“Religious Freedom: Meaningless without Truth” by Jeff Mirus reblogged

 

Religious freedom meaningless without truth

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio – articles – email) | Dec 16, 2016

 

U.S. President Barack Obama praised the Maccabees on Wednesday at a White House Hanukkah reception. The Maccabees were a family of brothers who, following their father’s lead, defended Israel against conquest by pagans in the second century before Christ. Praising Jews who “dare to observe their faith”, Obama said: “Everybody in America can understand the spirit of this tradition. Proudly practicing our religion, whatever it might be—and defending the rights of others to do the same—that’s our common creed.”

All of this is disingenuous, of course. President Obama, like countless other political leaders in the contemporary West, has no respect for religion when it comes to attempting to apply its values to the social order, making them relevant outside the walls of a church. As Pope Francis stated in a recent interview, a “culture or a political system that does not respect openness to the transcendence of the human person ‘prunes’ or cuts down the human person.” Yet our politicians and our cultural elites insist that values come from the decisions of the State, and that human law is not subject to Divine authority.

Unfortunately, the Western conception of religious liberty has been reduced to a celebration of private religious feelings. Religious freedom is considered just fine as long as religious persons do not really believe in truth or commit themselves to the good—as long, that is, as religion itself is defined as a means of seeking personal consolation rather than a means of discerning the difference between right and wrong.

Now before anyone raises the objection that, surely, the State must prevent one religion from imposing its values on everyone, it is important to recognize that Catholicism offers a way of honoring religious liberty while still insisting that social, political and economic life should be orchestrated according to moral principles. I am referring, of course, to the natural law. A recognition of natural law not only discloses our common human morality but sets limits to every liberty, including freedom of religion. The Church insists that people need to be generally free to seek God in order to do their best in following His will, but she also insists that this freedom cannot be used to set aside the natural law. The natural law is the revelation of God in the things He has made. It may be required of all because it is accessible to all, even without the gift of Faith.

Hence it is the natural law that must serve as the Divine framework for legitimate government: Any human law that contradicts the natural law is null and void. The natural law, therefore, provides not only a guide and a restraint for governance but also a proper framework for religious liberty. It prevents the common good from being subverted by a pseudo-spiritual liberty that dissolves into license.

Meaningless Religion

With this point understood, I can now assert without any inconsistency that religious liberty as conceived in a culture of relativism is meaningless. This is the key issue here. The whole point of religious liberty is that it enables the human person to fulfill the end for which he was created by seeking, without ridiculous impediments, to know, love and serve God. As Newman so wisely put it, all of us have a sense of good and evil and of living under a judgment. We have to work very hard at not feeling uneasy when we know we have done something wrong. And if this universal intuition of living under a judgment—that is, this faculty of conscience—means anything, it must mean that there is a Lawgiver who cares about our behavior. We should expect, then, that He cares enough to reveal Himself in some way, and so it is the most important task of our lives to try to figure out Who this Lawgiver is and what He expects of us.

In other words, religious liberty derives its value and potency from the authentic duty of each human person to conform his mind to the ultimate reality that underlies everything. This conformity of the mind to reality is actually the very definition of truth. The refusal to accept that truth exists is, in fact, a denial of reality. It forces us to ride a rollercoaster of ever-changing values articulated and imposed arbitrarily by cultural pressure and political force.

People like Barack Obama can seize the moral high ground by praising freedom of religion only because they have already rendered freedom of religion pointless: They have already defined religion as merely a peculiar state of consciousness which produces feelings of consolation. They will never give religion its due because they deny any truth higher than the State—or at least higher than the conceptions of our cultural elites. Politics and political correctness become the arbiter of values. Transcendance is denied, as the Pope said, and culture is closed in upon itself. Everyone is rewarded or punished accordingly.

Religious liberty is meaningless without a commitment to truth for the simple reason that religion itself is meaningless unless it is true. If religion cannot open our minds to a fuller grasp of reality than can be provided by the State, then it has no purpose. It is reduced to just one of many purely subjective personal attachments. It should be obvious that we cannot look to emotional attachments for guiding principles; and, clearly, only a fool would seek to help others or improve the social order merely by sharing his emotions.

In singling out the Maccabees for praise, President Obama had no idea of the implications. The Maccabees did not fight and die so that all religions could be freely practiced. The Maccabees did not fight and die for an emotional attachment, nor did they regard pagan religions as mere emotional attachments which were just as good as any others. They fought for their own right to conform their minds to the deepest reality of all, that they might know, love and serve God.

