June 2023: Olive Tree
Volume VIII/Issue 3/June 2023
From The Editorial Desk
Facing Today's Troubling Times
The Church was entering a time that would prove to be the most difficult to be a Christian. Believers would die or be persecuted for following Jesus.
The persecution started in the first century and continued for three centuries under the orders of Roman emperors Nero to Diocletian who ordered some of the most horrific things done to Christians. Jesus knew this difficult time lay ahead for His followers so He wanted to make sure they were prepared.
One of the most well know movies that has been put out is the Gladiator. One of the deleted scenes on the DVD depicts Russel Crowe, a once-powerful Roman general who had been forced to becoming a common gladiator, in the bowels of the Colosseum viewing the Christians being fed to the lions. It was accurately portrayed that he would view the Christians' persecution before the gladiators would go into the fight. Why? To fill the stomachs of the lions so they would be more playful with the gladiators during the games.
Why did the Romans kill the early Christians? Not for worshiping Jesus but for not worshiping and acknowledging all the other gods in the Roman empire, because they clung to Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. The first-century government hated the Christians not because they were Christians but because they didn't say all the other religions were legit. We call that pluralism-all religions are equal.
So at the beginning of Acts, with the creation of the early church, Jesus was equipping them with something for the worst times Christianity would face. He was also equipping them with something for the worst times Christianity would face. He was also equipping us. How does God get his people ready for this type of environment? He give a gift-the gift of the Holy Ghost, as we read in today's Epistle reading.
And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place:
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them divided tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.
This was not a Pentecostal thing. This was not a Charismatic renewal thing. This was a Jesus and His Church thing.
My brother and I had been fortunate that we were raised by Godly Parents. From a young age both of us were in church, both of of us grew up believing in Jesus being a Saviour and a sacrifice for our sins. Both of us had been baptized, and both of us came to a point in our lives where we personally made a decision to make Jesus the Lord of our lives. My brother made that decision at a very young age. I on the other hand struggled with that decision until the age of 16. Now understand, I dabbled in just about every sin imaginable. Even after my decision for Christ, it took time for the Lord to work in the areas of my heart that was not totally surrendered. Because of that, I experienced, Gods chastisement in my life.
Now if you would stand me up against my brother. We were totally different. His testimony was one of staying clean for the Lord. He never used tobacco, he never touched a drop of alcohol or dabbled with drugs, and he remained pure all the way up to his wedding day when he kissed his wife for the first time!
We both worked in what is called the bus ministry over the years. If you don't know what a bus ministry is, it is an evangelistic tool whereby you picked up children, many times from the streets of ghettos and projects, and took them to church, hoping to eventually win the parents over as well.
There were some who would have thought that I could do a better job on those streets then my brother because I have experienced that world and my brother hadn't. I had a life of sin that my brother hadn't had and so I could speak to the people on the street better than he could. That did not seem right to me-the best way to be effective in ministering to the world is to experience the world? I don't think so.
This is the reason for Acts 2. The best way to face the world is not experiencing it and seeing that sin not fulfilling. God doesn't say taste and see that the world is not good; God goes the other way; taste and see that the Lord is good. Jesus didn't tell Peter to get high, Martha to experience sex outside of marriage, James to get drunk, John to go to prison and kill someone so they could all really minister to people. He said an experience with God is what we need to tell people about God's kingdom and living a Holy Ghost filled life. Jesus knew that our power as Christians was in experiencing God, not in experiencing sin. Sin takes away, God fills and gives.
So when you are filled with the Holy Ghost, He wants to give you a power to face what is ahead of you and to share the Good News of Jesus unafraid.
If Jesus said that the best thing for us was for Him to leave so He could send the Holy Ghost, then it is the best. And He will help us through the hardest times.
In the book of Joel, chapters 1:1–2:27, we read about a terrible locust plague that came over Israel as a judgment from God and how the people repented and God restored their fortunes. Then in one of our lessons for today, 2:28 to the end of the book, verse 32, we read about how God at some future time is going to pour out his Spirit far and wide to bless his people and how he is going to gather for judgment the nations which have rejected him and his people. Or to put it another way, the first half of the book describes how God fought against his own people to make them honor him alone. And the second half of the book describes how he will fight against the nations who refuse to honor him alone.
How do we apply this passage today?
In the first half of Joel chapter 2, we learn that God is fighting his people for some reason. We're not told why. Which probably means that Joel intended for us to learn more about God here than about ourselves. God has sent his army of locusts against Israel and threatened that the end is near. He is fighting against his people. But Gods motive in fighting against them is not to destroy them. Verses 12–14 tell us more about this warrior God:
“ ' Yet even now,' declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.' Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? ”
Even though God has threatened destruction of his own people (since he can raise up from stones children to Abraham! Matthew 3:9), yet he holds out the opportunity of repentance and salvation at the eleventh hour. If they will repent, he will repent. If they will rend their hearts, he will cease to rend their land.
So in verses 15–17 Joel calls for fasting, and the priests pray for God not to make his heritage a byword among the nations. They humbled themselves and appealed to God's jealousy for his chosen people; and he responded in verse 18: "Then the Lord became jealous for his land and had pity on his people." He turned away from judgment; the climactic day of the Lord which had been threatening withdrew into the more distant future; and verses 19–27 describe the stunning restoration which God promises to the land.
Verses 25–27 show what God was really after in fighting with his people.
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty, and shall be satisfied: and you shall praise the name of the Lord your God, who hath done wonders with you, and my people shall not be confounded for ever. And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: and I am the Lord your God, and there is none besides: and my people shall not be confounded for ever.
The ultimate aim of God in sending the locust horde against his people is to secure their undivided allegiance: "You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: and I am the Lord your God, and there is none besides:" Evidently, the cause of the locust plague had been the people's half-hearted allegiance. Some of their affections had gone after things other than God. He was not their all-consuming love. So he fought against his own people. For few things are more dishonoring to God and dangerous for us than love to God which is only half-hearted.
The Coming Day of Judgment and Blessing
That is the first half of Joel's book. He had said that the day of the Lord was near (in 1:15; 2:1, 11). But then God repented-he changed his mind, and the final judgment did not fall. What becomes of it? Evidently it was "near" not in the sense that it had to happen soon, but in the sense that it was on the brink of happening; conditions were ripe for it; the massed troops were just across the border; the trumpet was on the lips, when the commander raised his hand and made peace with his rebellious people. But now what of this promised day?
In the second half of the book, Joel lifts his eyes to the future and, inspired by the Spirit, predicts the events that will precede the day of the Lord. Verse 28: "And it shall come to pass after this, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." Sometime in the future Joel sees a time of overflowing spiritual blessing beyond the prosperity which God provided after the locust plague. But this benefit applies only to those who "call on the name of the Lord" (according to verse 32), because the day of the Lord approaches again with darkness and destruction. Verses 30–32:
And I will shew wonders in heaven; and in earth, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood: before the great and dreadful day of the Lord doth come. And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved: for in mount Sion, and in Jerusalem shall be salvation, as the Lord hath said, and in the residue whom the Lord shall call.
So Joel sees two things coming as the day of the Lord approaches: one is a great outpouring of the of Gods spirit (2:28, 29), and the other is a terrible time of divine judgment. He had fought against his own people in the past to lead them to salvation. He will fight against the nations in the future who reject his salvation and his people.
This final world-end judgment is described in chapter 3. First, verses 1 and 2, "For behold in those days, and in that time when I shall bring back the captivity of Juda and Jerusalem: I will gather together all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat: and I will plead with them there for my people, and for my inheritance Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and have parted my land." The word Jehoshaphat means "Jehovah judges." Joel sees a great day coming when God will vindicate his name by judging all who have spurned him. Verse 12 describes the scene as a great judgment: "Let them arise, and let the nations come up into the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there I will sit to judge all the nations of heathens round about." Verse 14 describes multitudes in the valley: "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision." This does not mean people come there to make a decision; they come to experience God's decision. God is the Decider in the valley of decision. The valley of decision is the same as the valley of Jehoshaphat, and "decision" (or verdict) is virtually the same as "judgment."
So Joel sees a future with two sides: salvation and blessing for those who call on the name of the Lord, but judgment and destruction for the people who go their own way. The contrast is laid out finally in verses 16–21: "The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel." At the end of the age, when the day of the Lord comes, God will meet us either as a roaring lion to devour or as a quiet refuge of delight.
And now, just as the first half of the book ended in 2:27 with the purpose of God: "You shall know that . . . I am the Lord your God, and there is none else," so the second half of the book draws near its close in 3:17 with the same purpose expressed: "So you shall know (in view of all that's happened) that I am the Lord your God." The purpose of God in the historical locust horde and the purpose of God in the final day of the Lord are the same: to make known that he alone is God and is to be loved and worshiped and served above all things.
God's Purpose in History
That's an overview of Joel's message from the Lord. Now what is God's word to us in these two halves of Joel's prophecy? There are four things I think we should take to heart. First, let us never lose sight of God's purpose in history—from grasshopper swarms, to world-wide judgment, to the dissolving of sun and moon—his purpose is to be God in the eyes of all the world. "You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God, and there is none else"(2:27, 3:17). If we are God's people, everything we do must have this as its aim.
The American Christian is weary with having man and his relationships and feelings and self-concepts at the center of our attention for so long. We are bored with the very un-amazing results of standing in front of the mirrors of psychology and anthropology and sociology. And it is time that, at least in the church, we hold our eye to the telescope of theology. Untold numbers of puny personal problems would be swallowed up if we could learn to stand atop the Mt. Palomar of divine revelation and gaze at the God whose purpose is to be God alone, and before whose unutterable majesty every knee will bow whether in heaven or on the earth or under the earth. The first lesson of the prophet Joel for our man-centered 20th century is this: From devouring grasshoppers to vanishing galaxies God has a purpose, and he will achieve it—to be God alone in the eyes of all the world.
