy Mass the priest prays to God the Father, just before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, “May the Body and Blood of Christ keep me safe for eternal life.” Jesus is our only insurance for a joyful future and a present well-spent. (frsos)

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

Prayer Is an Act of Intimacy

 

   Many years ago I had the sad experience of conducting the burial service for a young father who died tragically. As the coffin was being lowered into the grave his ten-year old daughter kept calling out, “Daddy, Daddyyyy….” Her voice slowly trailed off as the coffin went out of sight. Her father was the one she cherished and with whom she shared her intimate thoughts. Intimacy means sharing your innermost thoughts with another knowing you’ll still be acknowledged, affirmed, and loved. Every person needs intimacy, a trusting and safe relationship where we’re not afraid to reveal our most vulnerable self. It enables us to see more clearly who we are, what we’re about, and what we’re becoming. This is what prayer does. It’s an expression of an intimate relationship with God.

 

   Jesus’ Apostles saw how important prayer was to Him, so they asked Him to teach them. “Lord, teach us to pray …” (Lk 11:1) They wanted a special prayer that reflected the intimacy they and He shared with one another. Jesus responded, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your Name, Your Kingdom come.’” (Lk 11:2) The Aramaic word for father is ‘Abba’ and has the same implication as ‘Daddy’. Jesus intimately addressed God the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Abba, You have the power to do all things. Take this cup away from me. But let it be as You would have it, not as I.” (Mk 14:36) In teaching His Apostles to call God “Abba,” Jesus called them to view prayer as an intimate conversation between God as their “Daddy” and themselves as His beloved children. Recently I was visiting a family and the fourteen-year old daughter entered the room and sat beside her Dad who kissed her on the cheek. She lovingly returned the gesture. It reflected that special father-child relationship. Prayer is an intimate experience of trust and sharing between God and His children. This involves the humble realization that God is the Father and we’re the children. The Father is always the leader and the teacher. The children are always the followers and the learners. When this awareness is acute the children always benefit.

 

   We see this kind of intimate trust in the relationship of Abraham and God. Sodom and Gomorrah were wallowing in immorality. God was about to punish the citizens for their blatant sinfulness. Abraham interceded with God to save the innocent people lest they suffer with the sinners. God listens and promises to withhold punishment for the sake of the faithful, no matter how few they might be in numbers. Abraham interceded with God, “‘What if there are at least ten there?’ God replied, ‘For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.’” (Gen 18:32) God cares and responds to intercessory prayer. The Psalmist proclaimed, “I will give thanks to You, O Lord, with all my heart, for You have heard the words of my mouth … When I called You answered me; You built up strength within me.” (Ps 138:1, 3) In prayer God is a caring listener and responder.

 

   In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to call God “Our Father/Abba/Daddy.” (Lk 11:2) That means we don’t pray as isolated or unrelated individuals, but as His son or daughter. Jesus teaches us to pray as a member of God’s family, brothers and sisters whose home is with our Father in Heaven. We pray with our eyes fixed on our destination where we’ll have the perfect joy of being in the arms of our heavenly Father. We never pray alone. The Church is God’s family conversing with God the Father together with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. In prayer we yearn for God’s Kingdom of freedom, love, justice and peace. We seek to do God’s will on earth because it’s His will that we be in a loving relationship with Him as our Abba, and with one another as brothers and sisters. As St. Paul reminds us, “All you who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. You did not receive a spirit of slavery leading you back into fear, but a spirit of adoption through which we cry out, ‘Abba!’ that is ‘Father’” (Rom 8:14-15)  He is a Father who provides for our daily nourishment. He gives us the gift of forgiveness so that when we disobey and hurt one another we can reconcile and overcome sin and temptation by following Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit in His Church.

 

   The Lord’s Prayer teaches us that prayer reflects a Father-child relationship. That’s why Jesus insisted that entering Heaven requires that we become like a little child. “He called a little child over and stood him in their midst and said, ‘I assure you, unless you change and become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of God. Whoever makes himself lowly, becoming like this child, is of greatest importance in that Heavenly reign.” (Mt 18:2-4) If you want your prayer to be an intimate expression of your relationship with God, you know what you must do. (frsos)

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

The Key to Happiness

 

   Every person seeks happiness in one way or another. God created us to be happy with Him for all eternity. We have an inalienable right, not to be happy, but to pursue it. But what will make us happy and where will we find it? The dictionary defines happiness as having good fortune, being lucky, or being rich. What will bring us good fortune, luck, or make us rich? That’s the important question. It’s a key question because our answer is what directs our life, our efforts and resources. Jesus reminds us, “Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be also.” (Lk 12:34) What we treasure is that which we believe and hope will make us happy for ever. Ask yourself: “What do I treasure the most? Will it bring me permanent happiness?

 

   The Old Testament people considered idolatry, adultery, and inhospitality to be the worst sins a person could commit. The first two were clearly forbidden by God’s Commandments: “You shall not have other gods besides me.” (Ex 20:3) “You shall not commit adultery.” (Ex 20:14) The community condemned lack of hospitality. These were considered the worst sins because of their evil effects on the wellbeing of the community. Idolatry divided and weakened the community. Adultery divided and weakened the family, and inhospitality threatened the life of the desert traveller who depended on the people’s generosity for shelter, food, safety, and warmth. This spirit of welcome is evident in Abraham who welcomed God’s messengers. “Looking up he saw three men … He ran from his tent to greet them … ‘Let some water be brought that you may bathe your feet and rest yourselves under the tree … Let me bring you a little food that you may refresh yourselves.’” (Gen 18:1-10) Here’s an act of hospitality par excellence. It reflects an attitude of charity toward the stranger. Since God is charity personified, where there’s charity God is there. Abraham was rewarded for His hospitable spirit by God’s gift of a son to him and Sarah, even though both were past child-bearing age. God always rewards hospitality.

 

   It isn’t the good deed that makes us happy, but the fact that God blesses us for it. Happiness doesn’t come from our actions but from God who gives us the power to do them. We can’t make ourselves happy, nor can any other human being. Only the Creator can fulfil the hopes and dreams of the creature. Only God can make us happy. God’s presence calling us to Him is the key to happiness. St. Paul testifies that Jesus is the source of his happiness even in the midst of suffering. “Even now I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you.” (Col 1:24) He points out that “the mystery of Christ in you is your hope of glory.” (Col 1:27) The fact that Jesus is the key to happiness is what motivated Paul to proclaim, “For this I work and struggle, impelled by that energy of His (Jesus) which is so powerful a force within me.” (Col 1:29) Jesus is Paul’s treasure and he has set his heart in Him as the source of his energy and joy.

 

   There’s a saying that, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” There should be another saying that says, “All work and no prayer makes Jack a joyless person.” The Psalmist wrote “He who walks blamelessly and does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” (Ps 15:2)To do justice is to be a good neighbour to those in need. But we must never forget that it’s through being in God’s presence that we’re able to act justly by giving others their due, and be blameless. To be in God’s presence requires prayer – speaking and, more importantly, listening to God - before and after all our endeavours. Remember, it is doing God’s will that brings happiness, not our will.

 

   In the story of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary, we see what God considers essential for happiness. Both sisters welcome Jesus into their home, but in different ways. Martha welcomes Him by cooking a meal. Mary expresses her hospitality by giving all her attention to what Jesus was saying. Martha complained, “Lord, are you not concerned that my sister has left me to do the household tasks all alone? Tell her to help me.” (Lk 10:40) Jesus answered by reminding her what makes hospitality a happy experience. “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things; one thing only is required. Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it.” (Lk 10:41) The lesson is that you and I must spend time in prayer before we do anything, if we want it to be an enjoyable experience. The key to happiness in all we do is found in spending time with the Lord listening to Him and receiving His words of wisdom, direction, encouragement, faith, hope, and love. Equipped with Jesus’ words we can’t help but be joyful, no matter how difficult the task might be. Without Jesus’ guidance, no matter how competent we might be, we’ll neither get happiness from our efforts nor be enriched or have good fortune. (frsos)

 

 

 

Sean Sheehy

 

The Key to Salvation

 

   A friend of mine asked recently how God would judge people who either haven’t heard of Him or who’ve been led astray in this confusing and sinful world. During this Year of Mercy we might well ask how God provides everyone with the opportunity to know and do His will. As a loving Father, God gives each of His children the opportunity to benefit from His love. How does God do this? Speaking through Moses, He tells us, “If only you would heed the voice of the Lord and keep His commandments and statute … with all your heart and all your soul … This command is not too mysterious and remote for you … It is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” (Deut 30:10-14) God writes His law on the heart of every human being from the moment of conception. Every human soul has a spiritual organ of religiosity that seeks union with its Creator. Every person has the ability to reason to the existence of God. Therefore no person can say he or she couldn’t hear or believe in God.

 

   God formed a people to whom He personally revealed Himself and finally He came to earth Himself in Person through His Word, Jesus Christ. “Jesus is the image of the unseen God … for in Him were created all things in Heaven and on earth: everything visible and invisible … all things were created through Him and for Him … He holds all things in unity … the Church is His body, He is its Head … He was first to be born from the dead.” (Col 1:15-20) Jesus is God’s love for us made visible. “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Trial, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or the sword?” (Rom 8:35) Nothing can separate us from God’s love except ourselves through sin. Jesus founded His Church on Peter to, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the Name ‘of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Mat 28:19-20) It’s the responsibility of every member of Jesus’ Church to introduce Him to every human being? Why? Because to have a personal relationship with God it’s essential to know Jesus. He is the “image of the unseen God.” If people don’t now Jesus today it’s either because they have rejected Him or Christians haven’t introduced Him to them.

 

   Sometimes Christians think they’re good because they haven’t hurt anyone. But they forget that Christianity isn’t only about not hurting others but about doing good to them. St. Peter urges us, “Above all, let your charity be constant, for charity covers a multitude of sins. Be mutually hospitable without complaining … put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure he or she has received.” (1 Pt 4:8-10) Jesus warns us, “It is not those who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in Heaven.” (Mt 7:21) What’s God’s will? It’s to love Him with all we have and love our neighbour as our self. When we love our neighbour we’re loving God and our self. Jesus emphasized love of neighbour as the key to salvation in His parable of the Good Samaritan. There are three kinds of people in the world. Those who act like, 1. “What’s yours is mine!” 2. “What’s mine is mine!” and 3. “What’s mine is yours.” The robber falls into the first category, the priest and Levite the second, and the Samaritan the third.

 

   Every person has a free will and can choose either of these spirits when approaching others. The person who believes that “what is mine is yours” is the one who does God’s will, regardless of his or her religion. This person is like Jesus who heals our wounds caused by our sins. To selflessly reach out to others always signifies the presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s love made visible. It’s not those calling on the Lord who will be saved, but those who are charitable. Actions speak louder than words. God doesn’t want us just calling His Name; He want us to act in His Name. Faith without works is dead. Prayer without action is empty. A “religious” person without charity is less religious that a charitable person without religion. The value and purpose of religion is to bind us to God in a personal relationship so that, through prayer and worship, we might receive God’s grace and know His will, growing in our consciousness and creativity for doing good to others. Jesus tells us that we will be judged not on our Church attendance but on our consistent charitable attitude toward “the least of my brothers and sisters.” (Mt 25:40) We need to ask ourselves daily, “To whom can I do good today in my efforts to do God’s will and be saved from my sins?” (frsos)

 

 

 

What if……God really means what He says and He can be taken at His word?

 

 

 

What if……. He encourages you to dream big?

 

 

 

What if…… it’s  actually safe to go big or go home because you are already at home in Him?

 

 

 

What if…… He says it’s time to take off the training wheels?

 

 

 

What if…… your potential in Christ is not shackled to the mistakes you made?

 

 

 

What if……your effectiveness in the Kingdom is not lessened by your deliberate sins of yesterday?

 

 

 

What if…… A contrite spirit He will not deny?

 

 

 

What if…… the abuse, betrayals, disappointments, and wounds inflicted upon you by your parents, your spouse, your community, your enemies, and other believers are not insurmountable obstacles blocking you from your full potential?

 

 

 

What if…… the wall you thought unscaleable has a door wide open, just waiting for you to take that deep breath and walk through?

 

 

 

What if…… God’s ‘yes’ holds more power than man’s ‘no’?

 

 

 

What if…… the words God says about you hold more power than any words that have been used against you or could be used against you?

 

 

 

What if…… greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world?

 

 

 

What if…… He is a good shepherd and will provide for you when you follow after Him?

 

 

 

What if……. He can see where He is leading you, even when you can’t see beyond the word He has given you for today?

 

 

 

What if…… the deafening fear that has held you back is only the bark of a toothless, powerless old dog?

 

 

 

What if…… God actually likes to spend time with you and enjoys your company?

 

 

 

What if…… He trusts you much more than you trust yourself?

 

 

 

What if…… God not only has the power to heal those wounded areas of your heart but that He longs to do so.

 

  What if……He  stands at the door, eagerly waiting for your say-so, so He can help clean up the mess you think He doesn’t know about?

 

 

 

What if…… those people who matter most to you see all the flaws and imperfections you so desperately try to hide from yourself and from them?

 

 

 

What if……they love you anyhow?

 

 

 

What if…… you can make a significant difference in someone’s life today, just how you are and who you are at this  exact moment?

 

 

 

What if…… you are the one God is calling to be the answer to the prayer you’ve been praying on behalf of your brother, your sister, your church, your nation or your world?

 

 

 

What if… … you took Him at His word?

 

http://www.athea.ie/

 

 by Peg Prendeville 13-4-2016, Limerick Diocese.

Well, after 16 months of preparation and meetings and three days of good humour, passionate debates, energy and buzz in Mary Immaculate College the Limerick Diocesan Synod finished up last Sunday evening with a Mass in St John’s Cathedral. But, we were reminded that “synod” means journey and our journey continues. But some of us delegates can take a breather for a while. You will read all about it in local newspapers but let me share how it was for me personally. The whole journey from December 2014 to now was full of lovely moments; meeting lovely like-minded people, learning new insights into our faith, hearing other people’s views which may or may not agree with my own but which are just as valuable. I learned that the Holy Spirit speaks through us all in different ways. It was great to observe how the laity and the clergy mixed with one another in camaraderie and on an equal level. Nobody lorded it over another. The priests said it was lovely to work with the laity and see the depth of their faith while the laity was pleased to hear things from a priest’s point of view. It was lovely also to work alongside young people who were excited at the whole prospect of the church wanting to be woken up and actually listening to their ideas! The whole event energised everybody present and filled us with hope that a whole new way of life and church is ready to open up. Or maybe I am very naïve still? No, I believe that changes will be made for the good, some may take time to come to fruition but the seed is sown. We will continue the

 

journey. I must add that the planning and organisation that went into the whole process was second to none and top marks go to the Diocesan Office personnel and the

 

Preparatory team for their hard work and dedication to detail. I did not hear one complaint during the whole weekend!

