Keep your eyes open!...

February 17, 2010  Ash Wednesday

(Ecc 3:1-7) All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.

VATICAN: Pope Benedict's 2010 Message for Lent

LINK: Join the Bishops of Australia as we journey towards Easter

MEDITATION: Episcopal Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin of Haiti in a Lenten reflection


The TRIB TIMES will not be updated again this year during the Lenten season, extending to the first week after Easter.  My computer time will be limited to 30 minutes each morning and evening during Lent. I will read all emails I receive, and will answer all that I can, time permitting.  I may also occasionally email non-reformatted news articles to Trib Times subscribers that I find to be of particular interest. But barring a major event, the Trib Times web page itself will not be updated. 

I apologize to all who have recently subscribed but will keep your email information for use after my return.  God willing, the next issue of the Trib Times should be shortly after Divine Mercy Sunday, April 11, 2010.  Please keep me in your prayers, and be assured that I will do the same.

I recommend the following links to keep up with unfolding events:

Catholic News

Signs of the Times

Readings & Meditations for Lent & Holy Week

Newer subscribers may also be interested in a meditation that first appeared in the Trib Times in 2004, The Pain of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

3. Discernment is undefiled conscience and purity of perception. 

February 12, 2010 


(2Jn 1:5) And now I beseech thee, lady, not as writing a new commandment to thee, but that which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

EDITORIAL: Haiti: Day of prayer and reflection

The Earthquake in Haiti Can Be a Sign of Peace for the World
by Daniel Tillias, Pax Christi Port au Prince

The effort to bring relief to the Haitian people is without precedent. Haiti once again is the center of the world's attention. People from everywhere, from every religion, every color and race are in Haiti. Many organizations are trying to help people suffering from the disaster, but cannot meet the great needs of this nation struggling to recover after such a loss.

The official number of people who died is close to 200,000; more than 200,000 are injured; and the financial loss is evaluated in the billions.

Unlike earlier tragedies, like the hurricanes Jeanne and Ike, this earthquake has affected every sector in the country. Every person has reason to mourn for a close family member, a relative or a friend. Churches and schools that were hundreds of years old collapsed, with their tradition and beliefs that were the foundation of life in Haiti.

If earthquakes were named like hurricanes, the name "professor" would fit this earthquake exactly. In less than one minute Haiti and the whole world received a lesson from Mother Nature, the most eminent professor imaginable.

Many people believe that the world paid attention to this disaster because of Haiti's extreme poverty.. That may be true, but something more powerful is also at work. For too many years humanity has been lost. Individualism and selfishness have been so dominant that we have forgotten that the earth is all we have. Billions have been spent on nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, while people are dying of hunger and malnutrition. And the environment has been devastated without considering alternatives. Because of all this and other concerns, the world has needed a sign that could provoke awareness and a different way of life.

Unfortunately, great tragedies like two world wars were not enough of a sign; the hunger in Somalia was not enough of a sign; the genocide in Rwanda was not enough of a sign; the war between Iran and Iraq was not enough of a sign; the situation in Sudan was not enough of a sign.

The sign has to be Haiti – the land of mountains, the land of the Spirits and inspiration - to teach the world in one minute what the best environmental expert, antiwar activist, and preacher could not, despite many years of trying.

Haiti is helping the world to understand that Muslims, Christians, black, white, rich and poor can be one. We have seen in the news people from the Dominican Republic waiting for hours on line to donate blood for Haitians in a nearby hospital. People aware of the situation of Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic can say how significant it is for Dominicans to offer their blood to Haitians. We have seen camps where very wealthy people are sharing a morning cup of coffee with very poor brothers and sisters sleeping in the next tent. These and many other examples point to a major change.

Haiti lived through what no one else should ever have to experience and brings to mind what for too long was out of sight. The all world now cannot claim ignorance of the dangers threatening future generations, like the destruction that accompanies war and environmental degradation.

The root causes of war and of earthquakes are profoundly different, but the suffering is the same. This is one lesson the earthquake should teach the world. Haiti helps every person to understand what it means for a little baby to lose both parents in a moment; for people to be under constant threat that the devastation will hit again. The cracks in the houses that people fear entering, all the after shocks, people fleeing, displaced or as refugees, are not unlike the effects of war that some people experience constantly.

At this moment great effort is focused on the Haitian people. It is important to remember that the best therapy for all this is love. Love is more powerful than any relief and it should be the main focus.