God's Good Intention in Opposing His People
Second, if our hearts wander from this God, he will fight against us to bring us to repentance. I have seen it in my own life: if I begin to become proud and self-confident and prayer starts to feel unnecessary, God clogs my way. He brings me down. Things will go sour at home. Tensions arise at work. Sleep is not sweet. Depression builds. Everywhere I turn, there is no joy. He boxes me in and clogs my way. He fights against me in my pride. For he is a jealous God and will have our heart's trust 100%. When he says in 2:12, "Return to me with all your heart," it is clear, isn't it, what he is fighting for: all our heart, not a piece on Sunday and a piece at mealtime and a piece at bedtime. If you are his, he will fight you until you give him all your heart all the time.
Hosea describes the people of Israel going after other gods like a bride leaving her husband. And God says in Hosea 2:6-7
Therefore, I will hedge up her way with thorns; and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. She shall pursue her lovers, but not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them. Then she shall say, "I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better with me then than now."
God will fight against us and clog the joy of our lives until we return with our whole heart to him. For his purpose is to be God alone in the midst of his people.
Rend Hearts not Garments
Third, therefore, as Joel pleads, rend your hearts and not your garments, awake (1:5), lament (1:8), be ashamed and wail (1:11), declare a fast, and cry to the Lord (1:14) for mercy. Turn from the sin you cherish and for which you feel guilty every day. Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love (2:13). Don't be bitter at God because he clogs your way and frustrates your day. Every divine stroke is the discipline of a loving Father and a blow against our pride, our self-reliance, and our love for the world. Turn and kiss the rod of God, and the Lord will become to you a gentle shepherd.
The Fulfillment of Joel's Prophecy
Fourth, and finally, let us pray and seek God earnestly for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit promised in 2:28-29. It is true that at Pentecost Peter said that the coming of the Holy Spirit on Jesus' disciples was a fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29: "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel" (Acts 2:16). But that was just the beginning of the blessing. We have only tasted the power of the age to come, we have only received the down payment of the Spirit. The prophecy is far from complete. How many of our old men dream dreams of God? How many of our young men see visions of God? Where are the sons and daughters who hear the word of God and bring us prophecies for our guidance? Has the hope of Moses in Numbers 11:29 really been fulfilled: "Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, that the Lord would put his spirit upon all."
We know it has not yet been fulfilled, not only because the Church is so far from ideal but also because the people of Israel persist in unbelief. They have been broken off because of their unbelief, and we Gentiles have been grafted in to the rich root of the covenant and made seed of Abraham and heirs of the promise (Galatians 3:14, 29; Romans 11:17). But Scripture promises that one day Israel will be converted, accept Jesus as the Messiah; and then the prophecy of the Spirit will have its final fulfillment. So let us pray earnestly and call upon God to pour out his Spirit for a great awakening in the Church, and for the conversion of Israel that we may be united in one holy people of God. Then when the day of the Lord comes and all the nations are gathered for judgment in verdict valley, the Lord will be our refuge, and we will confess with unspeakable joy that he alone is God in our midst, and there is none else.
Understanding the Love of God
The love of God is the highest obligation that is binding upon all Catholics. As we are all suffering through the current post Vatican 2 period of time, it is a wonderful topic for us to reflect upon. Never should we forget the answer of Our Lord to the question, "Which is the first and greatest commandment?". His words for us were simple and direct. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole soul, with thy whole mind and all thy strength.". Without the fulfillment of this law, all our striving for other virtues and qualities will be without profit. Every sin is an action contrary to the love of God. In the examination of conscience, any sin that involves a slighting of the person of God or His authority is always to be included. Any sins which are committed in speech against God need to be recognized as a violation of the Reverence that God rightly expects of the Catholic people. The love of God must be for all of us, both clergy and lay people, an infused theological virtue by which we choose to love God above all other things due to His infinite perfection and His lovableness, and how we then manifest that love in thought, word and deed. The love of God forbids in a general sense, the neglect of duties or obligations that come forth from love, as well as the misuse of things given by God or dedicated to Him. Since we have all now so recently experienced the joy of Pentecost, on Whit Sunday, let us be mindful of our duties in relation to the love of God as we move through the summer months now upon us.
What Are Your Eyes Saying?
Recently, while studying Proverbs 4, I began to wonder about the physical connection between the various members of the body and the heart; this theme is woven throughout the chapter. As I meditated on the fact that our senses act upon and reveal the intents of our hearts, I began to research their physical relationship. The result was transformative.
Proverbs 4:20-25 mentions the relationship of the ears (20), eyes (21, 25), and mouth (24). There is a divine connection. The mouth speaks what is in the heart (Matthew 12:34). The ears hear what the heart wants to know (Matthew 13:15). However, the eyes are used throughout all of scripture. God gives specific attention to the eye. Why? Jesus taught that ““No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.” (Luke 11:33-36). The word “light” carries the idea of a guiding candle or lamp. When the heart is pure, the eyes will reveal it. When the heart is sickened by sin, the eyes will expose it.
An interesting study was done on the eyes over the past decade. Essentially researchers concluded that “the eyes do more than allow us to see; they have something to say. In fact, an eye exam can reveal underlying health problems… the arrangement of blood vessels at the back of the eye… is closely connected to the health of your heart. That means issues we see in the eye can be directly linked to health problems with the heart and the vessels in your body.”
It is little wonder that the One who created our amazing bodies also gave us His Word. Allow His Word to prick your heart. Where do your eyes go? What symptoms do your eyes have?
Do they look at wickedness or ludeness? That reveals a lustful heart.
Are they constantly looking at the riches and blessings of others? That reveals a covetousness heart.
Do they look only at problems? That reveals a faithless heart.
The list could go on and on. The eyes are symptoms we follow to find our spiritual diagnosis. Interestingly, medical researchers developed a program to analyze eyes and detect illness. However, their program “won’t find the disease, but it can find risk factors that would be associated with heart failure.” Likewise, we cannot always see where our sin lies; we look through sin-filled eyes. However, there is One who knows all things.
So, let us pray with the Psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me…” (Psalm 133:23-24). We must look “into the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:22-25) and yield our lives to the skill of the Great Physician to do His healing work in our hearts. May our hearts be pure and our eyes ever “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
A new pro-life campaign has put up 8 billboards in the Cincinnati area advertising free legal help for abortion injuries.
(LifeSiteNews) — A recently launched pro-life campaign has put up eight billboards in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area advertising free legal help for women injured by abortions.
Abortion on Trial, a coalition of individuals seeking to expose abortion malpractice and support women with related legal battles, launched the billboard campaign as its first act as a newly formed nonprofit titled Reproductive Injustice. The campaign began on June 4 and will continue until July 5, sponsored by Cincinnati Right to Life and its executive director, Laura Strietman.
“This billboard campaign will not only help women injured in abortion find free help,” Reproductive Injustice’s executive director Jamie Jeffries said in a press release. “It will increase awareness about abortion injury within the general public.”
“People do not often think of the women hurt and abandoned by the abortion industry, but through our work at Reproductive Injustice and through public awareness campaigns such as this, people are beginning to see that abortion doesn’t help as much as it hurts.”
Mike Siebel, senior counsel for Abortion on Trial, added that “it is time women hold the unsafe and unregulated abortion industry accountable. We are here to help them do just that.”
LifeSiteNews contacted Cincinnati Right to Life for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Ohio has enacted a ban on abortion once a baby’s heartbeat is detected around six weeks’ gestation, but the law is currently blocked in court. Activists are also pushing an amendment that would enshrine a “right” to abortion on demand in the state. Pending approval, the radical proposal could appear on the November 2023 ballot.
According to a June 5 press release, the original initiative of Abortion on Trial “will continue to operate, share case evidence, and bring public awareness to the abortion malpractice issue on our website and social media pages.” Additionally, Reproductive Injustice “acts as a safe and judgment free place for women to reach out to after experiencing an injustice such as difficulty [in] accessing medical records, malpractice, coercion, lack of informed consent, forced abortion, human trafficking, sexual assault, or post care suicide attempt.”
The newly launched non-profit’s website also includes statistics that 64% of women who choose to kill their unborn babies have felt “pressured to have abortion by a partner, parent, employer, or medical staff.” Additionally, “84% [reported] they were not sufficiently informed before an abortion,” “1 in 50 women [suffered] complications such as pain, bleeding, or infection,” and “108 women…have died following abortion procedures between 1998 to 2010.”
Matt Walsh’s producer uncovers mutilating ‘trans’ surgery being fraudulently approved
(LifeSiteNews) — Matt Walsh’s producer has gone undercover to show how a “trans healthcare” provider fraudulently approved a mutilating “transgender” surgery in what Walsh has shown is a larger pattern among such providers.
On Wednesday, Walsh shared videos and messages showing that Plume Clinic took 22 minutes to approve an insurance-covered testicle removal for his producer Gregg Re, who posed as a man identifying as a female, despite the fact that Re emphasized to the “care coordinator” that he was not currently gender “dysphoric,” a requirement for insurance companies to pay for such surgery.
Walsh explained that Plume, the “largest healthcare provider to the trans and nonbinary community,” scheduled Walsh for a video interview under a fake legal name after he indicated in his intake form that he had experienced gender dysphoria in the past, and never for six months for more.
“Under the current version of the DSM-5, that means he doesn’t have gender dysphoria,” Walsh noted.
Asked for some of the history of his “gender dysphoria,” Gregg told the coordinator he once wrote an essay in school about how his biological sex didn’t match how he “felt,” which he said people thought “was ridiculous.”
