your eyes open!...
January 31, 2014
(Psa 16:8-11) I
set the Lord always in my sight: for he is at my right hand, that I be
not moved. Therefore my heart hath been glad, and my tongue hath
rejoiced: moreover, my flesh also shall rest in hope. Because thou wilt
not leave my soul in hell; nor wilt thou give thy holy one to see
corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life, thou shalt
fill me with joy with thy countenance: at thy right hand are delights
even to the end.
MARK MALLET BLOG
Francis, and the Coming Passion of the Church
Francis, and the Coming Passion of the Church Part II
FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA Blog: "Tell
my people that the hour is almost at hand. Love one another, pray for
one another, and weep for one another for the hour draws near. The
force of the enemy will be great, but for those in whom My Spirit truly
dwells my strength will prevail, those who have made Me their refuge
shall succeed as overcomers and take their rightful place with me in my
Do not fear what lies ahead. Do not succumb to the terror that will
befall you. Keep your eyes upon Me and your faith will not fail you in
your hour of testing. All that I have written and spoken of will soon
come to pass. Keep your eyes upon Me and not upon the travails that
surround you for all that surrounds you is passing away, yet I will
endure forever and those who have followed My path will endure with Me."
RON ROLHEISER, OMI: Living With Frustration and Tension
Among William Blake's infamous
Proverbs from Hell we find this one: Sooner murder an infant in its
cradle than nurse unacted desires.
There are subtle layers of meaning
to this, but on the surface it speaks volumes, especially for our
generation. Today we are for the most part congenitally unwilling and
existentially unable to carry tension for long periods of time, to live
with frustration, to accept incompleteness, to be at peace with the
circumstances of our lives, to be comfortable inside our own skins, and
to live without consummation in the face of sexual desire. Of course,
in the end, we do not have a choice. We are not above our humanity and
simply have to accept and live with the tensions of incompleteness, but
we struggle to do so without bitter impatience, pathological
restlessness, and all kinds of compensatory activities.
Emotionally and morally, this is
our Achilles heel. Our generation has some wonderful emotional and
moral qualities, but patience, chastity, contentment with the limits of
circumstance, and the capacity to nobly live out tension are not our
strengths. The effects of this can be seen everywhere, not least inside
of our struggle to be faithful to our relational commitments.
We have made life-long commitment
in marriage very difficult because we find it hard to accept that any
marriage, no matter how good, cannot take away our loneliness. We have
desacralized sexuality and severed its link to marriage because we are
unable accept sex as limited to a marriage commitment. We have
basically rendered consecrated celibacy existentially impossible
because no one, we feel, can be expected to carry sexual tension for a
lifetime. And, most painful of all, we have sown a deep restlessness
inside of ourselves because, in our incapacity to accept the
incompleteness of our lives, we torture ourselves with the thought that
we are missing out on life, that we should not have to live with so
much incompleteness, and that the full symphony for which we so deeply
long should already be ours.
And the fault is not entirely our
own. Much of it lies with those who were supposed to prepare us for
life and did not give us the emotional and psychological tools to more
naturally and nobly accept life's innate frustrations and the
conscriptive asceticism that brings with it. More simply, too many of
us were not taught that life is hard, that we have to spend most of it
waiting in one kind of frustration or other, and that this is the
natural state of things. Too many of us were given a false set of
expectations. We were given the impression that indeed we could have it
all, clear-cut joy without a shadow and full intimacy without
frustration or distance.
Worse still, many of us were not
given the simple, basic permission to live in frustration, that is, to
feel okay about ourselves and about our lives even when for the most
part we are frustrated. We were not given permission to accept that
frustration is natural, the normal state of things, and that it is okay
to accept ourselves and our lives as they are and find joy and
happiness inside of them, in spite of the frustrations.
I'm still part of the generation
whose moral and religious elders gave us this permission. I got this
from my parents who, deeply schooled in the concept of original sin,
understood themselves as "mourning and weeping in a valley of tears".
This, rather stoic, perspective which believes that on this side of
eternity all joy comes with a shadow, did not make them morbid. The
opposite, it gave them permission to accept the limits of their lives
and the circumstances of their lives and, paradoxically, find joy in
the imperfect precisely because they were not expecting the perfect.
They understood that it is normal to be frustrated, to not have
everything you want, to have to live in incompleteness, and to accept
that in this life we will experience more hunger than satiation.
Most of us will have to learn this
the hard way, through bitter experience, through tears, and through a
lot of restlessness from which we might be spared if we already knew
that hunger, not satiation, is what is normal. As Karl Rahner famously
puts it: In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable
we finally learn that here in this life all symphonies must remain
Wisdom and maturity invariably do
find us and life eventually turns each of us into an ascetic. We may
kick against the goad for a while, like a child kicking against a
mother's restraining arms, but eventually we tire, stop wailing, and
accept the restraints, though not always peacefully. But it can be
peaceful, if we accept that frustration is normal.
And so I would amend Blake's
proverb: Better to murder an infant in its cradle … unless you give
that child a realistic set of expectations with which to deal with
unrequited desire and frustration.
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks:
Someone asked a hermit to accept money for his future needs
but he refused, because the produce of his labour was enough for him.
When the giver persisted, and begged him to take it for the needs of
the poor, he replied, 'If I did that my disgrace would be twofold. I do
not need it, yet I would have accepted it: and when I gave it to
others, I would suffer from vanity.'
January 30, 2014
6:9-11) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar
the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the
testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying:
How long, O Lord (Holy and True), dost thou not judge and revenge our
blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given to
every one of them one; And it was said to them that they should rest
for a little time till their fellow servants and their brethren, who
are to be slain even as they, should be filled up.
Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch:
"Daily the suffering is getting worse, daily the problems are growing.
The level of suffering is much greater than the aid provided."