 

New Zealand Tablet, Volume XXIX, Issue 36, 5 September 1901, Page 1

 

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=NZT19010905.2.3&srpos=10&e=-------10-NZT-1----0girl+guides--

 

Sketch of article

 

But there is a higher source of courage than was contemplated by the literary naval captain. We confess to an unbounded admiration for the army surgeon who, unsustained by the fine fury of personal conflict and bloodletting, coolly busies himself in the zone of danger giving first aid to the luckless fighters whose machinery has been disarranged by the lodgment of Mauser bullets or twisted and knotted fragments of exploded shell. But there is a still higher reach of courage still the bravery that brings tenderly nurtured women, Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of Charity, within the firing line, without the thought of fear and intent only upon doing, for the love of God, a service to the souls and bodies of the wounded and suffering. We have already told of the work of the Sisters in South Africa, in the great American Civil War, in the Crimea, in the Franco-German War, and in other trying campaigns. Our esteemed contemporary, the S.H. Review, has put, as follows, in brief compass, some of the deeds of quiet heroism of the more sacred order which was done by the Brothers of the Christian Schools in the swift and rushing campaign that ended under the walls of Paris in 1871

 

 

 

During the Franco- Prussian war,' says our Boston contemporary, when virulent smallpox enhanced the horrors surrounding the wounded and the dying, a soldier saw a Christian Brother tenderly ministering to a patient in the most repugnant form of disease. I would not do that," cried the soldier, for a hundred francs an hour To this the Brother infirmarian replied No more would I, nor for a million but I would do it with pleasure for the love of God.'' After the battle of Champigny, sixty of the Brothers dug deep pits in the frozen earth, and there reverently buried 685 soldiers and officers by torchlight. Midnight had not long passed, when notice was given that the armistice was nearly at an end. The pits were filled in, and even then not content, the Brothers placed above this great and sorrowful grave a large cross of wood then, kneeling down, they said the De Profundis. "We have seen nothing like this before," said a Prussian officer. Except the Grey Sisters," said another in a tone of profound respect. During that war someone sprang to help a Brother who was wounded, but was met by the words It is nothing help those who are in greater need." Then, when asked his name, he answered "Why do you ask? I am here to fulfil a duty, for which I look to God alone to reward me, not to the praises of my fellow creatures." From Paris alone 500 Christian Brothers were employed as ambulance-bearers in the bloody conflict. Many and many a French soldier must have echoed the cry of the wounded young lieutenant who saw them coming to his aid "Ah here are the good Brothers They brought me up, and now they are come to help me on the field of battle." Wrote the venerable Superior, Fiere Philippe: "The soldiers love our Brothers, and our Brothers love them; many of them have been brought up in our schools, and will gladly find themselves cared for by their old schoolmasters."

 

What’s Your Ultimate Concern?

 

   Concern is defined as that which affects our happiness, or wellbeing. It can also be an expression of anxiety or caring for someone or something. God calls us during this 2nd week of Lent to reflect on our concerns. You may be concerned about family, work, health, finances, children, spouse, neighbours, age, school, career, physique, appetite, food, addictions, religious faith, sickness, death, or the future. But what’s your ultimate concern? What do you want most for yourself and those you love? Your answer will tell you much about your life’s goal. Our ultimate concern identifies what we think we’re here on earth for and what will bring us lasting happiness.

 

   Lent is a time to identify our desires and direct them in such a way as to bring us true happiness and a genuine sense of wellbeing. All too frequently we’re driven by our physical desires rather than by the desires of our soul. We’re more concerned with our bodily hungers than with our spiritual needs. Think about how much time you spend on thinking about food, what, when, where, and with whom you’re going to eat, and what you’re going to cook. Eating is a major concern for everyone. It’s such a concern that it drowns out our soul’s cry for nourishment. Many people have a well-fed body but their soul is starving. No matter how concerned we might be about feeding our body, we should be much more concerned about properly nourishing our soul. That’s why God, who fully revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, is essential in our life. We can satisfy our physical desires but only Jesus can satisfy our spiritual needs. An ill-nourished soul always causes life to be sluggish, no matter how well-fed the body might be. Our ultimate concern should be how we can have a healthy soul – a joyful self.

 

    Since God created our soul, we must turn to Him to nourish it. Our soul is our self. Our parents created our body but God created our self – our soul. To be concerned about our soul is to be concerned about our self – the kind of person we are and want to become. The more we ask God to nourish our soul the more healthy will our self be. A miserable, angry, mean, greedy, lustful, slothful, prideful, jealous, envious, gluttonous self always signify a mal-nourished, starving soul. Jesus alone can cleanse our soul from these deadly sins, and make us pure and wholesome. He has made Himself the “Bread of Life” for our soul. (Jn 6:35)

 

   To ensure that a well-nourished soul, a healthy self, is our ultimate concern we need to realize that God created us to be citizens of Heaven. “As you well know, we have our citizenship in Heaven; it is from there that we eagerly await the coming of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will give a new form to this lowly body of ours and remake it according to the pattern of His glorified body, by His power to subject everything to Himself.” (Phil 3:20-21) Jesus makes us citizens of Heaven in Baptism. To be good citizens we must freely subject our self to Christ by doing what He teaches. Why? In the words of the Psalmist, “The Lord is my light and my salvation … the Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” (Ps 27:1) As our light, Jesus focuses us on what makes us human, namely our soul. The more we focus on our soul’s health the more we will also maintain a healthy body and keep its desires in check, thus avoiding self-gratification and binging. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation Jesus shines His light on us se we can see our sinfulness, repent and be cleansed from it by His grace, thus refreshing our soul – our self. Sin is a sign that we’re abusing our soul by overindulging our bodily and selfish desires. Jesus asks, “What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?” (Lk 9:25)

 

   Jesus’ light is always for our good, as experienced by Peter, James and John when they saw Him transfigured before them. Peter exclaimed, “Master, how good it is for us to be here.” (Lk 9:33) God spoke to them, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to Him.” (Lk 9:35) This is why Jesus said to Martha, “you are concerned and upset about many things; one thing only is required. Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it.” (Lk 10:41-42) Martha’s concern was preparing a dinner. Mary’s concern was spending time listening to Jesus. You and I may be concerned or anxious about many things, but what should concern us most is being with Jesus Christ. Only He can nourish our soul and make us happy. This week examine your many concerns and decide to make your relationship with Jesus your ultimate concern. That will put all your other concerns and anxieties in perspective making sure you won’t become overwhelmed. If you want to be happy, let your ultimate concern be about deepening your relationship with Jesus Christ in His Church. It’s always fulfilling to be with Jesus listening to Him. (frsos)

 

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/frpatmoore

 

Pat’s Story

I am Pat Moore, 57 and a priest working in my native Kerry for the last 33 years. Twenty years ago I had a serious illness that was treated at the National Neurological Hospital in London. For the last ten years, I have worked in Duagh Parish and just this February was diagnosed with a tumor in the esophagus. It was sudden because indicators like my bloods were fine in November and I had just experienced discomfort swallowing and coughing during January. I've got great support, comfort and inspiration from this site as it keeps lines of communication open with so many friends and aquaintances at home and abroad. You can follow my story by going to the journal and going back to the first entry which is dated the 14th of February.

 


THE GREAT FATHER 

There’s wideness in God’s mercy

Like the wildness of the sea;

There’s a kindness in His justice,

Which is more than liberty.

 

There is no place where earth’s sorrow

Are more felt then up in Heaven:

There is no place where earth’s failings

Have such kind judgment given

 

For the love of God is broader

Than the measures of man’s mind,

And the heart of the Eternal

Is most wonderfully kind.

 

But we make His love too narrow

By false limits of our own;

And we magnify His strictness

With zeal He will not own

 

If our love were but more simple,

We should take Him at His word,

And our lives would be all sunshine

In the sweetness of Our Lord.   

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:

The Lord has given each of us a disciple's tongue so that we can be a rock of support to the weary, the lost and the broken-hearted. Use such a gift wisely and with humility. Never use it to assume a position of power or control. Instead act with humility like Jesus did when he was humble enough to die on a wooden cross for you and me.....

(St John’s Social Justice and Peace Committee).

 

 

Just How Big Is God?

by Friar Jim Van Vurst, O.F.M.

 

It sounds like a strange question to ask because, by definition, God is infinite. But in our human experience, we have no idea what infinite really means. Consider this: as big as our own universe is, it is still created by the infinite God.

 

To begin with, we can estimate that our whole universe is about 14.6 billion years old. Our Milky Way, of which our solar system is a part, is estimated to be 6.4 billion years old. And all of this is said to have started with the Big Bang—an explosion of so much energy that all of what we see came from it over billions of years.

 

But let’s go further. Our Milky Way is about 100 light years in diameter. To understand what a light is, we have to think of how far light will travel in a single year considering that light travels 186,000 miles per second. In a single year, light will travel 5.77 trillion miles. Keep in mind that, as big as our Milky Way is, it really is only an average-sized galaxy in the universe. How many galaxies are in our universe? We can safely say between 100 and 200 billion galaxies—each galaxy containing between 100 and 200 billion stars!

 

Deep Sense of Awe

I could go on and on, but none of us would be able to understand the formulas needed for measuring the stars in our universe. Every new telescope developed takes us further into space. But no matter how may light years our galaxy extends, what we are told by scientists is that there may actually be more universes than just our own. Imagine: another billion universes we don’t even know about!

 

I marvel at how non-believing scientists seem to shrink the size of God into nonexistence. For we who believe, every new discovery only brings us to a deep sense of awe in God. And in a figure of speech, God holds each of us in the palm of his hand. And for the size of the universe, one single human being is of infinitely greater value that all the immeasurable universes out there.

 

The reason is simple: each life is made in God’s image and likeness. Value is never based on size. All that God created, including the universe, is good. But we, as children of God, are valued most. Jesus did not die for the material universe. Jesus died for you and me. As children of God, Jesus died for his brothers and sisters.

 

How big is God? The best way to measure God is to remind us of what the Scriptures tell us: “God is love.” And there is no measuring stick for love.

 



THOUGHT: Keep your life so constant in its contact with God that His surprising power may break out on the right hand and on the left. Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes. Oswald Chambers

 

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

 

 

 

Christ Jesus,

before ascending into heaven,

You promised to send the Holy Spirit

to Your apostles and disciples.

 

 

 

Grant that the same Spirit

may perfect in our lives the work of Your grace and love.

 

 

 

Grant us the Spirit of Fear of The Lord

that we may be filled with a loving reverence toward You.

 

 

 

The Spirit of Piety

that we may find peace and fulfillment

in the service of God while serving others;

 

 

 

The Spirit of Fortitude

that we may bear our cross with You

and, with courage, overcome the obstacles

that interfere with our salvation;

 

 

 

The Spirit of Knowledge

that we may know You and know ourselves

and grow in holiness;

 

 

 

The Spirit of Understanding

to enlighten our minds

with the light of Your truth;

 

 

 

The Spirit of Counsel

that we may choose the surest way of doing Your will,

seeking first the Kingdom;

 

 

 

Grant us the Spirit of Wisdom

that we may aspire to the things that last forever;

 

 

 

Teach us to be Your faithful disciples

and animate us in every way with Your Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

From http://re-worship.blogspot.ca/2011/06/prayer-for-pentecost.html— originally posted on the ChurchYear.net website

 

 

CHURCH Questionnaire

 

Parish Self-Study

Diocese of Brooklyn

Christ Jesus, Our Hope

Parish: ST. CAMILLUS – ST.

VIRGILIUS Cluster QS#3

1.

What are the signs of vibrancy in your parish?

Construction of New Homes in Rockaway Park

Mass Attendance is increasing at BOTH sites

More Children and Families attending Sunday Mass

The merger of St. Camillus and St

. Virgilius has strengthened the

parish

Number of children in CCD continui

ng to attend class after First

Sacraments has improved in the past two years

Ongoing presence of St. Camillus School in the parish

Increase in registered parishioners

Continuing Sports Program which

has expanded since the merger

2.

What is the greatest strength of your parish?

The faith commitment and loyalty of

our parishioners, in particular

the strong senior base of the parish

The volunteers who minister in parish programs

The presence of the Religious Sist

ers and Brothers in the parish

community (all convents are occupied

with Religious Sisters - Sisters

of St. Joseph & Daughters of Wisdom; Franciscan Brothers)

Availability of Catholic Education in St. Camillus School

Parish has financial resources in

deposit with the Diocese and all

buildings are in good repair

(no deferred maintenance)

Potential for growth

3.

What are the greatest concerns or cha

llenges facing your parish now and in

the projected future?

Age of Parish – The congregation is ge

tting older, in particular at St.

Camillus

Decline in clergy – We are grateful

that Father Dunne (retired Pastor)

has continued to live and serve in the parish

Healing the wounds that have been created by the priest’s sex scandal

(St. Camillus) and closing of St.

Virgilius School (St. Virgilius)

Outreach to teenagers and inactive Catholics

The toll on the Cross Bay Bridge which divides the parish

The viability of St. Camillus School

Future merger – “Are we going to merge again?”

 

 

Parish Self-Study

4.

Which of these challenges do you feel

the parish can address or has been

addressing? How?

Outreach to inactive Catholics:

A) Through our School and Religious Education Program we are

encouraging children to attend Sunday Mass

B) Tracking children who are bapt

ized to enroll in St. Camillus

School or Religious Education Program

C) Outreach to students who leave St. Camillus School or receive

First Sacraments to insure that

they continue Faith Formation

Outreach to Youth through Parish Sports Program and Youth

Program (September, 2010)

Ongoing Faith Formation through programs offered for Adults in the

parish and encouraging people to

attend the Pastoral Institute.

5.

Which challenges seem beyond the ability of the parish to adequately address

with your current resources?

The toll on the Cross Bay Bridge

The anger of people towards the Church hierarchy

The possibility of a future merger

The possibility of the closing of our School

Shortage of Priests

6.

What are your pastoral priori

ties for the next 5 years?

Evangelization

Youth

Faith Formation

Community Outreach

Senior issues

School viability

7.

What ministries need to develop or

be strengthened in the next 5 years?

Lay Pastoral Leadership

Catechist formation

Music – Leader of song

Children’s Liturgy

8.

Based on your review of the parish financ

ials, do you believe that the parish

is financially sound and sustaina

ble for the next 5 years? Yes

What factors lead you to

this determination?

Success of increased offertory appeal which was sponsored by the

Diocese. The collection has increased 20% and remains constant since

November

The parish has a diverse portfolio with the Diocese and the

Compostelo Fund has rebounded with the market

All parish buildings are in good repair and all are used

More people = more money

Parish Self-Study

9.

How does the parish plan to address an

y financial challenges that exist or

may emerge?

Through Evangelization and outreach to inactive Catholics in the

hope to see an increase of attendance at Sunday Mass and a

concurrent increase in giving. There

are many inactive Catholics who

reside in Broad Channel and Rockaway Park.

10.

What is the status of all parish build

ings? Are there any capital repairs to

any buildings that you anticipate in

the next 5 years? Do you have any

buildings which have the potential to be rented or used in an adaptive

manner?