And the great commitment to bring relief to the people who survived should be matched by actions in memory of the thousands who died. One way to honor the victims of this earthquake is to end all that causes similar suffering by other people in the world. To end war, reduce hunger, and reduce pollution is the best tribute the world can give to the Haitian people.

Thanks to God and the tremendous solidarity of many nations, the strong people of Haiti are now ready for a new beginning. However, the relief efforts in Haiti will be all for nothing if in the days to come there is news about new bombing or an invasion of another country. Anytime there is suffering in this world, the sad memory of January 12 will be back.

If there is one lesson to take from what happened in Haiti, we believe it should be for the all the world to take this quake as a sign for peace on earth. Then the hundreds of thousands of victims of this disaster would have died in vain. They would be messengers sacrificed to open the eyes of a blind world.

NPR: Catholic Church Works To Rebuild After Loss In Haiti


Haitian churches rising out of the ruins
Shelter kits provide short-term solution for 35,000 homeless Haitians
Haiti earthquake relief efforts are still falling short


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

1 (cont.). Or perhaps, generally speaking, discernment is, and is recognized as, the certain understanding of the Divine will on all occasions, in every place and in all that matters; and it is only found in those who are pure in heart, and in body and in mouth.

February 11, 2010 

(Mat 18:5-7) And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh.

IRISH CENTRAL: Pope lashes out at Irish Catholic Church child abusers

Pope Benedict XVI has warned that the dangers of pedophilia still exist in the Church.

He made the comments before he meets Irish bishops next week to discuss the scandals in Ireland that have resulted in four archbishops stepping down.

In a clear reference to the Irish situation, Benedict, speaking of the imperative to protect children at all costs, stated that "Jesus' harsh words in the Bible about those who harm children should commit everyone to never lowering the level of respect and love."

He acknowledged that "unfortunately, in a number of cases, some of its (the Church) members acted in contrast to this commitment."

Benedict is meeting bishops from Irish dioceses to discuss the Murphy Commission Report into abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese, which led to the resignations.

The Murphy Report found that bishops had "obsessively" covered up child abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese from 1975 to 2004, and operated a policy of "don't ask, don't tell."

The report unleashed a torrent of criticism of the cover-up.  Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who had been appointed by the Pope in part to clean up the mess, moved swiftly and decisively to fire those bishops named in the cover-up.  However, victims groups say many unexamined cases still remain in other dioceses.

RELATED: Abuse allegations mount at German Catholic church


Bishops change feeding tube guidelines
Bring The Message To The Pulpit
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New missal not here yet, but Catholics urged to start talking about it
US bishops leader warns: gay-friendly group not in line with Church teaching

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

1. Discernment in beginners is true knowledge of themselves; in intermediate souls, it is a spiritual sense that faultlessly distinguishes what is truly good from what is of nature and opposed to it; and in the perfect, it is the knowledge which they have within by Divine illumination, and which can enlighten with its lamp what is dark in others.

February 9, 2010  

(Mat 5:11-13) Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you. You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing anymore but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.

ADDRESSES BY ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: The Prince of This World and the Evangelization of Culture

IN THE NEWS: Pope urges Scots bishops to tackle 'the increasing tide of secularism

Scotland is a country plagued by sectarianism and struggling with a rising "tide of secularism", the Pope has declared, in an address to the country's Catholic bishops in Rome.

He ended months of speculation when he confirmed he was to visit Scotland later this year.

But in remarks that contrast with those of John Paul II, the last pope to visit Scotland, Benedict XVI attacked proposed new laws, and said the country was battling with sectarianism as a result of a "great rupture" with its Catholic past.

The Pope urged his Scottish bishops to "grapple firmly with the challenges presented by the increasing tide of secularism in your country".

He also used his speech to condemn euthanasia – comments widely interpreted as a criticism of Margo MacDonald's attempt to pass an assisted suicide bill at Holyrood.

"Support for euthanasia strikes at the very heart of the Christian understanding of the dignity of human life," the Pope said.

The Pope also paid tribute to what he said was the role played by Scotland's Catholic schools in overcoming sectarianism – an analysis that will not be shared by critics of schooling along religious lines.

But in a statement that accepted his views were not shared by all, he said: "All too often, the Church's doctrine is perceived as a series of prohibitions and retrograde positions, whereas the reality, as we know, is that it is creative and life-giving, and it is directed towards the fullest possible realisation of the great potential for good and for happiness that God has implanted within every one of us."