STATEMENT: Patriarch John X of Antioch and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow Issue Appeal on Syria
EDITORIAL: The world's most ancient Christian communities are being destroyed — and no one cares
RELATED NEWS HEADLINES
Forced Exodus: Christians in the Middle East
Syrian Bishop: 'Christians Are Being Targeted'
Reports of Christian martyrdom nearly doubled in 2013
Christian persecution expected to rise in 2014
DONATION LINK: AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED: http://www.churchinneed.org/site/PageServer?pagename=WG_How_You_Can_Help
FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA Anne: This is the second response I received. It is very interesting...and different from Mr. Casey's response.
Thank you for
taking the time to contact me regarding United States intervention into
the Syrian civil war. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this
Pro-democracy protests in Damascus began in early 2011 against the
government of Bashar al-Assad. His government responded with violent
crackdowns. Over the next few months the conflict spread throughout the
country and degenerated into civil war. While the conflict might have
started with pro-democracy protesters, in this civil war, there are no
clear allies. On March 17, 2013, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated, "I am no longer sure that the United
States could identify the ‘right people' in Syria."
The government of Syria has a long history of sponsoring international
terrorism and was listed as a state sponsor of terror by the U.S.
Department of State in 1979. Under Bashar al-Assad, Syria has continued
to provide overt aid and comfort to violent extremist groups such as
Hamas, Hezbollah, and several factions of the Palestine Liberation
Organization. Unfortunately, the makeup of rebel forces has become
increasingly complicated. Many of the rebel groups have ties to
organizations that support terrorism across the globe including
al-Qaeda, the terrorist group that attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001.
The President has vacillated in determining what the U.S. policy toward
Syria should be. Speaking to reporters in 2012, President Obama
announced that the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” for
him, and would force U.S. intervention. In April of this year, reports
of chemical attacks surfaced. In August, rebel forces accused Assad of
another chemical attack near Damascus that killed hundreds of people,
including women and children. President Obama came to Congress seeking
authorization for the use of military force against the Syrian
I sympathize with the Syrian people fighting to get out from under
Assad’s years of brutal dictatorship, but the President has not made a
compelling case for U.S. intervention, and has even admitted there is
no military solution to the Syrian conflict. Unfortunately, there are
no clear allies for the United States. Becoming militarily involved in
this civil, sectarian war, produces no good outcomes for the U.S. and
is likely to increase the potential for further conflict in the region.
If the President continues his policy of arming the rebels, I fear we
are necessarily allying ourselves with al-Qaeda. I do not support this
and have introduced legislation (S. 1201) that would require
Congressional approval before military assistance could be provided to
groups in Syria.
In early September, during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
hearing on a resolution to authorize the use of force in Syria
(S.J.Res.21), I asked Secretary of State John Kerry what the outcomes
of a U.S. military strike are likely to be. I asked what the likelihood
of the chemical weapons being used again, or falling into the wrong
hands, might be. I asked what the goal of the strike was and if it was
likely to improve the conditions of Syrian Christians. Sec. Kerry was
unable to give a clear answer to any of these questions. It reminds me
of Winston Churchill's caution to those about to go to war, “once the
signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of
unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.” The Founders knew this, and
our own military veterans know it still. War is horribly unpredictable,
it cannot be entered into lightly. The U.S. should only go to war when
there is no other choice and for no other purpose but full and complete
victory. The decision to go to war, no matter the magnitude or
duration, is the heaviest of burdens a statesman can carry. Such a
thing must be carefully considered, the debate robust, and ultimately
the decision of the American people through their elected
representatives. Prudently, the Founders gave the power to declare war
to Congress, as James Madison wrote, “The constitution supposes, what
the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the
branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has
accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the
I have vigorously opposed going to war with Syria because there is no
clear American interest or certainty that U.S. involvement, of the kind
for which the President sought approval, would improve the situation.
Instead it is likely to end in stalemate making a tragic situation
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10 to 7 with one
abstention in favor of authorizing military intervention in Syria.
However, the resolution was not brought to either the Senate or the
House of Representatives for a final vote.
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I will continue
to closely follow the situation in Syria. Thank you again for taking
the time to contact me. It is an honor and a privilege to represent the
Commonwealth of Kentucky in the United States Senate. Please do not
hesitate to contact my office regarding any other federal legislative
Rand Paul, MD
United States Senator
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks:
A brother asked a hermit, 'What must I do to be saved?' He took
off his clothes, and put a girdle about his loins and stretched out his
hands and said, 'Thus ought the monk to be: stripped naked of
everything, and crucified by temptation and combat with the world.'
January 28, 2014
(Mar 1:15) And saying: The time is accomplished and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel:
BISHOP DAVID McGOUGH:
"Jesus sets before us the first step in discipleship, a step that must
be constantly renewed: 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
Christ’s kingdom is present to us in every prayer, every thought that
calls us to believe that we can indeed live in his light, that we can
repent and entrust the past to his forgiveness. We must never take this
step for granted, embracing it, whenever possible, in the Sacrament of
Reconciliation. Repentance, frequently renewed, opens our lives to the
call that Jesus made to Peter and Andrew: 'Follow me, and I will make
you fishers of men.'"
TRACT: The Sacrament of Reconciliation: Celebrating God's Forgiveness by Sandra DeGidio, O.S.M.
THE CATHOLIC THING: Sin & the Rock
EXCERPT CATHOLIC HERALD: We should be dying to go to Confession
relates – and I am sure others will identify with this – that having
decided to return to the Church she realised she needed to go to
Confession. So she went punctually to the scheduled slot at her local
parish – to find the door was locked. She waited 15 minutes but nothing
happened. So she went back the next week, accidentally ten minutes late
– to find the door was now open but the confessional was empty. The
priest had been and gone; he hadn’t waited for a possible latecomer.
