He said, “John, you are about to start your dream job, and you are about to marry your dream girl. But there will come a day when you look in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘Is this all there is?’”
Bring Back Common Sense
By Domhnall de Barra
It is getting increasingly more difficult to accept with any credulity the opinions of “experts” who pronounce what we should and should not do, especially in the field of healthy living. What was bad for us yesterday is not so bad today as some other item becomes enemy number one. Programmes like Operation Transformation make us feel uncomfortable, and possibly guilty, if we are not super fit and exactly the right weight. We are bombarded by advice on what, and what not, to eat. Of course we have to be sensible and look after our bodies but there is no “one size fits all” solution. No two people are alike and may have different reactions to the same foods. The latest advice I heard was from a leading dietician on the radio today who was promoting the idea that skipping breakfast was a good way of loosing or controlling weight. Now, I was always led to believe that breakfast was the most important meal of the day and necessary to give us the stamina to face whatever tasks awaited us. It kind of makes sense when you think of it because we have been resting in our beds for many hours and our bodies need re-fuelling, just as our cars do. Of course skipping breakfast will help to lose weight but so will giving up eating altogether. The trouble is, the long term consequences of both options is not good. My worry is that vulnerable people, especially young girls who are under pressure to be perfect will take this “expert” advice and do themselves long-term harm. The best person to advise us on how to control weight and become more healthy is our local doctor who knows our medical history and will come up with a sensible plan of action. In the meantime we shouldn’t rush to take advantage of the latest fad and maybe end up far worse than we are.
More “expert” opinion is in favour of not labelling babies either male or female until they decide for themselves what gender they would like to be. Have we gone totally daft or is it just me? What are we supposed to call them and how long should we wait for them to make up their minds? I have great sympathy for some people who feel they are in the wrong bodies and would like a change of sex but it is not the norm and only accounts for a very small proportion of the population. The vast majority of children are happy being either boys or girls and should be treated as such. Traditionally boys were given different toys to play with than girls. Boys had toy cars and footballs etc while girls played with dolls and prams and the likes. We are now told that is also wrong and that toys should be gender neutral. It is catering for the future roles of men and women which are expected to be equal in every way. In the past the roles of men and women were well defined. The man went to work and brought home the money while the woman stayed at home and looked after the house and children. Most men would not be seen dead pushing a pram or a buggy and hadn’t a clue about baking or cooking. Times have changed and nowadays there is a great crossover in the roles. Families are smaller now than they used to be so there is less work to do around the house. Women are also a big part of the work force and their income may be necessary to pay off a mortgage on the family home. They are now doing jobs that traditionally were only done by men. I noticed lately that most of our post is delivered by women and very good they are at it too. A few years ago it was the “postman” with not a “postlady” in sight. Men have had to adapt and do their fair share of the housework and looking after the children. Nothing wrong with that but we can’t all be neutral. Men are men and women are women and long live the difference. We should allow our children to be just that – children. Let them play with whatever toys they like and be happy. Soon enough the world will become all too real to them, whether they are boys or girls.
I heard another daft idea the other day, again on the radio. It wasn’t an ad but another “expert” was giving advice on sleeping habits. She was advocating the use of radios built into a type of headband so that people could go to sleep listening to music without disturbing their partners. People are continually on their phones or tablets all day long sending and receiving messages and sharing every facet of their lives with the wide world. Surely it is possible to do without another gadget when going to bed. If we are to believe the “experts”, radios, phones and other electronic devices should not be used in the bedroom as they affect our ability to get a good night’s sleep. Maybe they have got this one right.
To finish on a brighter note, the play season is coming to an end at the moment and it was heartening to see the great attendances at all the plays in Abbeyfeale and Athea. Athea Drama Group have done 27 years of production and have given great entertainment to us over that period. This year’s offering “The Lonesome West” was slightly different to the comedies of previous years as it had some dark undertones and once again portrayed the fragility of life in rural Ireland. It was very well done and all concerned deserve great praise. A special word of appreciation to those in charge of the set and props. Athea is one of the few groups that pays especial attention to detail and not a prop is out of place or its time zone. Thank you for once again brightening up our early spring.
NAN HURLEY: Feb 2019, We all hoped that Nan would make it to the “100th” birthday, but unfortunately she passed to her eternal reward just a few days short of her “Big Occasion”, in the care of the staff at Beechwood Nursing Home in Newcastle West. Up to recently Nan was able to sing a song, recite a poem and was in full voice and a great lover of doing crosswords etc.
By Tom Aherne
Congratulations to James McCormack Ardagh, and the former Commodore of Foynes Yacht Club, who received the President’s Award in the RDS in Dublin on Friday, February 8 2019. It was presented by Jack Roy, President of Irish Sailing, for his outstanding contribution and leadership of Foynes Yacht Club over many years. This is a great honour to be recognised nationally for James who spearheaded the building of the Marina/Pontoon at a fifth of the projected cost.
The 77-year-old Jewish businessman was one of some 100 men charged in a human trafficking investigation in Martin County, Florida.
There are fears that cripple us –
Of being let down, of losing the capacity to trust,
of how children will turn out, of death, illness and old age.
Of losing a job or never getting one, of failure in a college course,
of not being loved or liked.
Fear is like a red light stopping us moving forward,
and it’s crippling if it gets us stuck, like a light never changing to green.
Jesus’s answer is simply ….”be not afraid”, because he is always with us.
We have the security of a constant companion.
Lord, help us to trust in your loving presence today and every day. AMEN.
Lord, your love is everlasting,
Never running dry, never exhausted,
More so than any earthly spring.
You love us all utterly,
To the limits of our understanding,
And beyond, without ever faltering.
There is no-one in this world,
Nowhere on earth,
Who is not loved by you.
Lord, may I never spurn
The love you lavish upon me.
May I never give up
On receiving from the living waters
You provide for us.
For as the waters of the earth
Flow and nourish and give growth,
So the living water
Flowing from your heart of love
Gives us life, sustains us,
Until you can find You,
The source of all good,
In the waters that well up to eternal life.
Lord, give us this water always.
Wed, Jan 2, 11:58 AM
Have you ever had an epiphany? An “epiphany” is a manifestation that provides a deeper understanding or insight into something. It’s often quite sudden. It’s an “aha” moment; a discovery of something that you’ve been pursuing for some time which now gives you a whole new philosophical, religious, or scientific awareness.
Jesus’ Church celebrates an epiphany on the 6th of January. She recalls God’s manifestation of Himself to the Magi in the Person of the Infant Jesus, God’s Word-made-flesh in the Virgin’s womb, born in a stable in Bethlehem. God made Himself visible in a way that enabled human beings to deepen their understanding of who He is and what He wanted for mankind. The first epiphany was to Mary when the Angel Gabriel visited her. The second was to Elizabeth when, inspired by the Holy Spirit, she exclaimed to Mary, “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to visit me.” (Lk 1:43) Joseph had an epiphany when God spoke to him in dreams asking him to take care of Mary and the Child. The angels had an epiphany when they sang their Hosannas. The shepherds had their epiphany when they heard the angels and then went and found Jesus in the manger in the stable. The Gentile world had an epiphany in the persons of the three wise men, when the star led them to the manger where the Christ Child lay. Their discovery was the striking realization that God had come to earth in human form. He could be seen, touched, heard, loved, cry, need clothing and food, and depend on human beings even though He was their Creator.
God explained the difference He would make when He came upon the earth. “See, darkness covers the earth, and thick cloud covers the peoples; but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears His glory.” (Is 60:1-6) The Holy Spirit revealed that, “He shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lonely and the poor; the life of the poor He shall save.” (Ps 72:12-13) But those who heard these words had no idea of how God was going to accomplish these promises, least of all the notion that He would come as a defenceless little baby born of a virgin in a stable. God’s ways aren’t our ways. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” (Is 55:8) We would want God to come with power, pomp, and ceremony. But that wasn’t the way He chose to make Himself present.
St. Augustine, inspired by the Holy Spirit, prayed, “You have made us for Yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” Meeting the human need for God is critical to our humanity. The words of the Psalmist capture the cry of the spiritual soul: “O God, You are my God whom I seek; for You my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.” (Ps 63:2) During His public ministry Jesus reminded His listeners, “No more than a branch can bear fruit of itself apart from the vine, can you bear fruit apart from me. I am the vine, you are the branches.” (Jn 15:4-5) The restlessness and the fruitlessness of people all over the world is due to the fact that they look to all kinds of fads to find rest and various schemes to be productive but end up neither rested nor effective. The fact is that our soul will find rest only in God and that He is the only source of our fruitfulness as human beings.
