Tuesday, July 08, 2014
The author blends Ignatian spirituality with St. Teresa of Lisieux, St. Louis de Montfort, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, St. Faustina Kowalska and others.
Consoling the Heart of Jesus tells us how to do exactly that. First of all, Gaitley says we console the heart of Jesus by trusting him in all we do, say, and pray. We are to trust in and accept God's merciful love. We think about the comfort we can give our Lord instead of what we get.
We console Jesus during His Passion by our repentance and acts of mercy toward others. We console Him for all those who have turned away from Him or are indifferent to His love. We console Jesus by meditating on his passion through the Divine Mercy Chaplet and novena.
Next, we acknowledge the inadequate efforts to love Jesus as much as He deserves, so we take Mary with us as we pray. She will add her prayers to ours to make them a pleasing consolation to God.
This book will give you new insights into prayer. May it be as much of a blessing to you as it was for me.
Friday, February 01, 2013
After outlining the problems with uncatechized Catholics and fallen away Catholics, she explains how receiving the Sacraments without proper formation is harmful. She explains the necessity of a conscious choice to adhere to the faith and cooperate with sacramental graces.
She says that her research has found that there are "thresholds of conversion" in the process of becoming intentional desciples. They are; one beginning to trust in God, becoming spiritually curious about God and a relationship with Him, spiritual openess, spiritual seeking, and becoming a disciple.
When one begins to trust in God, they have to overcome the doubt that God is real and has their best interests at heart. Eventually, they progress to wanting to know if God loves them.
While we all want to be loved, we tend to resist letting go of control of our lives. It seems difficult to believe that the God who created all things could care about one person. It is easier to believe that God cares about mankind in a general way, like when I say I like cats and dogs. This threshold may be found even in cradle Catholics who attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day. They may not be aware that they need a personal relationship with Jesus. It is our job to make sure every Catholic knows this. What have you done toward this goal?
How does Ms. Weddell recommend we help them begin to trust in God?
Avoid pressure, guilt, argument, or cleverness.
Find out if a bridge of trust exists. Do they have a positive image of Jesus, the Church, a believer, or something Christian? If not, help them to build that bridge.
We cannot evangelize what we do not love. If they do not have a bridge, become the bridge for them. Listen more than you talk.
Clarify their image of God and the Church. Are there obstacles caused by a distorted view of God or the Church?
I'll review the book's other thresholds in future posts.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Go to http://mobipocket.mobilegabriel.com/
- In a Chrome browser save to the download folder by clicking Link Save As.
- In Internet Explorer, click Save Target As. Save in the Download folder.
- In Firefox, click Save Link As. Save in the Download folder.
Then attach this file from the Download folder to an email.
- Start a new message, and then select "Attach." It may be a different button in your e-mail program.
- Select the Download folder.
- Select the file.
- Click OK to finish attaching the file.
Betty, Author of e-books at http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=gravlin
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Price: Free! 22050 words. Published on September 10, 2012. Nonfiction.
What does the Bible say about being obedient to God? What are the most common objections to following Christ? How can one become an obedient child of God? This Bible study attempts to show what Scripture says and ask questions to overcome objections and doubts about faith in Jesus. Hopefully, it will lead to greater understanding of the Catholic faith.
Price: Free! 16920 words. Published on September 6, 2012. Nonfiction.
Who Does God Want Me to Be? What is the Nature of Your Call to Service? How do I Grow in Holiness? This book gives some answers to those questions for those who are seeking a way to follow Christ more closely. It explains some Catholic spirituality that will help you along your journey.
Price: Free! 6710 words. Published on August 31, 2012. Nonfiction.
Why is the Mass a sacrifice? What difference does it make to us that it is a sacrifice? Why do we have to go to Mass? This lecture answers these questions by going through the Book of Hebrews to show how Jesus saved us by His sacrifice on the Cross. It shows how Calvary is re-presented at Mass so that we can participate.
Why Go to Mass?
Have you been hearing the question, "Why Go To Mass?" a lot lately? If your only answer to that question is "Because we have to." then you need to read this book.
Here are 30 reasons why the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should be attended at least weekly. Published: May 5, 2013.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
We have worked very hard for this degree. We wrote three term papers or tests a month for four months. That's twelve papers/tests a semester times six semesters. A few of our assignments were in class tests. Of our 72 assignments, I would guess only six were in class tests. That leaves about 64 papers to write. Needless to say, I got a lot of writing practice. I learned how to do research, analyze, synthesize, and summarize. My essays had to be logical and objective.
As a professional writer, you might ask why I would study for a theology degree. God called me to do it. Yet, the kind of writing I did was very different from what I do for a living. I think I am a better writer now. Studying theology was a better preparation for a career as a writer than my English degree ever was. Who would have thought that?
The emphasis these days is on college as a preparation for a career. Unfortunately, that is reality. We all need to eat and put a roof over our heads. Once you have achieved that, it makes sense to study something that will enlarge your mind and soul.
Ave Maria University Institute of Pastoral Studies has multiple satellite campuses: St. Louis, MO; Janesville, WI; Dallas, TX; Minneapolis, and Ave Maria, FL. The professors are awesome. They really know their material. I like the way Ave Maria is faithful to the Magisterium. There's no dissident theology here. The classes are small, so students get a lot of individual attention. I can't say enough good things about this program.
God bless all my professors!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
How Catholic does an activity have to be to be called Catholic? This is a key question these days because of the Health and Human Services mandate that Catholic institutions must provide abortion causing medications and sterilizations. Under Obamacare, HHS has decided Catholic hospitals and universities are not Catholic enough to qualify for a religious conscience exception.