Then she drove to a bigger church, relieved to see a sign saying that
Confession was scheduled at that moment. She joined a queue, but was
puzzled to find that no-one seemed to be coming in or out of the
confessional as one would have expected. After half an hour everyone in
the queue was growing restless. Finally “a lady walked into the church
and announced, ever so apologetically, that the priest scheduled to
hear confessions had forgotten about it. He was playing golf instead.”
A friend then suggested to Laura that she go to a weekday Mass and
corner the priest afterwards, so that he could hear her confession on
the spot. She did this – but unfortunately chose a day when the local
primary school was having its own Mass.
Still determined, she decided to go to Mass every morning until she
found a priest who would hear her confession. But she fell ill and the
plan had to be delayed for a few weeks. Finally, she found another
local parish, waited until after Benediction and “strengthened by the
graces of the Eucharist, I confessed my sins. The priest was lovely. I
cried a lot. He gave me absolution and for penance, a Hail Holy Queen.”
Looking back on these setbacks after two years Laura rejoices that
despite “locked doors, golfing priests and nasty germs I returned to
the Catholic Church.” I relate all this to remind priests to preach
about Confession perhaps more than they do now, and to remember to be
available, perhaps at their own inconvenience, for those in need of the
Sacrament. After all, the point of being a priest is to save souls. A
priest once told me that if he had to choose between celebrating Mass
and hearing Confessions he would choose the latter. To bring stray or
lost sheep back to the Good Shepherd was what it was all about for him.
As it happened, a friend called on me yesterday. He told me his
practice of his Faith had been rather perfunctory until he happened to
join a pilgrimage to Lourdes. He decided to skip the scheduled Mass in
the underground basilica. Instead, he wandered over to the baths. There
he discovered there wasn’t the usual long queue. On impulse he decided
to go inside, never having bathed in the waters before. He told me that
as soon as he came out of the water an inner voice told him to go to
Confession. Needless to say, the grace he received in the sacrament
brought about a permanent renewal of his faith.
Lapsed Catholics, aided and abetted by those outside the Church, might
gripe about guilt complexes, fixations with sin, bad experiences in the
confessional and so on. Actually it’s very simple: we believe that
Christ died on the Cross out of love for us; we show our love for Him
in return by being faithful to the Sacraments. Confession is about the
renewal of a relationship of love between sinner and Saviour. Seen in
this light, we should be dying to go; indeed, to stop going on the
grounds we have nothing much to confess will lead to spiritual death.
That’s a scary thought.
VATICAN.VA: The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks:
10. Cassian said
that Syncleticus renounced the world, and divided his property among
the poor. But he kept some for his own use, and so he showed that
he was unwilling to accept either the poverty of those who renounce
everything or the normal rule of monasteries. Basil of blessed
memory said to him, 'You have stopped being a senator, but you have not
become a monk.'
January 23, 2014
4:12-14) Dearly beloved, think not strange the burning heat which is to
try you: as if some new thing happened to you. But if you partake of
the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that, when his glory shall be
revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you be reproached
for the name of Christ, you shall be blessed: for that which is of the
honour, glory and power of God, and that which is his Spirit resteth
STRATFOR: The Geopolitics of the Syrian Civil War
ICEJ: Syrian War Expanding and Melting Down at the Same Time
EXCERPT AINA REPORT: The Holy Land's Endangered Christians
The announcement of Pope Francis's Holy Land visit coincided with a
depressing report from Open Doors, a non-denominational group
supporting persecuted Christians worldwide. The group's annual survey
noted that the number of Christians killed for their faith doubled in
2013 from the year before, with Syria accounting for half of the
documented 2,123 "martyr" killings.
The group acknowledged their count is "very minimal" and based on what
they have been able to confirm. Other Christian groups put the annual
figure in 2013 as high as 8,000 deaths with most coming in turbulent
Middle East or African states where the majority religion is Islam.
Michel Varton, head of Open Doors France, told journalists in
Strasbourg that failing states with civil wars or violent internal
tensions were the most dangerous for Christians, citing Syria as the
"In Syria, another war is thriving in the shadow of the civil war--the
war against the church," he said. "Islamist extremism is the worst
persecutor of the worldwide church." That persecution in the shadow of
civil war has seen a mass Christian exodus with Christian refugees
retreading the steps of their persecuted forebears and fleeing into
southern Turkey for sanctuary. The civil war has seen half-a-million
flee--nearly a quarter of Syria's Christians--with more arriving in
Turkey and Lebanon each day.
And fears are mounting that the sectarian conflict to oust President
Bashar al-Assad could spell the doom of Syrian Christianity, in much
the same way as Christianity has been severely damaged in Iraq, where
after the fall of Saddam Hussein, sectarian killings, persecution of
Christians and an increasingly Islamist political culture propelled
more than half of the Iraqi Christian population to flee.
Before the civil war, Syria had an estimated Christian population of
2.5 million with the Greek Orthodox Church accounting for the largest
share. The country also contained Catholics and Syriac Christians as
well as Protestants and adherents of the Assyrian Church of the East.
FROM THE MAILBAG
I was very concerned with your articles regarding Syria and what is
going on. So much so, that I sent it to everyone on my email list,
asking for many prayers and to pass along those articles to their
friends so that could also pray for the people and know the real
stories. I also sent your articles to three senators and asked for
their help. I decided to share with you what one of my State Senators
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about Syria. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
Beginning with demonstrations in March 2011, the Syrian people have
courageously challenged President Bashar al Assad’s repressive regime,
demanding basic human rights and greater democratic representation. The
Syrian regime has responded with terrible violence against its
citizens, including the use of weapons of war, torture, arbitrary
executions, sexual violence, and interference with access to medical
treatment. Over the course of more than two years, the Assad regime has
unleashed a barrage of unspeakable terror across the country with the
sole aim of remaining in power. More than 100,000 people have been
killed and countless injured, according to the United Nations. More
than two million refugees have fled to neighboring countries, taxing
the limits of those countries’ capacity and risking a regional crisis.
