Archive for November, 2013

Saint Margaret of Antioch

st.margaretSaint Margaret also called Marina; belonged to Pisidian Antioch in Asia Minor, where her father was a pagan priest. Her mother dying soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a Christian woman. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, she was disowned by her father and adopted by her nurse.

It happened that Margaret was just as beautiful as she was humble, just as pleasant to sight as she was chaste. Unfortunately, her pleasant countenance and her beauty, at the age of fifteen, attracted a provost (a type of police governor in the area) named Olibrius, under the Emperors Maximian and Diocletian.

Olibrius hated all Christians, and commanded that those who followed God be put to death. That day Margaret was tending the sheeps, a lustful Olybrius caught sight of her, and attracted by her great beauty sought to make her his concubine or wife. So he ordered his servants to bring the fair maiden before him.

The servants of Olibrius told the governor that Margaret was a Christian, and not fit for Olibrius. But Olibrius called her before him and asked her, “Are you free, or are you a slave?”

The blessed Margaret answered, “I am a free woman, and God’s slave.”

Olibrius would not accept Margaret as a Christian. When neither cajolery nor threats of punishment could succeed in moving her to yield to his desires, he had her brought before him in public trial at Antioch, and treatened her with death unless she renounced the Christian faith. An attempt was made to burn her, but the flames left her unhurt. She was then bound hand and foot and thrown into a cauldron of boiling water, but at her prayer her bonds were broken and she stood up uninjured. Then Olibrius ordered her to prison.

The next day, Olibrius ordered Margaret before him again. And again, she refused to reject Christ. Cruelly, she was hanged in an instrument and beaten with iron rods. They then used iron combs to tear her flesh down to the bone, causing her blood to run as if water from a spring. Still, the weary and beaten Margaret refused to pay homage to any of the other gods, so Olibrius ordered her back to prison.

There was a legend when Margaret was in prison : Margaret, bright as a blossom on a tree, at the age of fifteen, prayed, bleeding in the tiny prison cell allotted to her. She asked the Lord to reveal the fiend that fought with her, and then appeared a dragon. The dragon seeks to devour her, but before it can swallow her, it was slain by the sign of the cross, Margaret made. She beats the dragon with a symbol that frees her body.

In the morning, still unrelenting in her faith, the provost ordered her to be thrown in to the fire and her body to be burned with brands. Thereafter, the tormenters moved her body to a large vessel filled with boiled water, in order to extend the pain and suffering. However, Margaret rose out of the water without injury, crying out to the Lord that this water might be the water that baptizes her into everlasting life.

Thunder cracked across the air as a dove, from high in the sky, placed a golden crown on Margaret’s head. Five thousand people, having seen such a sight, had Faith kindled within them, and in a very short time, for Christ’s love, all five thousand of them died by beheaded by order of the same provost, Olibrius. Margaret, too, received the same sentence, in order to prevent her Faith from spreading further.

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“Begin now to become a saint”

“Begin now… Believe me, don’t wait until tomorrow to begin become a saint.” ~ St. Catherine of Lisieux

“I realized that to become a saint one must suffer a great deal, always seek what is best, and forget oneself. I understood that there were many kinds of of sanctity and that each soul was free to respond to the approaches of Our Lord and to do little or much for Him — in other words, to make a choice among the sacrifices He demands.”

” I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults.”

#MoralStory : “Crickets and Scorpions”

I usually spend time in prayer at five a.m. each morning.

I shall relay a lesson that God taught me very dramatically during one of those early morning sessions.

I pray in a closet that is actually the vocal booth of our former home music studio. It is soundproof. As I entered clad only in shorts, I heard the sound of a cricket chirping. There in the shadow, I saw the cricket. It was very close to where I sit on the floor each day.

“Sit down and don’t bother the cricket,” I heard a soft voice speak in my spirit. I obeyed. I turned out the light and sat in total darkness and silence. I felt something crawl up on my leg.