It was this restlessness that spurred the Magi to follow the star. They believed the star would lead them to its Creator. Good science always leads to God and to Jesus who is “the power of God and the wisdom of God.” ( 1 Cor:24) . Bad science tries to ignore God. The Magi’s words of enquiry in Jerusalem are the words that every human heart utters, consciously or unconsciously, “Where is the new-born King of the Jews?” (Mt 2:2) Everyone is searching for God. Sadly, many try to create their own gods that “have mouths that can’t speak, eyes but can’t see, and ears that can’t hear, nor is their breath in their mouths. Their makers shall be like them, everyone that trusts in them.” (Ps 135:15-18) So they’re doomed to restlessness and fruitlessness.
The Magi are called “wise” because they refused to be side-tracked in their search for Immanuel, God-with-us. They let the Holy Spirit guide their spirit to find Jesus. Their gifts of homage reflected their discovery of Jesus as God-made-man. Gold symbolized Jesus’ Kingship on earth and also His perfect virtue. Frankincense symbolized their recognition of Him as God and the importance of prayer. Myrrh symbolized His suffering and death in behalf of mankind’s salvation.
The same Holy Spirit wants to lead you and me to Jesus in whom we find rest and who enables us to be fruitful. Jesus’ Church is the visible star that the Spirit uses to unite us to Jesus where He manifests Himself and meets us in the key moments of our life. 2019 is a new year of opportunities for Jesus to manifest Himself to us, if we let Him. But as the Magi faithfully followed the star, we must faithfully follow the Church’s teachings. May 2019 be a graced time for you. (frsos)
Wed, Jan 9, 3:37 PM (13 days ago)
Is God Pleased with You?
Baptism launched Jesus’ public ministry. There God affirmed Him, “You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.” (Lk 3:22) To be pleased with someone is to be delighted with him or her and to take pleasure in his or her company. God is pleased with Jesus because He is His Word-made-flesh come to do His will on earth. God’s will for every person is that he or she be saved from a fallen nature that carries within it the sentence of eternal death. We can’t save our self from a future that promises only eternal misery. We might be miserable and unhappy in this world, but it’s temporary. To be miserable in the next world has no end. This is all the more reason why we should be doing our utmost to please God by doing what He tells us.
John’s baptism of Jesus was a baptism of repentance for sin. Jesus had no sin but took human sin on Himself to make atonement with God on our behalf. Jesus’ baptism was a baptism of immersion into the Holy Trinity. John told those who thought he was the expected messiah, “I am baptizing you with water but one mightier than I is to come … He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Lk 3:16) John’s baptism called for repentance for sin. Jesus’ baptism called for personal transformation through becoming an adopted son or daughter of God. It wasn’t just a cleansing from Original sin. The Greek word “baptizo” means immersion in the sense of dye penetrating a piece of cloth. In Jesus’ baptism, “you put aside your old self with its past deeds and put on a new nature, one who grows in knowledge as he (she) is formed anew in the image of his (her) Creator.” (Col 3:9-10) John’s baptism called for a radical change in behaviour, but Jesus’ baptism calls for a radical change in one’s nature. The “baptism of fire” which is the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions in our soul, makes us a new creation, a born again anointed child of God by adoption.
God promised comfort to His people. The greatest comfort a child can experience is the visible nearness of the parent’s love. God promised to come to His people so they would feel His nearness. “Like a shepherd He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers the lambs, carrying them in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care.” (Is 40:9-11) The Psalmist expressed the human need for God’s nearness as follows: “If You take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust. When You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 104:29-30) Jesus began to publicly fulfil these promises the day He accepted John’s Baptism of Repentance and introduced His new Baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. Through the Holy Spirit in Baptism we are re-newed – made new with a new family, a new identity, a new mission, a new purpose, a new knowledge, a new standard of love, a new morality, and a new destiny. This is why Jesus gave His Church the Sacrament of Baptism so that all men and women could experience the nearness of God and be renewed until the end of time.
Jesus began shepherding you and me the day we were baptized into His Church. That day God the Father adopted us as His children, his sons and daughters, and said to us individually as the water was poured over our head in the Name of the Holy Trinity, “You are my beloved son/daughter; with you I am well pleased.” He was delighted that you and I had become His adopted children. He sent us His Spirit to guide our spirit to Jesus who showed us the way, taught us the truth, and gave us His life through His Church. “Because of His mercy He saved us through the bath of rebirth (Baptism) and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)
God was pleased with you and me on the day of our Baptism. But is He pleased with us today? Are we making Him proud of us by the way we live? Someone said that “God loves us where we are, but He loves us too much to leave us there.” Where are you and I today in our relationship with Jesus? Are prayer and worship of Him our first priority. Some saint said that sin is worse than the worst kind of physical disease. A disease, at worst, can only kill the body, but sin kills the soul and separates us from God who is the source of our faith, hope, and love. Without these, all we have to look forward to is misery. A new year of 2019 is a new opportunity to be a cause of delight for God. When we please God by being true to our baptismal vows, letting the Holy Spirit with His fire transform us, we will delight not only God but also our self and those around us. It’s time to re-new our baptismal vows. (frsos)
Wed, Jan 16, 1:59 PM (6 days ago)
What God Wants, We Need
There’s a real difference between wants and needs. We often confuse the two and focus on our wants more than on our needs. Needs are what’s essential for the flourishing of our humanity, individually and communally. Wants, on the other hand, are things that are unnecessary for our wellbeing. God has no needs since He’s perfect. While He doesn’t need us, He wants things for us as expressions of His unconditional love. What God wants for us is exactly what we need, namely to love, be free, be just, and at peace within and among ourselves. What God wants for us He also provides the wherewithal to achieve it. Without God what we need the most - truth, love, freedom, justice, and peace - is impossible since, because of our fallen nature, we’re incapable of fully possessing them on our own.
God uses the image of a wedding to reveal the kind of relationship He wants to have with us. “As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so shall God rejoice in you.” (Is 62:5) There’s no greater image of love and intimacy than a wedding between a man and a woman. It’s an image of mutual self-giving; an act whereby the man and woman pledge to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of each other and their children. It’s an act of unconditional love. This is what God wants for us in a relationship with Him. He wants to pledge Himself unconditionally to us for our individual and communal good. He wants us to reciprocate by pledging our self to Him unconditionally, not for His good, but for ours. What God wants for us is what we need for our self. We need His unconditional love in order to love our self and others especially when we and others aren’t very loveable. We need to know God as the source of love who never stops loving. God’s love is the foundation for faith and hope that withstands all kinds of doubt and despair. God wants a future for us that assures us of victory over suffering and death and promises us perfect joy and happiness. What God wants for us we need in order to thrive in the face of all kinds of trials and tribulations.
God wants to be generous with us by giving us spiritual gifts not just to us but also, and more importantly, through us to others. “There are different gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done but always the same Lord. Working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them.” (1 Cor 12:4-6) As in a marriage where a man and a woman pledge their unconditional love for one another by committing themselves to the mutual sharing of their individual gifts, so God, in pledging His unconditional love for us, shares His gifts with us. In turn, He wants us to share these gifts, not with Him, but with one another. We need these gifts from God so we can have something special to give one another as expressions of our love. Because of our fallen nature our tendency is to keep things for our self rather than share them. In giving us gifts God inspires us to share them with one another so we can build and enrich our relationships.
Highlighting the image of a wedding as a metaphor for what God wants and we need, Jesus used it as the occasion for the beginning of His public ministry. At the request of His Mother, Jesus, by changing water into wine, gave the young couple what they needed for the enjoyment of their guests, in moderation of course. Jesus’ ministry and the foundation of His Church visibly demonstrates what God wants and what we need. Each of His Church’s’ Sacraments is a visible sign of what God wants and what we need. He wants to adopt us in Baptism; we need to be adopted in order to have eternal life. He wants us to receive His Spirit with His gifts; we need them to become fully mature human beings. He wants us to receive His Son in the Holy Eucharist; we need Him as food for our soul. He wants us to turn to Him in our suffering; we need Him to help us shoulder our burdens. He wants to forgive us our sins; we need forgiveness. He wants men and women to procreate; they need His grace to be faithful and raise children properly. He wants us to bind our self to Him in religion; and religious leaders need His Spirit to bind them to Him as His representatives forming Christian community.
What God wants and what we need motivates us to, “Announce His salvation, day after day. Tell His glory among the nations; among all the peoples His wondrous deeds … He governs the people with equity.” (Ps 96:1-10) The more we know what God wants for us the more we will come to see what we need. Jesus tells us in His Word spoken in and through His Church. Mary’s advice is crucial to meeting our needs: “Do whatever He tells you.” (Jn 2:5) He tells us that what God wants for us, we need for our own and our community’s good. (frsos)
The dance hall act of 1935 brought in rules for the running of dances under licence. Anyone could go to court to oppose the granting of the licence. This "anyone" was often the parish priest.