In our time, the rhetoric of religious liberty is designed to make us feel free when we are really in chains. We can only hope that there is still at least some danger for politicians in praising ancient heroes—in praising men and women who, were they present today, would slay them where they stand.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

“How to ‘Pray’ Constantly” by Anna O’Neil reblogged

 

 

How to pray without ceasing? Pray in baby-talk

You don’t need to be good with words to pray as you are supposed to

 

ANNA O’NEIL

 

JANUARY 12, 2017

Adi Al Ghanem CC

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“A disciple comes to his abba (spiritual father) in the desert and says he has a bad foot and doesn’t know how to pray about it. Should he pray for a healing or for the grace to suffer?

The abba lifts up his foot, points to it, and says “Just go before the Lord and say, ‘Foot!’”

(“Prayer that Pierces the Clouds”)

I can’t tell you how relieved I was to read this. I’ve really been struggling with the concept of intercessory prayer. This is partly due to a slew of GoFundMe requests that have come my way lately — a single mother who desperately needs child support, a sick baby who needs an expensive medical treatment, a friend of a friend in critical condition after a car crash — all asking for money, but especially for prayers.

It’s upsetting, because after all, God knew about all of this, and so much more, long before I did, and he knows how to fix it, too. I certainly don’t. Why does he need me to ask him? There’s just so much to pray for, and I have such limited energy. Can’t God just take care of all of this on his own? It’s his world, after all!

And it is. It’s his world. Deacon Greg Kandra recently wrote about the AA slogan, “Am I doing God’s work, or God’s job?” What an important distinction to remember. It’s God’s job to bind up the wounds, comfort the afflicted, and set free the prisoners. God’s work, though, is a different matter. Doing God’s work means doing what he has asked, and he’s made it quite clear that we must “pray without ceasing.”

Talk about an unrealistic request! But prayer needn’t be daunting, if we can remember that we aren’t responsible for doing God’s job. The disciple in the desert doesn’t tell God what to do, he just invites him to participate in his situation. In effect, he is really just saying, “Hey, God, see this problem I have?”

My one-year-old son actually does this all the time. He knows a handful of words, but doesn’t form sentences yet. He doesn’t need to. All he needs to say is “Stuck!” and I will come over, and either pick him up, or talk him through how to get un-stuck all by himself. Either way, his need gets met. If he doesn’t even know the word for what’s wrong, that’s fine too. He just has to shout, “Mama!” Sometimes he doesn’t have a problem at all; he just wants me to share in his delighted: “Mama, ball!”

My son just wants me to participate in his life, to be with him when he is glad, to see him grow and learn, to help him out of whatever trouble he runs into. And that’s praying without ceasing. You don’t need to be good with words to pray like you are supposed to. Actually, praying in baby-talk cuts through all the extra details, and gets right to the heart of the matter. If my son said to me, “Mama, foot!” that would be more than enough.

God doesn’t need our advice. It’s his job to heal the world in his own way. But he invites us to participate in his action in our world. Even more, he wants to be included in our lives, and that means being included in our desires and hopes, too. He wants to be with us so much that if we say, “God, I want you here in this situation,” he will respond with joy.

He just wants us to say, “God, come be here.” “God, see my foot?” “God, see my child?” So I am trying to learn to speak to God in baby talk. I’m going to stop explaining to him just how bad the problem is, and I’m going to stop trying to tell him how to do his job. He can do his job, and I’ll do mine, which is just to include him in my life, in my heart, and in all of my simple and complex desires.

Anna O’Neil

Anna O’Neil is a graduate of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. She likes cows, confession and the color yellow, not necessarily in that order. She lives on Rhode Island with her husband and son, where she tries to remember that, as Chesterton said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”

– See more at: http://aleteia.org/2017/01/12/how-to-pray-without-ceasing-pray-in-baby-talk/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en#sthash.65L0Ll9M.dpuf

“Fighting the Good Fight” reblogged from “THE TRUTH

New post on THE TRUTH

Fighting The Good Fight…

by topetychus

We are living on the pages of the Bible prophecy that assures us of a time when young people would operate the ministry gift without care for ecclesiastical titles.-Acts 2:17.
Without pulpits, young people are preaching.

Your own sisters are prophesying, and at their decree, things are happening.
They are pastoring without owning church buildings.

Discipling the world UNTO JESUS, not to themselves, or a denomination.
Their mandate is not to be the next  Rock star, Superstar, or Celebrity.

GOD forbid that they are your next top rated Idol.
The Church is becoming a community of people who influences each other, and the Person known as Jesus Christ is the centre; the focal point of attention, the only High Priest.
This is the time all creation has been waiting for; the time of the manifestations of the sons and daughters of GOD.

