Archive for June, 2016

#MoralStory: No Act of Kindness is Ever Wasted

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk.

He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”

“You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.”

He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.”

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Years later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room.

She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She began to read the following words:

“Paid in full with one glass of milk”

Signed, Dr. Howard Kelly.

Author Unknown

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James. No act of kindness is ever wasted. Smile. Be Kind.

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randomkindness

Song of A Young Prophet

jesus and children

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Reff;
Oh the Word of my Lord,
Deep within my being.
Oh the Word of my Lord,
You have filled my mind.

Verse 1:
Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you thru and thru
I chose you to be mine before you left your mother’s side
I called to you my child to be my sign.

Verse 2:
I know that you are very young, but I will make you strong
I will fill you with my word, and you will travel through the land
Fulfilling my command, which you have learned.

Verse 3:
And everywhere you are to go, My hand will follow you
You will not be alone,
In all the danger that you fear
You’ll find me very near, Your words my own.

Verse 4:
With all my strength you will be filled
You will destroy and build,
For that is my design,
You will create and overthrow,
Reap and harvest I will sow, Your word is mine.

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#ShortNews: Pope Francis: ‘the world needs Christ more than ever’

Reflecting on day’s Gospel reading (Lk. 9:18-24), in which Christ asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”, Pope Francis said during his June 19 Sunday Angelus address that “we are called to make Peter’s answer our own answer, joyfully professing that Jesus is the Son of God, the eternal Word of the Father become man to redeem humanity, pouring out over mankind the abundance of divine mercy.”

“The world needs Christ more than ever, needs His salvation, His merciful love,” the Pope said to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “In Christ, and only in Him, is it possible to find true peace and the fulfillment of every human aspiration.”

Turning to Christ’s call to carry one’s cross daily, the Pope said that “this does not refer to a decorative or ideological cross, but the cross of one’s duty, of sacrificing oneself for others with love, of willingness to be in solidarity with the poor, of exerting oneself for justice and peace.”

The Pope concluded:

Therefore, let us abandon ourselves with confidence in Him, Jesus our brother, friend and Savior. Through the Holy Spirit, He will give us the strength to go forward on the path of faith and witness. And on this path, Our Lady is always close: Let us allow her to take us by the hand when we go through moments of darkness and difficulty.

#ShortNews: 74% of world’s population living with ‘high’ levels of restriction on religious activities

Government restrictions on religion decreased slightly worldwide in 2014, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

In 2014 (the latest year for which statistics were available), 24% of the countries surveyed had “high” or “very high” levels of restriction on religious activity, the Pew study found. Since some of the most populous countries were also among the most restrictive, the survey concluded that 74% of the world’s people– 7.2 billion people– live in countries with “high” or “very high” levels of restriction on religion.

However, those numbers were down slightly from the previous year, when Pew found that 28% of the world’s nations, representing 78% of the world’s population– were highly restrictive.

In a more ominous trend, Pew reported a significant spike in the number of countries suffering from the effects of religious terrorism. The growing impact of the Islamic State, Boko Haram, and al Qaida were major factors in that trend.

http://www.pewforum.org/2016/06/23/trends-in-global-restrictions-on-religion/

#ShortNews: Sister Cecilia Maria of Santa Fe

Sister Cecilia Maria lived in the Monastery of Santa Teresa and San Jose, Santa Fe, Argentina. At 26 she made her first vows as a Discalced Carmelite and reaffirmed her vows in 2003. In January she was diagnosed with tongue cancer then it metastasized to the lungs. This caused her death at age 43, on last Saturday, 25 June 2016.

Before leaving, religious wrote her last wish on a piece of paper:

“I was thinking how I wanted my funeral. First pray, then make a big party. Do not forget to pray but also to celebrate!”

The Carmel of Santa Fe announced the death of Sister Cecilia to their brothers and sisters and friends of the Carmel, with a brief but profound note.

    Dear brothers, sisters and friends:
    Jesus! Just a few lines to let you know that our very dear little sister has softly fallen asleep in the Lord, after an extremely painful illness, which she always endured with joy and surrender to her Divine Spouse. We send you all of our affection, thankful for your support and prayer during this time that is so sorrowful and yet also so marvelous. We believe that she flew directly to heaven, but all the same, we ask that you do not fail to pray for her. From heaven, she will reward you.
    A warm embrace from your sisters of Santa Fe.

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srceclia

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/3443644/posts

Deciphering God’s will

According to Gospel reading (Matthew 12:46-50), Jesus tells us that if we do the will of his Father, then we are truly members of his family — the holy family — adopted by God, inheritors of everything that belongs to God on this earth and in heaven. But knowing what his will is can sometimes be difficult simply because there are too many possibilities from which to choose.

God gave us our own individual will so that we’re free to love him. This makes us vulnerable, however, to wrong decisions. We’re free to make decisions without first discerning what is really best, right, and holy.

To be like our Divine Daddy and live as his child, we need to submit our will to his. This never means giving up our own will to dangle like a puppet under God’s control. It never means that our desires and needs will be squashed or ignored by God. Rather, it means acknowledging that God has a better understanding of what’s best, right, and holy. And since we want to benefit from God’s better understanding, we want our will to be God’s will, not by forcing God to agree with us and approve of our humanly-made decisions, but by forcing our will to agree with God’s divine will.

