Monday, November 28, 2011
Out in the parking lot I felt a prompt to go and give him a dollar. I ignored it saying to myself, "No, the employees have their hands full already; they don't need me encouraging troublemakers to hang around." I felt a pang, but drove away. The thought of this man came to me later in the day. Then again the next day, and the next. Finally, after reading Jesus' words about seeing Him in the least and the lowest, I realized He was trying to say something to me. In the middle of the affluent suburb I was shopping in, this poor man was not merely looked upon as unfortunate, but possibly dangerous. I repented and asked God for another chance, thinking it would be with a different person.
Later that same day, I went to that same Aldi and that same man was behind me in that same line with two more empty containers. I let him ahead of me again. Noted the nearly bare feet again. Listened to the irritated cashier tolerate him again. I knew what I was going to do this time, but OH NO, I realized I had no cash on me!! I would have to give him a handful of change. Ok, so it's a lesson in humility for me, too. Then after I checked out, I noticed an error on the bill and the cashier has to give me a five dollar bill back. Whoa. Now all the cash I have is a five dollar bill. I wanted to be generous, but that's a big chunk of my food budget. Then I remember it all comes from God to begin with, and He can never be outdone in generosity!
The man put down his little plastic container-collecting bag before heading into the washroom. Perfect. God's timing and ordering of our days is always PERFECT! I dropped the five in his bag and went on my way without anyone noticing a thing. In the parking lot I noticed the man checking through the garbage cans, looking for more containers to turn in. I imagined him experiencing a little bit of relief when he saw the bill at the bottom of his bag. I know, it may be that he will use the money for something that is not good for him. But then again, maybe he will just buy some food. All I know is that God gave me another chance to see Jesus in this man and even provided a way for me to bless him. Now I can pray for him, and maybe even start a conversation with him next to we meet at Aldi. God's will be done.
Friday, November 25, 2011
My frail mother moves slowly and shakily. People nearly bowl her over several times on each trip. I want to protect her. In the check-out line I placed Mom's items on the belt. She was purchasing a bag of bulk cookies for herself and her grandchildren. They usually sell for about $1.79 per pound. I noticed that the bag totaled nearly $6 and thought there must be some mistake. The price on the cookies had gone up $1 per pound, more than 1/2, in one week. So we asked for a price check. The line behind us was not pleased. The next lady in line asked the cashier if our sale could be “suspended” to move things along. It was as if she said, "Move aside old lady; you're gummin' up the works!" My shaky mother got shakier handling her change purse and shopper’s card. I was instantly indignant. I tried to glare at the woman, but she avoided my eyes. How could she not see my mother’s age and disabilities? How could she be in such a hurry that my mother’s need for simple customer service meant she should be pushed aside to not slow down the treadmill-like flow?
We left the store and that’s when my internal judgment of this complete stranger came back to haunt me. “Excuse me, excuse me!” The woman was running up to me with the $6 bag of cookies. “I want your mother to have these. My mother is very, very sick and your mother reminded me of her and I just want her to have these cookies. Merry Christmas.” She had tears in her eyes. A merciful sword pierced my pride. Ugh. Thanks be to God, He did not allow the woman to see my disdainful glance at her back inside the store. Thanks be to God, He showed me the true status of my heart.
My mother did not "need" these cookies. The only reason she didn't buy them herself was to let the store know that she was not pleased with the extreme increase in price. Though she didn't need the cookies Mom was very, very touched by this stranger's gesture. She told the story to many people in the coming days, including the thought that, even though the news reports so many bad things going on, there are still many kind people in the world. She was comforted and reassured by a stranger and a bag of cookies.
The truth is, we do not know what other people are going through. We do not know their troubles and stresses. All we can and should do is smile and pray for folks when their behavior seems less than courteous. That driver on your tail may actually be in a hurry. There may be someone sick and afraid waiting all alone. The clerk having a conversation with another clerk instead of you may be doing her doggone best just to make it through the day and get home to her children. And just when you least expect it, some harried soul may show you what true charity really looks like.