They go to the fartherest, and deepest parts of darkness, and TURN THEIR LIGHTS UP.
Note: Just as the Pharisees and saducees (the institutions) resisted Jesus, so are great elements within the religious institutions fighting this prophetic move of GOD because of their vested interest in the statuesque.
So we must be resolute to keep fighting the good fight of faith in LOVE.

” Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life (for the sake of the gospel) will preserve it.”-Luke 17:33
Until We Come To The Unity Of Faith 

READ YOUR BIBLE, MEDITATE, PRAY, & OBEY GOD…Kuorire

~ Kenny K’ore. 

Have a Fruitful New Year!!! Shalom!

topetychus | January 7, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Categories: Inspirations | URL: http://wp.me/p3RbRu-k4

From flesh & bread: An autopsy of an Eucharistic miracle by Arthur Herlin [Reblogged]

http://aleteia.org/2017/01/05/between-flesh-and-bread-the-autopsy-of-a-eucharistic-miracle/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en

Between flesh and bread: The autopsy of a Eucharistic miracle

 Scientists have proven existence of human tissue in many Eucharistic miracles. Their findings are part of an exhibition in Rome.

ARTHUR HERLIN/FRANCE

Antoine Mekary/ALETEIA
Do you know precisely what a Eucharistic miracle is? Do you know how many there have been in the history of the Church and what it means? These are the questions that the Polish Embassy to the Holy See in Rome sought to answer through an unprecedented exhibition.

At the Polish church of St. Stanislaus in Rome, the Polish Embassy has just inaugurated an exhibition dedicated to Eucharistic miracles around the world. It presents an overview of all the Eucharistic miracles recorded throughout the history of the Church. The display is complemented by scientific explanations.

According to scholars, the first Eucharistic miracle recognized by the Catholic Church occurred in Lanciano (Italy), in about the year 700. This miracle happened when a monk, who had doubts about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, saw the wine in the chalice turn into blood and the bread turn into flesh. Recently, after examining the relics still in existence, researchers concluded that they were indeed made of human tissue. Since this first miracle, 134 others of the same type have been recognized by the Church.

Stolen, thrown, abandoned or forgotten

In his research, Dr. Pawel Skibinski, director of the John Paul II Museum in Warsaw, noted that in the majority of cases these miracles occur in a similar context: either the celebrant had doubts about the Real Presence (Bolsena, Italy), or the offerings were mistreated (stolen, thrown away, abandoned or forgotten). This was the case in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 1996, when then-Bishop Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) was an auxiliary bishop there: a consecrated host was found on the ground. Days later, it had turned into bloody flesh.

More recently, in 2014, Father Andrzej Ziombra witnessed a Eucharistic miracle in his church in Legnica (Poland). On Christmas Day, the priest placed a host that had fallen on the ground into a glass of water. After some time, the host began turning red, as if it were bleeding.

He then warned the bishop, who asked for an analysis, primarily mycological. The results led the scientists to conclude that it was not mold but a piece of human flesh.

State of agony

As in most cases, explains the priest, the scientists succeeded in proving the existence of a sample of heart muscle. The investigation of the Eucharistic miracles also revealed the state of agony of the pieces of flesh: that is to say that the human tissue had not undergone necrosis but remained at an intermediate stage between life and decomposition.

Another phenomenon observed in all these cases: neither the bread nor the wine seemed to disappear completely. Each time, the specialists observe that although the presence of the flesh or the blood is noted, the preexisting matter, the bread or the wine, also remains as if inextricably mixed. Finally, the sample does not seem to decompose, nor do the traces of bread and the flesh disappear, even after centuries. Thus, in Bolsena for example, the blood stains on the marble are still visible, as if being impossible to clean off.

Although flesh and blood are not always visible in the Eucharist, concludes Father Ziombra, the presence of the Body of Christ is none the less certain in the eyes of faith. “This is what these miracles have reminded us of since 1300,” says the prelate: “The miracle continues every day on the altars of all the churches in the world.”

Translated from the French.

END QUOTES

“Be STRONG & Courageous “reblogged from “Its a Safe Harbor in Jesus”

 New post] Be strong and courageous!

A Safe Harbor is Jesus

New post on A Safe Harbor is Jesus

Be strong and courageous!

by Jesus is a safe harbor

We can let fear dominate our life or we can choose to be strong and courageous. I say we can “choose” but have you noticed in today’s verse it is a command? Why would God do that? Why would He command us to be strong and courageous? Because we NEED it and He is WORTHY of it! However, we do have options. We can let fear grip our heart and influence our decisions. We can rationalize why we can’t be strong or courageous. We can justify why we should be discouraged and drown in self-pity and yet what does God command? “Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Today, decide to obey the Lord. Be strong and courageous in all you face today. Have a wonderfully blessed day in the presence of the Lord. Love you all.

