Archive for October, 2015

Saints Adrian and Natalia of Nicomedia

sts Adrian and NataliaThe Martyrs Adrian and Natalia were married in their youth for one year prior to their martyrdom, and lived in Nicomedia during the time of the emperor Maximian (305-311). The emperor promised a reward to whomever would inform on Christians to bring them to trial. Then the denunciations began, and twenty-three Christians were captured in a cave near Nicomedia.

They were tortured, urged to worship idols, and then brought before the Praetor, in order to record their names and responses. Adrian, the head of the praetorium, watched as these people suffered with such courage for their faith. Seeing how firmly and fearlessly they confessed Christ, asked: “What rewards do you expect from your God for your suffering?” The martyrs replied: “Such rewards as we are not able to describe, nor can your mind comprehend.” St Adrian told the scribes, “Write my name down also, for I am a Christian and I die gladly for Christ God.”

The scribes reported this to the emperor, who summoned St Adrian and asked: “Really, have you gone mad, that you want to die? Come, cross out your name from the lists and offer sacrifice to the gods, asking their forgiveness.”

St Adrian answered: “I have not lost my mind, but rather have I found it.” Maximian then ordered Adrian to be thrown into prison. His wife, St Natalia, knowing that her husband was to suffer for Christ, rejoiced, since she herself was secretly a Christian.

She hastened to the prison and encouraged her husband saying: “You are blessed, my lord, because you have believed in Christ. You have obtained a great treasure. Do not regret anything earthly, neither beauty, nor youth (Adrian was then 28 years of age), nor riches. Everything worldly is dust and ashes. Only faith and good deeds are pleasing to God.”

On the pledge of the other martyrs, they released St Adrian from prison to tell his wife about the day of his execution. At first St Natalia thought that he had renounced Christ and thus had been set free, and she did not want to let him into the house. The saint persuaded his wife that he had not fled from martyrdom, but rather had come to give her the news of the day of his execution.

They tortured St Adrian cruelly. The emperor advised the saint to have pity on himself and call on the gods, but the martyr answered: “Let your gods say what blessings they promise me, and then I shall worship them, but if they cannot do this, then why should I worship them?” St Natalia did not cease to encourage her husband. She asked him also to pray to God for her, that they would not force her into marriage with a pagan after his death.

The executioner ordered the hands and the legs of the saints to be broken on the anvil. St Natalia, fearing that her husband would hesitate on seeing the sufferings of the other martyrs, asked the executioner to begin with him, and permit her to put his hands and legs on the anvil herself.

They wanted to burn the bodies of the saints, but a storm arose and the fire went out. Many of the executioners even were struck by lightning. St Natalia took the hand of her husband and kept it at home. Soon an army commander asked the emperor’s approval to wed St Natalia, who was both young and rich. But she hid herself away in Byzantium. St Adrian appeared to her in a dream and said that she would soon be at rest in the Lord. The martyr, worn out by her former sufferings, in fact soon fell asleep in the Lord.

“At my lowest: God is My Hope. At my darkest: God is My Light. At my weakest: God is My Strength. At my saddest: God is My Comforter.”

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#MoralStory: The Jar Of Life

An old professor was invited to lecture on the topic of “Efficient Time Management” in front of a group of executive managers. Standing in front of this group of elite managers, who were willing to write down every word that would come out of the famous professor’s mouth, the professor slowly met eyes with each manager, one by one, and finally said, “we are going to conduct an experiment”.

From under the table that stood between the professor and the listeners, the professor pulled out a big glass jar and gently placed it in front of him. Next, he pulled out from under the table a bag of tennis balls, and placed them one by one in the jar. He did so until there was no room to add another ball in the jar. Lifting his gaze to the audience, the professor asked, “Is the jar full?” The managers replied, “Yes”.

The professor paused for a moment, and replied, “Really?”

Once again, he reached under the table and pulled out a bag full of pebbles. Carefully, the professor poured the pebbles in and slightly rattled the jar, allowing the pebbles to slip through the tennis balls, until they settled at the bottom. Again, the professor lifted his gaze to his audience and asked, “Is the jar full?”

At this point, the managers began to understand his intentions. One replied, “apparently not!”

“Correct”, replied the old professor, now pulling out a bag of sand from under the table. Cautiously, the professor poured the sand into the jar. The sand filled up the spaces between the tennis balls and the pebbles.

Yet again, the professor asked, “Is the jar full?”

Without hesitation, the entire group of students replied in unison, “NO!”