Further, an estimated 4.25 million Syrians are internally displaced.
I have repeatedly called for a more robust U.S. response to the crisis
in Syria. What happens in Syria is of great consequence to our national
security and to our allies in the region. It is of vital interest to
the United States and our allies to have a stable Syria in the heart of
the Middle East. Contrary to that interest, letting the civil war drag
on and the humanitarian crisis grow would create further instability.
The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League
of Arab States to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, expressed grave concern
stating, "I think there is no disagreement anywhere that the situation
in Syria is extremely bad and getting worse, that it is a threat to the
region and a threat to peace and security in the world.”
For decades, Iran has sought to bolster the Assad regime in Damascus,
its only true ally in the region. During this conflict, it has provided
weapons, logistical support and military advisors to the Syrian
government forces. Iran also uses Syria as a channel for support to
Hezbollah, which has substantially increased its arsenal of rockets and
missiles after its 2006 war against Israel. Degrading the influence of
Iran and Hezbollah is clearly in the interest of regional stability and
U.S. national security.
Syria’s Chemical Weapons
Assad’s willingness to deploy his chemical weapons against his own
people reveals the depth of the threat his regime poses to regional
security. The evidence of the use of chemical weapons in the spring of
2013 underscores the imperative that the United States stand with the
people of Syria during this critical period. I also had the opportunity
to speak with the military leader of the Syrian opposition General
Salim Idris, and he reported that the situation inside the country was
dire. In August 2013, the Syrian government is believed to have killed
hundreds of civilians in a chemical attack on Ghouta, a city outside
Damascus, violating international law and crossing what the Obama
administration has called a “red line.” On August 26, a senior Obama
administration official said there was little doubt concerning use of
chemical weapons by forces loyal to President Assad. After receiving
several intelligence briefings, I have no doubt that Bashar al-Assad
has used chemical weapons against his people.
The gas attack on Ghouta represents the most significant confirmed use
of chemical weapons against civilians since 1988 -- and the worst use
of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century. UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-Moon has said “This is a war crime.” In September 2013,
the U.S. and Russia reached a diplomatic agreement on the destruction
of Assad’s chemical weapons. It is essential to ensure the chemical
weapons are removed and ultimately destroyed in a verifiable manner and
on a strict timeline.
Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis
In the midst of the removal and destruction of Assad’s chemical weapons
stockpile, a devastating civil war rages on creating a dire
humanitarian crisis that the World Health Organization has called the
worst ongoing humanitarian crisis on earth. The UN estimates that
approximately 40% of Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian
assistance. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that fifty percent of the refugees are
children under the age of 17; twenty percent are four years old or
younger; and around thirty percent are women. Many displaced persons
remained unregistered, either due to lack of UN capacity or out of fear
of discrimination. I have strongly supported greater humanitarian and
refugee assistance in this deplorable crisis.
I proudly introduced S. 617, the Syria Democratic Transition Act of
2013 on March 19 with Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. This bill
includes a combination of humanitarian assistance, non-lethal equipment
and training to the vetted elements of the Free Syrian Army, and
sanctions against elements of the regime. Key provisions from this
legislation were included as amendments to S. 960, the Syria Transition
The situation in Syria and the international conversation on the need
to bring an end to the civil war in Syria are in constant flux. This
conflict has driven millions of Syrians from their homes, and we stand
to lose an entire generation to the trauma of war if it continues
unabated. A stable, peaceful, and prosperous Syria in the heart of the
Middle East is in the national security interest of the United States
and our allies.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please be assured I
will continue to monitor the crisis in Syria. Please do not hesitate to
contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance
For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov
I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to
stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my
office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to
you and to Pennsylvania.
Bob Casey United
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks:
Evagrius said that there was a brother who had no possessions except a
Gospel book and he sold it in order to feed the poor. He said something
worth remembering: 'I have sold even the word that commands me to sell
all and give to the poor.'
January 22, 2014
(Mar 10:13-14) And
they brought to him young children, that he might touch them. And the
disciples rebuked them that brought them. Whom when Jesus saw, he was
much displeased and saith to them: Suffer the little children to come
unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
FRANCIS: "It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims
of abortion, who will never see the light of day. Unfortunately, what
is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often
human beings themselves, who are discarded as unnecessary."
NEWS: Roe v. Wade anniversary brings together Catholics in remembrance and protest
PROFILE: Cardinal Dolan on the Civil Rights of the Unborn
The Lord says to us in Sacred Scripture, “Before I formed you in the
womb I knew you” (Jer. 1:5); from all eternity God knew and loved each
of us in a unique and personal way. It’s important not only that we
discover our own identity as His children, but that we help others
achieve this all-important goal as well—for this sort of self-discovery
truly can be life-changing, and even life-saving. The National Right to
Life Committee tells a story about a woman on her way to an abortion
clinic for the second time. At her first appointment there, the
abortion counselor told her it would be a very simple, insignificant
procedure—merely the removal of a mass of cells. Nothing was said about
how the unborn child within her already a heartbeat, tiny yet
recognizably-human features, and a unique genetic code and identity. A
date was scheduled for the abortion, but as the woman was returning to
the clinic a few days later, she saw a bumper sticker that had been
created by the National Right to Life Committee; it proclaimed a simple
but powerful truth: “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart.” The woman was
stunned, and her eyes and her heart were opened—she wasn’t carrying a
“mass of cells,” but a baby. She turned around and went home, and as a
result her soul, and her baby’s life, were saved.