 

“This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Like Joshua we have to be strong and courageous, and remember that God will never leave us or forsake us. We know in our heads that God will never leave us or forsake us, but when a crisis hits, we often feel like He already has.

In moments of confusion or pain, we can get really disoriented The God who seemed like He was on our side yesterday suddenly seems like He doesn’t even know our names. In those times of confusion, we need to insist to ourselves what we know to be true: that He hasn’t left and He isn’t going to. He is still on our side.

Like Joshua, we face big moments of decision, times when we have to put our faith on the line and be strong and courageous. We may fear the outcome, but we don’t have to. Even if the outcome isn’t what we expected, God will be with us in the surprise or disappointment. But He will also be with us in many victories. Whatever we have to walk through, He is there.

Stake everything on that, no matter how present or absent He seems to be. Trust Him even when you can’t sense Him. He made a binding promise to be with you. And He never breaks a promise.

“Blessing Your Children” reblogged from Joan McPortland

 

Blessing your children: It’s not just for sneezes

Blessings are not magic, but they are deeply powerful generators and sustainers of faith.

JOANNE MCPORTLAND

“God bless you!” During the Christmas break, when colds and flu start to peak, our houses may echo with the blessing of sneezing children. But the New Year is a great time to remember and reinstate an old custom once practiced daily, in sickness and in health. Parents, when was the last time you blessed – really blessed – your children?

The tradition of invoking God’s blessing on children as they start their day or settle into sleep is as old as the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs. The image accompanying this article, for example, is Rembrandt’s Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph, showing the patriarch blessing his grandsons after the family is reunited in Egypt. Entrusting our children (and grandchildren) to God’s care is one of the great privileges of parenting, a domestic liturgy that only we can perform.

St. Ambrose reminded parents that their blessing was the one precious gift all parents, no matter what their circumstances, can impart to their children. “You may not be rich,” he said. “You may be unable to bequeath any great possessions to your children, but one thing you can give them: the heritage of your blessing, and it is better to be blessed than to be rich.”

Parental blessing can take many forms. Most commonly, parents rest one or both hands on their child’s head and pray a brief prayer, such as “May the Lord bless you and keep you in His care.” Sometimes, parents substitute tracing a cross on the child’s forehead (with or without holy water) for the laying on of hands, praying “May God bless you, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The blessing can even be wordless, with the prayer prayed silently if the child is asleep.

Common times for blessing children are at the end of the day, as part of night prayer, or first thing in the morning. You might bless school- or work-aged children and teens as they leave home each day. You can adapt your blessing ritual to your family’s schedule. Parents can bless each other, too, as an example to their children.

You might develop special blessings for occasions such as welcoming a new baby, birthdays, sacramental celebrations, travel, or leaving home for college. Many parents incorporate blessing their daughters and sons into the ritual of “giving them away” at marriage. You may include in your blessing the names of children who are away from home and children who have died. You can send your blessing to children in letters and texts, as a reminder that you are always entrusting them to God’s care.

Why bless your children? In an ever-perilous world, it is one important sign of trust in God’s loving providence. Blessings are not magic, but they are deeply powerful generators and sustainers of faith. Children who have grown up with the tradition of parental blessings describe feeling cared for, protected, safe – all qualities that help our children grow in wisdom and grace.

Pope Francis, in his catechesis on the works of mercy, urged parents to take up this ancient custom as a way of fulfilling the admonition to “pray for the living and the dead.” On November 30, 2016, he told the audience in St. Peter’s Square: “I think in a particular way of the mothers and fathers who bless their children in the morning and at night. This custom still exists in some families: blessing one’s child is a prayer.”

Here are some traditional blessing prayers you may adapt for your own use:

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
(Numbers 6:24-26, the Blessing of the Patriarchs)

“May almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you, my child, for time and eternity, and may this blessing remain forever with you.” (The Catholic Gentleman)

“May God in heaven bring you safely there and return you in good health; and may his angel accompany you for your safety.” (Travel blessing based on Tobit’s blessing of Tobias, Tobit 5:17)

For more on parental blessings, other family prayers, and the use of holy water and other sacramentals at home, see Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers: A Companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (USCCB).

– See more at: http://aleteia.org/2017/01/03/blessing-your-children-its-not-just-for-sneezes/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en#sthash.yYq9YOlR.dpuf

5 Things we need to ask ourselves everyday: Reblogged

5 Questions you need to ask yourself every day

Forget about New Year’s resolutions this year; here’s how to reach your goals by living more intentionally

TOD WORNER

2017

It is now my 43rd year of life and probably my 33rd year of consciously making resolutions for the New Year. And what have I found?