Three days later, Plume sent a letter to Gregg, addressing him by his supposed female identity, “Chelsea Bussey,” saying “she reports significant, ongoing gender dysphoria,” and that “she has met WPATH criteria for gender dysphoria and is an appropriate candidate for Orchiectomy.”
Later, Gregg texted the coordinator clarifying, “I don’t feel dysphoria [right now] but it’s ok to keep it in the letter, right?”
The coordinator’s response said he was “diagnosed with” gender dysphoria and that “in order for the surgery to be paid for a GCS, it will need to be related to your gender dysphoria.”
To show that false “diagnoses” of “gender dysphoria” are not unique to Plume but are in fact the “industry standard,” Walsh shared documentation including a video of a licensed clinical social worker explaining in a training video how she writes the letters required for patients to undergo “transgender” surgeries.
“I’m not gonna be a person that’s gonna stop them from accessing care. I’m not there to determine if they’re ‘trans enough.’ I’m gonna write them this letter,” Ari Groner explained.
Walsh also shared a screenshot from the website for the “popular” trans telehealth service Folx showing that also appear to have a loose approach to diagnosing gender dysphoria. The Folx site said, for example, that a person “who identifies as nonbinary and does not have a lot of ‘dysphoria’” “might still need a gender dysphoria diagnostic code attached in order for insurance to cover the surgery.”
Walsh shared on Thursday that the Attorney General’s office in Tennessee, from which the organizations operate, have “confirmed that they will look into this.”
State attorneys general and legislators across the U.S. have since condemned Gregg’s findings as “healthcare fraud.”
One representative and chair of the House Healthcare and Financial Services Committee called the findings “utterly disgusting,” The Daily Wire reported.
“Medical insurance fraud in any form is a very serious crime. But even more troubling are reports of physicians committing such illegal acts in blatant disregard for the law and the long-term health of many vulnerable patients,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes told The Daily Wire. “In Utah, we prioritize investigating and prosecuting these types of unethical and fraudulent cases.”
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti responded to the evidence stating, “There is no political exception to health care fraud. If any health care providers are cutting corners at the expense of patients and state funds, whether it’s in pursuit of profit or ideology, we want to know about it.”
Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told The Daily Wire, “It is incomprehensible that some health care providers are potentially breaking the law to mislead vulnerable patients and fast-track irreversible procedures. This isn’t health care — it’s forcing an ideological agenda.”
Police now involved as Carmelite conflict with Diocese of Fort Worth continues to unfold
FORT WORTH, Texas (LifeSiteNews) — Developments continue to unfold regarding the Carmelite convent in the Diocese of Fort Worth, with the nuns’ attorney stating that a criminal investigation has been opened into the diocese while the diocese has hinted at drug abuse in the convent.
On June 7, Matthew Bobo – attorney for the Discalced Carmelite Mother Superior and nuns at the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity in Arlington, Texas – issued a statement containing the startling lines: “The Arlington, Texas, Police Department has now opened a criminal investigation into the actions taken by Bishop Olson and those in the Fort Worth diocese under his control relating to the Discalced Carmelite Mother Superior and Nuns at the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity in Arlington, Texas.”
The statement is the latest development in the affair that began when Bishop Michael Olson arrived at the convent on April 24 and initiated an investigation into – what was later revealed publicly – allegations of a sexual sin between Mother Teresa Agnes and an un-named priest from outside the diocese, resulting in Olson’s removing her from the Carmelite order last week.
According to Bobo’s June 7 statement, “multiple law enforcement agencies are involved in the review of this matter including the Tarrant County Sheriff’s office.”
Bobo added that “we are thankful that these law enforcement agencies have decided to undertake this criminal investigation and are confident that the nuns will receive justice under the law of the State of Texas that they deserve.”
“No one – not even a sitting Catholic bishop – is above the law,” he said.
Bobo raised four questions in his statement – questions that were not addressed to law enforcement but to members of the press. They read as follows:
- What is the real motivation for Bishop Olson’s ongoing persecution of a nun who has grave medical issues and is bound to a wheelchair?
- What does the Vatican’s Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life know about this case?
- Why did the Vatican department in charge of female religious hurriedly ratify the very questionable actions of a Catholic bishop who for months now very publicly has been overstepping his authority?
- When will the Vatican open its own investigation into the grave accusations of misconduct against the Bishop of Fort Worth?
He accused Catholic prelates responsible for enforcing Canon Law of continuing “to turn a blind eye, or worse, engage in ‘good old boys’ club’ machinations to defend their own when one of its bishops becomes suspect, and even worse, allegedly engages in criminal activity, under the pretext that he has the power to do so according to the Church’s own legal system.”
Shortly afterward, the Diocese of Fort Worth also issued a press release regarding the development, in which Bobo’s statement was roundly condemned. It referred to his statement as “yet another transparent attempt to spread baseless and outrageous accusations regarding Bishop Olson’s legitimate investigation of the Carmelite Monastery.”
The diocesan spokesman described Bobo’s “unilateral press releases” as being “designed to attempt to embarrass Bishop Olson and undermine his authority. Bishop Olson and the Diocese have taken the approach that this is an internal matter and should not be played out in the press.”
The diocese denied that anyone in the diocese, including Olson, had performed “any criminal activity regarding the Monastery.”
The spokesman added that Bobo himself had made the report to the Arlington PD, and then swiftly issued its own suggestion of police involvement: “the Diocese initiated and is in communication with the Arlington Police Department regarding serious concerns it has regarding the use of marijuana and edibles at the monastery, along with other issues that the Diocese will address at another time and in a proper forum.”
Chick-fil-A alarms conservatives by embracing woke DEI in ‘everything we do’
(LifeSiteNews) — Christian fast food icon Chick-fil-A is back in the news over its public declaration of support for “embedding Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in everything we do,” which critics say is the latest in the company’s departure from the moral values that once had conservatives embracing it as a refuge from the ideological conformity of the rest of corporate America.
Chick-fil-A’s “Who We Are” page opens with a quote from the company’s late founder, S. Truett Cathy, that it “should be about more than just selling chicken. We should be a part of our customers’ lives and the communities in which we serve,” followed by an explanation for why the chain is closed on Sundays and a declaration that its corporate purpose is to “glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
However, just below that is a statement that “‘We are better together’ – one of our core values at Chick-fil-A – means when we combine our unique backgrounds and experiences with a culture of belonging, we can strengthen the quality of care we deliver. Chick-fil-A, Inc.’s commitment to being Better at Together means embedding Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in everything we do.”
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) is pervasive shorthand across the corporate and academic worlds for a litany of identity-based grievances and social causes, commonly used to get businesses involved in an array of left-wing causes and ensure ideological conformity in hiring practices.
The Chick-fil-A declaration leads to a dedicated DEI page, which reveals that the company has a dedicated Vice President for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Erick McReynolds, and discusses the company’s promotion of “equal opportunity through our processes and practices,” belief that “similarities and differences strengthen us as we unite around something bigger than ourselves,” and “inspir[ing] a community by meeting people where they are.”
The page goes on to detail the company’s efforts at “recruiting and hiring talent which represents the broadest definition of diversity enables Chick-fil-A,” scholarship program, establishment of community groups to foster employees’ “personal growth,” “the launch of several Supplier Diversity efforts, including an annual development forum,” and other charitable initiatives.
Near the bottom of the page, the company affirms that it does not “discriminate” or tolerate harassment on the basis of numerous identity factors, including “sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, [or] gender expression.”
While the page does not indicate support for specific radical causes, and the company does not celebrate LGBT “Pride” Month like many corporations, Chick-fil-A’s embrace of the DEI label and language has met with disapproval from former supporters of the company, Newsweek reports.
Since 2012, LGBT activists had attempted to brand Chick-fil-A as “hateful” due to CEO Dan Cathy’s (Truett Cathy’s son) stated opposition to same-sex “marriage” and the company’s past donations to social conservative groups such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. But while the company has no shortage of detractors in politics and media, the company thrived with actual customers, with conservatives rallying around it in appreciation and solidarity.
Back then, Chick-fil-A and its defenders were able to rebuke charges of “anti-LGBT hate” by simply citing the absence of evidence that the company mistreated homosexual customers or employees without formally embracing “diversity” mantras.
In 2019, however, cracks in the company’s resolve started to show with revelations that it would cease donations to a handful of Christian charities that had been attacked as “anti-LGBT” because “we don’t want our intent and our work to be encumbered by someone else’s politics or cultural war,” and that it had donated to several “progressive” and pro-LGBT organizations, including the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the ostensibly-Catholic youth homeless shelter Covenant House, the latter of which supported “Drag Queen Story Hour” events in which cross-dressers promote gender fluid ideology to children.
A year later, amid the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020, Cathy alarmed Chick-fil-A’s conservative and traditional patrons yet again by suggesting that White Americans bear collective guilt for racial injustice and needed a “sense of empathy” for those burning down businesses.
It remains to be seen whether Chick-fil-A’s embrace of “Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion” is a rhetorical compromise to appease critics or indicates a deeper change of direction is in store.
Christian wedding businesses await Supreme Court ruling that could finally free them from woke coercion
(LifeSiteNews) — A Christian wedding photographer in New York is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to learn if she will be able to operate her business in accordance with her religious convictions or if the Empire State will force her to close down.
Emilee Carpenter believes that “God created marriage to be a joyful, exclusive union between one man and one woman,” and therefore declines to photograph same-sex “weddings.” This runs afoul of New York’s so-called “human rights” law that deems such discretion discriminatory and therefore subject her to up to $100,000 in fines and a year in jail.
Represented by religious liberty non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom, Carpenter filed a federal lawsuit over the law in 2021, which two years later remains unresolved. On June 1, she spoke with The Daily Signal about the situation.