All Buildings are in good repair a

nd all are used. All convents are

occupied: St. Virgilius Convent – Daughters of Wisdom; St. Camillus

Convents – Sisters of St. Jos

eph and Franciscan Brothers

Both Churches in good repair/ Rect

ory just painted (2010): Boilers all

under 15 years old and Church roofs are new

Potential Repairs: Sidewalks; Pointing

of St. Camillus School; Roof of

St. Virgilius Parish Center

11.

How do you see your parish collaboratin

g with other parishes in the future?

Mass attendance: People in the Rockaways and Broad Channel feel

free to attend Mass in any Catholic Church

Programs – People feel free to at

tend programs for Seniors and Youth

(Sports Programs)

Taskforce on Drugs and Alcohol

We could cooperate on the following programs as a cluster: RCIA;

Evangelization; Living & Leading by Faith

12.

What is your hope for your faith

community in the coming years?

St. Camillus-St. Virgilius continues to

merge so that it truly becomes

one

parish with people feeling at home in both sites and collaborating

to bring the Gospel to both sides of the bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIPS:

1. Keep learning. Learn more about crafts, gardening Languages whatever. Never let the brain die. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop’ and the devil’s name is ALZHEIMERS.

2. Keep only cheerful friends, grouches pull you down.

3. Enjoy the simple things of life.

4. Laugh often, long and hard until you gasp for breath.

5. Cherish your health. If it is good preserve it. If it is unstable improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve get help.

6. Surround yourself with what you love whether its family, pets, music, hobbies etc. Your home is your refuge.

7. Tell the people you love them at every opportunity.

8. The tears happen – Endure- grieve and move on. The only person who is with us our entire lives is ourselves. Be ‘Alive’ while you are alive.

 

 

Killing The Least Among Us - An Amazing Story

Servant of God, Jérôme Lejeune, was one of the greatest scientists of the 20th Century. He discovered Trisomy 21, the cause of Down Syndrome, and received many honors during his life. But, he was an even greater human being who was named a "Servant of God". The cause for his canonization is ongoing.

 

He was also an outspoken advocate of the dignity of all life, especially those who had abnormal genetic issues. As the American tendency of doctors to kill sick children started to spread to Europe, he said:

“They brandish chromosomal racism like the flag of freedom…. That this rejection of medicine—of the whole biological brotherhood that binds the human family—should be the only practical application of our knowledge of Trisomy 21 is beyond heartbreaking….”

In this video he gives an amazing story that made me stop and reflect on life and our preconceived ideas about others:

 

 

http://marysaggies.blogspot.ie/2012/12/killing-least-among-us-amazing-story.html

 

Birth of Hitler

 

THOUGHT:

I have lived to thank God that all my prayers have not been answered.

Jean Ingelow

 

Imagine...

 

Imagine believing you deserve to be treated with dignity.

Imagine believing you deserve the touch of tender hand, a tender hug.

A person actually does not have to earn love, can you imagine ?

 

Imagine standing up for yourself, some will hate it, but...

Imagine actually gaining confidence!

 

Imagine people offering their friendship and not asking for anything in return.

 

Peace of mind, we all deserve.

We all deserve to be pulled up when we fall, without judgement

We all deserve freedom to stand on solid ground

Freedom to be you, the you God made you to be

Freedom to be happy and peaceful, to have someone proud of you.

 

Let's stand strong.

Let's teach the people in our lives that we all deserve goodness, love and respect.

 

Take the time to notice the lonely, the sick and the forgotten

Step out of your comfort zone

Treat people as equals, teach, by our example, that we are all special.

 

Give the scared and abused ones lots of patience and love. They deserve it.

Offer them your hand but don't take it personal if they stand back.

Offer them the kind of love and patience God gives us.

Let them see the Light in our eyes.

 

God wants all of us to have his love and patience, we never have to earn it.

Imagine that!

This kind of truth.

 

©2012 Charlene Dyer

 

 

 

The Eagle has landed

In 1725 a very poor widow called Jane Houston was \"just about\" managing to live in Ballyboley, County Antrim{ Her less than useless husband had managed to drown himself in a ditch one night, while returning home very drunk} and at a time of severe famine in the north of Ireland was finding it hard to survive with her four young sons. She managed to stay alive and even married again but eventually decided to take her family to America. Under the Ulster custom of Tenant Right she was entitled to be paid for the improvements she had made to her small farm and this provided enough for the passage money to the New World from the port of Larne.

 

The Houston boys grew up in New York and like many other Ulster immigrants they moved south and west. One went down through the Alleghenny Mountains to Virginia. Samuel Houston married Elizabeth Paxton, and in 1793 at Timber Ridge Virginia, their fifth child, Sam Houston was born. The Houstons moved on to Tennessee in 1807, and it was there that Sam Houston would come into contact with the Cherokee Indians.

 

At that time the dictator of Mexico, General Santa Anna led an army of 5,000 men north to solidify Mexico\'s control of the vast Texas territory which was being defended by a scattered force of American settlers. Sam Houston became the Commander In Chief of this settler army. Once the powerful Mexican army arrived in the settlement of San Antonio, it found itself confronted by a force of 182 men, mostly of Ulster-Scots descent who had taken up defensive positions in the ruined church at the Alamo.

 

They were led by the brave young Colonel William Travis and among them were Jim Bowie whose family came from Aughnacloy and Davy Crockett whose roots were in the Strabane and Donegal, both sons of Tyrone. For the next 13 days they repulsed repeated assaults, delaying the advance of the Mexican army, until they were finally overrun by the superior force. The Mexicans paid a high price for taking the Alamo loosing 1600 killed in the process. The Alamo defenders bought precious time for the remaining American forces to consolidate and prepare for an offensive strike.

 

The defenders of the Alamo were to all perish before Houston could reach them, but subsequently his forces defeated the Mexican General Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, and thereby secured the independence of Texas. Sam Houston, direct descendant of the Houstons emigrants of Ballyboley, now a hero, was to become the first President of Texas and passed into American folklore. Santa Anna was defeated and the future of Texas was secure as part of the Union.

 

In his honour a small village was renamed, Houston, and was to grow into a city in the 20th century with the discovery of oil and in time became America\'s Space Centre. As Apollo touched down on the moon\'s surface the waiting World received that now infamous message

\"Houston, Tranquility base, the Eagle has landed\" so the very first word ever spoken by a mortal man from the surface of another planet was the name of a poor widow woman from Ballyboley in County Antrim.

 

 

 

 

http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/reels/bmh/BMH.WS0379.pdf

 

http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/reels/bmh/BMH.WS1025.pdf

 

 

CONFEDERATE Soldier.

 

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,

I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

 

I asked for health, that I might do greater things,

I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

 

I asked for riches, that I might be happy;

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

 

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of others,

I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

 

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,

I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

 

I got nothing that I asked for but everything I had hoped for.

 

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am among all people most richly blessed.

 

written by an unknown Confederate Soldier.

 

 

Kevin Cotter Article co-written by Mark Bartek

 

Here are six tips on how you can keep from ruining your summer.

1. Think about where you will find the sacraments during the summer.

Find the closest parishes and check times for Sunday Mass, weekday Masses, and Confession. Put these times into your weekly schedule. Summers are great times to pick up new habits!

2. Plan on a time to pray each day.

Whether you are having some amazing new experiences or are faced with a mundane summer lifestyle, prayer can help you reflect on what God is trying to teach you through it all. Be sure to spend time each day in the classroom of silence. For tips on how to start a habit of prayer, check out this guide.

3. Pick out any books for spiritual reading

I know wasting time on Facebook is important, but why not give yourself something that will truly fill you up. Here are three recommendations: Interior Freedom, The Virtues of Holiness, or The Way.

4. Seek out virtuous friends.

Scripture tells us, “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure” (Sirach 6:14). It can be tough to leave the college and all of the friendships you have behind. It can be even harder to come home where old friendships can bring back old temptations. While it is important to reach out to your friendship back home, find virtuous friends who will help you strive for greatness in your spiritual life.

5. Find a group of 10-12 people to reach out to.

St. Francis of Assisi tells us that “it is in giving of ourselves that we receive.” Summer is a great time to learn how to lead a Bible study outside the college campus. Could you do a BBQ Bible study or help out with your parish’s youth group? Are there other service opportunities that you could take part in and invite others to?

6. Think about campus outreach for next fall.

If you begin thinking about campus outreach for the fall, you will be that much more prepared when the time comes. Can you pray for your campus? Can you call those who you are in discipleship with? Can you talk to your FOCUS missionaries on what you can do to help?

We know that being Catholic is not about being part of a club, but being adopted into the Family of God, the Church. And that is not something that we ever take a summer vacation from!

The habits you form and the work you do could affect you for a lifetime!

 

 

10 Things I Learned in Our First Year of Homeschooling

Share

by Jennifer Fulwiler Wednesday, May 02, 2012 6:32 AM Comments (11)

 

It's May! Summer's just around the corner, which means that we have officially survived our first full year of homeschooling. This is a big milestone for us. As a lazy procrastinator with zero natural knack for teaching, I was a little worried about how this endeavor would turn out. Fortunately, things have gone better than I expected, and we managed to perpetuate only a few of the worst stereotypes about homeschoolers.

Some friends who are currently discerning school choices for next year have been asking how it went, so I thought I'd write up a hodgepodge of lessons I've learned while educating my kindergartener and second grader at home. (Keep in mind that my kids are young, so my experiences are probably different than that of folks with older kids.)

1. There's a lot of work, but you don't have to deal with homework

Planning and teaching homeschool lessons does take time, and that was definitely a sacrifice I had to make in order to homeschool. However, back when my oldest child went to public school, I also had to spend hours each week helping him with homework -- and in those cases, it was often frustrating to try to figure out what the teacher was looking for. Even though homeschooling requires more time from my schedule, I enjoy being able to control the type and quantity of work my kids do. More than anything, I love it that we can get it all done during the day, so that we can have relaxed family time in the evenings without having piles of homework hanging over our heads.

2. It's helpful to start each week with a plan

I made it a habit to set aside time each weekend to sketch out a schooling plan for the week, and this turned out to be critical. On the weekends I couldn't get around to it, our weeks always felt disorganized, and we often didn't get much done school-wise.

3. You don't have to be a great teacher

I thought that my nonexistent teaching abilities would be one of our most difficult challenges. I tend to be impatient and scatter-brained, and I worried that the kids would revolt by the end of the first week. However, I found that modern curricula make teaching a breeze. They had instructions so simple that even someone like me could follow them (e.g. "Tell your child to count the coins. Now ask, 'How many quarters do we have?'") Surprisingly enough, this didn't end up being an issue at all.

4. Especially when you're first starting out, it's ideal to buy curricula in person

When I first set out on this path, I was overwhelmed by all the great lesson planning options. For any topic imaginable, there are all sorts of curricula, each which focuses on a different learning style and/or worldview. I found it very helpful to go down to school supply stores like Mardel and look over everything in person. After I had flipped through various materials, it quickly became clear which ones were right for us.

5. There are a lot of active homeschooling communities

This one undoubtedly varies by region, but here in Central Texas I was delighted to find a large and active Catholic homeschooling community, as well as many good Protestant and secular ones as well. Far from feeling like we were going out on our own, getting involved with these groups made us feel a great kinship with other like-minded local families.

6. It's helpful to anchor homeschool times to outside events

One of my biggest challenges as homeschool teacher was simply sticking to a schedule. With no urgent reason to get everyone dressed and out of bed, it was easy to drift around in the morning, not get school started on time, then throw up my hands and decide that we might as well skip it since it was too late to begin. When I anchored school time to other events in our schedule, everything changed. For example, we started doing a lot of work when the toddlers were at the parish Mother's Day Out program, or would aim to get a couple of lessons in before Scouts on Wednesdays. Having to do school within pre-set, fixed times that I couldn't change was the motivation I needed to get everything moving on schedule.

7. You don't have to stick with one schooling philosophy, even from day to day

When we first started, I thought we would only do only a traditional schooling model (i.e. kids seated at desks, working methodically through carefully designed programs, doing worksheets, etc.) as opposed to the more loose "unschooling" style. What I found is that both worked for us: We fell into a schedule where certain days we would do traditional school, and certain other days the kids were free to do what they wanted, as long as it was at least somewhat educational. I found that combining structure with freedom to explore really benefited our family, and gave us the best of both worlds.

8. The pros and cons of homeschooling vary widely by the parents' temperaments

I did find it difficult to make sure my kids were getting enough quality social time with other children, but that's probably because I'm an introvert. On the other hand, my extroverted friends who homeschool find socialization to be a non-issue, but do sometimes struggle with spending so much time in the house. I've found this especially important to keep in mind when getting advice from others: Your friend might find a certain aspect of homeschooling to be easy or difficult, but, depending on your personality, you could have a totally different experience.

9. You don't need to match the hours they'd spend in school

One of the things that initially intimidated me about home education was the prospect of being in "school mode" seven hours a day. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, especially for the elementary grades, you can keep your kids at or above grade level by putting in fewer than half the hours they would spend at traditional schools each week. With the small "classroom" sizes you have with homeschooling, in addition to the freedom to cut out busywork, you can cover a lot of ground in relatively short amount of time.

10. There are exciting new options for homeschoolers every day

It seems like every time I turn around I hear about new educational options that would benefit homeschooling families. Regina Coeli. Khan Academy. MIT for high schoolers. Locally, there are now lots of extracurricular activities that meet during the day, as well as countless classes. I am excited to see the field of education flourishing with such exciting innovations, not just as a homeschooling parent, but as someone who loves learning.

...

I don't know if we'll homeschool all the way through 12th Grade; we try to take it a semester at a time, and not predict what may or may not work for us years into the future. But it's a good fit for now, and as much as I'm looking forward to summer break, I also look forward to the Fall, when another year of homeschooling will begin.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jennifer-fulwiler/10-things-i-learned-in-our-first-year-of-homeschooling#ixzz1tkHub2AE

 

 

Loss of memory and other brain function can start as early as age 45, posing a big challenge to scientists looking for new ways to stave off dementia, researchers say.

The finding from a 10-year study of more than 7,000 British government workers contradicts previous notions that cognitive decline does not begin before 60 years of age, and it could have far-reaching implications for dementia research.

Pinpointing the age at which memory, reasoning and comprehension skills start to deteriorate is important because drugs are most likely to work if given when people first start to experience mental impairment.

A handful of novel medicines for Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, are currently in clinical trials, but expectations are low and some experts fear the new drugs are being tested in patients who may be too old to show a benefit.

Companies with products in development include Eli Lilly , working on a drug called solanezumab, and Elan and Johnson and Johnson, developing bapineuzumab.

The research team led by Archana Singh-Manoux from the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in France and University College London found a modest decline in mental reasoning in men and women aged 45-49 years.

"We were expecting to see no decline, based on past research," Singh-Manoux said in a telephone interview.

Among older subjects in the study, the average decline in cognitive function was greater, but there was a wide variation at all ages, with a third of individuals aged 45-70 showing no deterioration over the period.

"It doesn't suddenly happen when you get old. That variability exists much earlier on," Singh-Manoux said. "The next step is going to be to tease that apart and look for links to risk factors."

