Keep your eyes open!...






 

August 27, 2014  

(Mat 25:37-40)  Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry and fed thee: thirsty and gave thee drink? Or when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison and came to thee? 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.

FATHER PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA: “The Cross was a human failure, but Christianity was a human victory. Remember to be a Christian, we must pass by the Cross.”

PAPAL ENVOY REPORT: Cardinal Fernando Filoni: my mission among the sufferings of the Iraqi brothers

CHALDEAN PATRIARCH SAKO: TO THE CONSCIENCE OF THE WORLD - IRAQ'S CHRISTIANS, A DOUBLE CATASTROPHE

It has become obvious that Iraqi Christians along with other minorities have received a fatal blow at the core of their lives and their existence whether through displacing more than a hundred thousand Christians by force, or looting their possessions, money, and documents, or occupying their houses for just being Christian! I visited the camps of the displaced persons in the provinces of Erbil and Dohok and what I saw and what I heard is beyond any imagination!

Since the 6th August until now there is not yet an immediate concrete solution for the crisis we are facing. On the other hand the flow of funds, arms and fighters continues to the Islamic State. Despite the fact that we are living an organized campaign of elimination from Iraq, the world conscience is not fully awake to gravity of the situation. Now, the second phase of the calamity has already began, which is the migration of these families to the different parts of the world, thus dissolving the history, heritage, and identity of these people into void.

Displacement and migration have their great impact on us, both on Christians and Muslims. Iraq is losing an irreplaceable component of its society, the Christian one; hence begins the vanishing of a genuine tradition!

The international community, principally the United States and European Union due to their moral and historic responsibility towards Iraq, cannot be indifferent. While acknowledging all that is being done to solve this crisis, it seems that the decisions and actions undertaken until now have made no real change in the course of events and the fate of the these affected people is still at stake, as if these people are not part of the human race!

The same is true with regard to the Muslim community, whose statements about the barbaric acts in the name of their religion practiced against the life, dignity and freedom of Christians were not according to our expectation, knowing that Christians have contributed and fought for this country, living in partnership with their Muslim brothers alongside the Islamic civilization.

Religious fundamentalism is still growing in its power and force, creating tragedies, and making us wonder when the Islamic religious scholars and the Muslim intellectuals will critically examine this dangerous phenomenon and eradicate it by educating a true religious consciousness and spreading a genuine culture of accepting the other as brother and as an equal citizen with full rights.

What has happened is terrible and horrific, therefore, we need an urgent and effective international support from all the people of good will to save the Christians and Yezidis, genuine components of the Iraqi society from extinction, knowing that silence and passivity will encourage ISIS fundamentalists to commit more tragedies! The question is who will be the next

Many of these displaced persons wish to return to their towns and houses in the Nineveh Plain, and hope to see it safe under international protection. But the full safety of this zone cannot be achieved without the cooperation of the International Community along with the joint action of the Central Government and the Regional Government of Kurdistan. These innocent people deserve to live in peace and dignity after the terror afflicted on them by the ISIS and after being looted by their own neighbors.

The Church: Certainly we are proud of the faith of our sons and daughters and their steadfastness and courage in the face of this calamity for the sake of their belief. We invite them to live this crisis in a real communion with all the people around them without any distinction. What we need is not exhausting statements but real communion with others which we experienced during the visit of the delegation of French bishop's conference, Personal Envoy of Pope Francis and Patriarchs. This crisis is empowering us for a spiritual, moral and material reconstruction of our communities. We do respect the decision of those who wish to migrate, but for those who wish to remain, we underline our long history and deeply rooted heritage in this land. God has his own plan for our presence in this land and invites us to carry the message of love, brotherhood, dignity, and harmonious co-existence.

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The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

51. He also said, 'If a man appears silent in speech but is condemning other people in his heart, he is really talking incessantly. Another man may seem to talk all day, but he is keeping silence since he always speaks in a way that is right with his heart.
'


August 26, 2014
 

(Php 2:14-15) And do ye all things without murmurings and hesitations: That you may be blameless and sincere children of God, without reproof, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation: among whom you shine as lights in the world.

POPE FRANCIS: Every baptized person is called to offer to Jesus his or her own faith, poor but sincere, so that He can continue to build His Church today, in every part of the world.

