Archive for August, 2017

#MoralStory: The Parable of the Flood

A man was trapped in his house during a flood. He began praying to God to rescue him. He had a vision in his head of God’s hand reaching down from heaven and lifting him to safety. The water started to rise in his house. His neighbour urged him to leave and offered him a ride to safety. The man yelled back, “I am waiting for God to save me.” The neighbour drove off in his pick-up truck.

The man continued to pray and hold on to his vision. As the water began rising in his house, he had to climb up to the roof. A boat came by with some people heading for safe ground. They yelled at the man to grab a rope they were ready to throw and take him to safety. He told them that he was waiting for God to save him. They shook their heads and moved on.

The man continued to pray, believing with all his heart that he would be saved by God. The flood waters continued to rise. A helicopter flew by and a voice came over a loudspeaker offering to lower a ladder and take him off the roof. The man waved the helicopter away, shouting back that he was waiting for God to save him. The helicopter left. The flooding water came over the roof and caught him up and swept him away. He drowned. Read more…

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We Are Many Parts

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Chorus:
We are many parts
We are all one body
And the gifts we have
We are given to share
May the Spirit of love make us one indeed
One, the love that we share
One, our hope in despair
One, the cross that we bear

God of all, we look to You
We would be Your servants true
Let us be Your love to all the world

So my pain is pain for You
In Your joy is my joy too
All is brought together in the Lord

All you seekers, great and small
Seek the greatest gift of all
If you love, then you will know the Lord

* Read more…

#ShortNews: Pontiff reflects on Christian hope and the heavenly Jerusalem

Continuing his series of Wednesday general audiences on Christian hope, Pope Francis spoke about the heavenly Jerusalem in his August 23 address in Paul VI Audience Hall.

“We discover in the final pages of the Bible that the ultimate destination of our Christian pilgrimage will be the heavenly Jerusalem,” the Pope said. “And on this pilgrimage we encounter the God of surprises who treats us with infinite tenderness, like a father welcoming his children home after a long and difficult journey.”

The Pope added:

It is Jesus himself who is the light of this new future, and who even now accompanies us on our way. Creation did not stop on the sixth day of Genesis, because God is continually looking after us, always ready to pronounce his blessing: “Behold, I make all things new!” (Rev. 21:5)

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2017/08/23/0529/01171.html

#ShortNews: Christianity spreading among Iran’s youth

Mohabat News, an Iranian Christian news agency, said in a recent report that Christianity is spreading rapidly among youth in some cities.

“This high rate of conversion of Iranian youth to Christianity is in spite of rigorous Islamic indoctrination of the youth in their families and educational system,” according to the report.

“The Islamic government of Iran dedicates massive budgets to the support of Islamic organizations that promote Islam among the youth within and without Iran’s borders,” the report continued. “Regardless of such efforts, Iranian youth seem to become increasingly distant from Islam, which is a cause of great concern for the Iranian Islamic government.”

http://mohabatnews.com/en/?p=3660

#ShortNews: The pain and anguish of Chinese Catholics

An Italian missionary in Hong Kong said that as some Chinese Catholics face harassment from government officials, they also experience “pain and anguish” because of the actions of bishops and the Holy See.

“There are bishops who are recognized by the Holy See, but who also take up posts in the Patriotic Association which publicly proclaims principles incompatible with Catholic doctrine,” said Father Sergio Ticozzi, PIME. “Then there are bishops who take part in illegitimate episcopal ordinations, and who concelebrate with excommunicated bishops.”

The missionary added:

Observing the behavior of the Holy See, some brothers and sisters are shaking their heads too; they feel doubtful and suspicious. Some unofficial priests even asked me if Rome had accepted the government policy to eliminate the underground Church; or whether it is still necessary to refuse to join the Patriotic Association. Mistrust is rather widespread.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/The-pain-and-anguish-of-Chinese-Catholics-41586.html

Living in Higher Realms

To receive the blessings that Jesus mentions in the Beatitudes and to rise above the “woes” that he warns about, we have to set our hearts on what pertains to the higher realms, “what is above,” as St. Paul mentioned.

Are we a new creation or not? When you were baptized, you were made holy, a new creation that was different from the solely human, sin-prone life into which you had been born. But that’s not enough!

When we make a conscious decision to allow Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, our baptisms became more than a sacrament. They became a way of living. Every time we make this decision, Jesus takes our self-centered lifestyles and our reliance on worldly wisdom and carries it to the cross of 2000 years ago — God does a time warp! And then he raises us to new life in the Easter power of his heaven-filled life.

Just because it doesn’t feel or look like we’re experiencing a heaven-filled life doesn’t mean that we’re not. Heaven is within us until we physically die, at which time we’ll enter into the fullness of heaven (first purging out any remnant impurities, a process called “purgatory”). When the Father raised Jesus from the tomb, he took us with him! (There’s that time warp again.) Our bodies have not yet received this blessing and our souls are not yet in heaven, but heaven is in our souls. Read more…

Saint Fina of Gimignano

St. Fina or Seraphina, was an Italian Christian girl who is venerated in the Tuscan town of San Gimignano. Fina dei Ciardi was born in San Gimignano in 1238. The Daughter of Cambio Ciardi and Imperiera, a declined noble family, she lived all her existence in a humble house located in the historic centre of the famous “city of beautiful towers”.

The child was pretty and attractive. Poor as she was she always kept half her food to give to those who were worse off than herself. As far as possible she lived the life of a recluse at home, sewing indeed and spinning during the day, but spending much of the night in prayer. Fina has a strong devotion to the Virgin Mary, and that she went out only to hear Mass. She was also said to be extraordinarily kind.

Around 1248, her father died when she was still young and about the same time Fina was attacked by a sudden complication of diseases. Fina’s life was changed by a serious illness, which began, progressively, to paralyse her. Desiring to be like our Lord on the cross, for six years she lay on a plank in one position, unable to turn or to move. Her mother had to leave her for hours while she went to work or beg, but Fina never complained. Although in terrible pain she always maintained serenity and with her eyes fixed upon the crucifix she kept on repeating, “It is not my wounds but thine, O Christ, that hurt me”. Read more…