Healthy lifestyle

Participants were assessed three times during the study, using tests for memory, vocabulary, and aural and visual comprehension skills.

Over the 10-year period, there was a 3.6% decline in mental reasoning in both men and women aged 45-49 at the start of the study, while the decline for men aged 65-70 was 9.6% and 7.4% for women.

Since the youngest individuals at the start of the study were 45, it is possible that the decline in cognition might have commenced even earlier.

Singh-Manoux said the results may also have underestimated the cognitive decline in the broader population, since the office workers in the study enjoyed a relatively privileged and healthy lifestyle.

Factors affecting cardiovascular function - such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking - are believed to impact the development of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia through effects on brain blood vessels and brain cells.

The research findings were published in the British Medical Journal, alongside an editorial by Francine Grodstein of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who described the results as convincing.

Most research into dementia has focused on people aged 65 and over. In future, scientists will need to devise long-term clinical studies that include much younger age groups and may have to enroll tens of thousands of participants, she said.

 

 

 

Dine in. Eating out costs big bucks. Fatten your wallet by eating home cooked meals and you may just slim your waistline while you’re at it. Try these Cheap, Easy, and Healthy, Family Dinners for $5 to kick start your savings.

Brown Bag It. Stop spending mega moolah muddling your midday meal munching on take out lunches. Bringing a brown bag lunch to school or work every day will save your thousands this year. Try these Five Frugal Lunches for some ideas.

Latte Factor. Like a daily latte or coffee? These seemingly small drips of dollars can really add up! Forget the daily coffee break and make your own hot beverages to save lots of loot.

Raise Deductibles. Get out your policy and raise the deductibles on your car and home insurance. You’re not likely to claim the small stuff so choose a $5000 over a $500 deductible to cut your insurance costs by about 40 percent.

Buy a Cheaper Car. Pimping in a flashy vehicle? A smaller or less expensive model can save you big bucks and still get you from point A to point B in style.

Lose the Extra Car. Get creative and optimize the usage of a single family car to save huge money on insurance, gas, and car payments. You may be surprised how much money can be saved by reducing the number of cars parked in your driveway.

Ditch the Car. Buy a Bike. Ride the Bus. Carpool. I did this years ago and lived to tell the tale. I guesstimate I’ve saved at least 5K a year by riding my bike to school and work. I tend to carpool or ride the bus on rainy days. Since I’ve been car-free for 12 years, that’s 60K saved! Ka-ching!

Expunge Extended Warranties. Don’t buy extended warranties on inexpensive products like cameras and kitchen appliances. The only time a warranty makes sense is if a repair will devastate your budget.

Avoid Unnecessary Insurance. Skip mortgage and accidental death insurance as it only covers you in specific cases. Get life insurance to cover you no matter the cause of death.

Avoid Whole Life Insurance. Whole life policies are expensive for the policy owner and lucrative for the policy seller. Term policies, which cover you for a set period, are FAR less expensive. Here’s How to Buy Life Insurance Without Getting Screwed.

Don’t Insure Your Kids. I love kids, but insurance for children makes no financial sense. Buy life insurance to replace the income of the family breadwinner(s), those you are dependent on. Not your dependents. Here’s why your kids don’t need life insurance.

Get a High Interest Savings Account. Switch your savings account to a high interest account, like those offered through ING Direct. You can make 3-4 percent MORE on your savings a year, rather than the pittance most checking accounts offer.

Pay off Your Credit Card. Stop paying the bare minimum on your credit cards. Paying just the minimum (usually 2-3 percent) only prolongs the agony and increases the amount of interest paid to the bank. Save yourself over 20 percent in interest charges by fully paying off your credit card debt. Depending on your debt, you may add thousands to your wallet.

Get a Better Credit Card. Not all credit cards are created equal. Choose a credit card with no annual fee, understand your credit card’s benefits and risks, know how your issuer calculates interest charges, and learn how to benefit from introductory rates. Reading the small print will help you to make the most of your credit card and keep fees and charges to a minimum, saving bundles of bucks every year. Try these Four Steps to Choosing a Credit Card for help.

Watch Investment Fees. There are costs to investing your hard earned dollars. Learning how to minimize these costs can save you thousands in management expense ratio fees (MERs), trailer fees, and broker fees. Always read your investment fund prospectus to better understand how these hideous fees can eat up your fund portfolio returns year after year. If you’re investing in high fee mutual funds, consider a portfolio in index funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs) to better increase your returns and minimize your costs.

Look at Laundry Costs. Washing clothes is a repetitive task which can cost big bucks over the span of a year. When I stop to calculate the cost of laundry detergent, the power usage of clothing dryers, and the water consumption of washing machines I shudder at the total cost of cleaning filth. Learn How to Save Money on Laundry to minimize the expensive impact of filth.

Banish Bank Account Fees. Minimum balances, withdrawal fees, checking fees, paying bills fees, fees, and more fees. Why are you paying so much for banking? I dare you to add up all those tiny little dings you don’t want to look at and see how much you pay for banking. Compare your banking fees to other bank accounts and switch banks. I’ve been using a no fee checking account with President’s Choice Financial for years, and love it. Find a no fee checking account in your state, province, or country and live bank fee free already.

Axe ATM Fees. Getting dinged $1 here and there for withdrawing your cash can add up! Planning your cash withdrawals ahead of time can save you lots of dollar dings over the span of a year. Axe your ATM fees by sticking to your bank’s machine, only withdrawing cash a few times a month, and check your bank plan to see if there is a better fee structure for your banking needs.

Eat Less Meat. Where’s the beef? To save thousands in groceries try eating less meat in your family meals. You don’t have to go vegetarian, just try some meatless dishes a few times a week. Switching from animal protein to bean protein is a wonderfully frugal way to add some dollars to you bank account. Try soaking dried beans to become the ultimate money saving bean counter.

Pay Down Student Debt. New graduate? Finished your degree decades ago? Paying off your student loan is a sure fire way to reduce interest payments, saving you thousands. Try these 5 Tips for Paying Off Student Loans.

Manage Extra Mortgage Payments. For most of us, the mortgage represents our biggest debt. If you can manage, try making an extra payment to help end the loan sooner. Use the Loan Amortization Calculator to see the impact of how much loan interest can be reduced by paying down your mortgage sooner.

Cut the Cable. Television is expensive. Especially if you have special packages, customer loyalty bundles, and fee hungry features. Cancel the unneeded extras to save, or just cut the cable completely to maximize savings. Television may seem like a nominal monthly bill, but try adding up this expense over 12 months.

Cancel the Cell Phone. Roaming fees, text messages, minute overages. Cell phones can cost you big bucks over a year. Reevaluate your cell phone plan to save, or cancel your cell package to maximize savings. Should you cancel your cell phone?

Rent Less Apartment. Downsizing your rented apartment could save you money over time. Try renting a unit on a lower floor without a view, move to a building with fewer perks, or rent a basement suite. Renting a smaller place can also save you on energy costs.

Get a Roommate. Got a multiple room apartment or house? Rent out a room to a student or a young professional to jump start some savings. Sharing space saves on energy costs too.

Reconsider the Landline. If you have a cell phone, do you still need your landline? Many cell phone users work on the road or away from the home. Perhaps it’s time to ditch the landline to save on utility costs.

Maintain Your Car. Routine maintenance can save you a bundle by preventing major automobile repair costs. Follow your car’s user manual to keep up-to-date with oil changes, new air filters, and regular tune ups.

Save Money on Gas. Gassed by the high prices at the pump? Try these 10 Ways to Save Money on Gas to cut your fuel consumption.

Buy a More Fuel Efficient Car. Perhaps it’s time to trade in the gas guzzling clunker for a more fuel efficient automobile. Try the Should You Buy a More Gas Efficient Car Calculator to determine the break even point of a new car based on gas consumption.

Pass on Pets. I love my dog. But our fine furry friends can cost us a small fortune in food and veterinarian bills. If you need the extra stash of cash, it may be best to pass on pets. Learn about Annual Pet Costs before bringing fluffy home.

Use Condoms. When it’s time for sexy time, consider condoms. Health costs and babies are expensive. Preventing sexually transmitted infections is key to keeping yourself healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Negotiate Your Mortgage. Never settle for the bank or mortgage lender’s first offer. Always ask mortgage brokers for the best fees, terms and mortgage rate. Save thousands in interest costs. Try the Loan Amortization Calculator to see your savings.

Negotiate Your Salary. Getting a job offer is fun and thrilling. But settling for your first offer may be a mistake. Companies exist by keeping their costs down, hence paying employees as little as possible. When you get an offer, try negotiating for a little bit more. Try these 10 Tips for Salary Negotiation.

Plan a Staycation. Stay at home for your next family vacation and save on lodging, dining out, and traveling costs. Staycations involve visiting local attractions like museums, parks, festivals, and play grounds. Get to know your area and neighbors better by vacationing near home.

Switch to Exchange Traded Funds. When investing in your retirement, consider switching your mutual funds to Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). ETFs have lower management fees than mutual funds. The less money you spend in management fees the more you keep in your portfolio. Try the Portfolio MER Calculator to calculate your total investment costs. You many just be surprised how much these fees eat into your returns!

Grow a Garden. Cut some cash from your grocery bill by growing your own food. Planting some common veggies can help save a bundle. Want some hard numbers? Follow J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly in his series: How Much Does a Garden Really Save? Don’t have space for soil? Here are 12 Vegetables You Can Grow in a Pot.

Switch to Cloth Diapers. The number of diapers a baby and toddler uses until potty trained is staggering. Calculate the cash spent on your baby’s poopy disposable diapers and you may just s$it yourself. Consider switching to cloth diapers to save some bucks. The biggest money savings can be found if you plan to have multiple children or can buy used cloth diapers. Trent at The Simple Dollar discusses his cloth diapering thoughts.

Buy Used. Need some furniture, books, or car? Why not buy used to save! Buying used goods not only saves on taxes, but saves you from spending top dollar on retail. Most of my furniture and nearly all of my books were bought used. It’s astounding the quality available if you’re willing to wait and buy used. Try these tips for shopping second hand.

Quit the Gym. Go for a Walk. What’s up with fitness club initiation fees, contracts, locker fees, and monthly rates? Joining a gym can be an expensive relationship, especially if your membership or contract is hard to break or goes on for years. Know your rights before joining a gym, be aware of the pitfalls, and do the math. Before paying a gym, consider these 10 Free Ways to Get into Fitness to save a bundle.

Love the Library. I love reading books. I love not paying for books even more. Save yourself on Amazon bills by going to your local library and signing out your books for free. Besides, the library offers more than just free books! Get access to videos, CDs, and audio books. Be sure to watch out for due dates and fines.

Get a New Job. Changing careers or finding a new job can pay dividends in the size of your paycheck. Boost your earnings to save more bucks.

Make a Shopping List. Curb impulse grocery spending by downloading the Printable Grocery Shopping List. A shopping list can help you stay on the frugal track and avoid expensively packaged foods, save time at the store, and helps you remember what healthy foods to buy. Easy.

Switch Home Heating. Is heating your home burning a hole in your wallet? If you heat with oil, perhaps it’s time to switch to electric? Your state or province may offer rebates and incentives for switching to more energy efficient forms of heating.

Sell Your Stuff. Are endless racks of CDs, videos, books, sports equipment, and stuff cluttering up your space? Consider selling some of your stuff to raise some funds and clear some space. Try selling through garage sales, local swap meets, and online through craigslist, Kijiji, and eBay.

Stop Buying Crap. Do you really need the latest gizmo or gadget? Resist the marketing muckity muck when advertisers launch crap, unveil crap, and convince you to upgrade crap. Crap is expensive. Learn to Just Say “No” to Crap before your wallet gets whacked by needless crap.

Leave the Liquor. Spirits can be fun. But lots of liquor can leave your pocketbook dry. Try drinking less alcohol to help boost your savings.

Shop Out of Season. Save some serious dollars by buying goods out of season. Buy winter boots in the spring, get wrapping paper after Christmas, and buy a bike in the fall. Buying goods out of season means finding end of season sales, reductions, and clear outs.

Shop In Season. Buying broccoli in January is crazy expensive. Buying fruits and vegetables in season keeps grocery costs down. Try shopping at local farmer’s markets and freezing perishables for the winter. Besides, food just takes better when it’s in season (source).

Use Your Benefits. Does your employer’s compensation package include medical, dental, chiropractor, massage, and other physical therapies? Since you’re probably paying a fee for this health care you’d be silly to squander the benefit. Be sure to visit the dentist and fix all your ailments by using your benefits. A healthy smile is priceless.

Claim Your Tax Credits. When doing your yearly taxes, don’t forget to claim your health expenses, child credits, and education amounts. Missing an exemption could cost you thousands. Collect all your receipts during the year so you’re not scrambling to prove your costs come tax season. I store my receipts in simple envelopes to help tame the clutter and confusion throughout the year.

Here are 50 ways to save an extra $1,000 a year:

 

Dine in. Eating out costs big bucks. Fatten your wallet by eating home cooked meals and you may just slim your waistline while you’re at it. Try these Cheap, Easy, and Healthy, Family Dinners for $5 to kick start your savings.

Brown Bag It. Stop spending mega moolah muddling your midday meal munching on take out lunches. Bringing a brown bag lunch to school or work every day will save your thousands this year. Try these Five Frugal Lunches for some ideas.

Latte Factor. Like a daily latte or coffee? These seemingly small drips of dollars can really add up! Forget the daily coffee break and make your own hot beverages to save lots of loot.

Raise Deductibles. Get out your policy and raise the deductibles on your car and home insurance. You’re not likely to claim the small stuff so choose a $5000 over a $500 deductible to cut your insurance costs by about 40 percent.

Buy a Cheaper Car. Pimping in a flashy vehicle? A smaller or less expensive model can save you big bucks and still get you from point A to point B in style.

Lose the Extra Car. Get creative and optimize the usage of a single family car to save huge money on insurance, gas, and car payments. You may be surprised how much money can be saved by reducing the number of cars parked in your driveway.

Ditch the Car. Buy a Bike. Ride the Bus. Carpool. I did this years ago and lived to tell the tale. I guesstimate I’ve saved at least 5K a year by riding my bike to school and work. I tend to carpool or ride the bus on rainy days. Since I’ve been car-free for 12 years, that’s 60K saved! Ka-ching!

Expunge Extended Warranties. Don’t buy extended warranties on inexpensive products like cameras and kitchen appliances. The only time a warranty makes sense is if a repair will devastate your budget.

Avoid Unnecessary Insurance. Skip mortgage and accidental death insurance as it only covers you in specific cases. Get life insurance to cover you no matter the cause of death.

Avoid Whole Life Insurance. Whole life policies are expensive for the policy owner and lucrative for the policy seller. Term policies, which cover you for a set period, are FAR less expensive. Here’s How to Buy Life Insurance Without Getting Screwed.

Don’t Insure Your Kids. I love kids, but insurance for children makes no financial sense. Buy life insurance to replace the income of the family breadwinner(s), those you are dependent on. Not your dependents. Here’s why your kids don’t need life insurance.