By the way, the cookie lady’s mother’s name is Mary. Please pray for her and for her beautiful daughter.
Monday, October 17, 2011
It does not matter if the tide seems to be turned against us. It does not matter if our opponents are well connected and well financed. It matters only that we continue to pray and be willing to be God’s instruments for the good of our beloved nation. Many souls are at stake. Please pray!
Archbishop Dolan’s full letter can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/dolan-letter-on-religious-liberty.pdf
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
What can spiritual direction mean to an individual soul? I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but to me it has meant healing, truth, liberation and joy. I am what is often called a “re-vert”. I was brought up in the Sacraments of the Church, but fell away as a young adult not to return until I was 33. God was able to use a time of trial in my life to finally get my attention and ultimately bring me home. My first confession after returning was one of the most beautiful days of my life. I felt one hundred pounds lighter upon leaving that blessed priest’s office. I could have flown home. In the months and years to come I realized I had to resolve many issues from my past sins and the wounds of youth. I knew I was forgiven, but I still needed healing.
Through spiritual direction, I was shown the root wounds and root sins which led me further and further away from Jesus and His Church. Under a priest, the directee can receive both the sacraments of the sick, for emotional and spiritual healing, and confession, concurrent with direction. This is a great blessing because Father then knows you so well; he knows your weaknesses, your failings and your goodness too. Direction with a priest has given me a far deeper understanding of why we call priests “Father”. Even though I am older than my director, I truly feel he is my spiritual father and I, his daughter.
Some people relate spiritual direction to psychological counseling, and there is certainly some common ground. However the goal is not simply to “feel better”, but to be better. I do not mean to be superior, but rather to make progress along the path towards Christlikeness. In direction there is much talk of practicing virtues and uncovering hidden or denied vices. It is about getting to really know and see ourselves as God does. That may sound somewhat scary, but what we discover is that God sees us as His beloved children whom He loves just as we are, and to whom He will grant every grace to grow in truth and beauty each day of our lives. He desires Heaven for us. Spiritual direction is one more way the Church hopes to help us attain our loving Father’s desire.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Predators with Ph.D.sBy Chris Banescu
The latest offensive against morality, decency, and sanity in America has been launched by a pro-pedophilia group and several academics who openly advocate for the normalization and legalization of pedophilia. Referring to Judeo-Christian moral principles and values as "cultural baggage of wrongfulness" and an adult's desire to sexually molest a child as "normative," these predators with Ph.D.s are hell-bent on destroying key moral boundaries and critical societal norms that protect innocent children from pathological and dangerous adults.
On August 17 of this year, the pro-pedophilia group B4U-ACT sponsored an event in Baltimore attended by researchers, professors, mental health professionals, and "minor-attracted persons" (MAP, a euphemism for "adults who crave sex with children"). These individuals endorse the adult molestation of children, consider this sexual perversion as normal, and advocate for the declassification of pedophilia as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
The academic panelists who presented at this "pedophilia-friendly" scientific symposium came from such distinguished institutions as Johns Hopkins University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
According to a press release issued by Matt Barber, vice president of Liberty Counsel Action, and Dr. Judith Reisman, visiting law professor at Liberty University School of Law, who attended the event, several admitted pedophiles were in attendance, in addition to many academics and university professors. The keynote address was given by Dr. Fred Berlin of Johns Hopkins University, who proclaimed that he wants to "completely support the goal of B4U-ACT."
Key highlights from the conference include these disturbing assertions (more disturbing excerpts available at the end of this article):
- Pedophiles are "unfairly stigmatized and demonized" by society.
- "The majority of pedophiles are gentle and rational."
- There was concern about "vice-laden diagnostic criteria" and "cultural baggage of wrongfulness."
- "We are not required to interfere with or inhibit our child's sexuality."
- "Children are not inherently unable to consent" to sex with an adult.
- An adult's desire to have sex with children is "normative."
- Our society should "maximize individual liberty. ... We have a highly moralistic society that is not consistent with liberty."
- "In Western culture sex is taken too seriously."
