Archive for October, 2013

#MoralStory : “Enlarge Your Sense of Things”

Once an unhappy young man came to an old master and told he had a very sad life and asked for a solution. The old Master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.
“How does it taste?” – The Master asked.
“Terrible.” – spat the apprentice.
The Master chuckled and then asked the young man to take another handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and when the apprentice swirled his handful of salt into the lake. The old man said, “Now drink from the lake.” As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the Master asked, “How does it taste?”
“Good!” – remarked the apprentice.
“Do you taste the salt?” – asked the Master.
“No.” – said the young man.
The Master sat beside this troubled young man, took his hands, and said, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount we taste the ‘pain’ depends on the container we put it into. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.

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#MiniBulletin : The Method Of The Christian Mission Is Not Proselytism: Is Is Sharing The Flame Of Faith

In his greetings after the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father mentioned that today is World Missionary Day, and commented that the “mission” of the Church is “to spread throughout the world the flame of faith, which Jesus ignited in the world: faith in God who is the Father, Love and Mercy. The method of the Christian mission is not proselytism, but rather the sharing of a flame that warms the soul. … On this Day we are close to all missionaries who work tirelessly and quietly, and who give their lives”.

Among them, he continued, was the Italian Afra Martinelli, killed a few days ago in Nigeria during a robbery. “Everyone mourned for her, Christians and Muslims. They cared for her greatly”, he continued. “She proclaimed the Gospel with her life, with the work she carried out, an education centre; in this way, she spread the flame of faith, she fought the good fight! … I also think of Stefano Sandor, who was proclaimed Blessed in Budapest yesterday. He was a Salesian layperson, exemplary in his service to the young, in oratory and in professional instruction. When the Communist regime closed down all Catholic works, he faced persecution with courage, and was killed at thirty-nine years of age. We join in giving thanks to the Salesian Family and the Hungarian Church”.

He expressed his closeness to the Philippine population, struck by a serious earthquake, and invited prayer for “that dear Nation, which has recently suffered several calamities”. He also warmly greeted the organisers of the event “100 Metres of Racing in the Faith”, promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture, thanking them for reminding us that “the believer is an athlete of the spirit”.

#MiniBulletin : Pope: Sacrament of Confession is not a ‘torture chamber’

“Confessing our sins is not going to a psychiatrist, or to a torture chamber: it’s saying to the Lord, ‘Lord, I am a sinner,’ but saying it through the brother, because this says it concretely. ‘I am sinner because of this, that and the other thing.’” Said Pope, “Confess your sins to one another,” he said, repeating the words of Saint James, not to be noticed by others, but rather “to give glory to God” and to recognize that it is only him who can save.

This is why, stressed the Pope, we go to a “brother priest,” to confess, urging that when one confesses, it must be done with “concreteness.”

“Some say: ‘Ah, I confess to God.’ But it’s easy, it’s like confessing by email, no? God is far away, I say things and there’s no face-to-face, no eye-to-eye contact,” while “others (say)‘No, I go to confession,’ but they confess so many ethereal things, so many up-in-the-air things, that they don’t have anything concrete. And that’s the same as not doing it.”

Concreteness, honesty, and the genuine ability to be ashamed one’s mistakes are all qualities needed in order to be open to the forgiveness of God, as well as the deep awareness of his love, the Pope noted.

Concluding his reflections, Pope Francis stressed that in the face of confession, we should have the attitude of a small child, because “when a child comes to confess, he never says something general.”

Although “we always have the tendency to hide the reality of our failings,” the Pope noted that “there is something beautiful: when we confess our sins as they are in the presence of God, we always feel that grace of shame.”

“Being ashamed in the sight of God is a grace. It is a grace: ‘I am ashamed of myself.’”

 

–taken from catholicnewsagency.com–

#MiniBulletin : Baptism Rates Falling in US

Christian baptism rates are falling in the US, and the number of Catholic baptisms has dropped by more than 20% in the past 40 years.

From over 1 million in 1970, the number of Catholic baptisms dropped to 793,103 in 2001. In 1970, 29% of all births in the US resulted in a Catholic baptism; by 2010 that figure had fallen to 20%.

The decline in baptisms has been attributed to an overall decline in religious affiliation, as well as a sharp increase in the number of religiously mixed marriages. The trend in declining number of baptisms runs parallel to a similar decline in the number of marriages solemnized in Catholic churches.

Set aside that one in five Americans today say they have no religious identity. Even among those who do claim a denominational label, “there is a de-emphasis on practicing faith,” said the Rev. Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee.

“People want God but they’re not happy with churches,” he said, so rites such as baptism are victims of an “anti-denominational, anti-institutional, even anti-church era.”

 

–taken from religionnews.com–

Repentance of A Sinner

Once upon a time, there was a sinned woman who has just died. She went to the Heaven’s gate, and could not enter the Heaven. The Angel who guard the gate said, “you could enter Heaven, but you must first found the most valuable gift on earth that you can offer to God.”