Since when does some bureaucrat in Washington DC get to decide how Catholic is Catholic enough? On what basis do they quantify their decision? Can you put Catholic activity on a scale and weigh it? Can you calculate a percent based on how many crucifixes are in patient rooms versus how many do not have one? Do you count how many employees wear a crucifix necklace? Does a plain cross count? Does an 99% ratio disqualify a Catholic hospital for a religious conscience exception? Is 49% enough? Does the Gideon Bible in the drawer count against the Catholic ratio? If there is one Catholic who works in a Catholic hospital who does not practice his/her faith according to Catholic doctrines, does that count against the whole hospital or all Catholic hospitals in the nation? Does each hospital's rating stand alone or is it an average of all Catholic hospitals in the nation? Who decides what is a Catholic activity and what is not? Is it the bishop or the board of directors? Do the employees vote on it? Is an activity Catholic only if it happens within the confines of a Catholic Church sanctuary? Anyone who would think that does not know how Catholics view being a Catholic.
Catholics have a saying. "Preach the Gospel, and when necessary, use words." Catholicism is a way of life. It is not confined to what happens on Sunday morning within the walls of a church. Catholics practice their faith, or should, by the way they live. It is not something you can put under a microscope or calculate mathematically.
I volunteered in a Catholic hospital for five months as a patient visitor. I also went to a secular hospital for seven months of chaplain training. This is just subjective evidence, but there is a big difference between the two hospitals. The difference is not anything that can be quantified objectively. The number of crucifixes in patient rooms in the Catholic hospital is noticeable. The mission statement is distinctively religious. Beyond that, you would not be able to quantify the Catholic activity there. Yet it is real.
When I was a volunteer patient visitor, I was happy when a patient's water pitcher needed to be refilled. Objectively, I was meeting a patient's need for hydration. As a Catholic, I was pouring a cup of cool water in His name (Matthew 10:42). I was doing what is commanded by love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 12:30). I was visiting the sick as Jesus told me to do in Matthew 25. I was doing what I read in James 2. I don't think I ever said the God word in all that time because I was instructed to not proselytize. This was before I went through chaplain training. At the secular hospital, I was also living my Catholic faith, but never proselytized. I talked about religious faith only when the patient indicated they were open to it. I prayed with many of them regardless of their religious affiliation. Despite what is obviously religious about my activity, the hospital was noticeably secular. It is in the air. Perhaps I wasn't there long enough to detect the motivation of the employees, but I sensed the difference. If I were going to choose which hospital would be a better place for living my Catholic faith, I would pick the Catholic hospital where I never prayed with anyone.
Many Catholic hospitals were started by religious orders of nuns/sisters and Brothers, some as far back as the Middle Ages. (The Catholic Church was the one and only Christian religion back then.) The Knights Hospitaller was founded by Blessed Gerard around 1023. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_Hospitaller) The hospital was an invention of these orders. They provided protection and hospitality to pilgrims on the way to the Holy Land. Pilgrims sometimes got sick on the way, so the consecrated religious cared for them until they were able to travel again. This apostolate led to the founding of religious orders of nuns/sisters and Brothers dedicated to this apostolate. These men and women served as nurses and administrators. They also cared for people who were not pilgrims.
What right has anyone to say that a Catholic hospital is not Catholic enough to qualify for a religious conscience exception?
Does a Catholic school not qualify for a religious conscience exception because it teaches science to non-Catholics? Catholics invented the scientific method, which is based on the assumption that the world God created is orderly and therefore this order can be discovered and measured. That's why the scientific method didn't evolve in non-Christian nations. Do only theology teachers qualify as Catholic enough?
Catholics invented schools after the disappearance of classical Roman culture in Western Europe. Convent grammar schools were originally an apostolate of Benedictine monasteries in the Early Middle Ages (c. 500-1000). Students were originally candidates for monastic profession. In 1679 in Reims, France, a Catholic priest, St. John Baptist De La Salle, invented the "simultaneous method of education" for instructing multiple students in a classroom. Before that, there was one-on-one tutoring that was so expensive that only the rich or those preparing for religious orders could afford an education. De La Salle founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. St Elizabeth Ann Seton founded the Catholic parochial school system in the United States in 1808 and is founder of a religious order, Sisters of Charity. Twelve other religious orders trace their roots to that order or are based on the rule of Sts. Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac. The ideals and practices of the Ursulines and the Christian Brothers were exported to America in the convent and parochial schools of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Catholic schools are based on the dignity of the human person. It did not matter how wealthy one was. All should be educated. These schools were based on the assumption that people needed to be able to read so they could understand the Bible and pass on the faith. Does a Catholic school have to admit only Catholic students or discriminate in who they hire as teachers?
Catholics invented universities as far back as the Middle Ages. (That's why we wear those weird gowns at graduation. That's what students wore to class back then.) The Cistercians founded the University of Paris in 1240. They were originally an outgrowth of the local cathedral. Catholic men and women served as professors. This apostolate led to the founding of religious orders of nuns/sisters and brothers, such as Jesuits, Dominicans, and the Franciscans, dedicated to teaching in both grammar schools and universities.
What right has anyone to say that a Catholic school is not Catholic enough to qualify for a religious conscience exception? Does one have to understand the reasons why the Catholic Church teaches what it does or how to live the faith before one decides that? Aren't they Catholic enough simply by their essence regardless whether the activity appears religious or not?
Who has the right to judge Catholic doctrines as wrong or not being for the common good? Are not Catholic hospitals, Catholic schools, and Catholics universities institutions that promote the common good? In 2011, 554 Catholic hospitals treated 89,501,723 patients. There are 235 Colleges and Universities educating 804,826 students. (The Official Catholic Directory 2011, General Summary.)
Under Canon Law, the bishop of a diocese is the only one who has jurisdiction to decide what is Catholic and what is not, though there is no registered trademark on who can use that word in their title. In December 2010, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, declared that St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center can no longer be considered Catholic because it failed to comply with the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Church when they elected to terminate a pregnancy and for other numerous violations for more than seven years. Bureaucrats in Washington DC and legislators should not have any say in what is Catholic enough and what is not. A federal regulation should never trump a Constitutional right to freedom of religion. The Constitution does not guarantee the right to a free abortion.
By the way, did you know Canon Law, the legal system of the Catholic Church, is the basis of civil law, the laws of evidence, and trial by jury? The Catholic Church invented those too.