In a case at Listowel in September, 1936, frequent opposer Fr Browne suggested dances only be held from 6pm until 9pm.
“Dance Halls in England closed at 11pm, and apart from the question of morality, people could not work properly if they were dancing all night,” he reasoned, according to an Irish Times report.
The priest was wary, in particular, of outsiders – “devils”, as he saw them.
“Persons who came to these dances from outside towns in motor cars were scoundrels of the lowest type, and were devils incarnate,” he said.
There was absolutely no need for all-night dances in country places, and there was only one way to deal with them, as the soupers were dealt with in the olden times - by excommunication. Dance halls were the curse and ruin of the country, and when the people were being demoralised the end is near, and so is the anger of God.”
“Man is a sociable animal,” the judge replied, “and he must find some sort of reasonable satisfaction for his social appetite.” The judge granted the dances until 10pm, but bowed to the priest’s demand that nobody from outside a three mile radius be allowed attend.
At Listowel District Court in November 1936, Fr Browne makes yet another appearance, this time alleging that one dance hall proprietor had no care for the “lives and morals” of the attendees. “There were human vultures coming in motor cars to these halls from outside places,” he said, reiterating his hatred of outsiders.
“They sometimes visited more than one hall and after the dance spent their time with servant girls and farmers’ daughters.”
The priest said he “read a report from Liverpool society for prevention of international traffic in women and children, which stated that Irish girls went over to Liverpool, hoping to find work, some with only the clothes they wear. They might as well face the facts that through the dance hall and bar regulations these girls had been made familiar with vice.”
As long as dance halls were given late licences, he said, parents were helpless in preventing this “degradation”.
From Art of Manliness
When you’re a baby and a toddler, you’re helpless: you can’t articulate what you need and what’s bothering you. You can only cry or throw a tantrum or rely on your parents to accurately read and interpret your mood and body language.
You’ve probably never thought about it, but you first learned to get what you want by getting other people to give it to you. This was your foundation for navigating the world.
Unfortunately, many people don’t outgrow this phase of infantile dependence. They still primarily try to get what they want by manipulating others, by having a “tantrum,” by metaphorically quivering their lip or pooping in their pants and then waiting for someone to notice. They wait for a solution to their problems to arrive from the outside.
Maturing means growing in your capability to meet your own needs, as you become progressively more skilled, competent, and emotionally intelligent. And it means becoming less needy in general. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants and to serve them oneself?”
No one ever becomes completely independent of other people, and it would not be desirable to do so. But when you do need help, you ask for it directly. You don’t expect other people to read your mind, and then act put out when they fail to manifest these psychic powers. Many a relationship is sunk by such implicit assumptions: “You should know how I feel without my saying so.” “You should know what I need without my telling you.”
Growing up means growing out of an indirect, infantile, dependent way of meeting your needs, and into a direct, mature, independent approach to obtaining what you want.
The post Sunday Firesides: Dependence to Independence appeared first on The Art of Manliness.
Those who live in joy are incredibly powerful in their ability to win the hearts of others. We all know deep down we are made for joy. We ache for joy like the empty stomach aches for food. In its absence, we don’t simply stop hungering for joy, we slip into a broken-hearted cynicism. Some part of us dies when our belief in the possibility of joy dies. So, when someone manifests this otherworldly joy in a weary, jaded world, they are an object of fascination, if not hope, to others.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all people doubt you
If you can dream and not make dreams your master
If you can meet Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue and walk with kings but not loose the common touch
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, – – – yours is the earth
Yours is the earth and everything that is in it – – And – which is more – you’ll be a man my son. Kipling.
In a 1949 book on lighting, MGM cinematographer John Alton cautioned women against allowing their beauty to be ruined by “murderous illumination” and promised that proper lighting could “open doors of opportunity—whether it is for a desired job or a man.”
Despite a global reduction in smoking, cigarette waste remains a huge problem. According to one article by researcher Richard Barnes, in 2010 people worldwide smoked five trillion cigarettes. While the majority of the cigarette is burned, the plastic filter, contaminated with tobacco, formalin, and other chemicals, is left behind. Butts present a particular disposal problem since, unlike a lot of trash, they are disposed wherever a smoker happens to be.
Don McGregor July 25 2018
She asked him, 'How much are you selling the eggs for?'
The old seller replied, '$.25 an egg, Madam.'
She said to him, 'I will take 6 eggs for $1.25 or I will leave.'
The old seller replied, 'Come take them at the price you want. Maybe, this is a good beginning because I have not been able to sell even a single egg today.'
She took the eggs and walked away feeling she has won. She got into her fancy car and went to a posh restaurant with her friend. There, she and her friend, ordered whatever they liked. They ate a little and left a lot of what they ordered. Then she went to pay the bill. The bill costed her $45.00 She gave $50.00 and asked the owner of the restaurant to keep the change.
This incident might have seemed quite normal to the owner but, very painful to the poor egg seller.
The point is,
Why do we always show we have the power when we buy from the needy ones? And why do we get generous to those who do not even need our generosity?
I once read somewhere:
'My father used to buy simple goods from poor people at high prices, even though he did not need them. Sometimes he even used to pay extra for them. I got concerned by this act and asked him why does he do so? Then my father replied, "It is a charity wrapped with dignity, my child”
If you feel that people need to see this, then do spread this message.
Oct 17, 2018, 1:22 PM (12 days ago)
The Measure of Greatness
What does it mean to be great? What do people mean when they say they’re “having a great time” or they’ve found “a great place” or they’re “feeling great” or they’ve had a “great win”? The term ‘great’ indicates someone or something that’s superior or outstanding either in character or quality. In the history of the Catholic Church three popes – St. Leo I (440-461, St. Gregory I (590-604), St. Nicholas I (858-867) - have been designated as “the Great” both by popular acclamation at the time of their death and by history itself. Today, Pope, St. John Paul II, is often referred to as “the Great”. However, the official Church herself has never titled any of them as “the Great”. Greatness isn’t something that people attribute to ourselves, rather it’s a quality that others see in them. To attribute greatness to oneself is conceit.
As human beings, while we should never view ourselves as great, we all aspire to greatness in one form or another. Why? We all want to be considered good at something, whether positive or negative. The Greek rhetorician, Athenaeus (d. 192 A.D.), wrote that “goodness does not consist in greatness, but greatness in goodness.” The more good we do the greater we become. Mother Theresa is an example of this. This was the message Jesus conveyed to His Apostles when James and John tried to secure positions of authority in Jesus’ Kingdom. He addressed them and said, “Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest; whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all.” (Mk 10:43-44) Jesus set the example when He revealed, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve – to give His life in ransom for the many.” (Mk 10:45) From God’s perspective greatness is achieved not by having authority over others but by serving them. “You know how among the Gentiles those who seem to exercise authority lord it over them; their great ones make their importance felt. It cannot be like that with you.” (Mk 10:42-43) To be great is to use your gifts to dignify others. Since God alone is good, doing good is to do God’s will. His will is to act like Jesus by caring about the needs of others. Service for the love of God is the measure of greatness.
An American educational reformer, Horace Mann, urged his fellow human beings to “Seek not greatness, but seek truth and you will find both.” Truth is that which conforms to the facts; that which is real, good, beautiful, and universal, withstanding the test of time. From a Christian perspective truth isn’t an abstract concept but a person – the Person of Jesus Christ. He revealed Himself as “the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (Jn 14:6) To seek the truth is to seek Jesus and to find Him is to find the truth about God, who we are and how we become great men and women.