“I serve all people,” she said. “And I think the fundamental difference with that idea is that this isn’t about the person. It’s about the message. And we are arguing that somebody should be free to choose the messages that they promote. I don’t want to be censored by the government. This is my speech, this is my artwork, and I want to be able to create freely. And it’s honestly so much broader than me, because I would want the same freedom extended to even those who differ from me.”
The “very extreme” New York law “does compel her speech, but also prevents her from speaking freely when it comes to what her beliefs are,” explained Carpenter’s attorney, Kellie Fiedorek. “She serves everyone. She has clients and photographs clients that identify as LGBT, but there’s some messages – and marriage is one of them – that she can only create photographs and talk about that and promote it and celebrate marriage that goes consistent with what her faith teaches her as such a sacred union.”
The case was last argued last fall before the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which decided not to render a verdict but instead defer to the U.S. Supreme Court, which late last year took up a similar case concerning Lorie Smith, a Christian photographer in Colorado facing penalties under a similar law for refusing to photograph same-sex unions. The court’s right-leaning majority appeared sympathetic to Smith during oral arguments.
“We should be getting a decision from the court really any time now, between now and the end of June,” Fiedorek said. “And we’re hopeful the Supreme Court will affirm that artists, that all Americans have the freedom to speak freely; they can say what they believe without fear of government punishment. And we’re hopeful this broad ruling will also then help Emilee in her case, so that in New York, New York will also be required to respect her freedom of speech.”
Legal efforts to force Christian small businesses to affirm or participate in same-sex unions have been ongoing for years. The Supreme Court had an opportunity to clearly rebuke them in 2018 when it sided with Colorado baker Jack Phillips. But instead of clearly affirming that Phillips’ First Amendment rights had been violated, it ruled merely that the state civil rights commission had displayed a “clear and impermissible hostility toward” his “sincere religious beliefs.”
As a result, Phillips remains locked in lawsuits to this day, although hope persists that the Supreme Court will deliver a more conclusive resolution for Phillips, Smith, Carpenter, and other religious entrepreneurs across America.
The Funny Pharmacy
A joyful mind maketh age flourishing: a sorrowful spirit drieth up the bones. - Proverbs 17:22
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Immaculate Conception Biblical?
Is the Immaculate Conception Biblical? Yes, but only if you accept typology as a valid interpretation of Scriptural texts (i.e. a method used by the Apostles and Fathers to interpret Old Testament people, things, and events as types foreshadowing New Covenant realities). Below are three common arguments used by the early Church Fathers, the Popes, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church to justify Mary’s title as the Panagia or “All-Holy.” The first is straight-forward, the latter two rely on typology.
Mary is Full of Grace
Luke 1:28: “And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’”
The term traditionally translated “full of grace” or “highly favored” is kecharitomene. This past perfect form denotes something that happened in the past and continues into the present. She was perfectly graced in the past and continues in that state. Luke 1:28 has served as the locus classicus for the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.
Mary as New Eve Having Enmity with Satan
Gen 3:15: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel”
In this verse God addresses Satan. The Seed here is Christ. The Woman is His Mother, that is, Mary. Thus Satan has perfect enmity with Christ and with His Mother. The Catholic Church has interpreted this as indicating the sinlessness of Christ and Mary. If either actually committed sin, then they would not be at enmity with Satan but actually a cooperator with Satan at times.
Mary as Ark of the Covenant
In the Old Covenant the Ark of the Covenant contained the Word of God on stone. In the New Covenant, the Word made Flesh was also contained – and that in the womb of the Blessed Virgin. The Catholic Church has therefore understood Mary as the mystical Ark of the New Covenant. This connection is made in the book of Revelation.
Rev 11:19-12:2 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child.
The Ark of the Covenant appears in Heaven and then in the next breath (and next verse) St John describes a pregnant woman appearing in Heaven. This Woman “contains” the Messiah.
The thinking goes that if Mary is the fulfillment of the Ark of the Covenant, then she must be “all holy”. Remember that in the Old Covenant a man was killed for touching the ark. It was holy. If the box that held stone tablets was so restricted – so also would be the woman who actually carried God Himself. And so she is all pure and all holy, without the stain of sin.
For answers to more frequently asked questions, click here: https://www.vaticaninexile.com/frequently_asked_questions.php
The Pope Speaks: Pope Leo XIII
On Consecration to the Sacred Heart
Jesus Christ, our God and our Redeemer, is rich in the fullest and perfect possession of all things: we, on the other hand, are so poor and needy that we have nothing of our own to offer Him as a gift. But yet, in His infinite goodness and love, He in no way objects to our giving and consecrating to Him what is already His, as if it were really our own; nay, far from refusing such an offering, He positively desires it and asks for it: "My son, give me thy heart." We are, therefore, able to be pleasing to Him by the good will and the affection of our soul. For by consecrating ourselves to Him we not only declare our open and free acknowledgment and acceptance of His authority over us, but we also testify that if what we offer as a gift were really our own, we would still offer it with our whole heart. We also beg of Him that He would vouchsafe to receive it from us, though clearly His own. Such is the efficacy of the act of which We speak, such is the meaning underlying Our words.
And since there is in the Sacred Heart a symbol and a sensible image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another, therefore is it fit and proper that we should consecrate ourselves to His most Sacred Heart-an act which is nothing else than an offering and a binding of oneself to Jesus Christ, seeing that whatever honor, veneration and love is given to this divine Heart is really and truly given to Christ Himself.
St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life
Seventh Meditation - On Judgment
1. Place yourself in the Presence of God.
2. Intreat Him to inspire you.
1. When the time comes which God has appointed for the end of this world, and after many terrible signs and warnings, which will overwhelm men with fear,—the whole earth will be destroyed, and nothing then left.
2. Afterwards, all men, save those already risen, shall rise from the dead, and at the voice of the Archangel appear in the valley of Jehoshaphat. But alas, with what divers aspects! for some will be glorious and shining, others horrible and ghastly.
3. Consider the majesty with which the Sovereign Judge will appear surrounded by all His Saints and Angels; His Cross, the Sign of Grace to the good and of terror to the evil, shining brighter than the sun.
4. This Sovereign Judge will with His awful word, instantly fulfilled, separate the evil and the good, setting the one on His Right Hand, the other on His Left—an eternal separation, for they will never meet again.
5. This separation made, the books of conscience will be opened, and all men will behold the malice of the wicked, and how they have contemned God; as also the penitence of the good, and the results of the grace they received. Nothing will be hid. O my God, what confusion to the one, what rejoicing to the other! Consider the final sentence of the wicked. “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Dwell upon these awful words. “Go,” He says—for ever discarding these wretched sinners, banishing them for ever from His Presence. He calls them “cursed:” O my soul, what a curse: a curse involving all other maledictions, all possible evil, an irrevocable curse, including all time and eternity; condemning them to everlasting fire. Think what that eternity of suffering implies.
6. Then consider the sentence of the good. “Come,” the Judge says—O blessed loving word with which God draws us to Himself and receives us in His Bosom. “Blessed of My Father” — O blessing above all blessings! “inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.” O my God, and that Kingdom will know no end!
Affections and Resolutions.
1. Tremble, my soul, at the thought. O God, who will be my stay in that hour when the pillars of the earth are shaken?
2. Abhor your sins, which alone can cause you to be lost when that fearful day comes. Surely I will judge myself now, that I be not judged;—I will examine my conscience, accuse, condemn, punish myself, that the Judge may not condemn me then. I will confess my faults, and follow the counsels given me.
1. Thank God for having given you means of safety in that terrible Day, and time for repentance. Offer Him your heart, and ask for grace to use it well.
Saints from East and West
June 25 - Saint William of Vercelli, Abbot of Montevergine
The founder of the religious congregation known as the Hermits of Monte Vergine came of a Piedmontese family and was born at Vercelli in 1085. After the death of his parents, whom he lost in infancy, he was kindly cared for by relations, but at the age of fourteen he abandoned his home and set out as a poor pilgrim for Compostela in Spain. Not satisfied with the hardships such a journey entailed, he had two iron bands fastened round his body. How long William remained in Spain is not recorded. We hear of him next in 1106, when he was at Melfi in the Italian Basilicata, and then at Monte Solicoli, on the slopes of which he remained for two years, leading a penitential life with a hermit. To this period belongs Saint William's first miracle, the restoration of sight to a blind man. The cure made him famous, and to avoid being acclaimed as a wonder-worker he left the neighbourhood to stay with Saint John of Matera. They were kindred spirits and became close friends. It was Saint William's intention to proceed on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and he would not allow himself to be deterred by John's assurance that God had other work for him to do. He actually started, but he had not got far when he was attacked by robbers. He took this as a sign that John was right, and relinquished his journey.
He now betook himself to a height between Nola and Benevento, which was then called Monte Virgiliano - possibly after the great Virgil, who is said to have sojourned there. At first William attempted to live there as a hermit, but he was soon joined by would-be disciples, both priests and laymen. He formed them into a community and from the church which he built in 1124, under the name of our Lady, the mountain has derived its present name of Monte Vergine. The rule he instituted was most austere: no wine, meat, or dairy produce was allowed, and on three days of the week only vegetables and dry bread. After the first fervour had cooled, murmurs arose and there was a general demand for relaxation. William had no desire to constrain the malcontents, though for himself any relaxation seemed unthinkable. He therefore chose a prior to rule the community, and then departed with five faithful followers. With Saint John of Matera, who now joined him, he made a second settlement at Monte Laceno, in Apulia. Here, however, the barrenness of the soil, the exposed position, and the high altitude made life a misery to all but the most hardy, and even they could with difficulty hold out through the winter. Saint John had more than once urged removal, when a fire which destroyed their huts compelled them to descend into the valley. There the two holy men parted: John to go east and found one monastery at Pulsano on Monte Gargano, and William to found another on Monte Cognato in the Basilicata.