For more than forty years, the Right to Life Movement has proclaimed
the unique identity and value of each human life—echoing the unchanging
teaching of the Church, dating some 2000 years, back to Jesus Christ
Himself. Abortion is not only a tragedy, but also a grave abomination
in the eyes of God—one which every true follower of Jesus is morally
bound to oppose. Our society today rightly rejects and denounces
racism, thanks in large part to the peaceful and heroic witness and
leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One of his nieces, Dr. Alveda
King, once said, “For many years I have been an outspoken advocate for
the unborn child, because in a culture of abortion, the child is like a
slave. The new civil rights movement of our time is the pro-life
movement.” Can you imagine a so-called Christian back in the 1960s
dying after having supported racism and segregation and violence
against blacks, and having to defend his or her actions while being
judged by God? It’s just as morally impossible today for any Christian
to promote or defend abortion—though God’s mercy is always lavishly
available to any woman guilty of such a sin, if only she repents of it.
You and I are called to be witnesses of this mercy—for Jesus does not
want anyone to condemn him or herself as a sinner; rather, everyone is
called and invited to recognize him or herself as a redeemed sinner.
The political and moral issue of abortion is like a mirror being held
up to the soul of every American—and what we see there goes a long way
toward revealing whether or not we’re accepting and living up to our
true identity as children of God, and whether or not we are indeed
journeying toward His Kingdom of Heaven and our true home. A fearsome
struggle for the soul of our country is underway, and the Lord does not
allow us to sit it out, run for the sidelines, or declare our
neutrality. By means of our involvement, financial contributions,
influence, votes, and prayers, Jesus expects us to stand up and be
counted in defense of His gift of human life—for in today’s world, this
is an inescapable and vitally-important way of identifying ourselves as
His disciples. On Judgment Day, nothing will matter more than this;
only those who here and now discover, accept, and live out their
identity as God’s children will be entitled to share in His Kingdom.
by St Theophan (1815-1894)
[James 1:1-8; Mark 10:11-16]
With what love the Lord treated children! Who doesn't treat them with
love? The longer one lives, the more one loves children. In them is
seen freshness of life, cleanness and purity of disposition, which
cannot but be loved. Looking at the innocence of childhood, some
suppose that there is no original sin, that each person falls himself
when he comes of age and meets with immoral urges, which, it seems to
him, he does not have the strength to overcome. Everyone falls himself,
yet the original sin nevertheless is present.
Apostle Paul sees in us the law of sin, warring against the law of the
mind. This law, like a seed, at first is as if not visible, but then is
revealed and entices. Those who are born of lepers do not manifest
leprosy until a certain age, but then it is revealed, and begins to
consume them just as it did their parents. Where was the leprosy before
this time? It was hiding within. So does the original sin hide until
the time, and then comes out and does its business.
Environment means a lot for both suppressing this sin and revealing it.
If there were no sinful elements all around, there would be nothing
with which to feed this hidden sin, and perhaps it would dry up of its
own. But herein is our sorrow: that all around there is very much
favourable food for it. There is much sin in every person as well as in
society; but all of this does not necessarily determine that we will
sin. Sin is always a matter of freedom — struggle and you will not
fall. Only he who does not want to struggle falls. Why do we not want
to struggle? There are no regulations concerning desire and lack of
desire: I want to, because I want to; and I don't want to, because I
don't want to. Self-rule is the original principle — one cannot go
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks:
Arsenius was in Scetis he became ill, and he needed just one penny. He
had not got one, so he accepted it as alms from someone else, and said,
'Oh God, thank you! For your name's sake you have made me worthy to
come to this, that I should have to ask for alms.'
January 20, 2014
(Mat 5:9) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
ACN: Syria's Catholic leader makes urgent appeal ahead of Geneva peace conference
The leader of
Catholics in Syria has issued an urgent appeal to the faithful in
Syria, and people throughout the world, to pray for the success of next
week's Geneva II peace conference to be held in Montreux, Switzerland.
Damascus-based Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III has
called on every Syrian Catholic, whatever their circumstances, to pray
for an end to the hostilities that have prompted almost 9 million
Syrians to flee their homes since the conflict began almost three years
Writing in his capacity as President of the Assembly of Catholic
Hierarchs (bishops) in Syria, the leader of the world’s Melkite Greek
Catholics issued a statement yesterday calling for the prayers from “my
beloved bishops, all our children, priests, monks, nuns, faithful,
confraternities, youth movements, families and young people.”
In his statement, he goes on to appeal to the West to join him and his
community in praying for peace, “Let there be a global prayer
campaign for peace in Syria, the Holy Land, the Arab world and the
In the document, a copy of which was sent to Catholic charity Aid to
the Church in Need (ACN), Patriarch Gregorios states: “We implore [God]
to hear our prayers, respond to our cries of distress and the suffering
of the victims, and grant us the gift of peace.”
Patriarch Gregorios’ appeal for an end to the violence comes as latest
UN statistics show that nearly two-fifths (40 percent) of the country’s
22.5 million pre-war population have now fled their homes, with 2.3
million living as refugees abroad and a further 6.5 million displaced
within the country; more than 115,000 people, most civilians, have died
in the fighting so far.
Addressing the mounting humanitarian crisis, made worse by one of the
worst winters on record, the Geneva II Middle East Conference is
expected to bring together representatives of Syria’s Assad regime and
the opposition in a bid to end the country’s civil war and pave the way
for a transitional government.
In his appeal, Patriarch Gregorios, who is noted for his peace advocacy
work, writes: “We beg [God] to inspire the countries and their
representatives who are about to meet with the wherewithal for peace,
security and a better future for Syrians.”
In a separate document released alongside his peace appeal statement,
Patriarch Gregorios stresses the need for unity among the international
community in calling for peace and a halt to the influx of weapons to
armed groups in Syria.
Highlighting his hopes for a widespread take-up of his appeal for
prayer, he states: “We long and pray for the peace to be Syrian though
we are grateful to all those countries who are working for that Syrian
“The [international community’s] efforts should be concentrated on
obtaining a peace that is really Syrian, for that would be true peace
and the best and most suitable for all parties to the conflict and for
RELATED STATEMENTS FROM OTHER CHURCHES
Statement from Vatican workshop on Syria
Churches seek decisive action on Syria conflict
War On Christians in Syria: Where Are The Missing Bishops, Priests And Nuns?