DR. KENT BRANTLY: "I prayed that God would help me to be faithful even in my illness, and I prayed that in my life or in my death, He would be glorified."

EXCERPT ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Law and Morality in Public Discourse: How Christians Can Rebuild Our Culture

One of the ways we might begin to live more fruitfully in a world that seems so deeply conflicted is to create parishes, seminaries, clubs, colleges, and families that are real schools of sanctification. These would be vital in building up society, changing the culture, and trying to build a renewed sense of Christian community.

But, as Benedict XVI said in one of his many talks, the original St. Benedict and his monks never sought to build a civilization or preserve a culture. Rather, he said,

Their motivation was much more basic. Their goal was: quaerere Deum [to seek God]. Amid the confusion of the times, in which nothing seemed permanent, they wanted to do the essential—to make an effort to find what was perennially valid and lasting, life itself. They were searching for God. They wanted to go from the inessential to the essential, to the only truly important and reliable thing there is. . . . What gave Europe’s culture its foundation—the search for God and the readiness to listen to him—remains today the basis of any genuine culture.”

It’s in seeking Jesus Christ with all our hearts that culture is built and society is renewed. It’s in prayer, the sacraments, changing diapers, balancing budgets, preaching homilies, loving a spouse, forgiving and seeking forgiveness—all in the spirit of charity—that, brick by brick, we bring about the kingdom of God.

As Pope Benedict pointed out in Jesus of Nazareth, “The kingdom of God comes by way of a listening heart.” That’s the most important thing we can pray for, a heart open to the word of God. When our hearts listen and we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, then God can begin to conform us to his likeness and will.

The Mass too has unique importance in our personal renewal and in the renewal of our culture. Father Richard John Neuhaus once wrote that the Eucharist is not only the “source and summit” of the Church’s life: “It is [also] a supremely political action in which the heavenly polis is made present in time. The eucharistic meal here and now anticipates, makes present, the New Jerusalem’s eternal Feast of the Lamb.”

The Mass feeds us with the body and blood of Jesus Christ. But it also reminds us that we’re on pilgrimage to the heavenly city. We live in the earthly city with its earthly ends. But we’re ultimately fulfilled only by our final end: communion with God when we see him in the glory of eternal life. Because we seek Jesus, we will never be fully at home in a world that rejected and killed him. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that “here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Heb 13:14).

And yet, we can use the goods and the peace of the City of Man to help us pursue the goods and the peace of the City of God, as Augustine teaches. Jesus has called us by name. He empowers us by his Spirit. Now he invites us to work with him for the redemption of that same world.

EXCERPT HOMILY FR. JOSEPH ESPER: A young woman named Jill had been dating her boyfriend Tom for several months, and they had become very close; in fact, the two of them were seriously discussing marriage, and even considered themselves engaged to be engaged. There was one hitch, however: Jill hadn’t yet met Tom’s parents. They’d been putting this off, for Tom had warned Jill that his mom and dad tended to be set in their ways, judgmental, and suspicious of new people. Finally this meeting couldn’t be postponed any longer, so Tom arranged for his girlfriend to come over to his parents’ home for dinner and meet the family. When Tom arrived at her apartment to pick her up, Jill noticed her black shoes looked a bit dingy, and because it was so important that she make a good impression, she grabbed a paper towel and quickly wiped them off—not realizing it was the same paper towel she had used earlier that day at breakfast to blot or dry off her bacon. When she and Tom arrived at his parents’ home, they were greeted by Tom’s mom and dad and their spoiled, cranky poodle, named Cleo. After sniffing the bacon grease on Jill’s shoes, the dog happily followed her around all evening. As the young people were about to leave a few hours later, Tom’s mother said to Jill—with her husband silently nodding his agreement— “Dear, Cleo really likes you, and she is an excellent judge of character, so we would be delighted to welcome you into our family” (May, The Story File, p. 2). Sometimes we human beings can make important decisions regarding other people on very flimsy or mistaken reasons; if these lead us to like or accept someone we might otherwise reject, that’s good—but if our quirks and prejudices cause us to reject someone God has sent to us, that’s very bad. Rather than relying on our own hit-or-miss feelings and intuitions, Jesus calls us to a higher standard: namely, to look upon everyone as a potential child of God, and thus a person of importance.