When that community was well established, Saint William treated it as he had treated the monastery at Monte Vergine - he gave it a prior and left it to govern itself. At Conza, in Apulia, he founded a monastery for men, and at Guglietto, near Nusco, he established two communities, one of men and the other of women. King Roger II of Naples afterwards drew him to Salerno, in order that he might have the benefit of his counsel and help. Saint William's beneficent influence over the monarch was, however, resented by some of the courtiers who lost no opportunity of discrediting and decrying him as a hypocrite and a humbug. With the knowledge of the king, they set a trap by sending to him, on some specious excuse, a woman of loose life, charged with the task of luring him to sin. William received her in a room at one end of which a great fire was burning; and as soon as she began to exercise her blandishments he walked away to the fireplace, parted the glowing coals with his bare hands, and then stretched himself down at full length in the space he had cleared, inviting her to lie down with him. Her horror was only exceeded by her amazement, when he presently arose, completely unharmed. The miracle led to her conversion: she gave up her life of sin and took the veil in the convent of Venosa. As for King Roger, he continued to patronize William's foundations, and endowed other houses which he placed under the saint's control.
Saint William died at Guglietto on June 25, 1142. He left no written constitutions, but a code of regulations bringing the order into conformity with the Benedictine rule was drawn up by the third abbot general, Robert. The only monastery of William's foundation which exists at the present day is that of Monte Vergine. It now belongs to the Benedictine congregation of Subiaco, and has a much venerated picture of our Lady of Constantinople, to which pilgrimages are frequently made.
Advice You Can Bank On
A Catholic Perspective On Finances
June 2023 - Why We Should Live Simply (continued from May 2023 article)
We Are Neighbors
The second reason we live simply is because we are neighbors. Jesus defined my neighbor in Luke 10, the story of the Good Samaritan, as the man whose needs I am aware of. According to that measurement, you and I have more neighbors than any generation before us since the world began. With modern means of travel and communication, the world has shrunk in size. The man on the opposite side of the globe may well be my neighbor, for many times we know about his need. We know in what type of housing he lives, and what he has to feed his family.
How can I live on a level far beyond what I see my neighbor living? How can I feel good to own an fancy car, when my neighbor cannot afford a bike? How can I eat cake when my neighbor does not have bread? How can I discard serviceable clothing because it's not in style when my neighbor is shivering from the cold? In short, how can I live in luxury when my neighbor is shivering from cold? In short, how can I live in luxury when my neighbor lacks the necessities?
Of course, most people today do not consider themselves to be living in luxury. We have become so pampered today in modern America that we think luxuries are necessary. We should stop and realize that we are living on a higher standard of luxury than any generation before us in the history of mankind. Only a few very wealthy , only kings and queens, ever came close to a lifestyle such as the average American considers his unquestioned birthright. Not only is this a phenomenon appearing late in the history of mankind, for the vast majority of humans on this planet today it is still unheard of.
What selfish, irresponsible “neighbors” history will judge us to have been. Most frightening of all, for those of us who believe in a Judgment Day. How will God judge us?
Why do we live simply? We live simply because we are neighbors. Or, as someone put it, “We live simply so that others may simply live.” Could good neighbors, let alone Christians neighbors, even think of doing less?
Losing a Baby And Finding Hope Part 3
Taken from the pages of the book “A Child At Any Cost” Edited and shortened for this article.
Whirlpool of Self-Pity
During that short pregnancy I had continually come across verses as I read the Bible every day which encouraged me to trust God. Those words had been applicable and special to me and I assumed they meant that everything would all right-the pregnancy would be successful. But now when I needed the strength and comfort of such words more than ever, my heart and mind were in such turmoil that I could not see or hear anything other than my own grief and sorrow. I was in danger of being sucked down into a whirlpool of self-pity.
Graciously God began to make me aware of what was happening to me. I am sure this was because of the prayers of my husband and many friends. God began to melt my heart.
Despite all my rebellious thoughts, I knew I had nowhere else to turn other than to God. And deep down I really did know that He loved me. I sensed that God whom I had followed for twenty years had not and would not abandon me now.
At this time I read the book The Cost of Commitment. And found that it expressed what God was lovingly beginning to teach me. He writes:
In suffering, the I give thanks. I give thanks not for the suffering (God is not training me in masochism); but in it. I thank Him that His grace is sufficient. I thank Him that He is well able to deliver me and that in His own time He will. I thank Him that He can turn the suffering to serve His own purposes in my life. I thank Him that because Jesus, as man, suffered more than I ever will. God understands how I feel from personal experience. And as I praise and thank Him I become aware of two things. The suffering lessons. It lessens because the anxiety and fear that accompanied it have gone. (Peace in suffering halves its intensity.) In addition, hope is born as well as a sense of meaning in the suffering. I become almost excited that it will turn to my good. No longer do I wonder how I can bear the suffering. Suffering becomes a sort of chariot on which I ride to new planes of living.
God's Loving Purposes
Perhaps I would never understand why all this had happened to me-some of earth's sorrows will only be explained to us in heaven. But now I was beginning to realize and to believe that God had a purpose in everything that had happened to me. More than that, I began to believe that this was a loving purpose.
I was angry that despite feeling God was being cruel, I had no alternative but to turn to Him for help. I also knew that I had been a Christian for so long that I could not abandon my faith. , it was too important to me!
Then I realized that the person who had no choice in this was not me but God! Since He made me a child of His, come what may I knew He would go on loving me as a father continues to love his children no matter what happens to them. God might be disappointed or even angry with me at times but He had promised to love me! This thought began to thrill me and became the key which unlocked my self-imposed prison isolating me from God.
I looked back over the years and realized ways in which God had cared for, protected, guided, and loved me. I remembered many of the good things he had given me - a wonderful husband, a home, health and strength, and friends who really cared for me. As I began to think like this, the question “why” became less important to me until I was able to reaffirm the words I had spoken to God in the car. “Yes Lord, I do love You more than anyone else-more than my baby. Even thought I don't understand why, I still trust You.”
Lamp and Light Commentary
"Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths." (Psalms 119:105)
Genesis 12: Subject Of Authority In The Christian Life
We are in Genesis Chapter 12 where last week we saw that the “Lord said to Abram: 'Go forth out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and out of thy father's house, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.'”
We read that God had told Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees and to go where He would lead him. But in Chapter 11:31 we read that it was Terah (Abraham's father) who took Abraham and moved out of Ur. But what had God told Abraham? Leave “thy kindred, and thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” Abraham went like God had said, but he took his father and his nephew Lot with him.
Then instead of going until God told him to stop, Terah took Abraham, and they came as far as Haran (11:31) and settled there. That was not God's will. Why did they settle there? That was Terah's idea. Haran perhaps had good pasture land for the flocks. But it was not God's place. And Abram settled down there with his Daddy! Abram was a man who made mistakes. And the first mistake he made was to listen to his father, when God had already told him to do something else. God took away Terah through death. (11:32)! Then, “Abram went out as the Lord had commanded him”. (12:4)
So how do you handle those who are in authority who are telling you to do opposite of what you know God desires of you?
Last week we discussed 3 basic purposes for authority.
1.To Grow in Wisdom and Character
2.To Gain Protection From Destructive Temptations
3.To Receive Clear Directions for Life Decisions
We also discussed that there are four basic structures of authority
- (Church)-Pope-Bishops-Priest-Members of the Church
- (Government)-National Leaders-Local Officials-Citizens
So this week let us continue on the subject of Authority in the Christians life.
The man that with a stiff neck despiseth him that reproveth him, shall suddenly be destroyed: and health shall not follow him. (Proverbs 29:1)
If we continue to reject the reproofs of the authority God has put in our lives, He warns that there will be irreparable damage to the potential in our lives.
Scripture records that on three major occasions King Saul rebelled against the word of the Lord, and on each occasion there was a specific consequence.
1. His children would lose the heritage they could have had.
(1 Samuel 13:13-14) And Samuel said to Saul: Thou hast done foolishly, and hast not kept the commandments of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee. And if thou hadst not done thus, the Lord would now have established thy kingdom over Israel for ever. But thy kingdom shall not continue. The Lord hath sought him a man according to his own heart: and him hath the Lord commanded to be prince over his people, because thou hast not observed that which the Lord commanded.
When we rebel against the disciplines of the Lord, we fail to learn the spiritual insights and character which God intended. Thus, we are not able to pass these on to our children.
2. His own ministry would suffer.
(I Samuel 15:28) And Samuel said to him: The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to thy neighbour who is better than thee.
The very lack of character and wisdom which we have due to rejecting authority will greatly diminish the potential which our own ministry could have had.
3. His physical Life would be shortened.
(I Samuel 28:9) And the Lord also will deliver Israel with thee into the hands of the Philistines: and tomorrow thou and thy sons shall be with me (The soul of Samuel was speaking to him ): and the Lord will also deliver the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.
The Church teaches a direct correlation between obedience to God and a long and healthy life:
(Ephesians 6:1-3) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is just. Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with a promise: That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest be long lived upon earth.
(Proverbs 3:7-8) Be not wise in thy own conceit: fear God, and depart from evil: For it shall be health to thy navel, and moistening to thy bones.
(I Corinthians 11:27-32) Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep.
The root of the unworthiness was rebellion. Any unworthiness before God is because of rebellion in our lives. And because of this rebellion there were some who became sick and some even died because while in rebellion to God they partook of the body and blood of Christ.
We need to understand that Human Authority is in the Hands of a Skillful God:
Each of us has a multitude of character deficiencies that need to be perfected. God uses those in authority to do this.
"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, and the rod of correction shall drive it away." (Proverbs 22:15)
God assures us that the heart of one who is in authority is in His hand, and that He turns it in the same way He does a winding river by using the pressure of the current and time.