Care to hear about the origin of the international banking system? Catholics invented that too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_Templar
The people who invented hospitals, schools, canon law, scientific method, and the banking system believed the same doctrines as the Catholic bishops who compiled the Bible at the Council of Chalcedon in 397. Is that Catholic enough?
Friday, February 17, 2012
Who says the government should provide everything we want for free? Actually, nothing is free. There is always someone who is bearing the cost either directly or indirectly.
You think these things can't happen in the United States? Wake up! All should be supporting those whose First Amendment rights are being trampled on. The rights of all Americans are in danger.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Sunday, August 16, 2009
There are many reasons I am doubting my sanity for doing this. I feel somewhat overwhelmed at how much work is involved. Can you really teach an old dog new tricks? I've been out of college since 1975. I have never taken formal theology classes at the university level before. I've never studied while working full time before. I can't think of a really good use for what I will study. It's expensive. Yet I have been resisting the call to do this for five years. I keep hearing the call, so how can I say no? My excuses are weak compared to my desire to follow God's will in my life. He keeps telling me to trust him. He will help me. He will explain later. Who am I to argue with that?
I pray that the Holy Spirit will fill me with wisdom as he did Mary, so that the Word of God will grow within me. May I have the courage to say, "Nothing is impossible with God. Do whatever he tells you. Not my will, but yours be done."
I am firmly opposed to the nationalization of the health insurance industry. I thought nationalization of industries was something that only happen in third world socialistic and communistic countries. I have always thought I lived in a capitalistic economy until the current administration came to power. Who gives Congress the right to wipe out the health insurance industry and replace it with enforced coercive take over of both the auto industry and now the insurance industry. You do not represent the people of this country if you do not listen and respond to the wishes of the people. Do not cram this terrible legislation down our throats.
Another reason I am opposed to this health care legislation is that it would force taxpayer to pay for abortions and force health care professionals to participate in abortions regardless of their consciences.
May I remind you of the Declaration on Religious Freedom , which says in paragraph 2, "This declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.
The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.(2) This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right."
If you claim to be a Catholic, then I ask you to respect the religious freedom of American citizens and not turn this nation into a repressive dictatorship. Stop this health insurance industry legislation.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Abortion Article in USNews.com:
June 29, 2009
By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
As the White House readies its plan for finding "common ground" on reproductive health issues and reducing the need for abortion, a major debate has emerged over how to package the plan's two major components: preventing unwanted pregnancies and reducing the need for abortion.
One of the comments to this article was from Hopeful of FL
"I am at a loss. Please explain to me the "right to life" movements displeasure with contraception and education.
Also, pro choice doesn't mean pro abortion. No body wants abortions. The pro choice side just wants to stop them in with all the tool in the tool box. The pro life side wants to stop them through prayer and abstinence, which if we were honest, both sides know doesn't work."
To Hopeful of FL: The explaination of why artificial contraception is sinful is a big topic. If you want to know, read the book, Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West. In addition to the reasons given in the book, artificial contraception also fails to prevent the emotional damage of fornication and adultery, fails to prevent the spread of STDs, and destabilizes marriages. The pro-choicers say it is OK to murder an unborn baby. A bill to reduce the number of abortions? How long will that take and how many babies will die in the meantime?
I am part of a group who are working on starting a homeless shelter for pregnant women in Illinois, near St. Louis. We are having a hard time getting zoning approval from neighbors who are yelling, "Not in my back yard." And getting any government funding for building it is non-existant. I would welcome the Pregnant Women Support Act. Give women a real choice -- the choice to bring their baby into this world.
The article is at http://www.usnews.com/blogs/god-and-country/2009/06/29/as-white-house-readies-abortion-plan-packaging-emerges-as-major-issue.html
Sunday, May 31, 2009
I have never thought about how the doctrines of original sin and free will are related and what the implications of these doctrines are.
As Catholics, we believe that pain, suffering and death entered the world (Genesis 3) because of the sin of Adam and Eve. We inherited a weakened body that is vulnerable, where before the fall of Adam, God created us "very good" as Genesis 1 tells us. St. Ambrose said that God allows us to die to limit the amount of suffering we have to endure in this world. Death, then, is a loving method of reuniting ourselves to God eternally. Therefore, pain, suffering and death are part of the human condition.
The Old Testament paints God as wrathful; and always smiting people for their disobedience. How can God be both loving, merciful, kind and yet be punishing? That is a contradiction. Without the doctrines of original sin and free will, we would have to believe that suffering is inflicted by a vindictive God as punishment for sin. In Catholic theology, punishment for sin is the loss of grace that helps us to grow in virtue, and if serious and unrepented, will result in the loss of salvation. In this way, mortal sin is a far greater punishment than temporary physical sickness. On the other hand, God is patient and usually gives us a lot of time to repent. Hopefully, the loss of God's friendship leads to conversion.
Because I love my children, I discipline them with natural consequences, such as grounding them from being with friends and watching TV. My children see me as a cruel and vindictive. That would be true if I abused them physically, but I am merely taking away a privilege. They don't understand that I am trying to teach them to do the right thing out of love for them. They don't see the big picture. I hope they will see it when they become parents.
It is their free will that has resulted in the consequences. By choosing to disobey, they are choosing the punishment. It is the same way when we sin. We choose to disobey God, so we deserve to lose God's grace. Sinners may think God is mean and vengeful, but that is a failure to take responsibility for their choices.
Sin does often have physical side effects. Sexual sins may result in sexually transmitted diseases. A drinking binge causes brain cells to die and, if it becomes a habit, can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. These sins may also have an emotional consequence of a wrecked relationship. However, these illnesses and pain are not inflicted by God for punishing the sin. They are a result of free will.