- "Anglo-American standard on age of consent is new [and 'Puritanical']. In Europe it was always set at 10 or 12. Ages of consent beyond that are relatively new and very strange, especially for boys. They've always been able to have sex at any age."
- "Assuming children are unable to consent lends itself to criminalization and stigmatization."
- A consensus belief by both speakers and pedophiles in attendance was that, because it vilifies MAPs, pedophilia should be removed as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), in the same manner homosexuality was removed in 1973.
What these academics are doing -- i.e., providing comfort and support for child-rapists and molesters -- is unconscionable and unethical. Instead of helping to suppress these abusers' sick desires, correct their delusional attractions, and moderate (or hopefully cure) their mental illness, these professionals sympathize with these monsters and minimize the evil they perpetrate. Rather than work to suppress the abomination in these pedophiles' minds and souls, these academics stoke these warped passions with the fuel of justification, rationalization, and normalization.
And their treachery doesn't stop there. Academics like Fred Berlin, M.D., Ph.D.; Nancy Nyquist Potter, Ph.D.; and others are also attempting to destroy societal protections of children by pushing to declassify this dangerous perversion as a mental illness and decriminalize the behavior. In essence, they advocate the elimination of statutory rape and sexual offender registration laws designed to protect minors from being sexually exploited by adults, thus removing the ability of the state to punish and incarcerate these monsters. How many other potential predators -- who previously suppressed their lusts for fear of incarceration, societal rebuke, and sexual predator registration laws -- will now be encouraged to succumb to their perverse impulses, cheered on and defended by credentialed academics and fully protected by a neutered legal system?
What do the leadership of John Hopkins University, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Louisville have to say about their professors attending a pro-pedophile conference and advocating for the "normalization" of adults having sex with children? What about the donors, supporters, and alumni who support these institutions? Are they aware that their donations pay for these professors' salaries and help promote these kinds of "academic" activities? Is this an indication of the level of "scholarship" and "intellectual discourse" we expect to see in the future from these acclaimed institutions? What's next? A conference on how to de-stigmatize and normalize producers, distributors, and users of child porn?
Chris Banescu is an attorney, entrepreneur, and university professor. He regularly blogs at www.chrisbanescu.com and www.orthodoxnet.com/blog.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/../2011/09/predators_with_phds.html at September 03, 2011 - 09:18:11 AM CDT
Friday, September 2, 2011
Anyone who can actually believe this is for the children's sake and not for the sake of the exploding "adult" market in children's flesh and souls, is beyond naive. If doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, then it appears the Swiss education elite have gone insane. Let's take away more and more of our children's time to be pre-sexual, expose them to more and more of what we used to shield them from and expect to produce appropriately developed sexual adults. If these many decades of sexual license have only produced more and more dysfunction, abuse, trafficking and murder, WHY would increasing this license have the opposite effect? Insanity.
Don't buy into it! Protect your children. Give them as many years, months, weeks, days and hours of purity and pre-sexuality as is humanly possible for you to give! Their true maturity and adulthood will be far more blessed and healthy because of it. Be a parent! Don't let the schools tell you what is appropriate and when. Trust your instinct. You know your children best. Teach them as they present questions. Neither give them too much nor too little information. Love them. Show them the context of your loving marriage. Save the world, one child's soul at a time.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
"Then the priest invites those present to take part in the Act of Penitence, which, after a brief pause for silence, the entire community carries out through a formula of general confession. The rite concludes with the priest's absolution, which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance."
God has not willed to reserve to himself all exercise of power. He entrusts to every creature the functions it is capable of performing, according to the capacities of its own nature. This mode of governance ought to be followed in social life. The way God acts in governing the world, which bears witness to such great regard for human freedom, should inspire the wisdom of those who govern human communities. They should behave as ministers of divine providence.”
Subsidiarity teaches us that all functions, from health care, to industry to education should be performed at the “most local” level possible to avoid interfering with each individual’s God given free will and to preserve each individual’s dignity. In the end, violating subsidiarity will lead to violating the sanctity of each Human Life. When the society as a whole is valued at the expense of the rights of the individual, individual humans become dispensable. Our bishops clearly spoke out against this double-edged danger prior to the Health Care Law’s passage. We thank them and pray for their continued fortitude in standing up for the Truth of Jesus’ teachings on the value of each of our lives. We also thank and pray for all of the Catholic doctors, nurses and staff who have historically brought so much health care and blessing to our nation, and who will continue to do so as long as they are able.