Get a High Interest Savings Account. Switch your savings account to a high interest account, like those offered through ING Direct. You can make 3-4 percent MORE on your savings a year, rather than the pittance most checking accounts offer.

Pay off Your Credit Card. Stop paying the bare minimum on your credit cards. Paying just the minimum (usually 2-3 percent) only prolongs the agony and increases the amount of interest paid to the bank. Save yourself over 20 percent in interest charges by fully paying off your credit card debt. Depending on your debt, you may add thousands to your wallet.

Get a Better Credit Card. Not all credit cards are created equal. Choose a credit card with no annual fee, understand your credit card’s benefits and risks, know how your issuer calculates interest charges, and learn how to benefit from introductory rates. Reading the small print will help you to make the most of your credit card and keep fees and charges to a minimum, saving bundles of bucks every year. Try these Four Steps to Choosing a Credit Card for help.

Watch Investment Fees. There are costs to investing your hard earned dollars. Learning how to minimize these costs can save you thousands in management expense ratio fees (MERs), trailer fees, and broker fees. Always read your investment fund prospectus to better understand how these hideous fees can eat up your fund portfolio returns year after year. If you’re investing in high fee mutual funds, consider a portfolio in index funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs) to better increase your returns and minimize your costs.

Look at Laundry Costs. Washing clothes is a repetitive task which can cost big bucks over the span of a year. When I stop to calculate the cost of laundry detergent, the power usage of clothing dryers, and the water consumption of washing machines I shudder at the total cost of cleaning filth. Learn How to Save Money on Laundry to minimize the expensive impact of filth.

Banish Bank Account Fees. Minimum balances, withdrawal fees, checking fees, paying bills fees, fees, and more fees. Why are you paying so much for banking? I dare you to add up all those tiny little dings you don’t want to look at and see how much you pay for banking. Compare your banking fees to other bank accounts and switch banks. I’ve been using a no fee checking account with President’s Choice Financial for years, and love it. Find a no fee checking account in your state, province, or country and live bank fee free already.

Axe ATM Fees. Getting dinged $1 here and there for withdrawing your cash can add up! Planning your cash withdrawals ahead of time can save you lots of dollar dings over the span of a year. Axe your ATM fees by sticking to your bank’s machine, only withdrawing cash a few times a month, and check your bank plan to see if there is a better fee structure for your banking needs.

Eat Less Meat. Where’s the beef? To save thousands in groceries try eating less meat in your family meals. You don’t have to go vegetarian, just try some meatless dishes a few times a week. Switching from animal protein to bean protein is a wonderfully frugal way to add some dollars to you bank account. Try soaking dried beans to become the ultimate money saving bean counter.

Pay Down Student Debt. New graduate? Finished your degree decades ago? Paying off your student loan is a sure fire way to reduce interest payments, saving you thousands. Try these 5 Tips for Paying Off Student Loans.

Manage Extra Mortgage Payments. For most of us, the mortgage represents our biggest debt. If you can manage, try making an extra payment to help end the loan sooner. Use the Loan Amortization Calculator to see the impact of how much loan interest can be reduced by paying down your mortgage sooner.

Cut the Cable. Television is expensive. Especially if you have special packages, customer loyalty bundles, and fee hungry features. Cancel the unneeded extras to save, or just cut the cable completely to maximize savings. Television may seem like a nominal monthly bill, but try adding up this expense over 12 months.

Cancel the Cell Phone. Roaming fees, text messages, minute overages. Cell phones can cost you big bucks over a year. Reevaluate your cell phone plan to save, or cancel your cell package to maximize savings. Should you cancel your cell phone?

Rent Less Apartment. Downsizing your rented apartment could save you money over time. Try renting a unit on a lower floor without a view, move to a building with fewer perks, or rent a basement suite. Renting a smaller place can also save you on energy costs.

Get a Roommate. Got a multiple room apartment or house? Rent out a room to a student or a young professional to jump start some savings. Sharing space saves on energy costs too.

Reconsider the Landline. If you have a cell phone, do you still need your landline? Many cell phone users work on the road or away from the home. Perhaps it’s time to ditch the landline to save on utility costs.

Maintain Your Car. Routine maintenance can save you a bundle by preventing major automobile repair costs. Follow your car’s user manual to keep up-to-date with oil changes, new air filters, and regular tune ups.

Save Money on Gas. Gassed by the high prices at the pump? Try these 10 Ways to Save Money on Gas to cut your fuel consumption.

Buy a More Fuel Efficient Car. Perhaps it’s time to trade in the gas guzzling clunker for a more fuel efficient automobile. Try the Should You Buy a More Gas Efficient Car Calculator to determine the break even point of a new car based on gas consumption.

Pass on Pets. I love my dog. But our fine furry friends can cost us a small fortune in food and veterinarian bills. If you need the extra stash of cash, it may be best to pass on pets. Learn about Annual Pet Costs before bringing fluffy home.

 

Negotiate Your Mortgage. Never settle for the bank or mortgage lender’s first offer. Always ask mortgage brokers for the best fees, terms and mortgage rate. Save thousands in interest costs. Try the Loan Amortization Calculator to see your savings.

Negotiate Your Salary. Getting a job offer is fun and thrilling. But settling for your first offer may be a mistake. Companies exist by keeping their costs down, hence paying employees as little as possible. When you get an offer, try negotiating for a little bit more. Try these 10 Tips for Salary Negotiation.

Plan a Staycation. Stay at home for your next family vacation and save on lodging, dining out, and traveling costs. Staycations involve visiting local attractions like museums, parks, festivals, and play grounds. Get to know your area and neighbors better by vacationing near home.

Switch to Exchange Traded Funds. When investing in your retirement, consider switching your mutual funds to Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). ETFs have lower management fees than mutual funds. The less money you spend in management fees the more you keep in your portfolio. Try the Portfolio MER Calculator to calculate your total investment costs. You many just be surprised how much these fees eat into your returns!

Grow a Garden. Cut some cash from your grocery bill by growing your own food. Planting some common veggies can help save a bundle. Want some hard numbers? Follow J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly in his series: How Much Does a Garden Really Save? Don’t have space for soil? Here are 12 Vegetables You Can Grow in a Pot.

Switch to Cloth Diapers. The number of diapers a baby and toddler uses until potty trained is staggering. Calculate the cash spent on your baby’s poopy disposable diapers and you may just s$it yourself. Consider switching to cloth diapers to save some bucks. The biggest money savings can be found if you plan to have multiple children or can buy used cloth diapers. Trent at The Simple Dollar discusses his cloth diapering thoughts.

Buy Used. Need some furniture, books, or car? Why not buy used to save! Buying used goods not only saves on taxes, but saves you from spending top dollar on retail. Most of my furniture and nearly all of my books were bought used. It’s astounding the quality available if you’re willing to wait and buy used. Try these tips for shopping second hand.

Quit the Gym. Go for a Walk. What’s up with fitness club initiation fees, contracts, locker fees, and monthly rates? Joining a gym can be an expensive relationship, especially if your membership or contract is hard to break or goes on for years. Know your rights before joining a gym, be aware of the pitfalls, and do the math. Before paying a gym, consider these 10 Free Ways to Get into Fitness to save a bundle.

Love the Library. I love reading books. I love not paying for books even more. Save yourself on Amazon bills by going to your local library and signing out your books for free. Besides, the library offers more than just free books! Get access to videos, CDs, and audio books. Be sure to watch out for due dates and fines.

Get a New Job. Changing careers or finding a new job can pay dividends in the size of your paycheck. Boost your earnings to save more bucks.

Make a Shopping List. Curb impulse grocery spending by downloading the Printable Grocery Shopping List. A shopping list can help you stay on the frugal track and avoid expensively packaged foods, save time at the store, and helps you remember what healthy foods to buy. Easy.

Switch Home Heating. Is heating your home burning a hole in your wallet? If you heat with oil, perhaps it’s time to switch to electric? Your state or province may offer rebates and incentives for switching to more energy efficient forms of heating.

Sell Your Stuff. Are endless racks of CDs, videos, books, sports equipment, and stuff cluttering up your space? Consider selling some of your stuff to raise some funds and clear some space. Try selling through garage sales, local swap meets, and online through craigslist, Kijiji, and eBay.

Stop Buying Crap. Do you really need the latest gizmo or gadget? Resist the marketing muckity muck when advertisers launch crap, unveil crap, and convince you to upgrade crap. Crap is expensive. Learn to Just Say “No” to Crap before your wallet gets whacked by needless crap.

Leave the Liquor. Spirits can be fun. But lots of liquor can leave your pocketbook dry. Try drinking less alcohol to help boost your savings.

Shop Out of Season. Save some serious dollars by buying goods out of season. Buy winter boots in the spring, get wrapping paper after Christmas, and buy a bike in the fall. Buying goods out of season means finding end of season sales, reductions, and clear outs.

Shop In Season. Buying broccoli in January is crazy expensive. Buying fruits and vegetables in season keeps grocery costs down. Try shopping at local farmer’s markets and freezing perishables for the winter. Besides, food just takes better when it’s in season (source).

Use Your Benefits. Does your employer’s compensation package include medical, dental, chiropractor, massage, and other physical therapies? Since you’re probably paying a fee for this health care you’d be silly to squander the benefit. Be sure to visit the dentist and fix all your ailments by using your benefits. A healthy smile is priceless.

Claim Your Tax Credits. When doing your yearly taxes, don’t forget to claim your health expenses, child credits, and education amounts. Missing an exemption could cost you thousands. Collect all your receipts during the year so you’re not scrambling to prove your costs come tax season. I store my receipts in simple envelopes to help tame the clutter and confusion throughout the year.

Here are 50 ways to save an extra $1,000 a year:

 

 

 

By Kerry K Taylor

 

A team of European astronomers studying the most distant quasar found to date, it is powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun, is by far the brightest object yet discovered in the early Universe.

 

The universe is about 14 billion years old; earth is about four billion years old. Earliest microforms of life go back about three billion years. Animal life forms go back 557 million years, and human life is estimated to go back to 100,000 to 150,000 years ago

 

Provision for a €2 billion investment in renewable energy including a €900 million pumped-storage hydroelectricity plant is to be included in the Clare County Development Plan

 

 

Adoration, Pope Benedict says, is not a luxury but a priority, because when people cease to adore God, they begin to worship themselves through exalting pleasure, power, and material goods. Failing to adore God, they begin to serve mammon (Mt 6:24) — and once they begin to serve mammon, they forget who they are. “Without the Creator, the creature disappears,”

 

 

 

Michael Lavery

 

 

THE GIRL ON THE MERRY-GO-ROUND

 

 

 

I met a girl at the Farthing Fair.

 

She was as sweet as honey.

 

You’d think I was a millionaire

 

The way I squandered my money.

 

We took a trip on the ghost express,

 

And the switchback up and down

 

And then she said she’d like to have

 

A ride on the merry-go-round.

 

 

 

Refrain:

 

The girl on the merry-go-round,

 

She was as sweet as honey,

 

But she left me standing on the ground,

 

When I ran out of money.

 

 

 

We tried our luck at the shooting range,

 

And at the coconut shy,

 

We took a turn on the dodgems

 

And the big wheel spinning high.

 

I bought her coke and candy floss,

 

I took her to see the clowns,

 

And then she said she’d like to have

 

A ride on the merry-go-round.

 

 

 

Refrain:

 

The girl on the merry-go-round etc

 

 

 

I put my hand in my pocket

 

And my money was nearly done.

 

I couldn’t pay for the two of us,

 

So I paid for only one.

 

The last I saw as she whizzed by

 

Was the flutter of flying hair,

 

For she slipped away into the crowd

 

And I was alone at the Farthing Fair.

 

 

 

Refrain:

 

The girl on the merry-go-round etc

 

 

 

 

 

90 year old man remembers; http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2010/09/amazing-wwii-story.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Nazareth, Walsingham, Norfolk

Excerpts From: Shrines of Our Lady Author: Peter Mullen

The Work of Angels | Changing Fortunes | Two Shrines, One Faith | Ballard

The Work of Angels

In 1066 Richeldis de Faverches, Lady of the Manor of Walsingham, was saying

her prayers when she received a vision of the Virgin Mary. This was followed

by a twice-repeated vision of the house of Joseph, Mary and the boy Jesus at

Nazareth, during which Richeldis was commanded to build a replica of the

Holy House - in which the Annunciation took place - on her own land for the

use of Crusaders as a focus of devotion. Richeldis gave instructions for

building to commence but, according to legend, the following night she was

awakened by the sound of singing and when she went to investigate she saw

angels leaving. The Holy House had been miraculously built, and very soon

pilgrims began to arrive.

Augustinian canons and Franciscan friars had established houses here by 130

and catered for the needs of the many visitors, both commoners and royalty:

the shrine royal patronage from Henry III in 1226. All along the road to

Walsingham were built chapels and refreshment houses, the last of which

erected in the fourteenth century and dedicated to St Catherine of

Alexandria, patron saint of all Holy Land pilgrims, was known as the Slipper

Chapel. Here pilgrims, would take off their boots and approach the shrine

either in slippers or barefoot. The path which leads from the Slipper Chapel

to the shrine is currently being remade as part of the Sacred Land Project

( a project by all major religious and environmental groups in Britain to

revive and celebrate the sacred meaning and significance of sites).

Changing Fortunes

In the sixteenth century, the Protestant Reformation swept across northern

Europe and resulted in widespread iconoclasm. In 1538 the shrine at

Walsingham was destroyed and its statue of the Virgin transported to London

and burnt. Subsequently the Slipper Chapel was used as a poor house, a

forge, a cowshed and a barn.

Under the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, freedom of worship was

restored. The Anglican Church too enjoyed a revival through the Oxford

Movement, whose leaders such as Newman (later Cardinal), Keble and Pusey

venerated the ancient forms and traditions of the Catholic faith.

In the Sussex village of Buxted supporters of the Movement built a new

church with a Lady Chapel to the exact dimensions of Lady Richeldis's

original. Alfred Hope Patten, a local boy, prayed regularly at Buxted and in

due course was ordained in the Church of England. In 1921 he was appointed

to the living of Walsingham where he remained for the rest of his life.

Patten supervised the carving of a stone statue of the Madonna and Child

based on the model of the original Walsingham Abbey Seal which is preserved

in the British Museum. Since 1922 prayers and Rosary have been said before

the statue each night in unbroken succession.

Using medieval references, in 1931 Patten re-created Lady Richeldis's Holy

House in brick and stone., and seven years later the present Pilgrimage

Church was built to cover and protect it. The cloister house an Anglo-Saxon

well. This is a beautiful place which resonates with spiritual calm and a

palpable silence.

Two Shrines, One Faith

While the Oxford Movement revived devotion to the Virgin in the Church of

England, Roman Catholics were enjoying freedom of expression for the first

time since the reformation. In 1863 Charlotte Pearson Boyd purchased the old

Slipper Chapel and in the following year Pope Leo XIII gave permission for

the restoration of the original Catholic shrine. On 20th August 1897 the

first public pilgrimage here from Kings Lynn took place. So by the end of

the nineteenth century the little Norfolk village was home to two

flourishing shrines of Our Lady.