“Correct”, replied the professor. And as was expected by the students, the professor reached for the pitcher of water that was on the table, and poured water in the jar until it was absolutely full. The professor now lifted his gaze once again and asked, “What great truth can we surmise from this experiment?”

“Now, I want you to consider that this jar represents your life. Tennis balls are the most sacred and important things in your lives, such as your responsibilities to God, to your parents, to your family, spouse and children, etc. Things that even if everything else is lost, these will still fill your lives. Pebbles represent less important things in your life, like your house, your car or your job. Finally, sand represents small things in your life such as your hobbies or what you do in your spare time.

What we must remember is that it is most important to include the tennis balls in our lives, because if we don’t do so, we are likely to miss out on life altogether. If we give priority to the smaller things in life (pebbles & sand), our lives will be filled up with less important things, leaving little or no time for the things in our lives that are most important to us. Because of this, never forget to ask yourself,

What are the Large Stones in your Life? And once you identify them, be sure to put them first in your “Jar of Life”.

As you see, everything in life is a matter of prioritization. Take care of the tennis balls and pebbles first. Everything else is just sand.”

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The Lord is My Hope and My Glory

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CHORUS:
The Lord is my hope and my glory
The Lord is the song that I sing
So tender and loving a shepherd
So rooted in justice, a King

When shadow confuses my vision
When sorrow lays claim to my heart
God is my refuge, my rock and my shiled
I will rely on the Lord

VERSES:

1.    Near to death, I cried “Save me!” and You heard
You are God, and you lift up the poor

2.    Kingdoms fall; nations tremble at Your power
None can stand without You at their side

3.    Justice reigns, and the wicked are cast down
In You love is our safety and strength

4.    All who trust in Your primose will be saved
For Your word has been tested in fire

5.    Morning comes: I will praise you with my life
Ever faithful and true to Your word

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4O7Rmirhs0

#ShortNews: Religious Americans less likely to see conflict between faith and science

Americans who regularly attend religious worship services are less likely than their secular counterparts to see a conflict between science and faith, according to a new survey by the Pew Forum.

The Pew study found that 73% of adults who never or rarely attend religious services find frequent conflicts between religious faith and science. Among those who attend worship services weekly, that figure drops to 50%.

The survey results seem to conflict with the perception that religious individuals are skeptical about scientific research. However, the Pew survey complicates the issue by including questions that involve controversial applications of new technologies, rather than pure scientific research.

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/22/science-and-religion/

#ShortNews: Vatican again denies report that Pope has brain tumor

The Holy See Press Office has again denied an Italian newspaper report that Pope Francis has been treated by a Japanese doctor for a small brain tumor.

“I fully confirm my previous statement, having verified the facts with the appropriate sources, including the Holy Father,” said Father Federico Lombardi, director of the press office. “No Japanese doctor has visited the Pope in the Vatican and there have been no examinations of the type indicated in the article.”

Following Father Lombardi’s original denial, Quotidiano Nazionale reported that the surgeon, Dr. Takanori Fukushima of the San Rossore Treatment Center in Pisa, visited the Vatican from January 28 to 30, arriving by helicopter.

“The competent offices have confirmed that there have been no arrivals of external parties in the Vatican by helicopter; similarly, there were no arrivals of this type during the month of January,” Father Lombardi stated. “I am able to confirm that the Pope is in good health.”

Father Lombardi added:

I reiterate that the publication of this false information is a grave act of irresponsibility, absolutely inexcusable and unconscionable. It would be equally unjustifiable to continue to fuel similarly unfounded information. It is hoped, therefore, that this matter be closed immediately.

In a related development, Dr. Fukushima removed from his own personal web site photos of visits to the Vatican in October 2014 and January 2015. The web site had shown photos of a meeting between the doctor and Pope Francis; those photos appeared to have been retouched. Dr. Fukushima has said that he only met the Pontiff briefly, in the course of a public audience, and never for a medical consultation or treatment.

http://www.quotidiano.net/papa-francesco-tumore-1.1412834

#ShortNews: Denver prelate: ‘Did Thomas More and John Fisher die for nothing?’

Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver has offered strong criticism of the “Kasper proposal” as well as “the German bishops’ ‘Plan B’ to do things ‘their way’ in Germany, even if it goes against the grain of Church teaching.”

“The idea that Catholics should be allowed to remarry and receive communion did not begin with the letter signed by Cardinal Kasper and other members of the German episcopate in 1993,” Archbishop Aquila wrote in an October 19 column. “Another country’s episcopate – England’s – pioneered this experiment in Christian doctrine nearly 500 years ago.”

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=11060