"As the divisions of waters, so the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord: whithersoever he will he shall turn it." (Proverbs 21:1)
God is even more concerned that our character become like Christ Jesus then He is in which "instruments" He uses to accomplish this. Therefore, if we push away or get out from under the reproofs and authority of our parents, husband, or any other authority we have mentioned already, God only has to raise up new "tools" to chip away at the rough edges of our character.
Lastly, before we continue in our study in Genesis, let me say this:
The way a child responds to his parents' authority will soon be the way he or she will respond to them when they are teenagers. The way a teenager responds to his parents' authority will be the way he responds to God's authority.
So we see God continually testing Abrahams obedience. As we have already said god had told him to leave his kindred and instead he took both his father and his nephew with him.
And then God tested Abraham again. God tested Adam, and He tested Abraham, and he will test you and me too. This time the test was through a famine in the land. (12:10). What do you do when God has told you to go to Canaan and there is a famine in Canaan? You either live by the witness of your senses or you live by what God has told you through His Spirit. There is a lovely verse that references Jesus that says, “He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears.” (Isaiah 11:3-4). But that is not the way man lives. If we hear about or see a famine in Canaan, we lake a decision immediately, by what our eyes and ears and our clever brain tell us. We decide that Canaan is certainly not the place to be in now. We need to move on. We don't have to consult God, because we are living by our senses! That was what Abraham did: chapter 12:10 says “So Abram went down to Egypt” Who told him to go to Egypt? Not God, but his senses!
Can't God preserve a man during a time of famine? Certainly. “Blessed be the man that trusteth in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence. And he shall be as a tree that is planted by the waters, that spreadeth out its roots towards moisture: and it shall not fear when the heat cometh. And the leaf thereof shall be green, and in the time of drought it shall not be solicitous, neither shall it cease at any time to bring forth fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
He will not be barren even in the time of famine. The man who trusts the Lord will not move until God tells him to. That was what our Lord told Satan in the wilderness when He was tempted. Satan told Jesus to turn the stones into bread. There was a famine there in the wilderness and there were no mini marts around. But Jesus replied, “It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
But Abraham did not live like that. He decided to love by bread alone. So, since there was bread in Egypt, he went there. That is how a lot of Christian ministries is done today too. They don't go where the Lord tells them to go. They go where they can get a good salary, where bread is available in plenty. They join organizations where there is no famine of money. “Egypt” may be a comfortable place to be in-during a famine. But the question is whether that is the place that God wants you to be in. If God has called you to be in “Canaan”, you should not move to “Egypt”. If you don't hear what God is saying to you right now, you may do the same thing when you are tested. Live by the words that come from the mouth of God, like Jesus did. His attitude was, “Yes, bread is necessary for life. But to obey God is more necessary for life.”
If Satan tempted even Jesus like this, don't you think he will tempt you too-to go where there is plenty of bread? If you are serving god and facing financial trials, Satan will tell you that you can get more money in another organization, or another parish and make you discontent, and get your eyes off of where God has put you . May God have mercy on you at such a time, that you don't listen to Satan and thus ruin your life.
What was the result of Abraham's going down to Egypt? He had to tell a lie there, that his wife was his sister. You can get into a lot of problems when you go to 'Egypt'. You have to tell lies, write false reports, state things that are not 100% true, compromise your conscience etc.
Sarah was about 65 or 70 years old. But she must still have been a very attractive woman, for Pharaoh the king of Egypt to want her in his harem. The sad thing is that even when Abraham saw his wife being taken into the harem to be corrupted, he still loved his own life so much, that he didn't tell Pharaoh the truth. It is when we are in a tight spot that we discover whether we love the truth or not.
So we see that the great Abraham was a man who made serious mistakes. At first, he held his Daddy's hand and disobeyed God. Then he told a lie to save his life, even when it meant losing his wife. Such was the man whom God chose-a weak and selfish man. Abraham was just like us. And that is our encouragement. God can use us too.
God saved Abraham from both situations. God delivered him from Haran and God delivered Sarah from Pharaoh. And God will deliver us too, even when we have made mistakes, if He sees that our heart is sincere, like Abraham's was. That should be what encourages us.
It was Pharaoh who rebuked Abraham for telling a lie (12:18). Can you imagine a heathen king rebuking a prophet of God for telling a lie? Sometimes God's people get into compromising situations where worldly people have to correct them. That is what happens when we go to 'Egypt'.
Books to feed your faith!
When we think of devotion to the Sacred Heart, we think of Saint Margaret Mary. However, this devotion goes back further in history to Saint John Eudes, who wrote on the subject. And now we see that the Carthusians also were following this devotion before Saint Margaret Mary. A glance at these pages will show how justified was Dom Le Masson in claiming that the devotion revealed to St. Margaret Mary and made popular by her effotts was already an old one in the Carthusian Order. Dom Cyprien, before re-editing Dom Le Masson's work, had already written on Lansperge the Carthusian and Devotion to the Sacred Heart. Lansperge had, in fact, a special part in the propagation of the Devotion in the sixteenth century: but he only developed what was a tradition of long standing in his Order. Ludolph the Carthusian had already written before the middle of the fourteenth century in his Life of Christ those words which have been chosen for the opening pages of our present anthology; and from that time on the tradition remained unbroken. Nor was it confined to one Charterhouse, or to one Province of the Order. It is not surprising that many of the writers whose works are quoted belonged to the Rhineland Province, for the Charterhouse of Cologne, which had the reputation of displaying the greatest love for learning of all the Houses of the Order, had a marked influence on the Province. But the pen was not the only instrument used for spreading the Devotion. Not content with writing about the Devotion to the Heart of Jesus, these apostles of love contrived to engrave Its image on the very walls of stone with which their Monasteries were built. The escutcheon reproduced as a frontispiece is worthy of partic'llar notice. It forms the key-stone of an arch at the Grande Chartreuse in that part of the old cloister which was built after the fire of 1473. A cross is seen rising out of a tomb, with the three nails, the rod and the sponge on a reed on the right, and on the left three dice, pincers and hammer, and a scourge. Above are the thirty pieces of silver, and the crown of thorns is hanging on the right arm of the cross. These arms of the Passion are common enough: what is exceptional in the shield of the Grande Chartreuse is the heart in the centre of the cross, with a large wound entirely penetrated by a lance. This has been reckoned as the oldest known carving of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This work consists of thirty elevations to the Sacred Heart followed by a week devoted to the Sacred Heart. A section is devoted to prayers for all occasions, including preparation for death.
Can we truly know God? asks the world doubtfully to-day. Can the great God love or care for us, as we understand the words? Or is there a man, sinless, unselfish, divine, with a mind and a heart like our own, to teach us the true knowledge and love of God? Is there, in this dark world of ours, a spring of light and love where all may drink and which will never run dry? Brethren, we If whose eyes have seen the King in his beauty" (Isa. xxxiii. 17) fearlessly answer " Yes." Such an one" was seen on earth, and conversed with men," and His" Sacred Heart" is the magic fountain that men crave for. Let us consider the beginning of the first sermon: “By the very nature of His being, God is beyond the comprehension of a creature. Finite mind at its highest, even with the joint light of nature, grace, and glory, can never fully grasp the infinite. It is the sole prerogative of the three divine Persons, to know adequately their own common nature and essence.” In another sermon we read: “Love of the Holy Ghost was a permanent feature of the spirit of Jesus; and is, therefore, intimately linked with devotion to the Sacred Heart. Love and fire are symbols of the heart as they are of the Holy Ghost. Indeed, the Holy Ghost is love in the full limitless sense of the term, the eternal, substantial, mutual love of father and son. We are taught by the Sacred Heart to look up to the Father with filial humility and dependence as Creator, Preserver and Last End; to seek in the Son the divine light, guiding us in reason and faith; but in the Holy Ghost the living fire came down from heaven, the love, the heartfelt enthusiasm that carries us irresistibly forward to virtue, good works, holiness.” Each sermon is divided into three sections, light, love and then duty. And in conclusion: “No more fitting conclusion than this to our thoughts on the fruits of devotion to the Sacred Heart. Briefly put, these fruits are light in the mind, love in the heart and firm purpose of will to carry out all resulting duties, that will make us not merely "hearers but doers of the Word." The main power of the soul are thus exercised and strengthened. The whole field of the soul is made fruitful in light and love, leading to duty in the three great relations of life, those bearing on God, our neighbor, and ourselves. Thus united to the Sacred Heart on earth, we may confidently hope one day to live united with it forever in heaven. For true lovers of the Sacred Heart the sixth beatitude is ever in the way of fulfillment: "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God."
The Importance of Spiritual Communion
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If we cannot receive Holy Communion actually, then let us do so spiritually. These prayers and instructions have been gathered from the Saints and other venerated spiritual writers. Spiritual Communion has been a part of the spiritual life for decades. Growing up I was instructed to make a Spiritual Communion, when I could not go to Communion such as when I assisted at a second Mass. The same is true if one finds oneself at Mass, but not fasting. There are times coming, when it will be difficult, if not impossible to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We should be prepared for such times.
Brother Constantine's Greek Salad
Brother Constantine's salad is always a hit, especially in summer when fresh produce is abundant.
If you can't find Greek olives, canned black olives make an acceptable substitute.
"This is an incredibly good Greek salad recipe, nice and tangy and even better in the summer when you use fresh vegetables!"
1 head romaine lettuce- rinsed, dried and chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
6 ounces pitted Greek olives
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 lemon, juiced
ground black pepper to taste
1. In a large salad bowl, combine the Romaine, onion, olives, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and cheese.
2. Whisk together the olive oil, oregano, lemon juice and black pepper. Pour dressing over salad, toss and serve.
Father Vasiliy's Caraway Rye Bread
A delightful and substantial loaf for any time of the year. It is a great accompaniment to cold vegetable dishes for your summertime table.