Palestinian refugees starving to death in Syrian camp, human rights groups say
Syria: Christian Stabbed with Crucifix, Decapitated
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Lust
25. A hermit said, 'Chastity is born of tranquillity, and silence, and inner prayer.'
January 16, 2014
(Mat 28:19-20) Going
therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you
all days, even to the consummation of the world.
“In every generation through baptism, we are reborn to the new life of
grace and called to be witnesses of the Gospel before the world.
Baptism makes us “missionary disciples” within the communion of the
CATHOLIC JOURNAL: Answering Our Call by Fr Joseph Esper
BLOG: The Urgency of the New Evangelization: An Interview with Dr. Ralph Martin
CATHOLIC SENTINEL: New Evangelization 101: Confident embrace of faith then invitation
In explaining the New Evangelization, the website of the U.S. Catholic
Bishops begins with a quote from the Gospel of Mark: "It is like a
mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of
all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and
becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that
the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade."
The New Evangelization calls on Catholics to deepen their faith,
believe in the Gospel message and then go forth to proclaim the Good
News of Jesus — both what he taught and who he is. In a special
way, the New Evangelization is focused on re-proposing the Gospel to
those who have experienced a crisis of faith. The bishops say it is a
matter of giving hope to that growing group. According to a 2008 study
from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, only 23 percent
of U.S. Catholics regularly attend Mass once a week, while 77 percent
self-identify as proud to be Catholic. Ten percent of the U.S.
population of 314 million describe themselves as former Catholics.
The idea of the New Evangelization developed in the years after the
Second Vatican Council. In the mid-1970s, centuries after the
missionary thrusts of the Age of Exploration, Pope Paul VI revived the
notion that the Church exists to evangelize. In 1983, speaking to Latin
American bishops, Pope John Paul II first coined the term, calling for
a "new evangelization; new in its ardor, methods and expression." The
British Jesuit Father Dominic Robinson says the new approach drew
heavily on the experience of the Church in Latin America, where there
was a particular zeal for the Vatican II's call to dialogue with
In the 1990 encyclical Redemptoris Missio, Pope John Paul drew a
distinction between the mission to those who have never heard the
Gospel and those who have heard it but have not fully responded. The
New Evangelization was born.
In Porta Fidei, a 2011 apostolic letter, Pope Benedict more clearly
defined the method of the New Evangelization. For him, faith is just
what the world wants to fill its emptiness. Pope Benedict spoke of the
need for Catholics to rediscover the journey of faith "so as to shed
ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter
The Year of Faith, which just ended, was called by Pope Benedict to
adjust the Church’s mission from maintenance to growth, through the
work of the New Evangelization.
In the homily at his Portland installation last April, Archbishop
Sample said we will never convince the world of Jesus Christ and the
truth of our faith if we ourselves are not convinced and enthusiastic
in its proclamation.
"At the heart of all of this is Jesus Christ," the archbishop wrote
later. "We must never lose sight of who we are in relation to Him and
why we are so passionate about spreading the Good News and bringing as
many as we can into the Church."
RELATED: Denver archbishop: Follow Pope's example of evangelization
ONLINE RESOURCE: CATHOLIC TESTIMONIES: Bringing the World to Jesus
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Lust
A brother was obsessed by lust and it was like a fire burning day and
nigh in his heart. But he struggled on, not examining the temptation
nor consenting to it. After a long time, the fire left him,
extinguished by his perseverance.
January 14, 2014
(Eph 6:10-13) Finally,
brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of his power.
Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the
deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood;
but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world
of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.
Therefore, take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to
resist in the evil day and to stand in all things perfect.
“That is the path of Jesus Christ: abasement, humility, humiliation as
well. If a thought, if a desire takes you along the road of humility
and abasement, of service to others, is from Jesus. But if it brings
you to the road of sufficiency, of vanity, of pride, along the path of
an abstract thought, it is not from Jesus. We think of the temptations
of Jesus in the wilderness: all three proposals the demon makes to
Jesus are proposals that intended to take Him away from this path, the
path of service, of humility, of humiliation, of charity. But the
charity accomplished with His life, no? To the three temptations Jesus
says no: ‘No, this is not my path!”
MYSTICS OF THE CHURCH BLOG: The Battle for Souls -Stories of the attacks of the demons against modern day mystic saints
NEW OXFORD REVIEW: The Devil in Our Midst
DAILY TELEGRAPH: 'Satan stepping up war for souls'
Dioceses across Italy and in other predominantly Catholic countries,
such as Spain, are increasing the number of priests schooled in
administering the rite of exorcism, intended to rid people of
possession by the devil or his minions.
The rise in demonic possession reports is a result of more people
dabbling in black magic, paganism, Satanic rites and Ouija-board
conjuring, often exploring "the dark arts" with the help of information
readily found on the internet, the church said.
The increase in the number of priests being trained to tackle the
phenomenon is also an effort by the church to sideline self-proclaimed
exorcists, and is tacit recognition that belief in Satan, once regarded
by progressives as an embarrassment, is still very much alive.
The Diocese of Milan recently nominated seven new exorcists, the bishop
of Naples appointed three new ones a couple of years ago and the
Catholic Church in Sardinia sent three priests for exorcism training in
Rome, amid concern that the Mediterranean island, particularly its
mountainous, tradition-bound interior, is a hotbed of occultism.
In Spain, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, the Archbishop of Madrid, chose
eight priests to undergo special training in May to confront what he
described as "an unprecedented rise" in "demonic possession". The
church in Spain was coming across many cases that "go beyond the
competence of psychologists" and they were occurring with "a striking
frequency", the archbishop said.
"Diabolical possessions are on the increase as a result of people
subscribing to occultism," said Father Francesco Bamonte, president of
the International Association for Exorcists.
"The few exorcists that we have in the dioceses are often not able to handle the enormous number of requests for help," he said.