On 19th August 1934 Cardinal Bourne led the Catholic bishops of England and

Wales and ten thousand pilgrims to the Slipper Chapel, and from this date it

became the official Roman Catholic National Shrine. The four hundredth

anniversary of the shrine's destruction was commemorated in 1938 by a

Pilgrimage of Catholic Youth, and in 1948 fourteen oak crosses were set in

the garden. There is a tradition for pilgrims to walk the last mile here

barefoot.

The Slipper Chapel contains a magnificent stone statue of the Virgin carved

by Marcel Barbeau and crowned by the Papal Representative, Archbishop

O'Hara, on the Feast of the Assumption in 1954. The statue was taken to

Wembley to be blessed by Pope John Paul II when he visited England in 1982.

The clean, simple lines of the cloister surrounding the Slipper Chapel

provide a serene atmosphere. Here you will find the Holy Water Fountain and

the baptismal font from the disused church of Forncett St Mary near Norwich.

The churches responsible for the shrines at Walsingham are aware that the

very fact of the existence of two shrines is a sign of disunity. In

mitigation it should be said that the Anglican and Catholic shrines were

restored before the ecumenical movement was established. Nowadays there is

less competition than co-operation between custodians of these spiritual

resources. In particular, the Chapel of reconciliation on the main Slipper

Chapel site was blessed by Cardinal Hume in 1981; it contains the Icon of

the Mother of God, painted for the Golden Jubilee in 1988 by Archimandrite

David of the Russian Orthodox community of St Seraphim at Walsingham. The

Chapel of Reconciliation can hold a congregation of six hundred, and

upstairs in the Anglican shrine there is an Orthodox Chapel.

There are frequent pilgrimages throughout the summer months when there is a

huge variety of activities and presentations available to visitors. A

particular attraction is the Candlelight Procession of Our Lady on Saturday

evenings at the Anglican shrine. A highlight at the Catholic shrine is the

daily (Easter to October) Pilgrim Service at the church of the Annunciation

or in Elmham House gardens at 8 p.m.

Ballard

O England great cause have you to be glad

Compared to the Promised Land.

For you are graced to stand in that degree,

Through this glorious Lady's intercession;

To be called in every realm and region

The Holy Land, Our Lady's Dowry.

Thus you are called from all antiquity.

And this is the cause as appears by comparison:

In you is built New Nazareth, a house

To the honour of the Heavenly Empress

And her glorious salutation,

First principle and ground of our salvation,

When Gabriel said at Old Nazareth, 'Ave!'

This joy shall be remembered here each day.

 

Anon, 'The Ballard of Walsingham', c. 1490, known as 'The Pynson Ballad'

after its first printer

 

Excerpts From: Shrines of Our Lady Author: Peter Mullen

 

 

 

 

E:\DOMAINS\S\SHRINESOFOURLADY.COM\USER\HTDOCS\FIND-SHRINES\EUROPE\../../incs/asp/counter.asp,

line 7

 

 

"Flower of Carmel,vine with blossom weighed

Shinig Light of Heaven, bearing child though maid

None like to Thee

Mother most tender, whom no man didst know,

On all Carmel's chidren thy favour bestow,

Star of the Sea."

Attributed to ST. SIMON STOCK, Hymn - Flos Carmeli

The first impression of Aylesford Priory, known as 'The Friars', is not one

of monastic stillness. We are close to the Kent town of Maidstone, and to

the east of the priory lies the belching mass of Aylesford Newsprint, and to

the north the ceaseless drum of the M20 motorway. But once immersed in the

shrine, these oppressive neighbours are forgotten: the atmosphere is one of

peace and at the same time there is no mistaking the efficient organization

that makes up this celebrated priory.

In a summer of torpid heat, I arrive at Aylesford Priory in the early

morning as the mist rises and lingers over the lawns. Silence envelops

chapels and cloisters, courtyards and workshops; the river, green in the

mid-summer heat, meanders slowly past and the occasional moorhen darts into

the shadows.

Immaculately-groomed lawns and wide sweeping paths lead beside clipped

hedges and past the lake to a black swan preening elegantly on the grass in

the centre of the ancient courtyard. Standing beside the River Medway, this

group of buildings, with its medieval cells and magnificent Pilgrims' Hall,

now used as the dining hall, forms part of the gift of a thirteenth-century

crusader ID the Carmelite friars. It contains one of the oldest medieval

courtyards in England to remain intact, and is now once more the home of the

Carmelite order.

The Carmelite friars take their name from Mount Carmel in the Holy Land, the

dwelling-place of the prophet Elijah whom the early friars of the twelfth

century took as the model for their contemplative life on Mount Carmel. Each

Carmelite hermit was allotted a cave dwelling where he was to remain day and

night praying continually, and the order was placed under the particular

protection of the Blessed Virgin. By the middle of the thirteenth century,

the peaceful tenor of their hermit existence was becoming increasingly

threatened by the instability of their crusader kingdom, and friars began to

migrate to Europe.

At Aylesford the turmoil of the years of the Crusades is graphically

portrayed on the walls of the Pilgrims' Hall in a series of modern paintings

by the Polish artist Adam Kossowski. The Saracens appear mounted on

warhorses, their ferocious demeanour only slightly mitigated by the

splendour of their apparel, for they have clad themselves in all their

finery to intimidate the simple friars of Mount Carmel. But the friars turn

in prayer to their patroness, the Blessed Virgin, and their prayers are

heard.

In 1242 a group made their way to England at the invitation of the crusader

knight, Richard de Grey, who has offered them a home at Aylesford.

Subsequent pictures show the friars reading and praying in their new cells

in holy contentment.

By 1248 work is under way on a church in honour of the Assumption of the

Glorious Virgin, and Kossowski's pictures show the friars bricklaying and

stonecutting. In the distance we see the bridge across the River Medway

which pilgrims will cross on their journey to the priory. The Friars was on

the ancient pilgrim route to the shrines of St Thomas Becket and of Our Lady

Undercroft at Canterbury Cathedral, and there would have been a constant

stream of pilgrims wishing to rest here before the final leg of their

journey to Canterbury.

The next picture tells the story of the dissolution of Aylesford Priory in

1538. The formidable figure of King Henry VIII’s chief minister, Thomas

Cromwell, reads an order of expulsion as the friars turn to leave their

beloved home. Above the bridge across the Medway stands the figure of Mary,

her mantle held wide to protect the sad procession of friars going into

exile.

In the final picture, Our Lady stands above the Aylesford gatehouse, the

edges of her cloak held by angels, as the friars return to their home in

1949 after an absence of nearly four hundred years. This is the gateway

through which the friars departed in 1538, and above the opening there is a

statue of Our Lady restored to its place to greet whoever enters The Friars.

On the day of my visit the gateway was undergoing urgent repairs and was

covered in white polythene with scaffolding on all sides.

For twenty years the artist Adam Kossowski worked on pictures and ceramics

for the restored buildings at Aylesford, in thanksgiving for his release

from imprisonment. Kossowski had been captured in Warsaw in 1939, and was

held for three years of the Second World War in a slave labour camp in the

Soviet Union. The work he has bequeathed to Aylesford expresses the joy of

onewhose hope remained undiminished by the experience of suffering and

exile.

There are nearly a hundred examples of Kossowski's work here. Each of the

restored chapels is enriched by his vision of the world: of the evil of

those who tormented Jesus; of the supercilious glances of the scribes in the

temple; and of the purity and holiness of Mary and Joseph, whose faces are

almost iconic in their beauty. At the top of many of the paintings, angels

fly urgently through star-filled skies to bring the words of heaven to an

anxious people on earth. These radiant works are indeed an invitation to

prayer and meditation.

I leave the Pilgrims' Hall and pass through a cool stone passage-way into

the cloister chapel of St Jude and the Infant Jesus of Prague. Banks of

candles glow in the darkness, and the luminous colours of the Flower of

Carmel window, 'Flos Carmeli', dispel the shadows that surround the statue

of St Jude the Apostle.

Beside a small series of the Stations of the Cross by Kossowski there hangs

a stone plaque with the words: 'Alice Woolsey Hewitt 1876-1947, who loved

this place, restored the chapel and rebuilt what fire had destroyed.' In

1920 Alice and her husband Copley Hewitt bought The Friars, which had

previously been rented from the Earls of Aylesford by her mother-in-law. The

work they undertook to restore the buildings was severely hampered by a fire

that swept through the buildings in 1930. Although much of the property was

destroyed, no one was harmed, and the transformation of The Friars to

medieval splendour was rapidly resumed. Alice Hewitt died in 1947; her

husband then started negotiating a Carmelite return to Aylesford, and in

1949 Father Malachy Lynch became the first prior after the restoration. He

and his religious brothers built on the work of Alice and Copley Hewitt and

set about the renovation of the buildings with unflagging energy, to serve

the needs of the thousands of pilgrims who make their way here each year.

Beyond the cloister chapel of St Jude and the Infant of Prague is a chapel

dedicated to St Anne, the mother of Our Lady. Here the story of St Anne and

her husband Joachim is told in a rhythmic series of ceramics that seem to

dance across the walls, culminating in the image of St Anne leading her

daughter Mary into the temple beneath the dignified gaze of the high priest.

The image of the devoted grandparents of Jesus with their small daughter

Mary is timeless, ordinary and sublime at the same time, and one to which

all can respond at the deepest level, an unmistakable awareness of the

intimacy of family life which lies at the heart of Christianity.

On many days of the year, vast crowds gather at The Friars for organized

pilgrimages, and outside in the piazza there is open-air seating in front of

the shrine statue of the Glorious Virgin of the Assumption standing against

the background of a star-strewn sky. But Aylesford is also a place for

individuals and for family groups.

On the day of my visit I noticed a man tenderly carrying his small child up

the steps to the statue of Our Lady where they both knelt, the rest of the

family standing quietly beside them. Some time later, I caught sight of them

eating their picnic by the lake with an air of peaceful contentment, and

watching a Muscovy duck with her ducklings.

The main shrine is surrounded by smaller chapels, designed by Adrian Gilbert

Scott, son of the distinguished architect, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, and

inspired by the prior, Father Malachy.

Carmel is known as the order of Our Lady, and in the statue in the piazza we

see a tall figure dressed in the simplest of garments, her steadfast gaze

fixed on heaven, and the shadow of a smile softening her glance. Her beauty

is that of a young woman who has lived and worked like other people; a woman

whose feet are strong from walking the stony paths of Galilee. She is the

fruitful vine we read of in the Psalms, the woman who is inseparable from

her Son: the silent but by no means impassive observer of all that took

place on the road to Calvary, where she remained to the end. The only sign

of gentleness in the figure in the Aylesford piazza appears in the slender

hands open towards heaven. "The twelfth-century Carmelite friars chose to be

mown as the 'Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel', for their

lives were spent in meditation on the Scriptures, following the example of

the Blessed Virgin who 'pondered these things in her heart' (Luke 2.19, 51)

This carved Madonna conveys everything that drew the early hermits to seek

her protection.

[ Back to Top ]

The Scapular

The story of the Scapular Apparition is an important part of Carmelite

tradition. According to legend, Our Lady appeared to the thirteenth-century

prior general of the Carmelites, St Simon Stock, who was an Englishman.

Simon held out to her his scapular (the piece of cloth worn over the

shoulders and hanging down across the front and back of the garment

beneath), Our Lady touched the scapular, and graciously promised her

protection to all who wear this garment, which has always formed part of the

Carmelite habit. In the reliquary chapel at Aylesford a magnificent black

and gold structure holds the skull of St Simon, who died in 1265. The relic

had been held in Bordeaux since the death of the saint, and was transferred

to Aylesford by the Archbishop of Bordeaux in 1951. It is said that St Simon

Stock composed the hymn, Flos Carmeli.

Flower of Carmel, vine with blossom weighed

Shining light of heaven, bearing child though maid,

None like to thee.

Mother most tender, whom no man didst know,

On all Carmel's children thy favour bestow,

Star of the sea.

To the right of the reliquary altar is the chapel of the Carmelite saints

and in the centre, above the altar, is a medieval carving of the Scapular

Vision. On either side Kossowski has depicted rows of friars and nuns

turning towards the altar, in the manner of a painting by Fra Angelico.

The last chapel I visit is dedicated to St Joseph and is dominated by a

magnificent statue of the saint by the sculptor Michael Lindsey Clarke, who

was responsible for the figures of the saints over each doorway in the

courtyard, and for the statue of Our Lady in the piazza. His father, Philip

Lindsey Clarke, one of the country’s foremost sculptors, was also

responsible for the sculpture of the Scapular Vision and many others. In

describing the statue of St. Joseph, Michael Lindsey Clarke declared that he

wished to portray St Joseph with his feet firmly on the ground, giving an

impression of stillness and dependability.

Beyond the chapels and under a towering plane tree the lawns run to the edge

of the river, which is concealed by ancient brick walls. Here is the Rosary

Way where Adam Kossowski's mysteries of the rosary have been set in wooden

frames in the manner of a Polish shrine; on the day of my visit the air was

heavy with the scent of white and yellow roses.

As I sit and draw in the shade beside the Scapular shrine, beyond the Rosary

Way, the heat is almost unbearable. There is not a breath of wind, and the

stillness is broken only by the crunch of wheels on gravel and the murmur of

voices praying the rosary. The voices fade and the sound of doves fills the

air. I walk back along paths skirting the outer walls of the chapels and

notice that the stained-glass windows appear from the outside to be composed

of a delicate lacework, as if this had been their sole purpose, and I

reflect as I prepare to leave that this unexpectedness is typical of The

Friars.

This is truly a place for people to experience, to walk: around the grounds

and the chapels, to come as a pilgrim of faith or of none, as each person

becomes close to God in their own way. In this beautiful place, the holiness

of Mount Carmel is open to everyone.

[ Back to Top ]

Canterbury

Aylesford was on the ancient pilgrim route to Canterbury, less than thirty

miles away, a route that would have been familiar to Chaucer's pilgrims in

the fourteenth century. The crypt shrine beneath Canterbury Cathedral was

part of the rebuilding by St Anselm in the eleventh century, when an

intricately carved Gothic screen was created to surround the original statue

of Our Lady Undercroft. In 1982 a fine bronze statue of the Virgin and Child

was carved for the Undercroft by the Benedictine sculptor Sister Concordia

Scott of Minster Abbey in Kent. Her new statue restores an ancient shrine to

Our Lady in one of the holiest places in the Christian world.

 

More from chrismaunder@tiscali.co.uk

 

 

MARY

 

 

by Romano on September 24, 2010

 

You’ve heard the question before. Perhaps you’ve even asked it yourself. Here’s one way to answer the question.

 

While Our Lord was on His Holy Cross and saw Mary and “the apostle whom He loved” standing at the foot of it, He said to His mother: “Woman, behold your son.” He then said to the apostle: “Behold your mother.” The Gospel goes on to say: “…from that hour, he [the apostle] took her into his home.” (John 19:25–27)

 

Now just think for a moment about this.