In Catholic theology, Original sin deprived us of grace and weakened us, but did not make us totally depraved. We have the freedom to do evil or the freedom to chose good. The benefit of obedience to God is that we grow in holiness and friendship with Him. We enjoy the guidance of the Holy Spirit which dwells within us. We are members of God's family and so we receive an inheritance of eternal life which is a free gift. Sirach 15:11-20 supports the doctrine of free will. "Say not: "It was God's doing that I fell away"; for what he hates he does not do. Say not: "It was he who set me astray"; for he has no need of wicked man. Abominable wickedness the Lord hates, he does not let it befall those who fear him. When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice. If you choose you can keep the commandments; it is loyalty to do his will. There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him. Immense is the wisdom of the LORD; he is mighty in power, and all-seeing. The eyes of God see all he has made; he understands man's every deed. No man does he command to sin, to none does he give strength for lies."
If instead we believed that we are incapable of doing anything but sin, it would be indeed a cruel God for punishing us when we can't do anything good. That would be like a father that beats his developmentally disabled son for disobeying him in not doing his trigonometry homework. That is not my idea of a good, loving father. I could not praise a God that treated us that way.
Does God punish us for sin by inflicting sickness? In Job 1:12, God told Satan "do not lay a hand upon his person." Satan disobeys God. Job 2:7 says, "So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with severe boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head."
The last chapter of the book of Job also gives us a clue about suffering. Job 42:7-8 says, "And it came to pass after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and with your two friends; for you have not spoken rightly concerning me, as has my servant Job. Now, therefore, take seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up a holocaust for yourselves; and let my servant Job pray for you; for his prayer I will accept, not to punish you severely. For you have not spoken rightly concerning me, as has my servant Job." If you remember, Eliphaz and two other of Job's friends had told Job that he must have sinned or God would not have caused the loss of his family and property. So the Lord tells Job's friends that they were not telling the truth; that is, suffering in this world is not necessarily a punishment for sin. The just man will also suffer. The Lord does not owe us an explanation. In humility, we trust that sometimes God allows us to suffer when something really good can come from it. In the end of Job, God restores everything to Job. Job has set a good example to others of faithfulness and has learned humility. Job 42:10 "the Lord restored the prosperity of Job, after he had prayed for his friends; the Lord even gave to Job twice as much as he had before." God knew a good result would come from this test. Even if Job had not been blessed by return of his fortune, in Job 19:25-26 it says Job had faith that all would be made just in the next life. "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God," He would not suffer forever.
Another aspect of suffering is that it can become a way of teaching us what we can't learn otherwise. Instead of asking, "Why me?" and wallowing in self-pity, perhaps we need to ask "Why not me?" Though we can't totally avoid suffering, when it comes to us, we can try to get something good out of it. Perhaps we can learn to be more grateful for what is still good in our lives. Perhaps we can be more empathic to those who are suffering in the same way as we are. Perhaps we can grow in the virtue of patience. Perhaps, like the Prodigal Son, it leads to repentance. If there can be good effects from suffering, we should ask "Who among us is so good that we can't gain something from a little pain?" Some saints practiced fasting for this reason. God is so good to us, but we tend to forget that he treats us better than we deserve. We frequently react with self-pity.
Self-pity in the face of suffering increases our pain. In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us that we are not alone in our suffering. "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you." The Catechism, no. 164, says, "Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice, and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it" . God provided a remedy for self-pity. Col 1:24 says, "Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church." While some believe that nothing is lacking in Christ's suffering, this verse says otherwise. We can offer our sufferings in union with the sufferings of Christ for the redemption of others. We can bear our sufferings patiently while offering them to God for the benefit of others. Catholics have a term for this called redemptive suffering. The suffering of Christ gives meaning to our suffering.
Pope John Paul II's encyclical, Salvifici Doloris, "On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering" agrees with this. This encyclical also says that while we have revelation about why mankind suffers, the reason a particular individual suffers is a mystery. In the same way, each individual will react differently. The challenge of suffering is to react in a faithful, hopeful, and loving way. That requires grace, so let us ask for the Lord's help daily to carry our cross.
Does God Cause Evil?
It is important to begin by defining what we mean by evil if we are going to understand it.
Whether something is evil depends on the nature of the one who experiences it. If a human was born without eyes, we might think that is evil because it is the nature of humans to have eyes. If a stone does not have eyes, we do not think that is evil because sight is not the nature of a stone.
When God created Adam and Eve, Genesis 1:27,31 says, "God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them... God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good." The nature of humans changed after Adam and Eve sinned. As Genesis 2:17-19 says, "To the man [Adam] he [God] said: "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat, "Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, as you eat of the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return." After the fall, humans inherited a weakened, vulnerable body.
If sickness, pain and death became part of our human nature because of the fall, then it is not evil if we lose our health. It is to be expected. If we never had sickness, pain and death, it would be abnormal. It would be as strange as a chair having eyes. Sickness is an absence of health, not the act of a vindictive God.
According to St. Thomas Aquinas, evil is also not a thing, but instead it is an absence of good. Since it is not a thing, it cannot be created. An analogy to this is a shadow. No one can create a shadow, because it is an absence of light. One can cast a shadow by blocking a light, but it is not a thing.
Things cannot, of themselves, be evil. God can make a tree that has the ability to oxidize and thus burn. But God does not light the fire. The fire can be either a good thing or a harmful thing, depending on how it is used. Fire can heat us on a cold day or cook our food. It can also burn down a building and kill people. So it is not the fire itself that is evil. What can be evil is the reason, or the will, of the person who starts the fire. The US Court system recognizes this intention as a factor in whether something is a crime or an accident. A person that is insane, severely mentally retarded, or acting in self-defense is treated differently than one who commits a premeditated act. A person who burns a building may be doing a good thing if it is a storage facility for the enemy’s weapons, because that would protect others.
The story of Adam and Eve shows that God created humans with free will. We can choose to do good or we can sin. We can obey or disobey God. For a sin to be mortal, it must be grave matter, we must be capable of knowing and know it is a grave matter, and of our free will decide to do it anyway. It is the nature of humans to go either way.
Can God do evil?
