How to win battles without using God as a weapon

Why were the Israelites defeated in the Gospel (1 Samuel 4:1-11)? And why did God allow the Holy Ark of the Covenant to be captured?

The Israelites had failed to discern and follow God’s will. They thought that having the Ark in their possession guaranteed a victory for them. We make the same mistake when we use the Bible or Church documents (today’s Ark of the Covenant) to prove our point in arguments or when we use it as a weapon to judge and condemn morally erring people.

Have you ever wanted to use Church Law to force others into attending Mass, warning them about mortal sin and eternal damnation? We have only the best of intentions, right? But this is no better than the ploy some Protestants use to “save” Catholics when they quote from our Church’s teachings — out of context — to claim that we’re going to hell.

To win a battle, we cannot use apologetics; it’s a tool for explaining Church teachings to someone who’s already interested in hearing the explanation. Testimonies and a faith well lived is the first explanation of our faith. These show the truth and prepare others to hear the truth.Read More »

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Saint Camillus de Lellis

Camillus de Lellis was born on May 25, 1550, at Bucchianico (now in Abruzzo, then part of the Kingdom of Naples). His mother, Camilla Compelli de Laureto, was nearly fifty when she gave birth to him. His father was an officer in both the Neapolitan and French royal armies[ and was seldom home. Camillus had his father’s temper and, due to her age and retiring nature, his mother felt unable to control him as he grew up. She died in 1562. As a consequence he grew up neglected by the family members who took him in after her death. Tall for his age, at 16 Camillus joined his father in the Venetian army and fought in a war against the Turks.

Humanly speaking, Camillus was not a likely candidate for sainthood. His mother died when he was a child, his father neglected him, and he grew up with an excessive love for gambling. At 17, he was afflicted with a disease of his leg that remained with him for life. In Rome he entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables as both patient and servant, but was dismissed for quarrelsomeness after nine months. He served in the Venetian army for three years.

Then in the winter of 1574, when he was 24, Camillus gambled away everything he had—savings, weapons, literally down to his shirt. He accepted work at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia, and was one day so moved by a sermon of the superior that he began a conversion that changed his life. He entered the Capuchin novitiate, but was dismissed because of the apparently incurable sore on his leg. After another stint of service at San Giacomo, he came back to the Capuchins, only to be dismissed again, for the same reason.Read More »

#MoralStory: A Different Ticket

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. The flashing red in his rear view mirror insisted he pull over quickly, but Jack let the car coast.

Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often? When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror.

He slumped into his seat, the collar of his trench coat covering his ears. He tapped the steering wheel, doing his best to look bored, his eyes on the mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand.

Bob? Bob from church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A Christian cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

Jack was tempted to leave the window shut long enough to gain the psychological edge but decided on a different tack. Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he’d never seen in uniform.Read More »

Humbly We Adore Thee

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Humbly we adore thee, Christ, Redeemer, King;
Thou art Lord of heaven, thou to whom we sing.
God, the Mighty, thou has come, bearing gifts of grace;
Son of Adam still thou art: Savior to our race.

Jesus, Lord, we thank thee for this wondrous bread;
In our land thou dwellest, by thee we are fed.
We who share this mystery in thee are made one;
Ev’ry act we offer thee in thy name is done.

Thou who died to save us livest as our light;
Though our eyes are blinded, yet our faith gives sight.
Christ, do thou be merciful, Lamb for sinners slain,
We in grief confess our guilt; cleanse our souls of stain.

Christ, our God and brother, hear our humble plea;
By this holy banquet keep us joined to thee.
Make us one in loving thee, one in mind and heart,
Till in heaven we are thine, never more to part.

Hail, thou Word Incarnate, born from Mary’s womb;
Hail, thou Strength immortal, risen from the tomb.
Share with us thy victory, Savior ever blest:
Live more fully in our hearts; be our constant quest.

Faith alone reveals here bread of Paradise;
Faith alone may witness Jesus’ sacrifice.
Therefore, Lord, as once of old Thomas gained his sight,
Now increase our feeble faith; shed thy healing light.

Christ, at his last supper, breaking bread, decreed:
“This, my Body, take and eat;” heav’nly food indeed!
Then he blessed the cup of wine; “Take ye this,” he said:
“Drink the chalice of my Blood, soon for sinners shed.”

Now with glad thanksgiving, praise Christ glorified;
He in us is present; we in him abide.
Members of his body, we in him are one;
Hail this sacred union, heav’n on earth begun!

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#ShortNews: Pope Francis: Jesus is more than a dreamer or revolutionary—He is Son of the living God

Over the centuries, the world has defined Jesus in different ways: a great prophet of justice and love; a wise master of life; a revolutionary; a dreamer of the dreams of God … and so on. Many beautiful things. In the chatter of these and other hypotheses, the confession of Simon, called Peter, humble and full of faith, stands still today, simple and clear: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). Jesus is the Son of God: therefore He is perennially alive as His Father is eternally alive. This is the novelty that grace ignites in the heart of those who open themselves to the mystery of Jesus: the non-mathematical certainty, but even stronger, interior, of having met the Source of Life, the Life itself made flesh, visible and tangible in our midst. This is the experience of the Christian, and it is not the merit of us Christians, it is not our merit, but it comes from God, it is a grace of God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. All this is contained in Peter’s answer: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Read full translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after the recitation of the Angelus, to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

#ShortNews: Bethlemen’s pastor reports Christians disappearing

The alarm is launched by Catholic priest Rami Asakrieh, of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, parish priest in Bethlehem of the church of Santa Caterina, near the Basilica of the Nativity. “My parish”, Father Rami reports to Agenzia Fides “is facing serious problems. The number of Catholic families in Bethlehem is shrinking. Now our parish has only 1,479 Palestinian families. Christians make up 17% of the city’s population, while in the past they were 90%”. The vertiginous decline of the Christian presence in Bethlehem – adds Father Rami – is linked above all to the exodus of young Christians who emigrate to other Countries. “We”, reports the Franciscan parish priest, “try to stop emigration, trying to provide help in many situations of need”. But the current political and economic situation of the town, surrounded by settlements of Israeli settlers, sees the number of cases of “unemployed faithful, who are depressed and drowned in debts multiplying”. “None of our parish faithful receive a single cent from these organizations”, concludes Fr. Rami.

Read full article: http://www.fides.org/en/news/64476-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_The_parish_priest_of_Bethlehem_the_baptized_are_disappearing_in_the_city_where_Jesus_was_born