We are all called to live a chaste life. That’s right; not just priests and religious, but all of us. Falling under the cardinal virtue of temperance, “which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason,” chastity applies this virtue to our human sexuality. It is not the same thing as celibacy or abstinence, but refers to the, “successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. It involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.” Our sexuality is a gift we freely choose to give over to God in the consecrated or ordained life, or to God through our spouse in the married life.
This form of self control is a, “long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life. It can be more intense in certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed during childhood and adolescence.” Like all of the virtues, we work on, fail at, go to confession for, resolve to do better at chastity, all of our life. We assist ourselves in this pursuit through frequent reception of the Sacraments and fidelity to prayer.
As usual, the Church wants what is best for us, a true understanding, integration and enjoyment of God’s gift of our sexuality. The world tries to sell us a cheap imitation (the words “dumpster diving” come to mind). Chastity is a way we honor our own and others’ dignity. It is a facet of our lives, most beautiful, and most easily scarred. Protect it as you would any other precious gem. But don’t forget, God can polish any “scratch” in His confessional.
All quotes are from the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2337-2345, which is definitely worth a read. www. Chastity.Com is also a great source of information.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Early in the 18th century Jean-Pierre de Caussade, a Jesuit priest, spiritually advised nuns to actively surrender their wills to God. In the book compiled from his letters, The Sacrament of the Present Moment, de Caussade teaches us to be in constant communion with God that we might do His will for us, not just every day, but every hour and every moment. By reading de Caussade’s book, we learn to receive the blessings of the present moment, whatever it holds, and to walk in God’s will for our lives.
Often in August our brains go into overdrive; we start planning for the hyper-busy months to come. Is this why God gave us August? Is this why He gave us a lush, hot month which just about throws itself at us trying to get our attention with its beauty and abundance? No, August is a time to slow down enough to listen to what God is calling us to do and not do. Soon enough the voices of the world will crowd in with ideas of how we should spend the precious resource of our time. Let us use August to allow God to free us from the dead wood of false obligations and free us to do the things He wills, including re-creating ourselves.
Expounding on Mary’s ability to be present, de Caussade wrote:
Her spirit, ravished with joy, looked upon everything that she was called to do or suffer each moment as the gift of God, who always fills with blessings a heart that is nourished neither by the world nor by fantasy, but by Him alone.
By using God’s gifts for His purposes we grow closer to each other and to Him. When we go our own way we may experience worldly success, but not lasting fulfillment and joy. How often have we been frustrated trying to bring our own plans to fruition, but amazed by how easily work flows when we act on God’s plans? God wants our work to fulfill us and our rest to restore us. He wills all good things for us. August is the perfect month to give God’s plan a try. Let us be present to Him. Let us be absent from regret and anxiety. May we thus realize the gift that God gives us in the present moment.
On Teresa Tomeo’s radio show May 29, 2009, she and Janet Morana were discussing a study released on the cost to the US Government of treating and dealing with the “human wreckage” related to alcohol and drug abuse. The obvious connection which came to their minds was that a good portion of this, in both women and men, was caused by abortion. No professionals believe or inform their patients that abortion causes psychological problems which lead to behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse. Ignoring this truth amounts to malpractice, not to mention the fiscal costs to our society. We cannot be healed of what we will not admit is a wound. The cost of abortion, to the individual and to society outweighs the supposed benefits handily. This is very important information from a secular point of view. This has nothing to do with religion or even morality. Abortion costs our society dearly.