The Pope's willingness to embrace contentious subjects has prompted concern that his trip will not be met with the rapture that greeted the previous papal visit.  His predecessor John Paul II's pastoral trip in 1982 prompted euphoria among the hundreds of thousands of people who flocked to Glasgow's Bellahouston Park and Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.

MORE: Bishop Olmsted: Let's Not Be Silent About Life

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

41. Humility is Christ's spiritual doctrine, noetically introduced into the inner chamber of the soul by those who accounted worthy of it. It cannot be defined by perceptible words.

February 5, 2010 


(Mat 25:40) And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

HEADLINE: Haitian priest in Albany talking about the quake and recovery

From underneath the rubble and all the death and destruction of Haiti, comes a message of hope and faith.

It's being shared by a Catholic priest from Haiti who is visiting the Capital Region.

Many hands make for a light load.  That's what Father Joseph Philippe is saying while he tries to rebuild his homeland.  A job he says will take years.

After living through Haiti's devastating earthquake, Father Joseph Phillippe's message is simple: "Stay awake.  We don't know the time or the hour of our lives.  If you want to do something good, now is the time.  Don't wait."

From a friendship formed years ago with the Albany Catholic diocese, Father Joseph is spending a week in the Capital Region trying to rebuild his homeland and reaching out for help.  Wednesday afternoon he shared his story and pictures at Russell Sage College.

He told the audience that, "We have lost a lot of people, we have lost a lot of things, but it's an opportunity to rebuild Haiti from zero."

Father Joseph runs a foundation providing clean water and education to a village about fifty miles from Port-au-Prince.  Many there lost everything.  He even started up Haiti's first rural university there.  That too was destroyed in the quake.

RELATED: CNA staff members recount trip to Haiti following earthquake

CATHOLIC SPIRIT:  Earthquake draws attention to Haiti's strong Catholic presence

: Catholic Relief Services Directing Massive Aid Operation in Haiti; Distributing Food to Hundreds of Thousands

PERSPECTIVE: U.S.'s generosity toward Haiti is historic but may be fleeting


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

40. Self-knowledge is a true idea of one's spiritual growth, and an unbroken remembrance of one's slightest sins.

February 4, 2010  

(Mat 10:24-25) The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?

WHEREGODWEEPS.ORG: Catholic Radio and Television Network, in conjunction with the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, is producing a television and radio series titled, "Where God Weeps" - broadcasting via Catholic broadcasters to English speaking viewers world-wide - the reality of the suffering and persecuted Church.

NEWSLINK: New Archbishop of Mosul calls persecuted Iraqi Christians to hope
CHRISTIANITY TODAY: In Jos We Are Coming Face to Face in Confrontation with Satan

Everyone is asking: Why? Why are Muslims and Christians unable to live together in peace on the Jos Plateau? Why is there a continuing recurrence of violence? These are questions people in Nigeria and journalists from all over the world have asked me. I wish I had the answers.

The one thing I do know is that this time, as at other times, Christians once again have become the scapegoat of some evil intention to cause disharmony, separation, pain, destruction of lives and property, and disruption of normal civil life. This to me is evidence of what Jesus meant when he said, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

Evidence of this abundant life can be clearly seen in the progress, health care, and social services, together with the adult education, children's education and also tertiary education which the church brings to a people. These developments are functions of the gospel; they are products and evidence of an effective gospel ministry in any community. This same gospel also prepares people for leadership roles in all spheres of life. It is these fruits of the activity and life of the gospel which now have been suddenly burnt up in flames in one day, as the investments of a lifetime are turned into ashes.

It should be noted that in Jos we are coming face to face in confrontation with Satan and the powers of hell, and only God can save us. There are, however, many Muslims who totally disagree with violence as a means of settling issues, and of course it is not in accordance with the gospel to use violence to settle issues either. What seems to be a recurring decimal is that over time, those who have in the past used violence to settle political issues, economic issues, social matters, intertribal disagreements, or any issue for that matter, now continue to use that same path of violence and cover it up with religion. We must pray against the powers of hell. We must also pray for our state government, our Houses of Assembly at state and federal levels and our law enforcement agents, that they may choose the path of truth and justice, and deal with crime by its proper name, so that no-one, no matter how high or low, no matter of what faith or creed, should be exempt from facing the law.