How does Jesus help us achieve greatness? The French diplomat, Alexis de Tocqueville, noted that the greatness of American democracy “lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” What Jesus does for our greatness is to help us repair our faults. God promised the Israelites regarding the Messiah that “If he gives His life as an offering for sin, He shall see His descendants in a long life, and the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through Him … Through His suffering, my Servant shall justify many, and their guilt He shall bear.” (Is 53:10-11) Jesus fulfilled this promise by conquering sin, suffering, and death on Easter Sunday. He made it possible for us to repair our faults through the gift of forgiveness bestowed on the members of His Church in her Sacraments. Jesus has given us the ability to repair our faults especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We’re on the road to greatness when we recognize that in Jesus, “we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses but with One who has been tested in every way, yet without sin … Let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace for timely help.” (Heb 4:14-16)
Christianity is the path to greatness highlighted in God’s Commandments and Jesus’ Beatitudes. It reminds us, in the words of Leo Tolstoy, that “There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth.” This is why Jesus said we must become like little children if we want to enter the Kingdom of God where we fully realize the greatness God has bestowed on each of us. (Mt 18:3) Being childlike means recognizing our complete dependency on Jesus as the source and teacher of truth and simple acceptance of Him as our way to greatness. This becomes evident in the Church community that’s committed to carrying out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. In the words of Coretta Scott King, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” It’s not the most powerful who are the greatest, but rather those who empower the dignity and sanctity of others. Jesus is the model of greatness. (frsos)
Wed, Oct 24, 2:00 PM (5 days ago)
The Only Deliverer
Every time God’s people ignored His Law they fell to their enemies. But He didn’t give up on them. Time and again God rescued them. “Behold, I will bring them back from the land of the north; I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst … For I am a Father to Israel …” (Jer 31:7-9) The Psalmist reminded the Israelites: “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy…Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.” (Ps 126: 3-5) Like children thinking they can take care of themselves only to become frightened, lost or hurt, so we think we can act independently of God and be happy. Like a lost child crying for the parent, we cry out to God to deliver us from our self-created loveless and hopeless situations. Circumstances force us to admit we can’t raise our self up from what pulls us down. Only the One who is above, namely God, can lift us up from the dung hill into which we’ve sunk our self. “He raises up the lowly from the dust; from the dunghill He lifts up the poor …” (Ps 113:7) But, for God to deliver us from our fallen nature that we visibly express in selfishness and pride, we must humbly admit our lowliness and poverty that makes us incapable of saving our soul. God is always receptive to a humble heart. The Holy Spirit teaches us that when we sacrifice pride for humility God always rescues us. “My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, You will not spurn.” (Ps 51:19)
The prayer Jesus taught His Apostles included a petition that God the Father would “subject us not to the trial but deliver us from the evil one.” (Mt 6:13) In asking God to “deliver us” we’re recognizing our inability to deliver our self from our trials and Satan’s temptations. From what do we need to be saved? We need to be saved from our ego’s blindness to our faults, weaknesses, deafness to the truth, and ignorance of our accountability to God. We’re often our own worst enemies. Our daily choices lead us either to life or death, Heaven or hell, God or Satan. Our choices reflect the influence of the Holy Spirit of love or the evil spirit of egotism and self-worship. Our biggest illusion is that we can save our self, be our own god or goddess trying to make our self happy. Thus we create our own truth, our own reality, which are neither true nor real. So we need the Creator of truth, being, reality.
Jesus is real because He’s the Creator of our being. Jesus is truth because He is the Truth – God’s Word-made-flesh. He alone teaches us to understand who we really are and what’s true about us as men and women – why we’re here; where’re we’re going; what’s our purpose; what’s our destiny and how to get there. When John’s followers asked if Jesus was the Messiah, He told them, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind recover their sight, cripples walk, lepers are cured. The deaf hear, dead men are raised to life, and the poor have the good news preached to them.” (Mt 11:4-5) Thus John would know that Jesus was indeed the promised Deliverer, Rescuer, Liberator from all those things that humans can’t overcome or do on their own. Jesus actions spoke for themselves.
The Gospels relate many stories of Jesus delivering people from all kinds of maladies, even raising people from the dead. This Sunday Jesus’ Church resounds the story of the restoration of Bartimaeus’ sight. It contains a major lesson for you and me. The first thing to notice is Bartimaeus’ humble attitude. Hearing that Jesus was passing by he prayed, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” (Mk 10:47) Jesus responded, “What do you want me to do for you?” He prayed, “Rabboni, I want to see.” (Mk 10:51) Seeing is a very important sense because it helps us know we are. If we can’t see we’re in the dark and liable to stumble and fall. Seeing is believing. But seeing involves more than what our physical eye can tell us; it also, and more importantly, involves what our spiritual eye can tell us. Bartimaeus couldn’t see Jesus physically but he saw Him spiritually. He let his spirit be touched by the Holy Spirit and so was able to recognize that Jesus could cure him. Jesus answered his prayer, “Be on your way! Your faith has healed you.” (Mk 10:52a) Mark tells us: “Immediately he received his sight and started to follow Him up the road.” (Mk 10:52b)
Many people saw Jesus with their physical eyes but their spiritual eye was blind to His divine presence. What we see with our physical eye is only part of what’s real. To complete our perception of reality we must also be willing to see with our spiritual eye. But to do that we need the Holy Spirit to enlighten our spirit and encourage it to look beyond what our physical eye can see. That’s what our Christian faith enables us to do. Faith sees what our physical can’t see. “Lord may Your Spirit touch my spirit so that I can see You as You cross my path today delivering me from what oppresses or depresses me. Amen.” (frsos)
Sisterhood of Saints: Margaret of Scotland
Circa 1045–November 16, 1093
They say it was love at first sight, the beautiful, educated, pious English princess and the rough and tumble warrior, widower, and Scots king twenty years her senior.
Margaret was devoted to the Lord; Malcolm III, not so much, though he considered himself a believer. Despite all their differences, Margaret and Malcolm proved to be exceptionally well yoked.
In addition to her royal household duties, which included raising their eight children and two sons from the king’s first marriage, Malcolm involved Margaret heavily in matters of state. It was through Margaret that Catholic traditions were integrated into court life, specifically through a synod that resulted in rules regarding the Lenten fast and Easter communion and challenged clerical abuse. She also lived her faith in seemingly small but very visible ways: she washed the feet of the poor and orphans. At meals to assist the needy, she made sure others were served before her. She set aside time for prayer and devotions, a practice Malcolm so admired (though he did not emulate it) that he had some of her books covered in gold and silver. It is said that while he never learned to read them, he was known to hold them and kiss the pages she had been reading.
The couple also founded a number of churches, including the Abbey of Dunfermline, where they are both buried. Margaret died just days after Malcolm and their oldest son were killed in battle. On her deathbed, she mourned them both; blessed their other children; and made a final prayer to the Lord.
It’s not always a bad thing when opposites attract. Margaret’s love for and influence on Malcolm helped Scotland mature into a well-run, compassionate land. May we seek to find the commonalities with those whose upbringings or worldview are different from our own. It may be an evangelization opportunity.
“O, my children, fear the Lord; for they who fear Him shall lack nothing, and if you love Him, He will give you, my darlings, prosperity in this life and everlasting happiness with all the saints.”
Saint Margaret of Scotland
Talk with your spouse or a close friend about your seeming differences and the similarities that lie underneath. Pray together about ways your strengths can be united to serve God.
Gary Bixler • 2 days ago Sept 2018
Actually, I believe that we could make a convincing argument on behalf of ethicide, which might be the killing of ethicists who advocate the killing of other human beings who do not measure up to their standards of "good enough" to live in this world. Do we not understand that all things imperfect in this world are given to us by God to test us, and to see what we will do with them? Those who've handled imperfect babies, who've raised imperfect children into imperfect adults realize that everyone is imperfect, and have learned to love the imperfect, including bioethicists, who are perhaps more imperfect than most. It is Hitler's medical henchmen all over again. Let's experiment on those unfortunates who weren't born into our idea of perfection? Let's just end their chance to become Helen Keller, or Stephen Hawking, because at what time does imperfection become a burden on society? The moment it occurs, whether at birth, or further along in the course of things. Absolutely ridiculous illogical arguments made by people who have seared consciences, and the moral standing of Satan himself. There will be a special place in hell for those who hurt and destroy God's children, which Jesus made clear in Scripture. So, ethicists, prepare your millstones now, and find the nearest lake. You're going to wish you had killed yourselves instead of these helpless, precious human beings when you stand before Him.
Dane carn • 4 days ago, 2018
I had a quick look through the guy's papers, and it seems that by not-convincing he either means that it hasn't been
definitively proven infanticide is wrong (or that there are errors in the pro-life arguments), assuming I understood him correctly. I can't say that I buy his ideas though, and he kind of seems to contradict himself given that the paper "Why pro‐life arguments still are not convincing: A reply to my
critics" dedicated to rebutting pro-life arguments against infanticide still has the line "I argued that whether a fetus has a right to life does not solve the debate of whether infanticide is morally permissible."
Moreover, only fair to note that one of his arguments in "Ectogenesis, abortion and a right to the death of the fetus" is the "right to property argument":
1. The fetus is property of the genetic parents.
2. People can destroy their property.
3. Therefore, genetic parents can destroy their fetus.
Now, I happen to think that he makes no case whatsoever for premise 1 other than the line "Common intuition seems to support both premises and therefore the Right to Property Argument." (and for what it's worth don't think he completely believe #2) And while he does attempt to avoid the fact that his premise leads to a justification of slavery by stating that "Obviously, children are not parents’ property. But that has nothing to do with mixing labour. Children are not property because children are persons: morally valuable individuals." (although he thinks personhood is to do with sentience).