St. Therese of Lisieux once wrote, “There’ll be a lot of surprises at the Last Judgment when we shall be able to see what really happened inside people’s souls. . . .” It’s entirely possible that some people we admire or look up to are actually hypocrites and terrible sinners in God’s eyes, while others we take for granted or even look upon with disdain have a deep but hidden spirituality that’s very pleasing to the Lord. St. Francis de Sales once noted that because God’s grace is great enough to transform the life of even a hardened sinner in a single instant, our judgments about another person’s apparent lack of holiness—even if accurate—can quickly become outdated; moreover, as Mother Teresa once noted, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” That’s what the Lord expects of us—that we love everyone we encounter: young and old, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, Americans and foreigners, attractive and unattractive, friendly and rude, likeable and obnoxious, churchgoers and non-churchgoers, and those who are like us and those who are quite different from us. In practical terms, loving them means three things in particular. First of all, we must show respect to everyone, treating others as we wish to be treated, helping them when needed, and disagreeing with them or correcting them—when necessary—in a gentle and caring way. We’re not expected to like everyone we meet, but we are expected to place Christian charity ahead of our personal feelings. Secondly, we must forgive others who offend us, even if they mock our moral and religious values, even if they don’t seem to want or deserve our forgiveness, and even if we’ll never see them or even think about them again. If they truly need to be punished for their sins, God will take care of that; besides, we’ll only receive mercy ourselves in the same degree we’re willing to share it. Thirdly, we have to pray for others, especially those we dislike or consider suspicious or find annoying. Criticizing them, judging them, or gossipping about them won’t help them change or improve as persons, but our prayers might— and it’s certain that this type of humble and loving prayer will help us grow in grace.

Jesus tells us today that we’re not supposed to have an “us versus them” mentality, for through His gift of redemption, everyone is given the chance to be part of God’s family. If we go along with the mistaken ways of this world, we’ll be passing judgments on everyone—and more often than not, our judgments will turn out to be wrong, foolish, and perhaps even harmful. Our Lord calls us to rise above this shortsighted approach and instead base all our decisions in the light of His Gospel. If we do this, then—as He did for the Canaanite woman—He will joyfully praise our faith and lovingly give us His blessing.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

50. He also said, 'He who knows himself is a man.
'


August 22, 2014
 

(Rev 12:1) And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

AD CAELI REGINAM ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII ON PROCLAIMING THE QUEENSHIP OF MARY: , “The Blessed Mother is the Queen of Heaven and Earth because she is the Mother of God and because of her preeminent perfection and her intercessory power. Mary is queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular election.”

ASIANEWS.IT: Indian bishop invokes Mary Queen of Heaven to bring peace to Iraq

On August 22, the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven, Msgr. Felix Machado invokes a special prayer meeting for the Christians of Iraq, victims of "unimaginable atrocities" by ISIS militants (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). In a reflection sent to AsiaNews, the bishop of Vasai, Chairman of the Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue of the Federation of Asian Bishops 'Conferences (FABC) and the Office for Ecumenism and Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), reflects on what is happening in Iraq. Msgr. Machado's call to prayer is echoed by Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, who asks "all the faithful to pray for peace and for an end to senseless violence" that has forced more than 200 thousand people to flee their homes.

The grave catastrophic tragedy in Iraq deeply impacts the core of Religious people, not just Christians. This destruction going on in Iraq destroys homo religiosus, the very nature of human being who is religious, found in all "historico-cultural contexts", thus all humanity and this ceaseless mindless assault in Iraq is dehumanizing and a grave threat to all humanity.

Many horrors that have beset Iraq as Islamic State (IS) fighters rampage through the country. -, taking hostage of the situation and exploiting the most vulnerable and weak of society.  These attacks are destroying Iraq not only materially but also destroyed their moral.

As FABC President of the Commission for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Dialogue-The aspect of inter religious dialogue, it is all minorities that are targeted, this is a message for the wider world, wherever people are in minority more oppression is done to these people. Finally I am a Christian and my heart goes out to my Baptised brothers and sisters, who are suffering previously this tragedy.