Satanists’ statue design for Oklahoma Capitol: ‘Sit on the lap of Satan’
Ex-Satanist Approves of Catholic Church's Training More Priests to Perform Exorcisms
BLOG: Should the Church Consider Reintroducing the Exorcism Prayers in the Rite of Baptism? By: Msgr. Charles Pope
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Lust
8. Poemen said, 'As
a bodyguard is always standing by to protect the Emperor, so the soul
should always be ready to fight the demon of lust.'
January 10, 2014
(Rom 11:25-26) For
I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery (lest you
should be wise in your own conceits) that blindness in part has
happened in Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles should come in.
And so all Israel should be saved, as it is written: There shall come
out of Sion, he that shall deliver and shall turn away ungodliness from
NEWS HEADLINE: Israel's Ex-PM Ariel Sharon 'Close To Death'
The hospital treating Ariel Sharon has said the former Israeli leader's
condition has deteriorated further and he is now "close to death".
Mr Sharon, who has been comatose since suffering a stroke eight years
ago, suffered a downturn in his health last week when he suffered
serious kidney problems after surgery.
The Sheba Medical Center said his condition has worsened over the "past hours".
"His condition is described as extremely critical and his family is at
his side all the time," said a statement from the hospital near Tel
Mr Sharon, one of Israel's most controversial and iconic figures,
suffered the stroke at the height of his political power as he appeared
to be cruising toward re-election.
His career has stretched across most of Israel's 65-year history.
ISRAEL TODAY: The Rabbi, the Note and the Messiah
A few months before he died, one of the nation’s most prominent rabbis,
Yitzhak Kaduri, supposedly wrote the name of the Messiah on a small
note which he requested would remain sealed until now. When the note
was unsealed, it revealed what many have known for centuries: Yehoshua,
or Yeshua (Jesus), is the Messiah.
With the biblical name of Jesus, the Rabbi and kabbalist described the
Messiah using six words and hinting that the initial letters form the
name of the Messiah. The secret note said:
Concerning the letter abbreviation of the Messiah’s name, He will lift the people and prove that his word and law are valid.
This I have signed in the month of mercy,
The Hebrew sentence (translated above in bold) with the hidden name of the Messiah reads:
Yarim Ha’Am Veyokhiakh Shedvaro Vetorato Omdim
ירים העם ויוכיח שדברו ותורתו עומדים
The initials spell the Hebrew name of Jesus יהושוע . Yehoshua and
Yeshua are effectively the same name, derived from the same Hebrew root
of the word “salvation” as documented in Zechariah 6:11 and Ezra 3:2.
The same priest writes in Ezra, “Yeshua (ישוע) son of Yozadak” while
writing in Zechariah “Yehoshua (יהושוע) son of Yohozadak.” The priest
adds the holy abbreviation of God’s name, ho (הו), in the father’s name
Yozadak and in the name Yeshua.
With one of Israel’s most prominent rabbis indicating the name of the
Messiah is Yeshua, it is understandable why his last wish was to wait
one year after his death before revealing what he wrote.
A few months before Kaduri died at the age of 108, he surprised his
followers when he told them that he met the Messiah. Kaduri gave a
message in his synagogue on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, teaching
how to recognize the Messiah. He also mentioned that the Messiah would appear to Israel after Ariel Sharon’s death.
(The former prime minister is still in a coma after suffering a massive
stroke more than a year ago.) Other rabbis predict the same, including
Rabbi Haim Cohen, kabbalist Nir Ben Artzi and the wife of Rabbi Haim
BRIEF BIO: Yitzchak Kaduri
(died January 28, 2006), was a renowned Mizrahi Haredi rabbi and
kabbalist who devoted his life to Torah study and prayer on behalf of
the Jewish people. He taught and practiced the kavanot of the Rashash.
His blessings and amulets were also widely sought to cure people of
illnesses and infertility. In his life, he published no religious
articles or books. When he died, more than 200,000 people joined
the funeral procession on the streets of Jerusalem to pay their
respects as he was taken to his final resting place.
RELATED VIDEO: Orthodox Rabbi Reveals Name of Messiah "JESUS","Yehoshua"
OF INTEREST: Miraculous Healing in Jesus Stuns Israelis
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Lust
7. Mathois used to
say that a brother came and told him that the slanderer was worse than
the fornicator. Her replied, 'This is a hard saying.' Then the
brother said to him , 'What do you think about the matter?' Mathois
said, 'Slander is bad, but it can be cured quickly; the slanderer can
do penance and say "I have spoken wrongly," and it is over. But lust is
January 9, 2014
(Mar 8:38) For
he that shall be ashamed of me and of my words, in this adulterous and
sinful generation: the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when he
shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
MSGR. POPE BLOG: Church of England “Waters Down” Baptismal Rite?
LIFESITENEWS.COM: German bishops will give Communion to those ‘remarried’ outside Church despite Vatican’s opposition
NCR: CDF Head Discusses the SSPX, Liberation Theology and Divorced-Remarried Catholics
BLOG: Why I Am Not SSPX
WILDERNESS BLOG: The Wings of the Eagles
by St Theophan (1815-1894)
[II Thess. 2:1-12; Luke 12:48-59]
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but
rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house
divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be
divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother
against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law
against her mother-in-law.
What is the reason? Those who believe in the Lord are filled with an
entirely different spirit, contrary to that which reigned in people
before His coming; that is why they cannot get along together. The
pagan world pursued exclusively worldly and earthly interests. The Jews
at least had indications of higher good things, but towards the end
they inclined toward the path of the pagans. The Lord, coming to the
world, showed people other treasures, outside of the family, outside of
society, and awakened other aspirations.