That’s not always easy. And sometimes it is! A good, healthy, holy prayer is: “Father, my Divine Daddy, here’s what I want to do about ____, but you understand the whole situation infinitely better than I do, so please make sure your will is done. I give you permission to conform my will to yours.”

God does not want us to be confused or uncertain about his will and his desires. Even when there are multiple good choices and God likes them all, he has a preference, a top choice that he’d like us to know so that we can have the best possible life here on earth and the best possible relationship with him in heaven (with as short a time in purgatory as possible). He also hopes that we will reach our full potential for the sake of how we can help his other children.

Because he cares so much, he does not hide his will, lest it cause us to make terrible mistakes or blindly fall into sin. He does everything he can — which is more than we imagine — to help us remain close to him all the time, in every decision we make throughout the day, each day, even in details as small as choosing what to eat and which clothes to wear.

To figure out the how, when, where, etc., of his will, we need to know what God reveals about it in scripture and in Church teachings (FYI: Church documents, encyclicals, etc. explain the scriptures as applied to a particular theme or doctrine), and have an active, alive, personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, who is the teacher and explainer of all truth.

When think we know God’s will and desires, how can we be sure that God is really speaking to us and it’s not just a trick of our own minds? This requires growth, a well-formed conscience, awareness of our weaknesses and vulnerabilities and areas of unhealthy thinking, surrendering ourselves continually to God, waiting for confirmation from reliable Christian community friends or spiritual directors, and trusting that God will provide other confirmation as well if it’s that important.

© 2015 by Terry A. Modica

Saint Irene of Thessalonica

stireneThe holy Great Martyr Irene was born in the city of Magedon in Persia during the fourth century. She was the daughter of the pagan king Licinius, and her parents named her Penelope.

Penelope was very beautiful, and her father kept her isolated in a high tower from the time she was six so that she would not be exposed to Christianity. He also placed thirteen young maidens in the tower with her. An old tutor by the name of Apellian was assigned to give her the best possible education. Apellian was a Christian, and during her lessons, he told the girl about Christ the Savior and taught her the Christian Faith and the Christian virtues.

When Penelope reached adolescence, her parents began to think about her marriage. One day, a dove flew through the window carrying an olive branch in its beak, depositing it upon a table. Then an eagle swooped in with a wreath of flowers in its beak, and also placed it upon the table. Finally, a raven flew in carrying a snake, which it dropped on the table. Penelope was puzzled by these events and wondered what they meant.

Apellian explained that the dove signified her education, and the olive branch stood for the grace of God which is received in Baptism. The eagle with the wreath of flowers represented success in her future life. The raven and the snake foretold her future suffering and sorrow.

At the end of the conversation Apellianus said that the Lord wished to betroth her to Himself and that Penelope would undergo much suffering for her heavenly Bridegroom. After this Penelope refused marriage, was baptized by the priest Timothy, and she was named Irene (peace). She even urged her own parents to become Christians. Shortly after this, she destroyed all her father’s idols.

Since St Irene had dedicated herself to Christ, she refused to marry any of the suitors her father had chosen for her. When Licinius learned that his daughter refused to worship the pagan gods, he was furious. He attempted to turn her from Christ by having her tortured. She was tied up and thrown beneath the hooves of wild horses so that they might trample her to death, but he horses remained motionless. Instead of harming the saint, one of the horses charged Licinius, seized his right hand and tore it from his arm. Then it knocked Licinius down and began to trample him. They untied the holy virgin, and through her prayers Licinius rose unharmed in the presence of eyewitnesses with his hand intact.

Seeing such a miracle, Licinius and his wife, and many of the people, (about 3000 men) believed in Christ and turned from the pagan gods. Resigning his administrative duties, Licinius devoted himself to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. St Irene lived in the house of her teacher Apellian, and she began to preach Christ among the pagans, converting them to the path of salvation.

The saint then travelled from one city to another, in hope to end the Christian persecution and convert more pagans to Christianity. During her travels, she taught the people and performed many miracles. When the local kings heard about her, St. Irene get arrested and tortured by the pagan authorities many times but miraculously she remained uninjured.

One day, St Irene travelled to Ephesus when the Lord revealed to her that the end of her life was approaching. Then St Irene left the city accompanied by six people, including her former teacher Apellian. On the outskirts of the town, she found a new tomb in which no one had ever been buried. After making the Sign of the Cross, she went inside, directing her companions to close the entrance to the cave with a large stone, which they did. When Christians visited the cave four days later, they did not find the body of the saint.

Apellian returned after only two days, and found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Thus did God glorify St Irene, who loved Him and devoted her life to serving Him.

The holy, glorious Great Martyr Irene is invoked by those wishing to effect a swift and happy marriage. In Greece, she is also the patron saint of policemen. St Irene is also one of the twelve Virgin Martyrs who appeared to St Seraphim of Sarov (January 2) and the Diveyevo nun Eupraxia on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1831. By her holy prayers, may the Lord have mercy upon us and save us.