ISIS's targeted brutality and persecution of Christians is grave human rights violation.  Christian population of Iraq is one of the oldest in the world, but this Christian'o-phobia is destroying the historic and human legacy of Iraq. . Iraq is heading towards the total destruction of its historic religious history. The Iraq Christians population has been completely displaced; the unthinkable atrocities committed against the Iraq women and children a "total depravity"

From the 4th August, (Vianney Day), the priests and lay faithful have been praying daily for the Iraq Christians and the situation in Iraq.  However, on 22nd August, I will spend time in personal pray for the Iraq Christians. On the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, - for our Iraqi Christians who have coexisted harmoniously have bring Peace to Muslims and Christians, together with other Iraqi minorities, for all Iraq.

Mary - The Queen of Heaven is our only Hope.  Mary is very respected by the Muslims. She is the model of faith for muslims. Mary's faith is extolled by Muslims. Queen of Heaven has a tremendous influence on the millions of Muslims.  Mary is mentioned no less than 34 times in the Koran. In addition, the 19th surah (chapter) of the Koran is named after her. Based on these facts alone, it is apparent that "Our Lady" is surely seen as blessed above all women by orthodox Muslims.

Mary is a gentle woman, the woman of the Magnificat, the woman of the poor, the woman of those who are oppressed. A woman who represents those who are abandoned, who are marginalised. She is a gentle woman, unshaken by her faith in God".

CNA: Faith of Iraqi Christians called unbreakable, despite persecution

CATHOLIC CULTURE: Feastday Highlights: The Queenship of Mary

HOMILY (YOUTUBE): Mary, Queen Mother of the King

SPIRITDAILY: Mary Intercedes for Padre Pio

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

49. The same monk said, 'Experience is good. By experience men are tested.' He also said, 'If a man preaches but does not practise what he preaches, he is like a well of water where everyone can quench their thirst and wash off their dirt, but which cannot clean away the filth and dung that is around it.
'


August 21, 2014
 

(2Ti 3:1-3) Know also this, that in the last days shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness,...

CHALDEAN ARCHEPARCH OF MOSUL NONA:  “Our sufferings are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future. I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive.”

ICEJ: ISIS Issues Bloody Challenge as Recruitment Surges

The Islamic State (IS, formally ISIS) terror militia posted a video on Tuesday entitled "A Message To America," apparently showing the beheading of US journalist James Foley, who disappeared while covering the conflict in Syria two years ago. IS gunmen also appeared in the video threatening Steven Sotloff, another missing US journalist they claimed to be holding and declared that he would be executed next unless their demands, including a cessation of US military strikes on their positions in northern Iraq, were met. The authenticity of the video could not be immediately confirmed. Meanwhile, a leading Moslem cleric in Saudi Arabia declared IS to be an “enemy of Islam” on Tuesday, but the group continued to attract thousands of new recruits from all over the world, according to witnesses in Syria and Iraq.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh, Saudi Arabia’s most senior Sunni cleric, issued a public statement that IS and Al Qaeda were the worst enemies of Islam, adding that Moslems were always their first victims.

Despite this statement and similar proclamations from Moslem authorities in Egypt and other countries, the ranks of IS continue to swell. Witnesses in Raqqa, the IS stronghold in Syria, told Reuters this week that as many as 6,300 new recruits have joined IS in the last month, with many coming from other Islamist rebel groups which have been battling the regime of President Bashar Assad for the last three years.

Meanwhile, Islamist terrorist groups in other countries, including one in the Philippines, have pledged their allegiance to IS in recent days.

USA TODAY: Parents of beheaded journalist drawing on faith

Account after account describes the Foleys as determined, faithful people. After their son disappeared in 2012, they launched the FreeJamesFoley.org website to serve as a clearinghouse for information that might lead to his release. In October 2013, they joined Today's Matt Lauer to wish their still-in-captive son a happy 40th birthday and to keep his cause alive. Even when interviewers noted that Foley's career took him to many volatile places, his father was quick to defend him.

"He's not reckless," John Foley said. "He's been doing this conflict reporting for almost eight years."

The Foleys said Wednesday that their son was the oldest of their five children and that his attraction to reporting from wartorn areas came from having brothers who served in the military.