Those who accepted His teaching naturally established a way of life
different from before, for which they were subjected to hostility,
oppression, and persecutions. This is the division. The Apostle Paul
then said that all desiring to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer
persecution (II Tim. 3–12). So it was and so it is. When worldly and
earthly interests begin to prevail in society, then society looks
unfavourably at those who display other, unearthly strivings; it cannot
even understand how it is possible to be interested in such things.
People cannot stand those who serve as representatives of a way of life
which is not similar to their life. This is happening now before
everyone's eyes. Is this not a sign of the times?...
EXCERPT Saying of the Desert Fathers:
The holy Fathers were making predictions about the last generation.
They said 'What have we ourselves done?' One of them, the great abba
Ischyrion replied, 'We ourselves have fulfilled the commandments of
God.' The others replied, 'And those who come after us, what will they
do?' He said, 'They will struggle to achieve half our works.' They
said, 'And to those who come after them, what will happen?' He said,
'THE MEN OF THAT GENERATION WILL NOT ACCOMPLISH ANY WORKS AT ALL AND
TEMPTATION WILL COME UPON THEM; AND THOSE WHO WILL BE APPROVED IN THAT
DAY WILL BE GREATER THAN EITHER US OR OUR FATHERS.'
Abba Copres said, 'blessed is he who bears affliction with thankfulness.'
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Lust
5. When Cyrus of
Alexandria was asked about the temptation of lust, he said, 'If you are
not tempted, you have no hope; if you are not tempted, it is because
you are sinning. The man who does not fight sin at the stage of
temptation is sinning already in his body. The man who is sinning in
his flesh has no trouble from temptation.'
January 8, 2014
(Mar 6:48-51) And
seeing them labouring in rowing, (for the wind was against them,) and
about the fourth watch of the night, he cometh to them walking upon the
sea, and he would have passed by them. But they seeing him walking upon
the sea, thought it was an apparition, and they cried out. For they all
saw him, and were troubled bled. And immediately he spoke with them,
and said to them: Have a good heart, it is I, fear ye not. And he went
up to them into the ship, and the wind ceased: and they were far more
astonished within themselves:
MARK MALLET BLOG: 2014 and the Rising Beast
FROM THE MAILBAG: PRAY FOR BISHOPS & PRIESTS by Michael Voris
So we are now officially one year closer to the Second Coming. One year
closer to meeting our loved ones who have already passed from this life
into Eternity. One year closer to being faced with the harsh or
brilliant truth, depending on your point of view, that the Catholic
Church has been right all along.
That She is the Bride of Christ, His Mystical Body, the pillar and
foundation of the truth – to toss in a quote from St. Paul for our
Protestant viewers. Yes – St. Paul calls the Church the pillar and
foundation of the truth.
There are two major problems which plague Catholics these days – one is
universalism the other is indifferentism and each one feds the other.
Universalism is the belief that everyone – or almost everyone except
for Hitler and Stalin – is saved. That no one goes to Hell. It is
preached – in its only slightly modified form by those who say – we
have a reasonable hope that all men are saved. No we don’t.
The second plague is indifferentism – the belief that all religions are
essentially the same, so a person can be indifferent about the choice
of which one to belong to. And its easy to see how these two beliefs
feed each other.
If practically everyone is saved, why WOULD it matter which religion a
person belongs to? In fact, you wouldn’t really have to be religious at
all when you carry it out to its logical conclusion.
And if it doesn’t matter which religion you belong to, then none of
them REALLY teach anything absolute and right – so that must mean that
since there are so many contradictions in the teachings of so many
different religions, that in the end, we must all get to heaven anyway.
Why do we say that these two problems plague the Catholic Church? For
two reasons – one, it is these two dominant cultural attitudes that
hold the greatest sway over most people today. And two – these two
dominant themes are either accepted on various levels INSIDE the Church
today, or at a minimum, not fought against by leaders.
These two thoughts and what they represent – that nearly everyone goes
to heaven and no religion is superior to any other are heresies, or so
closely bordering on heresy that they share the same life blood as
Until Church leaders stand up and denounce and condemn these heresies,
in strident tones and damning words – which is EXACTLY how heresy
should be treated – they will continue to see the mass exodus that they
see each year from the faith. AND they will continue to place their own
souls in jeopardy of eternal damnation. Bishops and priests who will
not teach the truth or water it down will go to Hell.
There will be no defense for them, nowhere for them to hide when they
approach the throne of God and have to give an account for how they
spent their vocations.
They will be like the man in one of Our Lord’s parable who was given a
coin by the king .. a talent .. and instead of taking it and going out
and increasing it .. he hid it away and did not increase its yield.
The king had him tied up hand and foot and thrown out into the outer darkness where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Just who do the bishops, who are so anxious not to offend anyone by
declaring Our Lord’s truth – their MASTER’S truth –, think he is
referring to in this parable?
It’s 2014 – another year closer to meeting Our Lord, either universally on the clouds of Heaven OR privately at our own death.
Not including those killed in the holocaust of abortion, about
60,000,000 of us will go to God in 2014 – 60,000,000! Already, just on
New Year’s day ALONE – 165,000 humans died and stood before God. For
them – the New Years Day was their last day on earth.
2014 will only be a Happy new year if we go to heaven.
You are GUARANTEED heaven by dying in a state of grace within the
Catholic Church. There is no other guarantee. That’s why Our Lord
established it. Leaders need to start announcing that.
Those 60,000,000 souls will die this year will die on their watch.
Pray for our bishops my fellow Catholics. Pray that they respond to the
grace to announce the truth boldly and clearly that Hell is real and
many many go there and the only hope of salvation is the Holy Catholic
It was for this they were ultimately made bishop – and nothing else.
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Lust
2. Gerontius of
Petra said, 'Many people who are tempted by pleasures of the flesh do
not sin with the body but lust with the mind; they keep their bodily
virginity but lust in their heart. It is better then, beloved, to do
what is written, "Let everyone keep a close guard upon his heart"
Dr. Zambrano Home
2000: Bringing the World to Jesus
Tribulation Times Archives:
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