I would note that such a view of his would seem to my mind to justify doing as one wishes to a child with severe mental deficiencies (including but not limited to treating them as a sex slave), even as he in one of his future papers does rightly say without controversy that sexual slavery is wrong. I dare say that if his premises lead to positions like that then he needs to rethink his views, and also that variations of the right to property argument are really not that different to those historically used to justify slavery in the past...
The President not only reinstated the “Mexico City Policy,” that halts the export of our nation’s toxic abortion ideology to other countries, but
He made it more comprehensive, so that instead of protecting $500 million from the abortion industry, it now protects $8.8 billion!
He has also
Enabled states to defund Planned Parenthood both of Title X funds and also of Medicaid funds
De-funded the pro-abortion UN Population Fund
Required health insurance companies to disclose whether their plans cover abortion
Protected employers from the HHS mandate that required them to cover abortion in the plans they offer their employees
Made very strong pro-life appointments in a multitude federal agencies
Created a new division within the government for the protection of conscience and religious freedom, so that, for instance, doctors and nurses forced to participate in abortion can have more protection
Placed explicit language in the official documents of the Department of Health and Human Services indicating that when we promote people’s “health,” that includes the whole span of life, from the moment of conception!
Announced new rules that create a physical and financial barrier between Title X funds and the abortion industry
And President Trump has publicly said that he remains steadfast in his resolve to cut off federal Medicaid funding of the nation’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood...And that process is well underway!!
He has also spoken plainly and clearly about abortion, about his promise to sign bills like the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,
And has spoken personally at pro-life events like the March for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List Gala!
And that is just some of what he has done!
He will be 72 on Thursday the 14th – and boy is he a young 72! I hope I have that much energy and vitality when I reach that age!
Monday, June 25, 2018 - 12:00 AM
Psychologist Enda Murphy has created a programme that will arm communities with the tools to deal with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Ciara McDonnell finds out more.
I am a real raggy doll, according to psychologist Enda Murphy. We all are.
From St Pio
1. “Do not undertake any course of action, not even the most lowly and insignificant, without first offering it to God.”
2. “Every Christian who is a true imitator and follower of the Nazarene can and must call himself a second Christ and show forth most clearly in his life the entire image of Christ. Oh, if only all Christians were to live up to their vocation, this very land of exile would be changed into paradise.”
3. “Our body is like a jackass that must be beaten, but just a little, otherwise it will throw ust to the ground, and refuse to carry us.”
4. “Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is a key that opens God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus, not only with your lips, but also with your heart; actually, on certain occasions, you should speak with only your heart.”
5. “Do not ever lose heart when the tempest rages; place all your trust in the Heart of the most gentle Jesus. Pray and I might add, devoutly pester the divine Heart.”
6. “As long as there remains a drop of blood in our body, there will be a struggle between right and wrong.”
7. “In all that you do, always be humble, guarding jealously the purity of your heart and the purity of your body; these are the two wings which will raise to God and make us almost divine.”
8. “Satan fears and trembles before humble souls.”
9. “It is difficult to become a saint. Difficult, but not impossible. The road to perfection is long, as long as one’s lifetime. Along the way, consolation becomes rest; but as soon as your strength is restored, you must diligently get up and resume the trip.”
10. “Be content to obey, which is never a small thing for the soul who has chosen God as his portion, and resign yourself to be for now a small hive bee to make honey.”
11. “At all times, try to conform to the will of God in everything that you do, and have no fear. This conformity is the surest way to Heaven.”
12. “Let us become saints so that having been together on earth, we may be together in Heaven.”
Healing the Family Relationship
It is never too late to start an honest conversation about the hurts and resentments that can be part of family life.
Does the idea of healing your family relationships sound realistic, possible or worthwhile? Most adult children have had the experience of being upset with a parent. People, who are able to talk honestly about what affected them deeply, benefit from healing childhood traumas. Often counselling is necessary to enable one to talk about childhood distress and to forgive parents. Forgiveness is fundamentally for one’s own sake. It’s a way to let go of the pain of the past and move on with life. However it is really important to stress that to forgive does not mean to condone the unacceptable situation that created unhappiness. Parenting is probably one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs in the world. There is not a parent in the world who, with the benefit of hindsight, cannot identify many decisions that seemed right at the time but proved to be unwise. When there is marital conflict in an unhappy marriage, the misery and unhappiness children have to deal with is a fact of life that is rarely given the attention it deserves. The relationship between parents determines the atmosphere in the home. All family relationships are difficult because there are no perfect parents and there are no perfect children. The romantic couple who gets married and lives happily ever after only exists in fairytales. In real life couples have their difficulties. There is no marriage without problems. The state of a parent’s marriage has an enormous impact on how secure children feel and whether or not marriage is something they might want in the future. Children cannot feel secure in a family where there is daily evidence that mum and dad don’t love each other anymore. A common fear is that if they stop loving each other they might also stop loving the child.
Unhappy parents, who are vocal about being dissatisfied with a spouse, may try to reassure children. A child can hear every word in the sentence, “Even though dad and I don’t love each other anymore we will always love you”, yet feel insecure and unloved. No matter how hard mum and dad try to protect children from adult issues, children sense what is going on. When the ingredients that are necessary for a happy couple relationship are missing, children of all ages are likely to feel unsupported, insecure, angry and resentful. This is particularly hard on younger children whose
sense of self-esteem is formed almost exclusively by the family in the first five or six years. Family therapist, Virginia Satir, says that, “Feelings of self-worth can only flourish in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open and rules are flexible”. She believes that children who grew up in families with “crooked” communication, inflexible rules, criticism of their differences and punishment for their mistakes learned to have a poor sense of self-worth. Children grow up very quickly and their needs change rapidly as they go through different stages of development. No two children are alike. What works really well with one child may not work at all with another. Some parents say that being a parent to younger children was easier than coping with the changes that occurred during early adolescence. Others suggest that the teenage years when their angelic child turned into a self-interested, rebellious student were more difficult. Other would say that dealing with immature, demanding adult children is the hardest time of all.
Some adults whose parents made the sacrifice to stay in an unsatisfying relationship, for the sake of the children, appreciate this. Others don’t. Resentment at having to live with acrimony and conflict makes some people so angry and unforgiving that they are unwilling to learn about the trauma that parents who felt trapped in an unhappy relationship suffered.
It takes maturity to become non-judgemental of the obese mother, who used comfort eating to deal with the distress of her deteriorating relationship with her husband; the withdrawn father, who immersed himself in sport to avoid spending time around his constantly complaining wife, the blaming parent who refused to accept responsibility for his/her part in creating a cold, tense, humourless atmosphere in the home. Parents who separated, divorced, or stayed in an unhappy relationship can do a great deal to heal family relationships with their adult children if they are willing to be non-defensive and open to answering questions. It makes it less difficult to forgive and let go of the past when the positive intentions behind the decisions that were made are understood.
The insights that occur when family relationships are healed can be the catalyst for taking the necessary steps to ensure that family history does not repeat itself.
(Carmel Wynne in Reality Magazine July/August 2017)
THOUGHT: Don’t let your life slip through your fingers
by living in the past.
By living your life one day at a time,
you live all the days of your life.
Don’t give up when you still have
something to give.
Nothing is really over until
the moment you stop trying.
Don’t be afraid to admit
that you are less than perfect.
It is this fragile thread that binds
us to each other.
O Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds,
and whose breath gives life to the world, hear me.
I come to you as one of your many children.
I am small and weak ; I need your strength and your wisdom.
Make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made,
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may know the things you have taught your children,
the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Make me strong, so that I may not be superior to other people,
but able to fight my greatest enemy which is myself.
Make me ever ready to come to you with straight eyes,
so that when life fades as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.
Prayer of a Native American
Queen of the May
Bring flowers of the rarest, bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale:
Our full hearts are swelling, our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest flower on the vale.
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.
Their lady they name thee, their mistress proclaim thee.
Oh, grant that thy children on earth be as true,
As long as the bowers are radiant with flowers,
As long as the azure shall keep it’s bright hue
From Moyvane Newsletter 14 May 2017
From Sean Sheehy
Life’s Only Sure Foundation
A solid foundation is essential for success in life. A building is only as durable as what it’s built upon. Adequate preparation is essential for accomplishment. Thus the emphasis by athletes on training. Benjamin Franklin wrote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” The Tower of Pisa began leaning shortly after construction because it’s foundation was inadequate and the ground too marshy. What’s true for athleticism and buildings is also true for life. We’ll become lopsided, unfit, and eventually fall if our life doesn’t have an adequate foundation.