The national leadership should be lifted up to God, that they may rise beyond a concern for political success and seek to do good and right in all things for the benefit of all people. This is a most urgent prayer request, because Nigeria as a nation has a large and ever-increasing army of leaderless, lawless, unemployable, unemployed, demoralized, and near hopeless youth. This, to my prophetic mind, is the big security issue which the governments at local, state and federal levels are not taking seriously. For example, every crisis in Nigeria in the last ten years has been executed by this generation of young people. With each passing year, they perfect their skills, and when they run out of a supply of money—or when they become bored with any situation—then any opportunity for action gives them satisfaction. This army has no religion, but can choose to go under the name of religion to achieve its motives. They are uneducated, and so their values are totally different, as are their ways of handling weapons or choosing how issues are settled. Please pray for us.

We deeply regret that a matter of work on a building site triggered the present huge setback for the people of Jos and Plateau State. Yet we rejoice that the gospel has not lost its power to save. God is still on the throne and evil will never, ever, have victory over good. We have a gospel to proclaim, and it is this gospel which holds the solution and the remedy for the mayhem, bitterness, anger, frustration and sheer evil which leads to the ruin of individual lives and the ruin which we see all around us in Jos now.

Points for consideration:

A. Once again, the international media have highlighted corpses and have shown and talked of corpses in the mosque. Corpses do not talk, and we do not know the names and addresses of these corpses.

B. The same international media have shown only the corpses in the mosques and are not interested in the corpses which are not inside the mosque. Corpses should be in the mortuary or should be buried.

C. It is worthy of investigation as to why the construction of a building should be carried out on a Sunday, during the time of Christian worship, with such a large number of youth, and why a disagreement on or near the site should result in these same youth producing guns, machetes, and fake military uniforms.

Brethren: be fully assured that our faith in Christ is intact, and shall remain so in life and in death. We have a gospel to proclaim, a gospel that brings light in darkness, hope in despair, courage in danger, and joy in sorrow. It is a gospel that brings life in all its fullness, and it is this gospel alone which can bring a lasting solution to the problems of the world and of Jos.

The Lord be with you.

Benjamin A. Kwashi is the Church of Nigeria (Anglican) Archbishop of Jos.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

39. Contrition is the result of a fall. He who falls is crushed, and he stands in prayer without boldness but with praiseworthy audacity, as one who is shattered, steadying himself with the staff of hope and using it to drive off the hound of despair.

February 2, 2010 

(Mat 18:21-22) Then came Peter unto him and said: Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith to him: I say not to thee, till seven times; but till seventy times seven times.

HEADLINE: Pope Benedict XVI meets and forgives Christmas Eve Mass attack woman

NEW BOOK ABOUT POPE JOHN PAUL II: The book publishes for the first time a never-delivered speech John Paul prepared for his weekly general audience Oct.  21, 1981, five months after the Turkish gunman, Ali Agca, shot him in St.  Peter's Square.

Agca served a 19-year sentence in an Italian prison for shooting the pope, and earlier this month was released from a Turkish jail where he served a 10-year sentence for killing a Turkish journalist in 1979.

John Paul had publicly forgiven Agca on May 17, 1981 - four days after the assassination attempt.  And he visited Agca in prison in 1983.

But five months after the attack, John Paul prepared a lengthy treatise on the power of forgiveness and the need for it in society, using his own experience as an example.

"The act of forgiveness is the first and fundamental condition so that we aren't divided and placed one against another like enemies," he wrote in what Oder called "an open letter" to Agca.

In the speech, he revealed that he while he had publicly forgiven Agca on May 17, "the possibility of pronouncing it before - in the ambulance that brought me from the Vatican to the Gemelli hospital where the first and decisive surgery was performed - I consider the fruit of a particular grace given to me by Jesus."

UGANDA: Forgiveness lacks in families – bishop

ANGLICAN JOURNAL: I'm sorry: Forgiveness can be difficult to achieve but oh, so worth it

Diane: Unforgiveness- Spiritual Poison

VIA Abba Anthony: "Thou dost not so much desire thy sins to be forgiven, as He desires to forgive thee thy sins.  In proof, that thou dost not so desire it, consider that thou hast no mind either to practice vigils, or to give thy money freely; but He, that He might forgive our sins, spared not His Only Begotten and True Son, the partner of His throne." - St John Chrysostom

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

38. Contrition is one thing, self-knowledge is another, humility is another.
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