They appear to be family held together by faith. In their appearance in front of their home on Wednesday, John and Diane Foley made frequent references to God. Their local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat, reported that their pastor, Rev. Paul Gousse of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, visited the family after word spread of Foley's death. Journalist Max Fisher of Vox described Foley as a person of quiet but strong faith.

Fisher said "Jim's faith was something we all agreed not to discuss publicly while he was held in Syria, but it was the wellspring of his generosity," Fox reported.

FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA
Jim McCrea: What St. Thomas Aquinas said about Islam 

"On the other hand, those who founded sects committed to erroneous doctrines proceeded in a way that is opposite to this. The point is clear in the case of Mohammed. He seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity. He did not bring forth any signs produced in a supernatural way, which alone fittingly gives witness to divine inspiration; for a visible action that can be only divine reveals an invisibly inspired teacher of truth. On the contrary, Mohammed said that he was sent in the power of his arms - which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants. What is more, no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning. Those who believed in him were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Mohammed forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms. Nor do divine pronouncements on the part of preceding prophets offer him any witness. On the contrary, he perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into fabrications of his own, as can be seen by anyone who examines his law. It was, therefore, a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity. It is clear that anyone who places any faith in his words believe foolishly."

St. Thomas Aquinas - Summa Contra Gentiles - From book 1 Chapter 6

EDITORIAL: WATCH: What Stands Behind the Cruelty of ISIS?

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC REVIEW: Q&A: Why Sunni Extremists Are Destroying Ancient Religious Sites in Mosul

IRAQ UPDATE: CNEWA Rushes Aid to Displaced Iraqi Families


HEADLINES

A Priest's Eye-Witness Account of Fleeing the Islamic State
Islamic extremists launch attack on last Syrian army position in eastern province
Her Five Sisters Taken By ISIS to Be Sold or Worse

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

48. Poemen said, 'If a man sins and denies it, saying, 'I have not sinned," do not correct him, or you will destroy any intention he might have of changing. If you say, "do not be cast down, my brother, but be careful about that in the future," you will move his heart to repent.'


August 20, 2014
 

(Rom 8:16-18) For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us.

NEWS: Argentina car crash kills 3 relatives of Pope

Three relatives of Pope Francis died and a fourth was in critical condition Tuesday after their car crash on a provincial highway in Argentina, the Vatican and a local police official said.

The small car carrying a nephew of the pope along with the man's wife and two young children slammed into the back of a truck, said Highway Police Superintendent Jorge Raineri. The crash killed the wife and children, one 2 years old and the other 8 months.

Photos showed the passenger side of the car smashed and crumpled beneath the cargo truck.

Emanuel Bergoglio, the 38-year-old son of a brother of Pope Francis, was hospitalized. He suffered extensive injuries and his condition was not considered stable, said Ignacio Bruno, an assistant director of the hospital in the town of Villa Maria, to Todo Noticias television.

The man's 36-year-old wife, Valeria Carmona, and youngest child, Jose, died in the accident. Two-year-old Antonio died at the hospital, Bruno said.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said "the pope was informed about the tragic accident. He is profoundly saddened." He added the pope asks "all who share in his grief to unite with him in prayer."

RECENT NEWS: Onboard the Papal plane: The Pope has publicly broached the prospect of his own death for the first time, giving himself "two or three years" but not ruling out retirement before then.

Talking to reporters on a flight back to the Vatican from South Korea, the 77-year-old pontiff, who seemed in good spirits, was asked about his global popularity, which was evident again during his five-day visit.

"I see it as the generosity of the people of God. I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it will last only a short time. Two or three years and then I'll be off to the Father's House," he replied light-heartedly.

The Argentine Pope said he could handle the popularity "more naturally" these days, though at first it had "scared me a little".

While the Pope has not spoken publicly before about when he might meet his maker, a Vatican source said he had previously told those close to him that he thought he only had a few years left.

Pope Francis also mentioned the possibility of retiring from the Papacy, as his predecessor Benedict XVI did last year, if he felt he could no longer adequately perform his duties.

Resigning the papacy was a possibility "even if it does not appeal to some theologians", he told reporters.  He added that 60 years ago it was practically unheard of for Catholic bishops to retire, but nowadays it was common.  "Benedict XVI opened a door," he said.