The woman sent back to earth. Everyday she thought about God’s most valuable gift on earth. And then she heard about a martyr who had been beheaded in the name of Jesus. ‘what else is more valuable than the blood of a holy man who died to defend Jesus?’, the woman thought. And there she went to the crowd and gathered a small bottle of the martyr’s blood, and back to the Heaven’s gate.

When the woman reached at the Haven’s gate, the Angel did not open the gate for her. “The martyr’s blood was valuable gift on earth. However, it was not  the most valuable gift on earth that you can offer to God..”

The woman sent back to earth. Everyday she thought about God’s most valuable gift on earth. And then she heard about a monk who spent all his day serves the poor and the needy. ‘what else is more valuable than the sweat of a holy monk who serves the poor and the needy as Jesus asked us to do so?’, the woman thought. And there she went to the crowd and gathered a small bottle of the monk’s sweat, and back to the Heaven’s gate.

When the woman reached at the Haven’s gate, the Angel did not open the gate for her. “The monk’s sweat was valuable gift on earth. However, it was not  the most valuable gift on earth that you can offer to God..”

The woman sent back to earth. She tried another idea, went back to Heaven’s gate, but the Angel still did not open the Heaven’s gate for her. She tried many times with so many ideas, went back to Heaven’s gate, but the Angel still did not open the Heaven’s gate for her.

Until one day, when the woman had tired trying and she about to gave up, she sat on the bench at the park, she looked at the water fountain nearby her. There were two children playing around the water fountain cheerfully. Then there came the children’s parents played with them. All of sudden, the woman’s eyes were teary. She remembered she has never been a good parent to her children, she did so many mistakes on her past, she has lost many precious moments and preferred to do sins. Her tears fell down and unstoppable, then she decided to went back to Heaven’s gate.

When the woman reached at the Haven’s gate, all the Angels and the Saints were all screamed happily and in joy. The Heaven’s gate was finally opened for her, for the most valuable gift on earth that you can offer to God was a repentance from a sinner.

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Saint Foy de Conques

faith-223x300Governor Dacien, Consul of Aquitaine, ruled his small corner of the Roman Empire without tolerance for anyone who defied Rome’s authority. For a few months, the cult of Christians had been growing like a steady fire in Aquitaine. The Consul attempted to put it out. In the last few weeks, hundreds of citizens in the nearby Garonne Valley had been converted to Christianity, and it was causing all manner of upheaval in Aquitaine. Highbrow citizens were demanding something be done. It would not be long before the Emperor would hear of the conversions. These new Christians were calling this Jesus “Lord” instead of Caesar, and that would mean trouble for the Consul.

Curious of how to deal with the ‘Christian’ problem, the Consul decided to inquire of one and see how difficult it would be to turn them back to pagan superstitions and more importantly, Rome. He had a young Christian girl named Faith (also known as Foy, Foi or Fides), about 13 or 14 years old, brought before him. She was a tall young woman, already stunning in her beauty. The Consul wanted to show the leaders under his authority how easy it was to sway people away from this Jesus. With the smallest amount of intimidation he knew a tender creature like this girl could be turned.

When Faith was apprehended and brought before Dacian, making the sign of the cross on different parts of her body, she uttered this prayer: “Lord Jesus, who art always ready to assist thy servants, fortify me at this hour, and enable me to answer in a manner worthy of you.”

The tyrant [Dacian], assuming an air of mildness, asked her, “What is your name?”

She answered, “My name is Faith, and I endeavor to support in reality what that flame signifies.”

Dacian – “What is your religion?”

FAITH – “I have from my infancy served Christ, and to him I have consecrated my whole soul.”

Dacian – “Come, child, have some regard for your youth and beauty; renounce the religion you profess, and sacrifice to Diana, who is a divinity of your own sex, and who will bestow on you the most precious gifts.”

FAITH – “The divinities of the Gentiles are devils: how then can you advise me to sacrifice to them?”

Dacian, in a rage, said: “What! do you presume to call our gods devils! you must resolve instantly to offer sacrifice, or expire under torments.”

The saint, calling to mind the courage of the martyrs and the glorious crown promised to those who persevere to the end, far from being terrified at the menaces of the tyrant, feels herself inflamed with a new desire to die for her Lord; “No,” cried she, “I not only am prepared to suffer every torment for Christ, but I burn with impatience to die for him.”

Dacian, more enraged than ever, ordered a brazen bed to be produced, and the saint to be bound on it with iron chains.

A treat fire was kindled under it, the heat of which was rendered still more intolerable by the addition of oil, and other inflammable matter.

As she was being burned to death on a red-hot grill, heavy snow is said to have so filled the air round about her that it modestly veiled her body from the onlookers until she had died.

The spectators, struck with pity and horror, exclaimed: “How can the tyrant thus torment an innocent young virgin only for worshipping God!”

Hereupon Dacian apprehended numbers of them, and as these refused to sacrifice, they were beheaded with Saint Faith.