What are you building your life on or rely on for security and direction in your life decisions? People build their life on all sorts of things - pleasure, popularity, money, power, etc. – hoping for satisfaction. But will those foundations withstand life’s upheavals? To build a solid foundation for living we need principles. Principles are truths about living that have withstood the test of time and benefit everyone. They give us an understanding of the world and how to live in it with others constructively. They give us an insight into how and why things happen and guide us in new situations. They free us from fear of what others might think of us. They give us a reason for being unselfish, especially when there’s no personal payoff for us. Principles build character.
Sadly, the modern western culture seems to ignore principles as the foundation for living happily. It puts little emphasis on the importance of building good character. Its focus is on personality as the key to successful living. Feelings replace truths. Attitudes are deemed more important that beliefs. Show gets you more recognition than substance. Opinion is perceived as fact and reality is manipulated. The mantra is “Fake it ‘til you make it!” Is it any wonder that superficiality reigns while substance is perceived as being old-fashioned or conservative? Without a solid foundation life becomes a burden as is evidenced in the growing rate of suicide, abortion, euthanasia, violence, and addictions of all kinds.
Jesus came into a world infected by the lies of Satan who deceived mankind into thinking that life can be lived successfully by ignoring God and making ourselves into gods. He came to reawaken us to the fact that His teaching is life’s only sure foundation. He came to show us that it’s not personality but character that makes life durable and worthwhile. Truth is the key to success which alone guarantees us freedom to reach the fullness of our potential. He identified Himself as “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (Jn 14:6) Jesus is the only solid foundation for living that leads to total peace and happiness. He is the only “Truth” that sets us free. He teaches us, “Anyone who hears my words but does not put them into practice is like the foolish man who built his house on sandy ground. The rains fell, the torrents came, the winds blew and lashed against his house. It collapsed under all this and was completely ruined.” (Mt 7:27) Jesus’ teaching, then, is the rock which is the only solid foundation that withstands “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. Any other foundation dooms us to collapse. This is why nourishing our soul is absolutely essential to healthy and vibrant living. We can’t nourish our soul without Jesus who has made Himself our “Bread of life.” (Jn 6:35) Where do we get that “Bread”? In the Holy Eucharist wherein Jesus gives us Himself in His Church’s celebration of the Holy Mass.
As life’s sure foundation Jesus gives us a beautiful future in which to hope. He assures us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and faith in me … I am going to prepare a place for you … I am the way, the truth, and the life, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do and will do greater things than me, because I am going to the Father.” (Jn 14:1-12) God teaches us, “See the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him, upon those who hope for His kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.” (Ps 33:18-19) As Jesus’ followers, He has given us a unique identity and purpose, “You, however, are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people He claims for His own to proclaim the glorious works of the One who called you from darkness into His marvellous light.” (1 Pt 2:9)
When we make Jesus’ teaching the foundation of our life we live according to His principles and not according to feelings, opinions, images, etc. We focus on building good character, not on tweaking personality. His principles are: 1. Worship the One God in His one Church; 2. Promote the dignity of human life; 3. Be humble; 4. Live a morally good life according to the 10 Commandments; 5. Be generous with time and money; 6. Be a person of integrity – practice what you preach; 7. Don’t be self-righteous; 8. Don’t hold grudges; 9. Be merciful and forgive; 10. Promote the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
If you live your life according to these principles and you will joyfully withstand all that’s alien to life. (frsos)
From Sean Sheehy
A man was asked, “What do you do for a living?” He answered, “I live for a living!” Back in the 1950s a film titled, “I Want to Live” portrayed a woman who’d made immoral choices and ended up being convicted of murder by association with a murderer. She didn’t commit the crime but was nonetheless convicted and executed. She protested her conviction all the way to her execution pleading, “I want to live!” Judging by the number of people who commit suicide it seems that not everyone wants to live. Still we possess an instinct that life is precious. So we naturally try to prevent people from harming themselves. Life is precious because it’s a gift from God. If someone gave you a gift and you threw it away it would indicate that you didn’t appreciate it or the donor. We don’t create our own life. It’s the sine qua non for everything we yearn for – love, peace, happiness, freedom, joy, etc. This is why we want to preserve and live life as fully as possible and forever. No reasonable person wants to die except in a desperate attempt to escape hopelessness. Even people who commit suicide don’t want to die; rather they want to escape a perceived bottomless pit in their life that, in their mind, has reduced life to nothing. The motivation isn’t to stop living but to stop hurting. So, in a distorted manner of thinking, by ending their life they’re trying to end what seems to be making their life hopeless. As the Life-Giver, only God can provide us with the wherewithal to live and make life worth living by giving us the help to rise from what pulls us down. Easter celebrates life that survives suffering and death and enjoy an eternal heavenly existence.
God didn’t create us to suffer and die. He created us to live for a living. But, through the abuse of free will, we separate our self from our Life-Giver and that puts us in the realm of suffering and death. Death is the result of separation from the Giver of life. It was to remedy this tragedy that God sent His Son, Jesus, the Word-made-flesh, to bring hope of life after death to the world. He revealed, “The thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it to the full.” (Jn 10:10) The “thief” is Satan who tricked Adam and Eve into thinking they could live without God only to have them experience death and suffering that has affected the whole human race. Sin causes suffering, whether personal, communal or institutional. But Jesus brought hope of healing and resurrection when He announced, “I have come not for the self-righteous, but to call sinners to repentance.” (Mt 9:13) Through God’s grace of repentance and the gift of forgiveness we’ve the power to overcome sin, overcome our suffering, and be resurrected from the dead.
After Jesus’ Ascension, St. Peter told his listeners when they asked what did they needed to do: “Repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit … Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” (Acts2:38, 40) He comforted them by teaching them: “In His own body He brought your sins to the cross, so that all of us, dead to sin, could live in accord with God’s will. By His wounds you have been healed for you had gone astray like sheep but you have returned to the Shepherd and the guardian of your souls.” (1 Pt 2:24-25) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Life who enlivens our spirit and purifies our soul. If we focus only on the body we reap corruption because the body corrupts in death. But when we attend to the needs of our soul we attend to life that’s eternal because Jesus guards it.
Jesus is our Shepherd who guards our soul by cleansing it from sin in Baptism and Confession, and nourishes it with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. This is why the Psalmist reminds us, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want … He refreshes my soul.” (Ps 23:1-3) As the Shepherd and Guardian of souls, Jesus “calls His own sheep by name and leads them out … He walks ahead of them and the sheep follow Him, because they recognize His voice.” (Jn 10:3-4) He identifies Himself as the “gate to the sheepfold.” “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be safe.” (Jn 10:9) As the Gatekeeper Jesus both protects us from harm and leads us to what nourishes our life so we can have it abundantly. We hear His voice through His Church as she proclaims His Word, guided by the Holy Spirit, and made visible in her Sacraments. Jesus is the Life-Giver and He alone leads us to the fullness of a life that’s joyful, peaceful, restful, loving, and eternal. If you want to have life to the full follow the Life-Giver in His Church. He alone reveals, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (Jn 14:6) (frsos)
WOMEN: International Women’s Day (8th March) originated from the trade union movement in America in the early 20th century, particularly in the activism of the women who worked in the clothing industry “sweatshops” of the time. In 1907 the women held a “Hunger March” in New York in protest at the dangerous working conditions and very long working periods, and calling for a ten-hour working day and improved wages. The police attacked the march, and the following year on March 8th 1908 a commemorative march was held, which became a milestone in women’s history. This date is what we now celebrate as International Women’s day, and by 1911 it had become international. International Women’s Day (IWD) is a time for women around the world to commemorate their struggles and celebrate their achievements. The United Nations formally proclaimed March 8 International Women’s Day in 1975. Their courage inspired the song “Bread and Roses” which has become associated with International Women’s Day. Bread symbolizes economic justice and roses represent quality of life.
Bread and Roses
As we go marching marching in the beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lots gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing: bread & roses, bread & roses!
As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men
For they are women’s children & we mother them again
(For men can ne’er be free til our slavery’s at an end)
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes
Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread but give us roses
As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying thru our singing their ancient call for bread
Small art & love & beauty their drudging spirits knew
Yes it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too
As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days
The rising of the women means the rising of the race
No more the drudge & idler, ten that toil where one reposes
But a sharing of life’s glories – bread & roses, bread & roses!
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Try not to waste your time and energy on things that are of little or no importance. Fret not about what others think or what you think they think! We waste so much time stressing and struggling with many of the cares of this world and we miss the beauty within and beyond. Do not let the world pass you by. After all, you have God by your side-now and always! Margaret Theresa Naughton
Relationships & Family, Social Skills
Last week, the APA released a study finding that Americans were experiencing the first statistically significant stress increase in the survey’s 10-year history
“The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism,” declared Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky in 2012.