“Don’t bother the cricket,” I heard the voice say again, “I am trying to teach you something. You need to learn to distinguish the difference between crickets and scorpions in life. Don’t bother the cricket.”

The cricket crawled. It is an eerie feeling to say the least. I wasn’t afraid of the cricket. I knew it couldn’t harm me. It wouldn’t bite, sting, or even so much as scratch me. It was just a highly annoying and extremely icky feeling. A cricket crawling all over you. I let the cricket crawl for almost a minute until I couldn’t stand it any more. I brushed the cricket off, turned on the light, picked it up in my hand, and took it outside and let it go.

I understood what God was trying to show me. Life has scorpions and crickets.

Scorpions are the things that can hurt us; things that are truly destructive and dangerous. Crickets are the things that have absolutely no power to hurt us, they are just irritating. They get on our nerves; they try our patience.

I saw things differently after emerging from prayer that day.

I realized that the vast majority of the things that really irked me
…were crickets.

The vast majority of the things that irk you
…are crickets.

Don’t bother the crickets and don’t let the crickets bother you.

–taken from a MountainWings–

Ultimate Victory

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer…for I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33)

TODAY’S WORD
When trials and challenges come, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or discouraged. You may feel lost or uncertain about the future. That’s when we need to turn our hearts and minds to God because He has promised that no matter what we face, we can have His perfect peace. We can feel His perfect love. We can have confidence because He has already overcome the world.

The key is that we have to keep an eternal perspective. We have to know that the trials that come our way are only temporary. We may experience tragedy or loss in this life, but with God on our side, we have the ultimate victory in eternity. We may have seasons of grief or sadness here on earth, but He is our comforter, and in the end, He will wipe away every tear from our eyes.

Remember, when difficulties arise, focus on the fact that you have the ultimate victory. Don’t let fear paralyze you; instead, put your faith and hope in God. Those things that the enemy meant for evil, God will turn around for your good. He’ll lead you out stronger, wiser and more alive than ever before.

GOD, Grant Me..

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#MiniBulletin : Most Americans—and most Catholics—favor right to suicide

Most Americans, and most self-described Catholics, believe that individuals have a right to end their own lives when they are suffering from a painful and incurable illness, according to a Pew Forum poll.

The Pew survey found that 62% of all adults support a right to suicide in such cases. Support was even higher—67%– among white Catholics, and slightly lower—56% among Hispanic Catholics. Among the religious groups surveyed, only Evangelical Protestant failed to give majority support to the proposition that someone suffering an incurable and painful illness has the right to end his own life. Among Americans with no religious affiliation, support for suicide in such cases was an overwhelming 85%.

When the Pew study asked whether someone with an incurable illness has the right to suicide, the results were similar, but support was lower. A majority of the general public (56%) still favored the right to suicide, and a larger majority (62%) of white Catholics, but not quite half (46%) of Hispanic Catholics.

A bare majority (52%) of those polls supported the right to suicide in cases when the patient found life burdensome. Only 47% of white Catholics supported that proposition, and 33% of Hispanic Catholics.

The Pew Forum study did not distinguish between practicing and non-practicing Catholics. The Church teaches that it is never morally justifiable to take direct steps to end a human life—although it may be morally acceptable to refuse burdensome medical treatment.

–taken from http://www.pewforum.org/2013/11/21/views-on-end-of-life-medical-treatments/ —

#MiniBulletin : Christianity could become extinct in Britain

A former Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that the Christian faith could be “a generation away from extinction” in England.

Lord Carey, who was leader of the Church of England from 1991 to 2002, was commenting on a report that called attention to a sharp decline in the size of Anglican congregations. The report, submitted to the general synod of the Church of England, found that only 1.5% of England’s people attend Anglican services on a typical Sunday.

Lord Carey said that he saw a “feeling of defeat” among the clergy, and said that unless there is a “dramatic breakthrough” in attracting younger people, the Church of England will cease to be viable as a national institution.

–taken from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10458380/Christianity-at-risk-of-dying-out-in-a-generation-warns-Lord-Carey.html —