The Pope admitted that he had "some nerve problems", which required treatment.  "Must treat them well, these nerves, give them mate (an Argentine stimulant tea) every day," he joked.

"One of these neuroses, is that I'm too much of a homebody," he added, recalling that the last time he'd taken a holiday outside of his native Argentina was "with the Jesuit community in 1975".

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion

45. Poeman said, 'Do not live in a place where some are jealous of you; you will make no progress there.'

August 17, 2014  

(Eph 6:17-18) And take unto you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God). By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit: and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints:

NEWS.VA: Papal envoy to Iraq meets displaced Christians and Yazidis

USCCB: Bishop Pates Asks Bishops, Parishes To Offer Special Prayer On August 17 For Peace In Iraq

Bishop Pates recounted the struggles of Christians and others in Iraq who have faced the destruction, burning and looting of churches, homes and businesses and, under threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) to join their extremist brand of Islam, have fled for their lives. Accordingly, he urged Catholics to let their elected representatives know of their concern that humanitarian assistance reach Christian and other religious minorities who are suffering in Iraq, Syria and other countries.

Bishop Pates also noted Pope Francis’ calls for peace in Iraq and his observation that “violence generates more violence; dialogue is the only path to peace.”

The full text of Patriarch Sako’s prayer for peace follows:

Lord,
The plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courage to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
and with dignity and joy.
 
Glory be to you forever.

FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA
Catholic Relief Services: Greetings from Erbil in northern Iraq. I write from a place and time of tremendous need. The scene around me is dire. Tens of thousands of people—families who just weeks ago lived quiet, middle-class lives—are sleeping under the open sky, in fear. Thousands of Christian families are sleeping on the grounds of Church compounds, finding shade and relief where they can. The needs, while basic, are immense. People need clothes, water, food, soap, blankets—everything. They are living day to day, wondering what tomorrow will bring.

Catholic Relief Services and Caritas are working tirelessly to help. Our Church partners have given thousands of families refuge and are doing their best to provide for their needs. Iraqi communities are coming out to help, too—bringing bottles of water and warm, cooked food. The solidarity expressed by Iraqi families is moving. But what they have to give barely scratches the surface.

The situation got especially personal on Monday. I was visiting a Catholic Church compound in Erbil and was stunned to find one of our Caritas colleagues there, living and sleeping on the grounds among hundreds of other disheveled and displaced people. A few days ago, we learned that the offices of our Caritas partners in another part of the country had to be abandoned because of the violence. Some of our Caritas colleagues were forced to flee their homes and towns, and we had tremendous concern for their whereabouts and safety. And here was Bashar, protecting his family, including four children, under a small tree. This is a colleague I had come to know in far better circumstances, a warm-spirited peer. And now here he was, with nothing but the clothes he was wearing when they fled, sleeping on the dirt. We greeted each other warmly, and I sat with him near their small tree. He showed me a video he made with his phone of their harrowing, 10-hour journey. His children were resting on the ground next to us in the only clothes they had.

Despite all that Bashar is going through, I was treated like a guest. They boiled water to offer me tea. Their hospitality was so deeply generous—it reminded me of the grace of humanity.

The questions I am asked by Bashar and families in these Church compounds are, "Where do we go? What do we do?" I tell them that there are people around the world praying for them and doing what we can to help. And I let them know that whatever is to come, we will be with them. I feel confident in saying this because of the incredible support, spirit and reach of our CRS family.

These recent days have brought so much bad news from the Middle East. Desperate families continue to flee the violence in Syria, pouring into neighboring countries. CRS and our partners have assisted 350,000 war-affected Syrians across the region with shelter, food, medical care, and trauma counseling and education for children. In Gaza, we wait for breaks in the violence to rush in medical supplies and relief kits. As I write this, a cease-fire is holding and we pray it remains. But we know just how fragile the situation is. Despite all of this terrible news, I am hopeful. CRS is committed to meeting the most urgent humanitarian needs in Iraq, Syria and Gaza, and we will remain in each of these war-torn areas for as long as there are families who need help.

But we cannot do this alone. We need your support to expand these critical efforts to more families and communities. Please donate to the CRS Middle East Emergency Fund to help Bashar and his family—and countless others in Iraq, Syria and Gaza.

Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers. They need our help. They pray for relief. They deserve our humanity.

With sincere thanks from Erbil,
Kris H. Ozar Head of Programming,
CRS Egypt and CRS Iraq Catholic Relief Services

HOZANA.ORG: Let us pray the Lord for our Iraqi brothers and sisters!


The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

44. Joseph asked Poemen, 'How should we fast?' Poemen said, 'I suggest that everyone should eat a little less than he wants, every day.' Joseph said to him, 'When you were a young man, didn't you fast for two days on end?' He said to him, 'That's right, I used to fast three days on end, even for a week. But the great hermits have tested all these things, and they found that it is good to eat something every day, but on some days a little less. They have shown us that this is the king's highway, for it is easy and light.
'


August 13, 2014
 

THE TRIB TIMES WILL RETURN NEXT WEEK, GOD WILLING (James 4:15).

(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.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE PASTORAL VISIT OF POPE FRANCIS TO KOREA: http://popekorea.catholic.or.kr/en/

VATICAN RADIO: Pope sends video message to the people of Korea

CATHOLIC REGISTER
: Pope Francis' Korea trip a chance for Catholics to renew faith

When St. John Paul II canonized 103 Korean martyrs in 1984 in Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Alexius Hong was there to attend the canonization Mass.  "This will be the second Pope who visits Korea," said Hong of Pope Francis' plans to visit South Korea from Aug. 14-18. "It's very, very exciting."

Pope Francis will beatify 124 Korean martyrs Aug. 16, celebrate the Aug. 17 closing Mass for the sixth Asian Youth Day, and celebrate a Mass for peace and reconciliation Aug. 18 — among other planned activities for the visit. He is expected to meet with families of the victims of April's South Korean ferry disaster, which killed more than 300 people, many of them schoolchildren.

The Pope also will visit a rehabilitation centre for the disabled, meet with the Korean bishops and other religious leaders, and extend a courtesy visit to the president of the Republic of Korea, Park Geun-hye. Hong, a physician in Bloomfield Hills, said that through the Pope's planned activities, "we see how much he's trying to show his love to the people, to comfort them, to make them feel better."

St. Andrew Kim parishioner John Lee said the visit is "a recognition of Korean Catholic people by the Vatican government." Lee, a Troy resident, said this visit is especially good for the youth of Korea, who "have so many temptations by the darkness and they never realize it." Because Pope Francis' visit coincides with the Asian Youth Day event, Lee said he hopes the Pope's visit will encourage the young people to leave the dark and return to the light of faith. The youth day theme is: "Asian Youth! Wake up! The glory of the martyrs shines on you."

Lee, a member of the World Apostolate of Fatima, commonly known as the Blue Army, said Korean Catholics are proud to have such strong Catholic history through the witness of the martyrs, but they must "be changed as real Catholic people." Additionally, Lee hopes the Pope's visit will encourage the efforts to reunify North and South Korea. "I am sure Pope Francis will deliver the message of peace to Korea," he said.

Justin Choy, who lives in Saline, said he likes how Pope Francis is a "really down-to-earth kind of guy. He's been showing us his humility, his care for the peace of the world and he always cares about the people that are neglected and isolated." Choy said a few families of St. Andrew Kim parish are flying to Korea for the visit.

"I personally think the Pope is living the life of Jesus," he said. "I just hope that the people can meet Jesus Christ through him, seeing him visiting Korea and what he's going to be doing in Korea."

UCANEWS: Pope Francis will encounter obstacles to diplomacy in Korea

ANALYSIS: Korea trip full of promise and peril for a ‘Peace Pope’

RELATED HEADLINES

Pope Francis heads East, pointing to a new future for his Western church
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Pope Francis to Visit Cemetery of Aborted Babies in South Korea

KOREAN BISHOP: "Pope Francis has always been the first to reach out to those suffering. I believe that he is coming here to be with us at this difficult time and to give us a message of consolation and hope.”

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

43. Joseph asked him about the same subject. Poemen said, 'If you shut a snake or a scorpion in a box in the end it will die. Wicked thoughts, which the demons scatter, slowly lose their power if the victim has endurance.'

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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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