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees), divided
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon caraway seed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups rye flour
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add brown sugar, caraway, oil, salt and remaining water; mix well. Stir in rye flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining all-purpose flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; divide in half. Shape each half into a ball; place in two greased 8-in. round cake pans. Flatten balls to a 6-in. diameter. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Video sermons and instructions: Timeless timely truths for living the Faith
Trinity Sunday, 2013.
5th Sunday after Easter 2019 - Why Pray?
Vatican In Exile Podcasts
Family Theater was a program created to promote family unity and each week saw a drama illustrating the importance of family life and prayer. The main reason for the success of this series was undoubtedly due to the numerous Hollywood stars that participated.
Cast: Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Gregory Peck, Shirley Temple Director: Fred MacKaye, Dave Young, Joseph Mansfield, Richard Sanville, Jaime del Valle, Mel Williamson, Robert O’Sullivan, John Kelley Producer: Father Patrick Peyton, Bob Longenecker Host: Father Patrick Peyton Writer: True Boardman , Father Patrick Peyton Announcer:Tony LaFrano
Ranger Bill was a Christian radio adventure serial, and aimed at the younger generation. This turned out to be one of the most successful radio broadcasts, and with an amazing longevity of over twelve years. The very first fifteen minute episode was aired on October 2, 1950, but this later changed to a half hour episode, beginning May 14, 1954 and running right through until 1962.
Catechizing with a fresh perspective. Using the Holy Scriptures and the Catechism of the Council of Trent as foundational bases.
Lamp and Light Bible Study is not a ‘theological’ study but a ‘life application’ study.
Our in house Priest will show that every single book of the Bible is interesting and has a message for us today. It deals with key aspects of the Christian life and speaks more to the heart than to the head.
The Ave Maria Hour first aired on April 26, 1935, on radio station WOR. It was presented by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement to help the humanitarian work of St. Christopher’s Inn, and during that first show, Servant of God Father Paul of Graymoor talked about the charity involved in caring for the men of the Inn. In 1937, it was estimated that nearly 1 million listeners were tuning in each week, which resulted in large pilgrimages coming to Graymoor.
The popular Ave Maria Hour continued until 1969, encouraging and entertaining listeners. It was heard on more than 350 stations as well as on the Armed Forces Radio Service. Recorded in a studio in New York City and on the grounds of Graymoor, these dramatizations of the lives of the saints, stories from the Gospel, and inspiring accounts of faith received many awards for religious radio programs sponsored by the American Exhibition of Educational Radio and Television programs of Ohio State University. It received the Golden Bell Award in 1959, presented by Ed Sullivan on live television.
THE BIBLE IN LIVING SOUND, the original dramatized audio Bible stories . . . really gets kids excited about the Bible! These 450 spiritually enthralling stories, re-enacted with music and lively sound effects, leave impressions of lasting beauty and wonder, putting the listener in the Red Sea at the crossing, beside David as he confronts Goliath, with Mary and Joseph in the stable, and there at the foot of the Cross. These stunning dramatizations captivate listeners of all ages as they are enriched by visualizing the values taught in God's Word. Listeners want to hear these audio Bible stories again and again.
What Was 'The Firmament' ?
And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament, and it was so. And God called the firmament, Heaven; and the evening and morning were the second day.
To understand this passage, we also need to read the following verses:
God also said: Let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth under the firmament of heaven. Genesis 1:20
Note that the birds fly “over” the earth, or as some versions say, “across the face of the expanse”
...To shine [stars] in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth. And it was so done. And God made two great lights: a greater light to rule the day; and a lesser light to rule the night: and the stars. And he set them in the firmament of heaven to shine upon the earth.(Genesis 1:15-17, emphasis added).
So the flying creatures were to fly across the firmament, and the sun, moon, and stars were in the firmament.
So what does all this mean? Let me summarize and then I'll explain:
The “firmament” is out space, where the sun, moon, and stars are.
The “waters above the firmament” are at the outer boundary of the universe.
The phrase “over the earth under the firmament of the heaven” means in the atmosphere where birds fly.
The waters “under the firmament” are the waters covering the surface of the earth.
So, on day two of creation week God made the firmament which is really outer space. Then God separated the water that covered the earth to make tow areas of water, with space between between the waters above, and the waters below. He called the firmament “heaven.” All this is difficult to explain briefly because we need to look carefully at the Hebrew word for heaven, like our English word for heaven, has different meanings depending on how it is used in a sentence. Despite the difficulty for me in explaining it succinctly, the Bible is clear on these points. God says that on day two He separated the water that, on day one, covered the earth to be two areas of water, by putting a space between the waters. So, there was water below the “firmament” , covering the earth (which on day three became the seas separated from the dry land), and there was water above the firmament. ]
Now, on day four God says three times (in vv. 14,15, and17) that He put the sun, moon, and stars in the firmament that He made on day two. Then the Bible tells us that on day five God created the birds to fly across the face of the firmament. So after much more study of other verses that talk about this firmament, we can say that the firmament is the sky, which includes both the blue sky we see the birds flying in and the clouds floating in (what we call the atmosphere of the earth), and the night sky where the sun, moon, and stars are (what we call outer space).
And as difficult as it is for our finite minds to rasp, it seems that the waters above the firmament are at the outer edge of outer space. In fact, Psalms 148:3-4 says that water is still above the heavens where the sin, moon and stars are. It's also interesting to note that in 2 Peter 3:5 we read that “and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God .”
Wives, Be in Subjection to Your Own Husbands
God’s plan for the wife in the home is that the wife is to take a subordinate role in leadership issues and/or when decisions need to be made. This is a general principle and each couple needs to find their way in working with the personality and gifts of both husband and wife. This direction from God is often a considerable challenge for the wife.
Women are often quicker in their response than their husbands. Sometimes they think more quickly or just put their thoughts into words more rapidly. It can be their opinion that because they can respond more quickly, then they must be more intelligent than their husbands.
Wives are called to “rule the house.” Since house management is on their minds almost all the time, they will see needs more quickly than their husbands. Since they see the things that need repair and their lives are hindered by their needs, they may feel their husbands lack intellectual capacities because they don’t quickly respond to these needs.
Mothers also have to live with more fears. When they see their offspring engage in activity that appears frightening, they may be afraid the child is in serious danger. When their husbands do not rescue or stop the child, their fears escalate rapidly and they may wonder why their husbands are so slow.
Some women have a good bit more sense when it comes to handling money. Perhaps by nature or training, they have a sense of good business practices. It may be easy for them to “run over” their husband’s judgment.
Children, youth and bystanders are observing how women respect their husbands. Foundations are being laid that future generations will build upon. It is always good to remember that the overall plan of God is more important than one’s immediate pleasure or preference. By faith we will find our way.
Is there a way a woman can “grow” leadership in her husband? Can a woman find wisdom from God on how to help him assume leadership?
The Bible is God’s answer to every situation. This lesson is an effort to help women and their husbands find answers to the questions of leadership.
“... and let the wife fear, that is to reverence and have respect for her husband.” Ephesians 5:33b
Submission and reverence are twin virtues that grace a godly woman.
Every woman wishes to be attractive. But physical favor and beauty are short lived. It is spiritual character that causes a woman to be highly treasured by both her husband and family. These virtues are not native to a woman’s nature. She needs to receive these virtues through self-discipline and a close walk with God.
Submission includes women seeing themselves as being second in command to their husbands.
In a later lesson we will consider that women are to be creative and resourceful in their domain. This must be balanced with the fact that in the home, in social institutions and in the church, God is asking men to lead.
In the workplace, there may be times when a woman, especially one without a husband, has a responsibility given her that is over men. With a spirit of humility she can fulfill her role without being domineering. The home is the place where women can best show their respect for their role, their Creator and their husbands. By being thankful to their husbands for what they are able to provide and then making each resource go as far as possible, godly women grace a home in ways not native to men.
Reverence shows up in attitude, countenance, speech and actions.
A woman who sees herself as being subordinate to her husband because of God’s plan, will reveal this in the thousands of expressions of life. Her respect will especially be shown through the way she looks at him, accepts his decisions and speaks to him.
While each man has a lot of boy left in him, one of the things he is sensitive to is whether he is treated as a little boy. Deep in his heart he craves respect and honor. When his wife reverences him, a deep need is met in his heart to love her in return. A godly man will accept the fact that his wife has a carnal nature and love her even when she does not respect him.
When she chooses respect, it naturally brings out the leader in him. A wise man will seek his wife’s counsel. He will discuss the problem he is facing, the decision he needs to make, and see what her feelings are on the matter. This is especially true when it relates to matters about the house, but also true in matters regarding his work and social world. She is his help meet, a help suitable for him in each issue and problem he is facing.
Submission also carries the responsibility to try to make the husband’s wishes prove successful.
A woman’s intuition and knowledge of her man can often give her a fairly certain prediction about her husband’s venture. She should share her judgment on the matter at hand. But once he has made a decision, there is no virtue in being critical and continuing to oppose her husband. This is the time when she needs to put her shoulder to the wheel and help to push.
A woman can often make or break a project. The husband is already endeavoring to make his decision succeed. If the wife gives her support, it might just be the momentum to help the idea or task go forward. If she opposes it, it will wound her husband deeply and may cause the project to fail. A woman who opposes her husband often just opposes herself.
What then if she tries to help him and it still fails, just as she could have told him? Even then she should stand by her husband. It doesn’t take vision to stand by a man when he is successful. It takes a woman of vision and love to stand by her husband when the world would call him a failure.
The ornament of submission is high on God’s value list, being the only ornament He wants godly women to adorn themselves with.
It is native to a woman’s heart to seek jewels. Some girls from toddler days will notice if mother adorns their hair with barrettes that match their dress or bring out the color of their eyes. Older women still seek rich adornment, hoping it will somehow make them look attractive.