We can observe from experience that some things are better than others. There is a continuum that ranges from an absence of good, to better, to best, the ultimate goodness. As humans, we neither have an absence of good or ultimate goodness, since we are capable of sin.
If we define the nature of God as having the ultimate goodness, then it is not possible for God to will evil. Why? Doing evil would cause an absence of goodness. To use an analogy, if I put ice in a pot of boiling water, it would not be boiling water until it again reached the temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. With the absence of heat, it would lose its boiling nature. It would not be at the ultimately highest temperature that water can be. In the same way, if you mix a will to do evil with the ultimate goodness of God, God would lose his ultimate goodness and, therefore, would not be God. The nature of this being would be the same as humans.
Is evil, then, caused by God lacking the power to stop it? There are some things God can't do. He can't make a square circle. We have to trust that God made us according to his loving plan. He gave us free will, because we would be like puppets if we did not have it. He can't make us have both free will and not able to choose to do evil. Also, he could not let the sin of Adam and Eve go unpunished, because God is totally just. Despite our sinful choices, God makes it possible to turn evil to good. We do this by uniting our sufferings with the sufferings of Christ for the redemption of the world.
It is not evil for God to remove his grace from us when we sin. He warned us what would happen if we die in unrepented mortal sin. He is merely giving us what he promised he would. God wills the salvation of all. He gives us all the grace we need to be holy. By our Baptism, we are given an inheritance of eternal life. We don't have to earn it, because it is a free gift. Yet we can choose to lose it through serious sin. Ultimately, the responsibility for obeying God is ours.
To summarize, evil:
- depends on nature,
- it is not a thing,
- it cannot be created,
- is caused by our free will to sin
- is not the will of God, so therefore, God cannot cause evil.
- God does not cause sickness, pain or death.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Supporters say it will open up a broad front of research to find better treatments for ailments from diabetes to Parkinson's disease; opponents saying destroying embryos for research is morally wrong.
What this article fails to say is that embryonic stem cell research has found zero cures so far, so it is wasting taxpayer lives and wasting taxpayer dollars. If it were so promising, there would be a ton of private funding. Also, it neglects to say that adult stem cells can now be made as flexible (Pluripotent) as embryonic stem cells. See http://www.stemcellresearch.org/ for a list of the 73 cures using adult stem cells.
This leads me to suspect that its real purpose of embryonic stem cell research is to keep abortion legal. The logic behind it is that if embryos are no more valuable than any other cell, then how can abortion be morally wrong? embryonic stem cell research treats these cells as property in the same way that slaves were thought of as property. How can an African-American president allow anyone to be treated like a slave?
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
In St. Augustine's City of God, Chapter 1, Augustine refers to the sacking of the city of Rome by the West-Gothic King Alaric in 410 AD. He was the most humane of the barbaric invaders and conquerors of Rome, and had embraced Arian Christianity. Augustine asks a question, "Are not those very Romans, who were spared by the barbarians through their respect for Christ, become enemies to the name of Christ? " He asks this because the invaders spared those who went inside churches. The Catholic churches were a sanctuary from harm.
"Thus escaped multitudes who now reproach the Christian religion, and impute to Christ the ills that have befallen their city; but the preservation of their own life—a boon which they owe to the respect entertained for Christ by the barbarians—they attribute not to our Christ, but to their own good luck. They ought rather, had they any right perceptions, to attribute the severities and hardships inflicted by their enemies, to that divine providence which is wont to reform the depraved manners of men by chastisement, and which exercises with similar afflictions the righteous and praiseworthy,—either translating them, when they have passed through the trial, to a better world, or detaining them still on earth for ulterior purposes. And they ought to attribute it to the spirit of these Christian times, that, contrary to the custom of war, these bloodthirsty barbarians spared them, and spared them for Christ’s sake, whether this mercy was actually shown in promiscuous places, or in those places specially dedicated to Christ’s name, and of which the very largest were selected as sanctuaries, that full scope might thus be given to the expansive compassion which desired that a large multitude might find shelter there."
I see a parallel here with the American economy and issues most dear to the religious right. The way the mainstream media is catastrophizing, you would think the Goths were at our door. Perhaps they are right. Conservatives are joining this chorus of doom and gloom. Are we really on the verge of becoming a socialist nation? If this doesn't happen in the Obama administration, I think we are getting close to the brink. As in any crisis, the fingers are pointing in many directions is typical blame game stuff.
It seems to me, the religious right is blaming the pagan secular humanists, while the irreligious left is blaming the Christians. History is repeating itself. I think we can learn some things from Augustine's defense of Christianity.
"Therefore ought they to give God thanks, and with sincere confession flee for refuge to His name, that so they may escape the punishment of eternal fire—they who with lying lips took upon them this name, that they might escape the punishment of present destruction. For of those whom you see insolently and shamelessly insulting the servants of Christ, there are numbers who would not have escaped that destruction and slaughter had they not pretended that they themselves were Christ’s servants. Yet now, in ungrateful pride and most impious madness, and at the risk of being punished in everlasting darkness, they perversely oppose that name under which they fraudulently protected themselves for the sake of enjoying the light of this brief life."
Leftists are saying that conservatives should gladly subscribe to redistribution of wealth. They say that capitalists are too greedy, and that is the reason for the collapse of the financial institutions. In their book, Christians are homophobic and are holding women back if the pro-lifers restrict abortion. Leftists say defending our country from terrorists through the Patriot Act is dangerous to our freedoms. Totalitarianism is just around the corner. All would be well if not for the Christians telling them what to do.
The financial conservatives accuse the liberals of stealing their paychecks with higher taxes that are being redistributed to welfare recipients. The religious right points the finger at the secular humanists for the decline in morality, high divorce rate, unwed pregnancy, higher STDs, and high rate of abortion. The Right blames this on the ban on public school prayer, the removal of religion from the public square due to the protests of atheists. Armegedon is just around the corner. God will punish our pagan country, so we better shape up.
