#MoralStory: The Lord’s Home Run

Freddy and the Lord stood by to observe a baseball game. The Lord’s team was playing Satan’s team.

The Lord’s team was at bat, the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate named “Love.”

Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because “Love never fails.”

The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith works with Love.

The next batter up was named Godly Wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch.

Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass: ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked because he never swings at what Satan throws.

The bases were now loaded. The Lord then turned to Freddy and told him He was now going to bring in His starplayer. Up to the plate stepped Grace. Freddy said, “He sure doesn’t look like much!”

Satan’s whole team relaxed when they saw Grace. Thinking he there was no way he could lose, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen! However, Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by.

He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on the head and sent him crashing on the ground; the roaring crowds went wild as the ball continued over the fence for a home run!

The Lord’s team won!

The Lord then asked Freddy if he knew why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom could get on base but couldn’t win the game. Freddy answered that he didn’t know why.

The Lord explained, “If your love, faith, and wisdom had won the game, you would think you had done it by yourself. Love, Faith, and Wisdom will get you on base, but only My Grace can get you Home.

“For by Grace are you saved, it is a gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

His Sheep Am I

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Lyrics:
In God’s green pastures feeding by His cool waters lie
Soft in the evening walk my Lord and I
All the sheep of his pastures fare so wondrously fine
His sheep am I

Chorus
Waters cool (in the valley)
Pastures green (on the mountain)
In the eve (in the eve)-ning walk my Lord and I
Dark the night (in the valley)
Rough the way (on the mountain)
Step by step (step by step) my Lord and I

Through the streets of the city in the darkness of night
Far from the fold he heard my lonely cry
Now I sit at His table in a palace of light
His sheep am I (chorus)

Yes the Lord is my shepherd and no want shall I know
He’ll guide and comfort me where ‘er I go
On the mount, in the valley, by His hand He shall lead
His sheep am I (chorus)

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#ShortNews: Australian state rejects bid to decriminalize abortion

Lawmakers in New South Wales have defeated a bid to liberalize the Australian state’s abortion law.

The proposed legislation, similar to laws that already stand in other Australian jurisdictions, would have decriminalized abortion. It would also have set up “exclusion zones” around abortion clinics, denying access to pro-life counselors.

Abortion is legal in New South Wales today only when the mother’s health is judged to be in danger. Proponents of a more liberal policy said that they would continue to press for change.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/decriminalise-abortion-debate-set-for-nsw/news-story/1373a3c732baaaff86a522e995d72ba5

#ShortNews: Jordan’s King Abdullah vows to protect Christian minority

Jordan’s King Abdullah II reaffirmed his determination to protect his country’s Christian minority, during a May 2 meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In his discussions with Dr. Justin Welby, King Abdullah called attention to what he characterized as a harmonious relationship between Muslims and Christians in his country. He said that he sees his role as that of a “protector” of Christians.

http://www.fides.org/en/news/62195-ASIA_JORDAN_King_Abdullah_II_claims_his_role_as_protector_of_Arab_Christians#.WQnjvFMrKIY

#ShortNews: Religious sisters in US come from at least 83 nations

A study on the 4,000 international religious sisters serving in the United States was presented in Rome at a meeting of the International Union of Superiors General.

The study, conducted by Trinity Washington University and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, found that sisters from at least 83 countries are serving in the United States and that they arrived, on average, at age 30.

One-third come from Asia, 28% from Europe, 27% from elsewhere in the Americas, and 10% from Africa. Approximately 60% entered religious life before coming to the United States.

http://www.internationalunionsuperiorsgeneral.org/international-sisters-united-states-study/

Loving Kindness

We all need to practice being kind, particularly to ourselves. It is only when we first reconnect with the infinite love that is our ground of being that we can extend that love to others through nonviolent actions. When we remember that we are love, we can truly wish even our enemies well. The Buddhist practice of metta, loving kindness, is a wonderful way to grow kindness for yourself and for others.

Begin by sitting in silence and finding the place of loving kindness within you. Then speak the following statements aloud:

May I be free from inner and outer harm and danger. May I be safe and protected.

May I be free of mental suffering or distress.

May I be happy.

May I be free of physical pain and suffering.

May I be healthy and strong.

May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease. [1]

Repeat these affirmations as many times as you wish. When you are ready, replace the “I” in each statement with someone else’s name. You might follow the sequence from the maitri (another word for loving kindness), gradually widening the flow of love to include: a beloved, a friend, an acquaintance, someone who has hurt you, and finally the whole universe.

By Richard Rohr

Saint Markella of Chios

Saint Markella lived on the Greek island of Chios, at the end of the fifteeneth century.  Her mother was a devout Christian who raised Markella with great love for the holy Virgin Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Her father had no interest in spiritual matters. She had been trained by her mother to be respectful and devout, and to guard her purity. She avoided associations with other girls who were more outgoing than she was so that she would not come to spiritual harm through such company. Her goal was to attain the Kingdom of Heaven, and to become a bride of Christ.

Markella’s mother died when the girl was a young teen.  By the time Markella was in her twenties, she had become a beautiful and capable woman.  Her faith never wavered; in fact, it grew as she served her father and ran his household.

As an adult, Saint Markella was loved by everyone for her beauty and for her spiritual gifts. The Enemy of our salvation tried to lure her into sin by placing evil thoughts in her mind. She resisted these temptations, and so the devil turned away from a direct confrontation with the young woman. Instead, he incited her father with an unnatural desire for his daughter.

Markella’s father changed in his behavior toward her. He became moody and depressed, forbidding her to go into the garden or to speak with the neighbors. Unable to understand the reason for this change, the saint went to her room and wept. She prayed before an icon of the Mother of God, asking Her to help her father. Soon she fell asleep, only to be awakened by her father’s shouting.

The unfortunate man had spent a long time struggling against his lust, but finally he gave in to it. At times he would speak to his daughter roughly, then later he would appear to be gentle. He wanted to be near her, and to stroke her hair. Unaware of her father’s intentions, Saint Markella was happy to see him emerge from his melancholy state, thinking that her prayer had been answered.

One day, her father openly declared the nature of his feelings for her. Horrified, the saint fled from her father’s advances, running for hours over rugged terrain.  Her body was bleeding from jagged thorns and her own father’s arrow.  She ran along the rocky coast, her blood dyeing the stones beneath her feet.  She never ceased praying to the Most Holy Mother of God.

Feeling a sharp pain in her leg, she saw that she had been shot with an arrow. She paused to pull it out, then took to flight once more. She scrambled over the rocks, staining them with her blood. Hearing her father getting closer, she prayed that the earth would open up and swallow her.

The saint sank to her knees, her strength all gone, and then a miracle took place. The rock split open and received her body up to the waist. Her father drew near with wild-eyed joy shouting, “I have caught you. Now where will you go?

Drawing his sword, he began to butcher his helpless daughter, cutting off pieces of her body. Finally, he seized her by the hair and cut off her head, throwing it into the sea. At once the calm sea became stormy, and large waves crashed to the shore near the murderer’s feet. Thinking that the sea was going to drown him because of his crime, he turned and fled. His ultimate fate has not been recorded.

According to tradition, the lower extremities of Saint Markella’s body are concealed in the rock. The most astonishing thing about the rock is not the warmth of the water, nor the discoloration of the other rocks, but what happens when a priest performs the Blessing of Water. A sort of steam rises up from the water near the rock, and the entire area is covered with a mist. The sea returns to normal as soon as the service is over. Many miracles have occurred at the spot, and pilgrims flock there from all over the world.