There is one point that I would like to make to compliment what my fellow patriots in the pro-life movement say. Abortion is the cause of many deep, lasting and costly problems. However, I do not believe abortion is the root cause. Abortion is the terrible and disgusting flower, or weed, of another root. I believe that root is the degradation of the feminine person. A girl or woman who has been affirmed in her femininity and personhood would not consider abortion as a solution to a “problem”. Indeed such persons would not likely be in a position to have an “unwanted” pregnancy in the first place. The cause of abortion is that we are raising little girls to be prostitutes. For several generations we have taught them that their value lies in what they give to or trade with society first through their sexuality, second through their ability to generate income. Gone is the value given to them first as daughters of God, second as bearers and nurturers of life. In denying the true value of the female person we destroy her ability to care for herself and make choices which respect her own integrity and humanity. By the time many girls are at an age to become pregnant and make their choices, they have been wounded and damaged to such a degree that their choices are necessarily selfish ones. No one has taken care of them; they must take care of themselves.
Of course the corollary of this attack is the destruction of true masculinity. Its retributions are just as severe and as related to abortion as the destruction of femininity. A boy or man who has been affirmed in his true value, first as a son of God, second as co-creator and protector, would abhor the idea of killing his own child. A man raised in the truth of his masculinity would regard his purity and eventual vocation in such a way that he would be much less likely to be in a position to support the ending of his child’s life for his convenience or perceived material necessity.
This cycle of human degradation feeds upon itself. There is more human wreckage now than a generation ago. There will be exponentially more a generation from now if hearts and minds (and laws) are not changed. A society in denial teaches the wounded and proud young American that abortion is sanctioned and thus a valid “choice”. We have generations of legalized American murderers. The dignity of the human person disappears. We see and are living with the fruit. A child sexually abused by her stepfather or teacher or brother survives by counting on herself and what the world tells her will bring her happiness and peace. The world denies the truth of who she is but she has no reference point to see the lie.
We in the pro-life movement must see in every angry pro-choice person a wounded lamb whom God desires to heal. We must pray first and foremost for conversion of each soul. We see the promise of the youth. We speak out and teach truth. We pray to avoid the prophetic words of Blessed Mother Teresa, “The fruit of abortion is nuclear war.” We see that abortion is in itself the terrible fruit, or flower, or weed, of the enemy’s lie about the dignity of the human person. The attacks are personal, individual and devastating. Let us pray personally, individually and with the assurance of where the great power lies. Jesus, I trust in You.
From one of my pastor's, Fr. Joe Gatto, homilies: We are all called to take ourselves out of the center of the circle, or to allow Jesus to do so, and place Him there instead.
From spiritual directions of our dear Franciscan, Fr. Francis: Write our hurts in the sand where the winds of forgiveness can blow them away. Carve our blessings in stone to keep them always before us.
So, Fr. Francis, what should we do when we are offended? His answer was to first discern whether they even meant to offend you. Are they even aware of what they are saying or doing? It is rare that intent is malicious.
This has been rolling around in my soul. What keeps bubbling up is: Don’t Take Offense. If you do, what you receive is offense. Instead, receive the wound, the hurt, and then give it to Jesus. If you are offended, you are in the center, you are not seeing the offender’s wounds and you cannot pray for them. You end up ruminating on the wound, or even the perceived wound, instead of moving forward with grace that can help the offender.
Jesus was not offended by His rejection, trial, scourging, being spit upon, being humiliated. He was not offended by His Passion and Death. He was wounded throughout, but always kept before Himself our need for forgiveness, mercy, atonement and salvation. He alone had the right to be offended, yet He forfeited that right for us.
When someone does something offensive to you, receive the hurt, give it to Jesus, ask for the wisdom to see the offender’s wounds and offer the suffering and a prayer for their conversion and healing. In this way you receive grace, forgiveness and mercy yourself. Choosing the other way, being offended, all you receive is offense and you still do not avoid the hurt.
My response to Fr. Francis’ thoughts on discerning intent is yes. This view will allow you to offer suffering and pray for the offender, who is himself or herself a wounded lamb. However I would add that someone can unintentionally wound you. A drunk driver can be as deadly as a crazed killer, malicious intent aside. The wound, the hurt is still real and still needs to be given to Jesus. Don’t take offense, receive the wound and offer His Mercy. This is how we receive His Mercy and His Peace.