Year after year I make the same resolutions – a long list of them – which are written with passion and undertaken with zeal. And then, as the days of January give way to February, my resolve peters out. The idealistic goals born from delicious, restful Christmas vacation give way to the workaday schedule of professional responsibilities, helping with homework, shuttling to activities, early mornings and late nights. Idealism is battered a bit by the prizefighter known as Reality. Before long, it is June and I come across a crumpled-up list or a forgotten iPhone note that reminds me that, just months ago, I was going to revolutionize my life.

*Sigh*

But this year, I am going to be different (uh, oh – that sounds like a resolution…). And I am borrowing my approach from the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I am a sinner. I will always be a sinner. No matter how hard I try. When I go to Confession with a priest or quietly approach God for forgiveness, I feel (and am made) clean.

But I know I will be back.

No matter my best intentions, sin insinuates itself back into my life

. As a good friend once noted, “Every day I rise a saint and retire a sinner.” But that doesn’t mean I should despair and quit. Instead, it means I should redouble efforts while simply and humbly standing in awe of the immensity of God’s Grace for a screw-up like me.

So this year, instead of making a series of all-too-forgettable resolutions, my simple goal is to be more intentional in my relationships and responsibilities. But how do I do this? First, I need to have an honest assessment of what my priorities are and, second, I need to undertake an honest appraisal about how I live those priorities every day.

Here are my priorities: Faith, Family, Fitness, Faculty, Fulfillment.

“The future starts today, not tomorrow.”
– St. John Paul II

Here we go again…

And, if I am serious about my priorities, here are the five questions I must ask myself every day:

  1. What have I done today for my Faith?

C.S. Lewis wisely observed, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” I believe in the truth of Christianity, so have I lived it today? Have I prayed? Have I asked for help, forgiveness, offered gratitude or simply engaged God in conversation? Have I read Scripture, the Catechism, the saints or apologists? Have I lived out Christ’s love in my interactions with family, friends, colleagues, strangers and enemies? Have I set my eyes on the True, Good and Beautiful and shared that with others in my words and deeds? Did I rise with God, work with God and retire with God?

  1. What have I done today for my Family?

St. Teresa of Calcutta once remarked, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” Have I stopped in my tracks to look at my wife and children and wonder at the incomparable blessing they are in my life? Have I helped, encouraged, supported and loved them in their best and worse moments? Have I asked forgiveness for my worst moments? Have I listened to them – truly listened – in the midst of a world of infinite distractions? Have I been a model of faith, honor, hard work and good humor for my children? Have I spent quality AND quantity time with them? Have I supported their dreams and goals to become their best and truest selves? Do I experience joy in the all-too-fleeting moments that can easily be taken for granted?

 

  1. What have I done today for my Fitness?

In his Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul reminded, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Am I taking care of myself? Do I eat well and appropriately? Have I exercised? Am I avoiding habits that are bad for me (smoking, chewing, drinking to excess, overeating)? Have I tried to walk more when able and engage in more active hobbies? 

  1. What have I done today for my Faculty (my profession)?

St. John Paul II once said, “It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.” Have I listened, labored and advocated for patients, colleagues and staff? Have I kept abreast of the latest science in my field? Have I modeled sound medical judgment and thoughtful humanity for students and residents? Is my career a vocation and not simply a job?

  1. What have I done today for my Fulfillment?

 

Pope Benedict XVI encouraged, “The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” What is the mark I feel called to make on the world and how, in concert with Faith, Family and Faculty, am I working to achieve this? Have I taken time to read, to write, to engage in conversation, to learn from wise mentors? Does this mark comport with, if not enhance, my relationship with God, my family and help me improve in my career?

This year I will stop making resolutions and start living more intentionally.

I will begin and end each day reflecting on how I live out my highest priorities (“the 5 F’s”) in my life. If these are truly my priorities, I should be able to say that I attended each of them in some fashion or other. Now, things get busy. I can get distracted. And I am a sinner. So, surely, at times I will fail. Remember, every day I rise a saint and retire a sinner. But I will try. And by living with greater intentionality, I plan to savor more of life’s passing moments so they will add up to a fuller, more faithful life.

Okay. It’s time to get started.

“The future starts today, not tomorrow.”

– See more at: http://aleteia.org/2017/01/02/5-questions-you-need-to-ask-yourself-every-day/?utm_campaign=NL_en&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_en#sthash.Mry03LrM.dpuf