 

As Jesus—God in the Flesh—was doing His work on His Cross saving man from damnation, the greatest work He will ever do, He paused for His mother. He took a moment to entrust her to His apostle’s care because she had no other children. Had she other children, Christ would not have had the apostle assume responsibility for her.

 

But perhaps Jesus did not pause from His work. Consider that—just perhaps—giving Mary to the apostle, and therefore to us, was part of His work: an instrumental element in His salvation of mankind. It would explain why the Gospel writer thought this event important enough to warrant being documented.

 

If the words spoken by Christ are of vital importance and held in the highest esteem by Christians, even more so are the words spoken by God from His Holy cross: His words concerning His mother. These words must not be ignored or marginalized, and the implications of these words must not be minimized. Indeed, these words demand contemplation, study, and must be allowed to assume their natural place within the Will of God.

 

For nearly two millennia Catholics, acting as “the apostle whom He loved,” have lovingly taken Mary into their homes and have honored her. We are faithfully and lovingly doing what Our Lord told us to do: we “behold” our mother.

 

 

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The Pius Wars, continued

 

In the war over Pius XII and the Holy See’s policy toward Nazi Germany before and during World War II, there are fanatically anti-Pacelli/Pius XII writers like Daniel Jonah Goldhagen and Sergio Minerbi, whose imperviousness to evidence that challenges their presuppositions raises grave questions about their scholarship. And then there are the serious academic historians. The latter’s critique of Pius XII often begins with the charge that, as cardinal secretary of state to Pius XI, Pacelli engineered the demise of the Catholic Center Party, urged the German bishops to lift their ban on Catholic membership in the Nazi Party, and prompted German Catholics to support the Enabling Act that granted Hitler dictatorial powers: all in exchange for a concordat—a formal treaty—between the Third Reich and the Holy See. This strategy, these historians argue, weakened the Church’s capacity to resist the unfolding Nazi tyranny and gave the new German regime an undeserved degree of international legal credibility.

 

As Hubert Wolf, professor of Church history at the University of Muenster, demonstrates conclusively in “Pope and Devil: The Vatican Archives and the Third Reich” (Harvard/Belknap), this charge of a “package deal” between the Vatican and Hitler fails when the documentary evidence is examined seriously. Recently-available archival materials from the pontificate of Pius XI make clear that Pacelli and Pius XI never offered any such trade to the Nazis.

 

In fact, the Holy See was blindsided by the German bishops’ initiative in lifting the ban on Nazi Party membership, and the Center Party acted on its own in supporting the Enabling Act. Wolf also argues that Pacelli, far from being the Roman manipulator of the Church in Germany, was undercut in his diplomacy by the German bishops’ preemptive concessions to the Nazi regime. As Wolf writes, “If Pacelli had had his way, if he had pulled all the strings, Hitler would have paid a heavy price for the Center’s consent to the Enabling Act and the bishops’ retraction of their condemnation. The cardinal secretary of state would have dictated hard concessions for the conditions that Hitler was so eager to get from the Church.”

 

The net result was not a happy one: as Pacelli put it to British diplomat Ivone Kirkpatrick, “a pistol had been pointed at his head and he had had no alternative” but to conclude a concordat quickly, in order to provide a minimum of legal protection for Catholic life in a Germany he knew was heading for disaster. As for the concordat itself, Wolf concludes that, while “there is no doubt that this agreement further opened the floodgates for the involvement of German Catholics in the National Socialist state,” it also helped prevent German Catholicism from being completely absorbed (or “coordinated,” as the Nazis put it) by the Third Reich, such that “the Catholic Church in Nazi Germany was the only large-scale social institution Hitler never managed to co-opt.”

 

Precisely because Wolf’s conclusion is based on documentary evidence rather than presupposition or conjecture, it should definitively resolve this battle in the Pius Wars: “The Reichskonkordat was a pact with the devil—no one had any illusions about that fact in Rome—but it guaranteed pastoral care and the continued existence of the Catholic Church during the Third Reich. [Pacelli] did not make this deal by having the Center Party consent to the Enabling Act or by lifting the condemnation of National Socialism. The German Church bears sole responsibility for these steps.”

 

“Pope and Devil” is not without its problems. Wolf’s critique of Roman “centralism” is belied by his own demonstration that, in the case of Nazi Germany, the Roman centralizers could be far more forceful in defending the “locals” than the locals could themselves. Wolf also posits a false dichotomy between “dogma and diplomacy,” when the real issue in the Pius Wars is the exercise of prudence. Nonetheless, Wolf has done the Pius debate a great service by demonstrating that, in response to the charge that the Holy See undercut the Catholic opposition in Germany in exchange for a concordat, the only responsible verdict is “Not guilty.”

 

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Weigel’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic Register, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. Phone: 303-715-3215.

 

To access the complete archive of his columns, please visit www.archden.org/weigel.

 

 

 

 

 

AGE

 

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/City-of-love-of-Mangalore-where-the-elderly-defeat-euthanasia-16560.html

 

10/12/2009 11:51

INDIA

City of love of Mangalore where the elderly defeat euthanasia

by Nirmala Carvalho

The experience of Premnagar, a home for the elderly with 80 guests, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, the congregation founded by Sister Jeanne Jugan, canonized by Benedict XVI on 11 October.

 

 

 

Mangalore (AsiaNews) - "I defy anyone to say that our elderly are a burden. Their existence is full of meaning, they are living people who give us a deep joy". Sister Auxilia works at Premnagar, the city of love, a home for the elderly poor of Bajjodi, near Mangalore in Karnataka. She tells AsiaNews: "Euthanasia is the biggest devil in the world. Our seniors are a great treasure, their life experience is an asset to society and for all of us older people are a blessing. "

 

 

 

The Premnagar centre has 80 places, divided equally between men and women, where "elderly poor of all religions and castes live as a family." It was built by the Little Sisters of the Poor, the congregation founded in 800 by Sister Jeanne Jugan, canonized by Benedict XVI on 11 October this year. Sister Auxilia entered the congregation 19 years ago and says "welcoming the first saint of our order" is an invitation to "continue to receive the grace of the Lord and serve Him through the poor".

 

The Premnagar house of is one of 13 opened by the Little Sisters over the more than 120 years of their presence in India. They first arrived in Calcutta in 1882 and since have also reached Bangalore in 1900 and then Mangalore in 1978. Hospices like Premnagar are "a blessed place, a house of prayer," says Sister Auxilia. "All of our seniors are poor and are our joy. We are learning from them: the suffering and joys of life have given them a great wisdom. "

 

 

 

The oldest guest in the City of Love is Cecilia D'Souza "an old lady of 104 years of age who has been living in the house for 16 years," says the nun. "She moves through the house on a wheelchair and spreads happiness and joy in us, other guests and also the many people who come to visit us." Sister Auxilia said Premnagar houses many people who are over 90 "are all happy to be here and their love for life is instructive”. The Little Sister adds: "These poor older people participate in all activities of the House, they teach each other crafts, like handicrafts, making baskets that are then sold and many other things." The city of love is a big family where the days are spent in common life and daily activities of all kinds.

 

 

 

 

Sister Auxilia says: "Their enthusiasm for plays and shows that we organize is incredible. Although for some mobility is a serious problem, this does not diminish their interest in participating actively in theatre or other entertainment”.

 

The moment of death in Premnagar is special and touching. The Little Sisters take turns to hold vigil by the bedside of the dying, never leaving them alone, accompanying them until death with love. Sister Virginia, the mother superior, says: "It is a time marked by grace, our poor elderly die with dignity and love, filled with gratitude."

 

Sister Virginia says: "The charisma of the Little Sisters is taking care of the poor. We ask for alms in the streets, in markets, we circle the city, knocking on doors asking for food, clothing, whatever we may be given. Sometimes we are laughed at, sometimes insulted, but we respond to their contempt with a blessing. "

 

The mother superior says: "We do not need anything, each day we depend on providence and there are also many people who are really generous with us. Today the world is begging for love and this is what to pray for our elderly poor: that the world can be filled with love, shared love among people. "

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were the words used by our chaplain Fr Jean

 

Pierre following the deaths of Sr Thomas O.S.C. and

 

Sr Paule L.S.P.

 

Sr Thomas was called home to the Lord on the 18th

 

December after more than 72 years as a Poor

 

Clare., while Sr Paule went home on 3rd January 08

 

after more than 76 years as a Little Sister of the Poor. It

 

was quite an achievement that together they had served

 

the Lord faithfully for nearly 150 years.

 

In September, we gathered to celebrate Sr. Thomas’s 70 years of

 

profession as a Poor Clare. On Hogmany, the eve of her Birthday we

 

gathered again to give thanks to God for her life. Fr Jean Pierre said “She

 

won't celebrate her birthday with us, but God called her to celebrate it with Him

 

and with Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph , all the saints and Angels in

 

heaven”. In addition to family and friends ,members of her religious

 

congregation travelled for the funeral; Sr Dominic

 

and Sr Veronica from Humbie and Sr Mary Francis

 

from Hereford representing Sr Thomas’s former

 

community of Darlington.

 

Born and raised in Amble,

 

England

 

Sr Paule emigrated to

 

Australia with her family

 

when she was 17. It was here that Sr Paule offered her

 

life as a Little Sister of the Poor, a life she lived to the

 

full in the service of the elderly. She was always raising

 

funds for the benefit of our elderly residents no matter

 

which home she was sent to .

 

Travelling to the UK for the first time for the funeral

 

was her niece June from Australia, while her second

 

cousin Ken made his way from Newcastle. Mother Provincial and Sr Mary

 

Christina flew over from Dublin for the funeral where they were joined by Little

 

Sisters from our homes in Glasgow, Greenock and Edinburgh. Mgr Ken

 

McCaffrey, Vicar General for the Diocese represented Bishop Logan who was

 

attending a meeting in Spain. Also concelebrating the Mass was our chaplain

 

Fr Jean Pierre and Fr John and Fr Jacob from St Clement’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

 

 

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

 

 

 

The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

 

 

 

The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

 

 

 

The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

 

The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub.

 

The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services" on credit.

 

The prostitute then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

 

The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

 

No one produced anything.

 

 

No one earned anything.

 

 

However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.

 

 

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

I just viewed the First Episode of Catholicism with my Bible Study Students. The series, as many of you already know, is fabulous and I cannot recommend it enough. In the First 20 minutes Fr. Barron goes right to the heart of the faith and makes it clear that Jesus is God, He is the Lord.

And this truth about him is not only the most stunning aspect of our faith, it is also the most uncompromising. Jesus is Lord. While there are some today who want to find some middle ground by calling Jesus merely “a good man” or a “fine ethical teacher,”…. sorry, no can do. His divine claims cannot be set aside as if they weren’t there, so we can accept his “less controversial” call to love. The whole Jesus, the real Jesus, can be very disconcerting and he compels a choice. We are free to choose, but we are not free NOT to choose: either he is Lord, or he is a liar. Decide.

Indeed, an old Latin phrase expresses that there is no middle ground between “Jesus is Lord” and any lesser declaration. The Latin phrase is Aut Deus, aut mendax. Another version goes: Aut Deus, aut homo malus In other words, either Jesus is the Lord God, or he is a liar, Either he is God, or a very evil man. Either he is who he claims to be, or he is seriously deluded, dangerous, and a blasphemer, one to whom we should not listen. And if He is who He claims, then we must worship and obey him as Lord. But you can’t have it both ways.

Many years ago in seminary I was quite surprised to listen to some of my professors try an do just that. Want to have Jesus be more palatable to the modern setting, they would often declare what I considered to be heretical things about Jesus Christ. Some of them said, he did not claim to be God, or he did not know he was God. When I might meekly suggest a certain text that more than suggested he darn well knew he was Divine they would simply declare that Jesus never really said what I was quoting from the Scripture. They said the early Church “simply put those words in his mouth.” They would especially put their nose in the air and sniff if I quoted from John’s Gospel which they regarded as a later and non-historical reflection on Christ.

Thankfully I had some other professors who were able to reassure me that the Divinity of Christ was not in question and that the Scriptures accurately what reported what Jesus himself actually said and did. It still shocked me that teachers who denied or questioned the divinity of Christ could openly teach in a Catholic seminary and am happy to report that those problems have long since been cleared up at the seminary I attended. Yet, I must say, I am still bothered to hear that some college students still have to endure this sort of heresy, it is especially grievous to me that some of this still goes on at Catholic Colleges.

Never one to simply collapse under pressure or discouragement I took up the challenge to assemble the Biblical evidence as to Jesus’ Divinity. It is remarkably rich and consistent throughout all the New Testament Books as you shall see. In this article I give the scripture citations for the most part but cannot include most of the texts in the article since they are so numerous that they would eclipse the article itself. Perhaps at some point in the future I will publish a version with all the citations spelled out. For now, let these suffice to show forth a glorious Scriptural affirmation of the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He is Lord.

1. Clearly this is a dogma of the Faith (de Fide). The divinity and divine Sonship of Jesus is expressed in all the creeds. This is perhaps most clearly stated in the Athanasian Creed (Quicumque):”…we believe and confess that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is God and man. He is God begotten of the substance of the Father before all ages and man born in time of the substance of His Mother. He is Perfect God and perfect man.”