Who is right? That is something we cannot know for sure now. History will tell us someday. What does seem clear is that catastrophizing is keeping us from the unity we need to deal with the mess our country is in. Pagans blaming Christians, and Christians blaming Pagans will accomplish nothing.
When one points the finger at others, remember three fingers are pointing back toward the accuser.
Instead of despair about the Inaugeration of Obama, Christians need to get to work to make the country a better place, a City of God, in spite of the leftists pagans ignoring how they benefit from the Christian's moral imperative to love one's neighbor. It should be obvious, after numerous bankruptcies, foreclosures, bail outs, the failure of the Madoff Ponzi scheme and the fall of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, that capitalism is dependent on morality, yet it is not obvious to enough of us. Pagans want morality in business, but free reign in sexual behavior. This inconsistency is laughable, but ignored. We need to point it out whether the mainstream media does or not. Conversion doesn't happen overnight. They need to be warned that those who "perversely oppose that name" [Christ] and are "enjoying the light of this brief life" will be dealt with in the hereafter. Reaching out to them is being merciful, but be prepared to turn the other cheek.
The Roman pagans trusted their gods to protect them, but ran to church when their gods failed to do that. Despite my great fear of what the Obama administration will do, I will not put my trust in the United States government. I hope you will join me in getting down on the knees to pray for our country. I know who my Messiah is. I know where my true home is.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I do not share your opinion about Bush, but let's agree to disagree about that.
I am very sad that the unborn have been betrayed because some want to put more coins in their pockets. We are a nation like Judas, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Some think that if the economy gets better, there will be fewer abortions, but I ask, "How long will that take and how many millions of unborn babies will die before then?" Some say we will always need legal abortion, but isn't that like saying there will always be a need for legal murder?If Hitler had been a candidate that had promised to improve the economy, but I knew he wanted to kill 12 million people, would it be right for me to vote for him? That is what Americans did last week. The killing of innocents will be permanently legal.
This article says what I am really concerned about:
"Senator Obama has promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), whichThe same thing can be said will happen if homosexual marriage becomes legal. Anyone who opposes it could lose their job or lose tax-exempt status, which means the government can take away your business. Currently, the right of Americans to refuse to do things they believe are sinful is under attack. A recent court case in California is an example. A homosexual couple of women went to a doctor to get help getting pregnant artifically. The doctor believes it is wrong for a child to be born and raised by homosexuals, so he refused to help. Instead, he gave them the name of another doctor who would do it. After the couple had a baby, the couple sued the first doctor. The doctor lost and had to pay a lot of money to the couple, in spite of the fact this was not an emergency procedure. The pharmacists are being sued and losing their jobs for not giving out medicine that causes abortion.
would repeal every restriction on abortion in every American state, right up
through the ninth month. But then, we knew that about Obama, the whole
infanticide thing. But there's more. The FOCA raises abortion to (in its own
words) a "fundamental right." According to legal analysts at the U.S. Council of
Catholic Bishops, the act's language is so sweeping that it will snuff out any
state's "conscience" clause -- the laws allowing hospitals, doctors, and nurses
not to take part in abortions. To do so would amount to illegal discrimination,
denying a citizen her fundamental right. Christian hospitals could no more
decline to perform abortions than they can currently refuse to operate on black
people. "So President Obama and his congressional supermajority would
force every Christian hospital, doctor, and nurse either to abandon their faith
or go out of business. By federal law, believing Christians would be banned from
a major industry (and apostolate). This is literally equivalent to a law banning
faithful Jews from owning newspapers. "History tells us that steps such as
this aren't where religious persecutions end; it's where they begin. Things are
already scary enough in neighboring Canada, where Christians are now routinely
hauled up before human rights tribunals for repeating what the Bible teaches
concerning sex. Who knows what some Obama-appointed judge, 20 years from now,
will make of a pastor whose sermons attacked the "fundamental right" of women to
kill their children? How many churches and seminaries will face crippling civil
judgments and have to close?"
This could mean that Catholic churches and schools would be forced to teach that homosexuality is good and not sinful as the Bible says it is. Any priest that says it is not could be jailed for "hate speech." Our freedom of speech and conscience will be lost forever. Americans do not realize the danger we are in because the newspapers and TV are telling us what to think and they think that abortion and homosexual marriage is good. They have become like a government Department of Mind Control. Americans are fools if they let this happen. The good news is that three states passed laws against homosexual marriages in this election and one outlawed adoption by these couples. This country already has enough laws that let people give their money to anyone they want after they die and to make health care decisions for them. No one tells them they can't live together or not get a job. They have the same freedoms they need without the problems of letting them adopt children or making others think the way they do .
Yes, love the sinner, but hate the sin. Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim were destroyed by "brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven" (Genesis 19) because homosexuals wanted to rape men. I fear God will destroy our country for our sins.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Why does the sun go on shining
Why does the sea rush to shore
Don't they know it's the end of the world
'Cause pro-lifers failed to score
Why do the birds go on singing
Why do the stars glow above
Don't they know it's the end of the world
It ended when Obama won
I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything's the same as it was
I can't understand, no, I can't understand
How life goes on the way it does
Why does my heart go on beating
Why do these eyes of mine cry
Don't they know it's the end of the world
It ended 'cause unborn babes will die
Why does my heart go on beating
Why do these eyes of mine cry
Don't they know it's the end of the world
It ended 'cause unborn babes will die
Obama as Antichrist?
No, an apocalyptic author explains. November 04, 2008
"The influential Canadian Catholic artist and novelist Michael O'Brien has disclosed in his private newsletter that many readers see "an uncanny resemblance" between Senator Barack Obama and the figure of the Antichrist portrayed in O'Brien's apocalyptic novel Father Elijah. While acknowledging similarities, O'Brien concludes that Obama is not the Antichrist. Nevertheles, he says: "I also also believe that he is a carrier of a deadly moral virus, indeed a kind of anti-apostle spreading concepts and agendas that are not only anti-Christ but anti-human as well. In this sense he is of the spirit of Antichrist (perhaps without knowing it), and probably is one of several key figures in the world who (knowingly or unknowingly) will be instrumental in ushering in the time of great trial for the Church…"
The Last President of a Free Democracy
in Free Republic
"But what of those ”Bitter Clingers” who stand in fear of what his [Obama's] ascension to power really means? When their leaders are declared enemies of the state and the laws are changed to stifle their dissent? What will they do when the country they loved resembles the tin horn dictatorships of South America? What will become of them, after their enemy has destroyed their way of life? Will they ever be able to mobilize as a force to take back their country? And what of their God, whom the friends of the “Anointed One” will inevitably declare illegal on grounds of tolerance?"