How God Serves Us
Someone suggested that the two most important days in our life are the day we’re born and the day we discover our true purpose. Obviously the day we’re born is a special day not only for us but also for family, relatives, and, indeed, the whole world, since we bring new gifts and hope with us from God. The day we discover our purpose is equally important since it’s the day when we realize why we’re here and what we’re meant to accomplish with our life. Without knowing our ultimate purpose life becomes a hit and miss affair, with more misses than hits. God serves us by revealing our purpose, which motivates and guides us in the use of our resources and efforts. Knowing our purpose tells us what fulfils us and makes us happy. It’s our dot on the horizon that keeps us on track and gives meaning to our life. God’s purpose for us is to do His will. What’s God’s will for us?
God revealed to Abraham that we’re to bring His blessing to others. “All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.” (Gen 12:3) He revealed through Isaiah, “You are my servant … through whom I show my glory …I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49: 3)God wills that we give visibility to His presence in and among us, bring His light into people’s darkness, and demonstrate His saving presence to every man, woman, and child. This is the God-given purpose that brings fulfilment and happiness to all who embrace it. Thus the Psalmist proclaims, “To do Your will, O my God, is my delight, and Your law is written on my heart.” (Ps 40:9) God’s purpose serves us by giving us an identity, meaning, power, value, vision, and a mission to bring creation back to the Creator.
God doesn’t expect us to achieve His purpose for us on our own or figure out by ourselves. He never asks anything of us without giving us the wherewithal to accomplish it. He gave us a model that serves to show us how to achieve our purpose. That model is Jesus Christ, God-with-us in the flesh. Jesus not only demonstrated God’s service to everyone, and His purpose for everyone in His own life, but also equipped everyone to serve and be purposeful. He requested His Father to “protect them with Your Name which You have given me that they may be one even as we are one.” (Jn 17:11) The purpose for which God created us orients us not to this world but to the next world, for it’s there that purpose will be permanently fulfilled. Jesus prays for His followers, “They are not of this world, any more than I belong to this world. Consecrate them by means of truth – Your word is truth… I consecrate myself for their sakes now, that they may be consecrated in truth.” (Jn 17:16-19) Jesus serves us and helps us to serve and achieve our purpose by consecrating us in truth through uniting us with Himself in Baptism when we became a, “… holy people consecrated in Christ Jesus ….” (1 Cor 1:2) He reassures us in Confirmation by sending us the Holy Spirit with His gifts.
Our purpose on earth is to let God serve us by doing will. By letting God serve us He gives us the grace to serve Him and one another, which makes us a blessing to others. God serves us especially through His gift of Reconciliation, which Jesus made possible. John the Baptizer recognized Jesus as “the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn 1:29) Jesus’ Church immortalizes John’s words every time Christ’s Mass is celebrated. Just before Holy Communion, the priest breaks a small piece of the Sacred Host and places it in the Chalice with the accompanying triple petition, “Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us … grant us peace.” Then he holds us up the consecrated bread and wine, Jesus body and blood, proclaiming to the congregation, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” Jesus is the Lamb of God who sacrificed Himself to save us from our sins. God serves us through giving us the gift of His Son. Our greatest service to others is the gift of our presence to them. This is what God does through, with, and in Jesus who continues to make a gift of Himself to us through His Church in her Sacraments, and especially in the Holy Mass. Just as we can’t serve another if he or she refuses our service, so also God can’t serve us if we don’t let Him. This is why we continually need to invite the Holy Spirit, who came to us in Baptism and Confirmation, to guide our spirit in all our decisions through the use of His gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, prayerfulness, perseverance, and the fear of the Lord. God serves us with these gifts so that we can serve others in achieving our purpose and fulfilment. (frsos)
A Prayer on the Inauguration of a President
This prayer, from the U.S. edition of the Book of Blessings (no. 1965), is an adaptation of the prayer for the Church and for civil authorities which was composed by Archbishop John Carroll for use on the occasion of the inauguration of George Washington in 1789.
Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed your glory to all nations. God of power and might, wisdom and justice, through you authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment is decreed.
Assist with your spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to your people over whom he/she presides. May he encourage due respect for virtue and religion. May he execute the laws with justice and mercy? May he seek to restrain crime, vice, and immorality.
We likewise commend to your unbounded mercy all citizens of the United States, that we be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of your holy law. May we be preserved in union and that peace which the world cannot give; and, after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.
We pray to you, who are Lord and God, for ever and ever.
This Sunday is 103rd World Day for Migrants and Refugees World Day for Refugees and Migrants 2017
Prayer for Refugees & Victims of War
Lord God, no one is a stranger to you and no one is ever far from your loving care. In your kindness, watch over refugees and victims of war, those separated from their loved ones, young people who are lost, and those who have left home or who have run away from home. Bring them back safely to the place where they long to be and help us always to show your kindness to strangers
and to all in need Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
A prayer for those away from Home
Loving God, we pray for those whom we love,but who are absent from us. Keep them safe from all harm, evil and danger. Bless them with peace, laugher, wisdom, love and joy. Grant that we may be reunited in the fullness of love; in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
From prayer of our hearts by Vienna Cobb Anderso
MINOR Migrants, vulnerable and voiceless
It is important that we come together to remember and pray for the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence. Children are the most vulnerable and hardest hit among the world’s migrants and require special protection,
Pope Francis in his message called for greater protection and integration of immigrants and refugees who are minors, especially those who are unaccompanied. Minors are especially fragile, vulnerable and often invisible and voiceless unable to claim or unaware of their
rights and needs. Visit the website www.catholicbishops.ie/ immigrants to read full text
Prayer for Unaccompanied Migrant Children
For Children Immigrating Alone
Mary, you travelled alone
To reach the loving embrace of your beloved family member.
Elizabeth welcomed you with Open arms and an open heart.
Be with those children Who are travelling across borders .
To seek solace with family. Protect them from exploitation
And from traumatising experiences.
Teach us by The example of the Visitation.
Grant us open arms And open hearts To receive your children
Trying to find the way To a new, life giving home.
Mary, Mother of the human family
Help us end the misery of children separated from family
By man made borders But not by love.
May they arrive, as you did, To joy and to the benediction
Of a loving embrace. Amen
Sister of Mercy
HEALING THE WOUNDS OF THE HEART
All of us are wounded by sin.
The part of us which is most deeply damaged by sin is the heart.
The heart is so beautiful, so innocent,
but it can be betrayed, scorned, and broken.
Darkness of heart is the blackest night of all.
Emptiness of heart is the greatest poverty of all.
A heavy heart is the most wearisome burden of all.
A broken heart is the most painful wound of all.
Only love can heal the wounds of the heart.
Lord, send your Holy Spirit to us,
to heal the wounds of our hearts,
so that we may produce the fruits of love.
May is the usual month in Jesus’ Church when children make their first Holy Communion. It’s the first time they physically receive Jesus Christ into their body and soul. Catholics don’t receive Holy Communion, rather they receive Jesus Christ and experience a communion with Him in which He makes them holy. It’s an experience of belonging in which Jesus gives us the gift of Himself and calls us to make a gift of ourselves to one another. It’s holy because the Holy Spirit joins our spirit to purify it and unite us with Jesus in the most intimate of communions. In Holy Communion Jesus literally enters our life as spiritual food to nourish us as He leads us to Heaven in the body of Hs Church.
The Latin word ‘communio,’ literally means ‘with gift.’ From this we get the words ‘community’ and ‘communication.’ Communion is about sharing oneself with others as a gift. It’s a mutual participation in the life of another. It calls for communication and the building of community. We need community to satisfy our psychological need to belong. A sense of belonging is essential to our human wellbeing and functionality. Loneliness reflects a lack of belonging, feeling isolated, unwanted and unloved. Every human craves community because there’s no person who doesn’t want to be loved for himself or herself. This love is found only in community where people are in communion with one another as gifts to each other. Jesus founded His Church to be God’s community where people can receive Him and experience Him in Holy Communion. God told Moses, “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” (Lev 19:2) Peter reminds us of that command: “Remember, Scripture says, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:16)
We can’t make ourselves holy. God alone can do that since only He is holy. This means we must be in a communion with Him. As humans we rely on our senses to know what’s happening. We need to see, hear, smell, taste or touch something in order to experience it. The more senses we use, the more real is an event for us. We must sense community’s existence. It can’t be just an abstract idea for us. Communion with another has to be experienced if it’s to affect us. Making a gift of ourselves to another must be concrete in order to make a difference in our life and in that of others. So also in our relationship with God. When Jesus identified Himself as “the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), He wasn’t talking symbolically, but rather concretely about something that could be observed by our senses. His way could be seen; His truth could be heard; and His life could be received, tasted and touched. He made this possible through His Church in her Sacraments, especially in the Holy Mass.