God says it is something else that He sees as ornamentation. He is watching for women who want to adorn themselves with good works and with a submissive attitude.
God’s value system will last for eternity. Godly women will receive their due reward someday. Their crowns will never perish.
A Christian wife should seek to win her unbelieving husband with godly choices and no scolding.
Probably there is no instrument as easy to use and as perverse as the tongue. When a woman has a deep spiritual concern for her husband, the tongue is something she will need to give careful attention to.
According to many translators, what Peter wrote to wives of unbelieving husbands was that they were to win their husbands without a word. Not one word of scolding or of preaching. They are to simply give love and be meek of spirit.
God knows how to reach deep into the heart and life. When a woman of faith chooses to place her confidence in what God says is the right plan, then she becomes a partner with God. God can then activate His Holy Spirit to work in His own powerful way.
It is man’s nature to be sensitive to how his wife views his actions.
No hurt goes as deep in the soul of a man as to be belittled by his wife. If that belittlement is in the presence of others, or if the belittlement was over something the husband felt he should have been praised for, then the wound will be doubly hurtful.
A wise woman will respond to this knowledge with wisdom. She knows not to hurt the man she loves, even if the hurt does not seem to her to be that big of an issue. She also will know to go out of her way to express her appreciation and respect for the areas where she sees him putting his heart into his walk with God. A man naturally wants to grow in the areas where he senses he has his wife’s admiration.
Most women are sensitive to whether or not they are loved. Men are equally sensitive to whether or not they are respected. It does wonders for a marriage when a woman decides to look up to her husband as her lord and protector.
A wife should never obey her husband in doing something that is morally wrong. Rather she should appeal for permission to do right.
The teaching of godly submission is strong. However, we also must take the example or illustrations of Scripture and learn from them. We do not know if the deceit was Ananias’ idea or Sapphira’s. The only thing we know is that Sapphira was under Ananias’ authority, that she had his support and blessing to practice deceit. That blessing did not protect her.
Godly women will want to remember Peter’s word to the Jewish leaders. “We ought to obey God rather than men.” When leaders’ directions do not contradict God’s commands, we submit. When their direction is sin, we will suffer rather than go against God’s directives.
In Christ and in eternity, women are equal with men. Women who have served Christ in humility may well be given honor above men in Christ’s kingdom.
Time will soon come to an end. The structure of society will come to an end with it. Jesus taught us that the first would be last and the last first (Matthew 19:30). We all know that in the ladder of importance, godly womanhood is often relegated to the lowest positions. That’s the position Jesus took too, the lowest levels.
His promise is that those who served in His Name will not lose their reward. We know He will keep His word.
When we find ourselves fitting into the plan our Creator has for us, we will have the greatest fulfillment possible for any created being. May God bless our lady's who willingly take their part in the home and church. Great will be their reward in heaven some day. Also, God bless the wives who keep the vision alive that submitting to an imperfect husband is their pathway to pleasing God and having a happy husband.
READ MORE FROM THE TRADITIONAL CATECHISM WEBSITE: traditionalcatechism.com
You Might Have Left Your First Love If.....
Every Christian should be aware of the danger of leaving his first love for the Lord. Long ago, the church in Ephesus was busy doing many things for God, yet Jesus said, “But I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first charity.” (Revelation 2:4).
The Lord commanded them, “Be mindful therefore from whence thou art fallen: and do penance, and do the first works. Or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou do penance.” (Revelation 2:5).
Several things can indicate that you are wandering from your first love:
1. You delight in someone else more than you delight in the Lord.
Your love for God should be foremost in your heart, exceeding the bond of any other relationship. Jesus identified the greatest of all commandments: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30).
2. Your soul does not long for times of rich fellowship in God’s Word or prayer.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy . . . soul . . .” (Mark 12:30). When your mind, will, and emotions wander from devotion to God, watch out.
Your relationship with God deepens as you spend time in His Word and commune with Him in prayer. If you forsake this fellowship, your understanding of your true condition before God will grow dull. As God’s children, His friends, and His bride (see Matthew 5:44–45, James 2:23, John 15:15, and Revelation 21:9), it is critical that we draw near to Him to engage in our relationship with Him. (See James 4:7–8.)
3. Your thoughts in leisure moments do not honor the Lord.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy . . . mind . . .” (Mark 12:30). The things that captivate your thoughts in leisure moments reveal much about the priorities of your heart. The Apostle Paul instructed us, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8).
4. You make excuses for doing things that displease the Lord, claiming to be “only human.”
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy . . . strength” (Mark 12:30). God wants you to dedicate your life to Him as a “living sacrifice” (see Romans 12:1–2), discerning His will in all things and walking in obedience to Him. As your Good Shepherd, He will lead you “in the paths of justice for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).
There is no excuse for disobeying the Lord. His grace is sufficient to rescue you from every temptation. (See I Corinthians 10:13.) The truth is, “But every man is tempted by his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured. Then when concupiscence hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin. But sin, when it is completed, begetteth death. Do not err, therefore, my dearest brethren.” (James 1:14–16).
Your obedience to God demonstrates your love for Him. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love” (John 15:10).
5. You do not willingly and cheerfully give to God’s work or to the needs of others.
Generosity is part of God’s holy character: “For God so loved the world, that he gave . . .” (John 3:16), and He “loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7). Therefore, “He that hath the substance of this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him?” (I John 3:17).
As believers, we are to love and give—even to our enemies. (See Luke 6:27–36, Romans 12:20, and Matthew 5:42.) We can do this only by the grace of God, as He renews our minds and teaches us to walk in obedience to His voice.
6. You cease to treat others as you would treat the Lord.
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). “Love one another” is not a suggestion; it is a command that we are enabled to fulfill by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Do you find that you are quick to judge and condemn others? Consider God’s love for you and His command that you love others with His love. “In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins. My dearest, if God hath so loved us; we also ought to love one another.” (I John 4:10–11).
7. You view Christ's commands as restrictions to your happiness rather than expressions of His love.
God’s commandments, the words of your wise and caring Father, lead you toward what is good and away from what is evil. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). Obedience to His commandments brings true freedom and joy. (See John 8:31–32, 36.)
8. You strive for affirmation from the world rather than approval from the Lord.
Jesus faced misunderstandings and rejection because of His obedience to God, and you will face similar situations. “If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19).
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever.” (I John 2:15–17).
9. You fail to make Christ or His words known because you fear rejection.
If your faithfulness to God depends on the reaction of those around you, you are serving men instead of serving God. (See Galatians 1:10.) Jesus’ obedience to God aggravated many people, including the religious leaders of his community. “Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also. ” (John 15:20).
Be faithful to proclaim the truth in love, because God “I will not leave thee, neither will I forsake thee. So that we may confidently say: The Lord is my helper: I will not fear what man shall do to me.” (Hebrews 13:5–6).
10. You refuse to give up an activity that you know is offending a weaker brother.
In every generation, Christians seek God’s will concerning discretionary activities. “Therefore every one of us shall render account to God for himself. Let us not therefore judge one another any more. But judge this rather, that you put not a stumblingblock or a scandal in your brother's way. I know, and am confident in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself; but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if, because of thy meat, thy brother be grieved, thou walkest not now according to charity. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.” (Romans 14:12–15). (See also Romans 12:10 and Philippians 2:3–8.)
11. You become complacent toward sinful conditions around you.
Jesus warned that “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12). Witnessing the sinfulness of the world around you should motivate you to follow after God with even greater determination. “Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith:” (I Peter 5:8–9).
12. You are unwilling to forgive your offenders
“If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar....” (I John 4:20). Holding a grudge against another person indicates that you have lost sight of the greatness of God’s forgiveness of your sin and your need for His grace. (See Matthew 18:21–35.)
Bitterness is the natural fruit of unforgiveness. As believers, we are to “Follow peace with all men, and holiness: without which no man shall see God. Looking diligently, lest any man be wanting to the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up do hinder, and by it many be defiled.” (Hebrews 12:14–15). A spirit of forgiveness is essential to the Christian. Jesus said, “But if you will not forgive, neither will your Father that is in heaven, forgive you your sins. ” (Mark 11:26).
Return to Your First Love for the Lord
A prayer of ancient Israel’s leader, Moses, gives us insight into the goal of keeping our first love: “If therefore I have found favour in thy sight, shew me thy face, that I may know thee, and may find grace before thy eyes: look upon thy people this nation. ” (Exodus 33:13). The longing of our hearts should be to know God, to know Him intimately. That is the reason for knowing His ways and His will: to know Him. And this is God’s promise to His children: “You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13).
If your love for God has grown cold, take steps to renew your relationship with Him. Return to your first love. He waits for you with open arms.
To Learn More Principles For Life Go To: Resources: Principles of Life
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- Please continue to pray for the repose of the soul of the Holy Father, Pope Michael.
- Your prayers and support are asked for the House of Prayer.
- Your prayers and support are asked as we prepare for the purchase of one of several possible parcels of land for the growth of the Church.
- Your prayers and support are asked in a practical way for our domestic missionary work: for traveling expenses to offer mass once a month in Arizona and Illinois. Can you help?
- Needing to raise 3000.00 for Mission Trip to the Philippines in January.
- Please pray for the health of Deacon Stephen and his dear wife.
- Be sure to keep St. Helen Catholic Mission in your prayers. Why not go on over to the site now and see what they have to offer and how you might be able to help!
- We are all praying especially for you, too. May you correspond with every grace of God!
- In what other needs or intentions may we pray for you? Let us know at email@example.com
- Let us remember that the Church runs on prayer. Without your prayers, God will not work in hearts and souls to bring them to a knowledge of the truth. (I Timothy 2:4)
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