2. There are many passages in the Old Testament that express the qualities of the coming Messiah, among them are some very exalted titles:

• a prophet – (Dt. 18:15,18)

• a priest – (Psalm 109:4)

• a shepherd – (Ez 34:23ff)

• King and Lord – (Ps 2; Ps 44; Ps 109; Zach 9:9)

• a suffering servant – (Is. 53)

• the Son of God – (Ps 2:7; 109:3)

• God with us (Emmanuel) – (Is 7:14; Is 8:8)

• Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of the world to come, Prince of Peace – (Is 9:6)

• Eternal King – (Dan 7:14)

3. In the New Testament the Father attests to the Divine Sonship of Jesus - (Mt 3:17; 17:5; Mk 9:7; Lk 3:22; 9:35; Jn 1:34; II Pt 1:17)

4. In the Gospels the Lord Jesus gives Testimony to His own divinity and self knowledge. He is of noble stature and knows of his own dignity and power expressing it often in the following ways

• Jesus indicates that he transcends the prophets and Kings of the Old Covenant

o Jonah and Solomon – (Mt 12:41ff; Lk 11:31ff)

o Moses and Elijah – Matt 17:3; Mk 9:4; Lk 9:30

o King David – (Mt 22:43ff Mk 12:36; Lk 20:42ff)

o He says that the least born into His Kingdom will be greater than John the Baptist who, till that time was considered the greatest man born of woman – (Mt 11:11; Lk 7:28)

• Jesus teaches that he is superior to the angels:

o That they are his servants who minister to Him – (Mt 4:11 Mk 1:13; Lk 4:13)

o That they are his army – (Mt 26:53)

o That they will accompany him at his second coming and do his will -Mt 16:27; 25:31; Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26)

• Jesus appropriates Divine actions unto himself and thus sets forth an assimilation unto the Lord God:

o He declares it was He who sent the prophets and doctors of the Law (Mt 23:34; Lk 11:49)

o He gives the promise of his assistance and Grace (Lk 21:15)

o He forgives sins which power belongs to God alone (e.g. Mt 9:2)

o He, by His own authority completes and changes some precepts of the Law. (Mt 5:21ff)

o He declares Himself to be Lord of the Sabbath (Mt 12:8; Mk 2:28; Lk 6:5; Jn 5:17)

o Like the Heavenly Father he makes a Covenant with His followers (Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20)

• Jesus makes Divine demands upon his followers

o He rebukes some for lack of faith in him (Mt 8:10-12; 15:28)

o He rewards faith in him (Mt 8:13; 9:2; 22:29; 15:28; Mk 10:52; Lk 7:50; 17:19)

o He demands faith in his own person (Jn 14:1; 5:24; 6:40,47; 8:51; 11:25ff)

o He teaches that rejection of him and his teachings will be the standard of final judgement (Lk 9:26; Mt 11:6)

o Jesus demands supreme Love for him which surpasses all earthly loves (Mt 10:37,39; Lk 17:33).

o He accepts religious veneration by allowing the veneration of falling to the feet: this is due to God alone (Mt 15:25; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 28:9,17)

• Jesus is well conscious of His own power – Mt 28:18

o His many miracles which he works in his own Name.

o He transfers this power to his disciples

• Jesus knows and teaches that his own death will be an adequate atonement for the forgiveness of the sins of the whole human race. (Mt 20:28; 26:28)

• Jesus appropriates to himself the office of Judge of the world which according to the OT (eg Ps 49:1-6) God would exercise (eg Mt 16:27) . And His judgement extends to every idle word (Mt 12:36), will be final and executed immediately – (Mt 25:46)

• Jesus is Conscious of being the Son of God.

o Jesus clearly distinguishes his claim in this regard from his disciples relationship to the Father. When he speaks of his own relationship he says, “My Father” To the disciples he calls God, “Your Father” but, He never unites himself with them in the formula “Our Father” Thus a distinction is maintained. (Jn 20:17)

o Jesus revealed himself to be Son of God first in the temple when he remarked to Mary and Joseph that He must be about his Father’s business (Lk 2:49)

o Jesus claims to be both messiah and Son of God in the presence of the Sanhedrin (Mk 14:62). The Sanhedrin perceive this as a blasphemy.

o Jesus tells a story of himself in the Parable of the Evil Husbandmen thus confessing himself to be the only Son of God.

o He is aware of being one with the Father (“The Father and I are one.” (Jn 10:30,38) They Jews respond by accusing Him of blasphemy

• Jesus indicates in John’s Gospel that

o He is eternal “Before Abraham was I am” (Jn 8:58)

o That He has full knowledge of the Father (Jn 7:29; 8:55;10:14ff)

o He has equal power and efficacy with the Father (Jn 5:17)

o He can forgive sins (Jn 8:11 et sicut supra)

o He is Judge of the World (Jn 5:22,27 & sicut supra)

o He is rightly to be adored (Jn 5:23)

o He is the light of the world (Jn 8:12)

o He is the way, the truth and the light (Jn 14:6)

o His disciples may and ought to pray to the Father in His name, additionally they may to Him (Jesus) (Jn 14:13ff 16:23ff)

o The solemn confession of the Apostle Thomas “My Lord and my God.” is acceptable and in fact, an act of Faith (Jn 20:28)

• Other Scripture Passages on the Divinity of Christ

o I John 5:20 – “And we know that the Son of God is Come and has given us Understanding that we may know the true God and may be in His True Son; this is the True God and Life Eternal.”

o John 1:1-14 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…..”

o Phil 2:5-11 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…and every tongue must confess to the Glory of God the Father that Jesus Chirst is Lord.

o Rom 9:5 – “to them, (the Israelites) belong the patriarchs and of their race, according to the flesh is the Christ, who is God over all blessed for ever.”

o Titus 2:13 “Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

o Heb 1:8 – “But to the Son (God says): Your Throne, O God is for ever and ever.”

• In addition Scripture attributes Divine qualities to Jesus

o Omnipotence manifest in the creation and the conservation of the World – Col 1:15-17; I Cor 8:6; Heb 1:2ff

o Omniscience – Col 2:3 – In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge….

o Eternity – Col 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together

o Immutability – Heb 1:12; 13:8

o Adorability – Phil 2:10; Heb 1:6

Well I hope you get the point. Those who claim that Jesus didn’t know he was God or never made divine claims just haven’t read the Scriptures. And those who would want to “tame” Jesus, by removing his “controversial” (to say the least) claim that He is Lord, have to realize that they must set aside enormous numbers of things said by Jesus about himself to do that. Calling him a “good man” who “taught us to love” is to evade the compelling question: Is He the Lord or is He a liar and a blasphemer? This question must be unambiguously answered by every Christian, He is Lord, He is God. All things came to be through him and he holds all creation together in himself. And those who have denied his divinity will one day fall to their faces before his glory (Rev. 1:17).

Elijah once rebuked the people saying, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. (1 Kings 18:21). But we must answer. Is Jesus the Lord, or a lair? And if Jesus is Lord, follow him and realize that you will one day stand before him to render an account. But we cannot trivialize or tame Jesus. Neither can we evade our decision about him. Our whole destiny rests on this choice, this answer. Choose the Lord.

Please take time to view the Catholicism series, by Fr. Robert Barron. He, by God’s grace has done a marvelous thing. You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

http://heroictenor.com/vbsgenes/links.html

Some Kennelly

 

 

68th Executive Committee meeting of the International Energy Agency, Wind Energy R,D&D Implementing Agreement will meet on October 18th and 19th in Dublin. Representatives from the 21 member countries are to report on progress in the adoption of wind power in their countries. Proven are advising all Proven 35-2 owners to place their wind turbines on brake

Steve Jobs, RIP –UPDATED

October 6, 2011 by Elizabeth Scalia

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in

Reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving

how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel!

in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the

world! the paragon of animals! and yet to me, what is

this quintessence of dust? — Hamlet, Act II, Scene II

Well, we are stardust, finally. And what a force has passed, like a comet, through our era!

 

I confess, my geek husband and Elder Son appreciated his multi-layered genius much better than I ever could — I referred to him as “the guy who is making our lives look like Star Trek” — but even I am smart enough to know that Steve Jobs’ was a rare and exotic mind. I wonder if he is the last [publicly apolitical] capitalist we’re going to be permitted to admire for his creativity, his invention and his sheer genius?

Even though we all anticipated his death, at only 56 years of age, I wonder how many people tonight are finding the fact of it to be shocking, nevertheless. And whether that realization, that no matter how colossal, none of us escape death, will feel frightening or reassuring to us?

How did it make you feel? I think a lot of people are feeling the need to express themselves on his death — twitter is completely overloaded, and there is a #thankyousteve hashtag, and it’s very busy, indeed.

Learning of his death, all I can think of is Deacon Greg’s homily from last week, which discussed, oddly enough, the circumstances of Jobs’ birth:

In 1954, [Joanne Schiebel] was a young unmarried college student who discovered that she was pregnant. In the 1950s, her options were limited. She could have had an abortion – but the procedure was both dangerous and illegal. She could have gotten married, but she wasn’t ready and didn’t want to interrupt her education. Joanne opted, instead, to give birth to the baby and put it up for adoption.

And so it was that in 1955, a California couple named Paul and Clara Jobs adopted a baby boy, born out of wedlock, that they named Steven.

We know him today…as Steve Jobs.

It would not be overstating things to say that Steve Jobs is my generation’s Thomas Edison. As one observer put it, he knew what the world wanted before the world knew that it wanted it.

If you have an iPhone or an iPad or an iPod, or anything remotely resembling them, you can thank Steve Jobs.

If your world has been transformed by the ability to hear a symphony, send a letter, pay a bill, deposit a check, read a book and then buy theater tickets on something roughly the size of a credit card…you can thank Steve Jobs.

And: you can thank Joanne Schiebel.

If you want to know how much one life can matter, there is just one example.

But: imagine if that life had never happened.

 

 

 

Chad Torgerson

Once cynical of Catholicism, Chad's journey to the Catholic faith was difficult, but it led to intense study and deep personal reflection which brought him home to the Catholic Church. He now hopes to share the lessons he learned and the beauty of the Catholic Tradition with those around him.

Solid Foundations

Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, my parents raised me in the Lutheran faith. My parents were not the most spiritual of people, but they wanted to make sure that my siblings and I were "exposed" to faith. Basically, the concept was to introduce us to Christianity but allow us to make our own decisions. After being confirmed, I never went back.

For years, I was agnostic at best. Based on what I was learning in school, religion did not make any sense to me. Science had become my religion of sorts, and science seemed completely opposed to what I had learned in Sunday school. My analytic mind led me closer to science, and further from faith. To believe in God, I needed proof that he existed. Not finding it, by the time I left high school, I went from agnostic to full-blown cynic.

The Challenge

Just after high school, my life began to spiral out of control. A series of mistakes and poor choices left me in despair. I was battling depression, but I remained as stubborn as ever until, one day, a friend made a challenge.

My friend was a devout Christian, one who belonged to a local "mega-church." Time and time again, I ridiculed her for her faith and questioned her beliefs. Finally, she challenged me. She asked, "Chad, have you ever even read the Bible?" Of course, I hadn't. Who has time for that? When I told her that I had never read it, she challenged me by saying, "Well, as soon as you finish reading it, you can question my beliefs."

This young girl's wise words changed my life in ways that she does not know. As a stubborn, self-centered twenty-something, I was determined to prove her wrong. I decided to read the Bible, cover to cover, and come back with more ammunition. Instead of finding ammunition against her, I found a truth that I had never seen before.

A Place to Call Home

In the fall of 1997, I called myself Christian for the first time. For the next twelve years, I bounced all over the world. During those years, I hopped from one church to another, and with each move came a search for a new church to call home. Many of them were non-denominational churches, and just as soon as I would start to feel at home, it was time to move on again.

After spending half of those twelve years in the military, I finally found myself back in my hometown. Home was a great concept. It was great to be home with the ones I loved. It was great to feel like I belonged to a family again. When it came to my life at church, I hoped for the same thing. Despite my best efforts though, my search continued.

Being home was great, but I struggled to find a church to call home. From one church to the next, I just never felt like I was part of a community. A few of the churches that I came across were nice enough, but they just did not "feel" right. My search was less about spiritual truths and more about my own personal feelings. At this rate, I thought I would never find a home.

Taking a Second Look

I had always been rather cynical about the Catholic Church. Many of the people I know in my life are Catholic, and our discussions often turned into religious debates. In my stubbornness, I never really listened to anything they had to say. I was so stubborn that they coined the term "Chad-isms." I had my set of beliefs, and nobody was going to change them.

In the past, most of my Christian beliefs came through my own understanding of Scripture and the teachings of one modern preacher or another. But the teachings always seemed very shallow; they lacked theological depth. It was a "feel-good" theology, and it often avoided any of the hard truths. When I struggled to get connected or find a deeper faith, I slowly became disenfranchised with modern denominations. Was it time to take a look at something different, something with an older tradition? Eventually, my heart started to open to the idea. Maybe it was time to take a second look at Catholicism.

We never know when, or where, God will finally call us. Being a huge fan of football, I joined my brother-in-law at a Notre Dame game one weekend. Living in Chicago, South Bend was only a short drive away. When we arrived on campus, I was amazed at the beauty of the architecture. The beautiful paintings and murals inside the buildings were awe-inspiring. Yet, despite the awe-inspiring art and architecture, what truly inspired me was the community on campus.

Large crowds gathered to say a prayer at the Grotto. Catholics from all over the country shared stories of faith. Even the players attended Mass prior to the game. Was this the community of believers that I had been looking for? I won't say that I changed my mind that day, but it opened me up to the possibilities.

My RCIA Process

My journey toward the Catholic Church did not end in South Bend. That was only the beginning. As I looked around me, I noticed that many of the people of faith that I knew were Catholic. My lovely girlfriend (possibly my future wife, God willing), my sister, a few other family members, and a number of friends were all Catholic. More than any other denomination, the Catholics seemed to hold steadfast in their faith. It intrigued me. I decided to "try" RCIA. If I didn't like it, then I would drop out, no harm done.

I walked into RCIA with a lot of questions. No matter how many questions I asked, there was always an answer. I asked the priests, my family and friends, searched online, and consulted the Bible and Catechism. Around every turn, I expected to find the big "GOTCHA!" moment; the moment I could find the ultimately fatal flaw in the Catholic Church. That day never came.

Eventually, I completed the RCIA process. I still had questions, but many of them had been answered. Easter was coming fast, and I still had a choice to make. Choosing to become Catholic does not happen when you start RCIA; it happens when you finish it. I prayed hard. What to do? In the end, there was not a large neon sign saying, "Be Catholic!" on it. Instead, there was a gentle whisper in my soul. It's those soft whispers that can have the most dramatic impact on our lives.

Going Through the Motions

One thing that I noticed while going through RCIA was that many of my fellow candidates and catechumen were simply going through the motions. Some were getting married, or already were, and they were simply going through RCIA to complete the process. What they failed to understand is that RCIA is more about the journey than the destination.

Each step of the way, I studied Scripture, researched the topics, and, most importantly, prayed about what we were learning. Going through RCIA was a personal choice for me, and I wanted to really be sure that I was making the right decision. I owed it to God, and myself, to listen to what God was telling me through the Holy Spirit.

Many of the people that go through RCIA make their choice before they even begin the classes, but I believe that this is the wrong way to look at it. For the catechumens, candidates, and the Church itself, the entire RCIA process should be an evaluation. The Church should evaluate the catechumens and candidates, and vice versa. It is not always a marriage made in heaven.

My evaluation of the Church and its teachings took me all the way until Good Friday, just one day before I was scheduled to be Confirmed. Purposely, I chose to wait this long to allow myself the time to discern what Christ wanted me to do. Instead of going through the motions, I let the Holy Spirit guide me to where I belong. The next day, at the Easter Vigil, I was welcomed into the Catholic Church.

Since RCIA

My journey did not end after completing RCIA. My analytic mind turned towards my new Catholic faith. What I began to see was a very deep theology. Many will only scratch the surface of what Catholicism brings to Christianity as a whole. And, as I learn more from the great writers and teachers of the Catholic Tradition, I fall even more in love with that Tradition.

With all of the knowledge I gained through the RCIA process, I realized that there were others like me out there. There were a number of people searching for the truth, looking for community, and hungry for God. God calls each of us to spread His Word, and I decided to share what I learned with those people. In February of 2011, I launched WakingUpCatholic.com as a way to share my story with the world.

Each and every day, I learn something new about the faith. From feast days to indulgences, the Catholic Tradition is steeped with beauty and grace. Through my writing, I am able to share what I have learned, and I am forced to grow even more. The experience has brought my faith to places that I had never imagined. A decade after my original conversion to Christianity, my relationship with Christ has never been stronger, and I owe it to the beauty, depths, and richness of the Catholic faith.