Jesus made communion with Him a reality to be physically experienced on Holy Thursday when He instituted the Eucharist and ordained the Apostles and commanded them to “do this in remembrance of me …” (Lk 22:19-20). That evening Jesus took bread and said, “Take this and eat it, this is my body.” (Mt 26:26) Then He took a cup of wine and said, “All of you must drink it, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:27-28) St. Paul reiterated what Jesus had said about the bread and wine: “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me … This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. Every time, then, you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes!” (1 Cor 11:23-26)Thus Jesus made it possible to physically experience Him in a Holy Communion within His Church.
The Catholic Church has always believed in Jesus’ Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. She sees it as “the source and summit of the Christian life" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1324). The Christian life is a spiritual life, therefore the Eucharist is essential to our spirituality. Spirituality is about being in communion with Christ. Sadly, from the first moment when Jesus announced, “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. The man who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him,” people began to reject His teaching, “… many of His disciples remarked, ‘This sort of talk is hard to endure! How can anyone take it seriously?’” (Jn 6:55-60) Many still reject this teaching today. But Jesus meant what He said to be taken literally. Jesus alone, in the words of St. Peter, has“… the words of eternal life.” (Jn 6:68) “Eternal life is this; to know you, the only true God, and Him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ.” (Jn 17:3) To know God we must know Christ. To know Christ we must be in communion with Him. How? By receiving Him – body, blood, soul and divinity - in Holy Communion. (frsos)
Does Jesus Know You?
Many people say they know Jesus, but does Jesus know them? Friendship and acquaintanceship aren’t the same. We can’t know someone unless we let him or her into our life where the person can see who we really are and what we’re really about. Have you ever heard someone say, “I thought I knew him/her, but I guess I didn’t!” Relationships become superficial or fail because there’s no mutual knowledge. Mutual knowledge creates intimacy, enabling us to share our most precious dreams, deepest desires and highest hopes with confidence. Mutual knowledge is also required in our relationship with Jesus. It’s just as important to let Jesus know us as it is for us to know Him.
Many people think they know Jesus, but He doesn’t know them? Speaking about judgment day, Jesus said, “When that day comes, many will plead with me, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? Have we not exercised demons by its power? Did we not do many miracles in your name as well? Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Out of my sight you evildoers!’” (Mt 7:21-23) Why didn’t He know them? Because they didn’t spend time in His company revealing who they really were. It isn’t knowing Jesus that saves us but letting Him know us, so that He can call us by name, perfect our faith, and say, “Come. You have my Father’s blessing! Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.” (Mt 25:34)
How do we make sure that Jesus knows us? By being His companion. “If anyone would serve me, let him follow me; where I am, there will my servant be.” (Jn 12:26) Mutual knowledge is impossible without spending time together talking, listening, sharing, and working. Relationships die when people don’t spend time together observing and discussing what they have in common and where they differ; examining their mutual values and admitting their vices with a view to seeing how they can enrich and perfect each other. The same is true in our relationship with Jesus. He wants us to know Him, but more importantly He wants to know us. But Jesus is God, and therefore knows everything about us and so there’s no need to tell Him who we are! That’s not the way Jesus wants a relationship. He wants to know you and me as persons who freely share with Him who we are. Jesus wants His relationship with us to be mutual, based on the mutual knowledge. Relationship is never a one-way street.
Jesus gets to know you and me when we spend time with Him. Where can we do that? He’s always present in His Church. He assured Peter, on whom He founded His Church, “And know that I am with you always until the end of time.” (Mt 28:20) There Jesus knows us as, “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me.” (Jn 10:27) He knows us as active members of His Church, His flock, as His adopted brothers and sisters. He knows us when we listen to His voice and humbly accept Him as our Shepherd, Lord and Saviour. He knows us in our prayer, sharing our needs, hopes, and dreams, sharing our fears, faith, and love as the “sheep of His flock” with Him as our Good Shepherd (Ps 23;100). He knows us in worship, especially the Holy Mass. He knows us in Confession when we bare our souls in a spirit of repentance seeking absolution and the grace to overcome sin. He knows us in each of His Church’s Sacraments gracing us with His presence to be His “instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth” (Acts 13:47) bringing His light to dispel the world’s darkness. We spend time with Him doing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy ministering to the sick, thirsty, imprisoned, lonely, naked, homeless, the dying, counselling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, calling sinners to repent, comforting the afflicted, forgiving offences, bearing wrongs patiently, and praying for the living and the dead.
Jesus gets to know us as His witnesses in these acts of love and mercy. By showing ourselves to Him Jesus shines His light on us to give us a true picture of our self and the insight to become our best self. In letting Jesus know us He assures us that we will never be alone, unloved or abandoned during our life on earth. To those whom He knows Jesus promises: “I will give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me. The Father, who gave them to me, is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father. The Father and I are one.” (Jn 10:28-30) “He will shepherd you and “wipe away every tear from your eyes.” (Rev 7:17)
When we let Jesus know us by making Him our constant Companion in life, we know our true self so we can be true to God, our neighbour, and ourselves. Don’t be afraid to let Jesus know you. (frsos)
The Key to Salvation
A friend of mine asked recently how God would judge people who either haven’t heard of Him or who’ve been led astray in this confusing and sinful world. During this Year of Mercy we might well ask how God provides everyone with the opportunity to know and do His will. As a loving Father, God gives each of His children the opportunity to benefit from His love. How does God do this? Speaking through Moses, He tells us, “If only you would heed the voice of the Lord and keep His commandments and statute … with all your heart and all your soul … This command is not too mysterious and remote for you … It is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” (Deut 30:10-14) God writes His law on the heart of every human being from the moment of conception. Every human soul has a spiritual organ of religiosity that seeks union with its Creator. Every person has the ability to reason to the existence of God. Therefore no person can say he or she couldn’t hear or believe in God.
God formed a people to whom He personally revealed Himself and finally He came to earth Himself in Person through His Word, Jesus Christ. “Jesus is the image of the unseen God … for in Him were created all things in Heaven and on earth: everything visible and invisible … all things were created through Him and for Him … He holds all things in unity … the Church is His body, He is its Head … He was first to be born from the dead.” (Col 1:15-20) Jesus is God’s love for us made visible. “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Trial, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or the sword?” (Rom 8:35) Nothing can separate us from God’s love except ourselves through sin. Jesus founded His Church on Peter to, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the Name ‘of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Mat 28:19-20) It’s the responsibility of every member of Jesus’ Church to introduce Him to every human being? Why? Because to have a personal relationship with God it’s essential to know Jesus. He is the “image of the unseen God.” If people don’t now Jesus today it’s either because they have rejected Him or Christians haven’t introduced Him to them.
Sometimes Christians think they’re good because they haven’t hurt anyone. But they forget that Christianity isn’t only about not hurting others but about doing good to them. St. Peter urges us, “Above all, let your charity be constant, for charity covers a multitude of sins. Be mutually hospitable without complaining … put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure he or she has received.” (1 Pt 4:8-10) Jesus warns us, “It is not those who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in Heaven.” (Mt 7:21) What’s God’s will? It’s to love Him with all we have and love our neighbour as our self. When we love our neighbour we’re loving God and our self. Jesus emphasized love of neighbour as the key to salvation in His parable of the Good Samaritan. There are three kinds of people in the world. Those who act like, 1. “What’s yours is mine!” 2. “What’s mine is mine!” and 3. “What’s mine is yours.” The robber falls into the first category, the priest and Levite the second, and the Samaritan the third.
Every person has a free will and can choose either of these spirits when approaching others. The person who believes that “what is mine is yours” is the one who does God’s will, regardless of his or her religion. This person is like Jesus who heals our wounds caused by our sins. To selflessly reach out to others always signifies the presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s love made visible. It’s not those calling on the Lord who will be saved, but those who are charitable. Actions speak louder than words. God doesn’t want us just calling His Name; He want us to act in His Name. Faith without works is dead. Prayer without action is empty. A “religious” person without charity is less religious that a charitable person without religion. The value and purpose of religion is to bind us to God in a personal relationship so that, through prayer and worship, we might receive God’s grace and know His will, growing in our consciousness and creativity for doing good to others. Jesus tells us that we will be judged not on our Church attendance but on our consistent charitable attitude toward “the least of my brothers and sisters.” (Mt 25:40) We need to ask ourselves daily, “To whom can I do good today in my efforts to do God’s will and be saved from my sins?” (frsos)