Welcome to the Obamanation!
Nov 5, 2008 Neal Boortz
"The big question for me today is whether or not freedom, economic liberty and self-sufficiency can make a comeback in America. Right now it seems that a dismaying number of Americans think that they are owed a living; that it is the government's job to guarantee their economic security. Can we ever turn that around and return to a time when people accept the responsibility for their own lives and eschew the idea of using government as a tool of legalized plunder?"
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
This is a chilling reminder why we have to vote pro-life on Tuesday, Nov 4.
Obama will wipe out all the small victories we have had in protecting babies. I don't agree with his vision for American women.
Vote pro-life to save black babies too.
Between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 Blacks were lynched in the U.S. That number is surpassed in less than 3 days by abortion.
1,452 African-American children are killed each day by the heinous act of abortion.
3 out of 5 pregnant African-American women will abort their child.
Since 1973 there has been over 13 million Black children killed and their precious mothers victimized by the U.S. abortion industry.
I am vacillating between anxiety and hope about this election. I am anxious because so much is at stake for the pro-life movement. I don't think I'll get much sleep Tuesday night. I am hopeful because I know that God is in control.
Holy Spirit, please inspire the undecided voters to remember unborn babies as they cast their vote.
Friday, October 31, 2008
By Ned Barnett
Senator Obama’s two tax promises: to limit tax increases to only those making over $250,000 a year, and to not raise taxes on 95% of “working Americans,” intrigued me. As a hard-working small business owner, over the past ten years I’ve earned from $50,000 to $100,000 per year. If Senator Obama is shooting straight with us, under his presidency I could look forward to paying no additional Federal taxes – I might even get a break – and as I struggle to support a family and pay for two boys in college, a reliable tax freeze is nearly as welcome as further tax cuts.
However, Senator Obama’s dual claims seemed implausible, especially when it came to my Federal income taxes. Those implausible promises to make me look at what I’d been paying before President Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, as well as what I paid after those tax cuts became law. I chose the 2000 tax tables as my baseline – they reflect the tax rates that Senator Obama will restore by letting the “Bush Tax Cuts” lapse. I wanted to see what that meant from my tax bill.
Read the rest at http://www.americanthinker.com
Barack Obama’s aunt is living in public housing
A Boston Housing Authority director says Barack Obama’s aunt, a Kenyan woman who has lived in public housing for five years, is an “exemplary resident” and only recently did anyone know of her connection to the presidential contender.
Obama’s campaign spokesman Reid Cherlin confirmed to the Herald yesterday that Zeituni Onyango, 56, who lives on Flaherty Way in South Boston, is Obama’s aunt on his father’s side.
If Obama wants to spread the wealth around, why doesn't he spread his wealth to his beloved aunt?
ENPR Prediction: Obama Narrow Win, Dems 58 Senate Seats, 254 House Seats
But we all know how biased the polls are. The only one that counts is the one next Tuesday, Nov. 4. Please vote pro-life.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I wrote to my German cousin again about the election.
As the days until the election shorten, I become more anxious. So much is at stake here. I don't believe polls, but I am worried that it is going to be a close one. It all depends on how many of each party actually go to vote. The conservative Republicans are more happy about McCain because of Sarah Palin. I think she will help more than she will hurt. Americans can identify with her. Unlike Obama, Biden, or McCain, she has actually managed a government. She has more useful experience than they do. I wish she were running for President.
I am wondering whether the financial mess is caused by investors that are worried that Obama will win. Obama, I think, will not be able to handle the financial mess as well as McCain could. It's too bad that Americans don't know much about economics.
On top of Obama's lack of experience, he is a socialist in disguise. Obama says, "Spread the wealth around." This is what his wife Michelle Obama says. "In order to get things like Universal Health Care and revamped Education System, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of the pie so that someone else can have more" I detest the way class warfare, of rich against poor, is dividing the country. I think those who encourage coveting one's neighbors goods are sinful. It is wrong to envy those who have more and to coerce them to give to others through voting. That's not charity or love of neighbor. It's robbery. Christians should care for the poor, but they should not be forced to do it or go to jail if they don't pay taxes. It will be a much poorer country when the government can decide how much one is allowed to make. The power to tax is the power to destroy. Any government that is powerful to give you anything you want is powerful enough to take away everything you have. People in Germany voted for Hitler because the economy was bad. I think the content of one's character is what really counts. I trust a survivor of prisoner of war camps much more than Obama.
Do you know what is a stake for the pro-life movement in this election? At least two Supreme Court justices will retire in the next 4 years. The Supreme Court justices decide what the laws mean, but liberal ones ignore the votes of the people and use international law and their own feelings to make new laws. They could be on the court for 30 years. If Obama wins, he will pick liberal, pro-abortion justices. The pro-life movement will lose everything we have worked for since 1973! This is showdown time. We either elect a pro-life president or lose the war to protect unborn babies. It is life or death issue. The Democrats say they help the "little guy." I think they should also help the "little UNBORN guy" too.
Will old people be treated as non-persons too? Yes, if Universal Health Care comes in, there will be rationing of care. Those who cost too much to treat will be left to die. I was at a workshop on health care justice last week that said this is happening in the UK. The US will be next. People screamed about $700 billion being spent on bailouts, but that amount would fund only about 6 years of Universal Health Care. It will bankrupt the whole country. We will be forced to pay for abortions with our tax money as well.
McCain is a different person than George Bush. He has always been disliked by Republicans for voting sometimes with the Democrats instead of with his own party. He is a maverick, which means he goes his own way and often rebels against what people want him to do.
So I am praying God will have mercy and inspire people to vote pro-life.
Letter from 2012 in Obama's America
What will the United States be like if Senator Obama is elected? Focus on the Family Action spells it out for us. It is very sobering.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
If you are not truly poor and, because you covet your neighbor's goods, you vote to force someone else to pay taxes that will benefit you, isn't that the same as robbing him? How can one justify this? Think again if you think that benefits come from "Uncle Sam." It is a real, flesh and blood American, either directly from a pay check or indirectly through higher prices due to higher business taxes, you are taking it from. You are coercing money from someone who would have to go to jail if he doesn't pay taxes. Being coerced to help others merits the taxpayer nothing from God for helping his neighbor. The one who receives these govenment benefits rarely accept them as a sign of love from God, unlike they would do if they were from a generous neighbor.
Wouldn't it be better to encourage us all to donate money to a charity that cares for the poor instead of voting to raise taxes? If we all did that, there would be no need for the government to care for the poor. God will reward you for your love of neighbor, but not for coercing someone to pay higher taxes through the ballot box.
The same people who believe they are being benevolent by voting for helping "the little guy" need to also help "the UNBORN little guy." Voting in a way that helps your pocketbook often results in voting for those who allow the holocaust of abortion to continue. We need to make the right to life our highest priority. Please vote pro-life.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
The Rebellion Has Begun
by Sandy Rios
Somewhere along the way while most of us were enjoying our precious freedoms, taking kids to soccer, ordering pizza and listening to our iPods, there was another group of people who were at work to destroy America. Even as they enjoyed with us its benefits, they schemed and planned and, moment by moment, inch by inch gained a footing and we never realized the ground was shifting.
by Oliver North
Those who believe that this month's collapse of global financial markets is an unprecedented disaster need to study history. The Great Crash of 1929 -- so severe that it makes this year's meltdown pale in comparison -- began Oct. 24. In 1987, Oct. 19 became known as "Black Monday," as Wall Street investors watched the market nose-dive 22 percent and lose $500 billion in value in a single trading session -- still the biggest one-day loss of value in history.
Edmund Burke was remarkably prescient and wise when he said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Friday, October 10, 2008
How to Make the US Government be Socialist
If you wanted to overthrow capitalism and the US government and establish a socialistic, atheistic nation, how would you do it?
What won't work is brute force. A direct attack on Washington, DC would be bloody.
What will work is slowly, patiently destroying one institution at a time. I think the steps below would probably work, even though they would take about 50-100 years to work.
- You would have to make the government have the authority to coerce people to give their wealth to the government in taxes.
- You would have to make people feel invincible.
- You would have to make people think they are better than other communist or socialist nations.
- You would have to increase government regulation of every business and institution to reduce productivity and increase government power.
- You would have to make the majority think that anything that exists is old-fashioned and needs to be changed.
- You would have to destroy the moral fabric of the nation, especially among young people.
You would have to destroy the family.
- You would have to use the goodness and trust in government as a weapon against them.
You would have to make people's weaknesses be a weapon against them.
- You would have to weaken the will of the people to fight for freedom.
- You would have to infiltrate universities and professional organizations.
- You would have to infiltrate the press and media so that you can control what people believe.
- You would have to dumb down the youth so that they don't know or care about their rights.
- You would have to dumb down the nation so they don't understand how the government works.
- You would have to agitate the people to think that one group of people is the enemy so they fight against each other.
- You would have to control the election process, even if it means using fraud to do it.
- You would have to make the legislative process unable to reform the situation.
- You would have to make the laws be what you want them to mean.
- You would have to destroy the idea that we must obey laws for the good of others.
- You would have to take away the ability of people to defend themselves from government.
- You would have to destroy powerful religious institutions and freedom of religion.
- You would have to ridicule and side line all religions and promote atheism.
- You would have to destroy the right to live by your conscience.
- You would have to increase taxes to destroy all wealth.
- You would have to make the nation's wealth be diverted to other countries.
- You would have to infiltrate Wall Street so that you can rob the wealth of those who work hard and save what they earn so you can give it to the winners.
- You would have to make other nations stronger militarily than the US is.
- You would have to have our enemies infiltrate our nation and be ready to take control on signal.
- You would have to make the government take away private property.
- You would have to make the government own all private property.
- You would have to elect someone willing to overthrow the government through executive order and make the military enforce absolute obedience.
End Game! You are now living in a socialistic, atheistic nation where you have no freedom, wealth, or power to change the system in your favor.
By slowing turning up the temperature on the stove, we didn’t realize that we are about to boil to death. Without seeing the blueprint of what is happening and having a short memory of history, we are almost ready to join the Roman Empire on the dust heap of societies.
Do you see what is happening in our nation? Have you noticed any of these things happening in the last 100 years?
High divorce rate, illegal drugs, irresponsible sexual behavior, status quo mocked, use the desire to care for one's neighbor to bankrupt the nation, welfare state that increases poverty through coerced tax payments, hatred of the military, main stream media in control of the enemy, government monopoly of bad schools with no way of affording a private education, class warfare, election fraud, polarization of politics, legislation by the judicial branch, restriction of gun rights, moral relativism, “hate” speech, pedophilia scandal in the Catholic church and other denominations, books about atheism on the Best Seller list, freedom of conscience destroyed by the tool of homosexual "marriage", taxes that rob from the "rich" to give to the "poor", financial crisis engineered by banks to happen just before a national election, foreign made products and raw materials so that our money is shipped overseas, give nuclear weapons secrets to foreign terrorist states, uncontrolled immigration, immigration of terrorist enemies, expensive wars, overstretched military, imminent domain protection repealed by judicial fiat, nationalization of industries such as health care, government ownership of homes, and a charismatic political candidate who promises "change."
I believe our country is on the verge of disaster in the coming election. What kind of change do you want?