May 1: Honoring Good St. Joseph; Patron Saint of all Workers

St. Joseph, teaching his Son, Jesus, carpentry
from the painting by Georges da La Tour, 1640s

by Larry Peterson

Just a 'shout-out' from me to St. Joseph, my favorite saint, on the feast of "St. Joseph the Worker".  He is an inspiration and magnificent role model , not just for husbands and dads but for all men.  I love this man. 

Today the Catholic world honors all workers, those from yesterday, from today and those not yet here. Fittingly, the man who heads the list is none other than St. Joseph,  foster dad to Jesus Christ and husband to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The day is called the "Feast of St. Joseph the Worker" and honors the quiet carpenter holding him up high as an example for all workers and their families.

Saint Pope John Paul II on St. Joseph: 

“Let us imitate our model St. Joseph in all
our endeavours especially the raising and upbringing of our families.  St. Joseph did Great Things in the ordinary things of life.  In loving His wife, in loving His Son, and especially loving God and every person who ever lived.  Let us start always in our family to love our neighbor."   

 "The essence and role of the family are in the final analysis specified by love. Hence the family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God's love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church his bride.  Through God's mysterious design, it was in that family that the Son of God spent long years of a hidden life. It is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families."

The Catholic Church deeply venerates this Family and proposes it as the model for all families.  The family of today can learn so much from this family.  Why is this so?  Because it was headed by the greatest earthly husband and dad ever, St. Joseph. 

Oh, Saint Joseph, we never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; we dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in our name and kiss his fine head for us and ask him to return the Kiss when we draw our dying breath.
Saint Joseph, Patron of departed souls – pray for us. Amen.
     

Bashing God in America: How “FAR” You Have NOT Come

by Larry Peterson

I am over it.  I am fed up with these whiny cry-baby atheists who for some bizarre reason have decided that God and Christianity are "offensive".  I also think the agencies, administrators, judges etc., who uphold their ridiculous argument that even so much as mentioning the name of GOD violates our Constitution are also pathetic.  Those folks are using their positions of responsibility to undermine the very foundation that this great nation was built upon.  That bedrock, like it or not,  is known as the Judeo-Christian principle.  Anything else promoted as the bedrock is an impostor and is simply secular hogwash.  Here is a quote from our second president, John Adams; "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."  Imagine President Adams saying that today. Imagine any president or politician saying that.                        

The Pilgrims and Puritans and Quakers and Catholics and Mennonites and so many others came here for religious freedom. The existence of God was never in question. His existence was an absolute. The question was, how do we acquire the freedom to worship God in our own way?  It took the colonialists about 180 years, from the forming of the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia in 1607 until, as newborn  Americans, they ratified the Constitution on September 17, 1787. It was not until 1791 that the first ten amendments to the Constitution were ratified. They became known as the Bill of Rights and the very first one states that "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

 Easter season is once again upon us. It is the Christian celebration of new life and redemption. Yet there are so many in positions of authority that step on the Constitution trying to obliterate the words in it.  We Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  We believe that "Christ has died, Christ has risen, and that Christ will come again."  Isn't that our right as Americans?  Jesus seems to be hated by many, including the vitriolic atheists who want His very existence "stricken from the record" by trying to claim it is illegal. Yes siree, I, for one,  am over it and tired of it.  Jesus Christ preached LOVE and KINDNESS and FORGIVENESS. Is that a problem?  Why would that "offend" anyone?  Plus, He was beaten, tortured and killed because He promoted those virtues. Does that make any sense?  Yes it does because, as history has proven over and over, often times pride and greed and ego squash love and kindness and forgiveness into smithereens. It is very sad that so many people can be filled with so much hate. So much so that they willingly kill and destroy and do everything they can to eradicate all that is GOOD. And they do it claiming it is virtuous. What a joke. How "FAR" You have NOT come.

If you do not want to believe in God I do not care. Knock yourself out. Sit under a tree and feed a squirrel. That is the beauty of America. It is okay to do that. But this business about mocking Christianity and trying to have it taken from the public square is utter nonsense. More than anything else though, it is spitting into the faces of all those two billion plus people around the world who follow Christ and His teachings. It is mocking the millions of Jewish people exterminated in the Holocaust. It demonizes a 75 year old priest, Father Frans Van der Lugt,  who was beaten and murdered in Syria last week for being kind and loving to the poor and needy for more than fifty years. It defiles the memory of the 80 Christians who were executed in North Korea last November because they each owned a Bible.

You people who want God out of the American equation are fools. The reason you  have this right to complain is because our country is built on the Judeo-Christian principle. If you lived in North Korea or Iran, or China or Afghanistan, or Pakistan or Somalia and tried this you would be tortured and killed and never heard from again. But you live in the United States of America that allows you to spit into the faces of so many without retribution. You are blessed more than you can know.

To all  you God haters and deniers, I'm am tired of your rants. You know, back in 1938 Kate Smith introduced the Irving Berlin song, "God Bless America".  I would venture to say that almost every American, young and old alike, knows this song.  Every time we sing it, no matter what the venue, we, as Americans are asking GOD to bless us. It is our national prayer as Americans. It is a beautiful thing. If you choose to be "offended" by that simple prayer because it uses the name of GOD, can't you just keep it to yourself and keep your mouth shut?  You are the ones being offensive.  How "FAR" You  have NOT come."

     

From the First Good Friday through Today, the Persecution of LOVE & GOOD Has Never Ended

by Larry Peterson

On Palm Sunday, Christians the world over remember the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem more than 2000 years ago.  Riding on the back of a donkey, He was welcomed and praised as the Saviour and Messiah by people waving palms and laying palm fronds in front of Him.  Five days later, many of these same people, suddenly bloated with an evil-induced hatred,  scornfully screamed for him to be crucified.  Jesus Christ changed the world forever. He was the ultimate example of LOVE and GOOD. He loved His brothers and sisters, no matter who they were.  I guess that made Him a threat to many so they tortured and killed Him.  As the centuries passed by, countless followers of  LOVE and GOOD have met similar fates and this persecution and savagery continues unabated to this very day.

Only last week on April 7, Father Frans Van der Lugt, 75, was brutally beaten and shot to death in Syria. Why? He followed Jesus and loved his neighbor.  Last November, North Korea executed 80 Christians. Why? They each had their own bible. As we travel back over the timeline of history Christian persecution is splattered all over it.  Sister Maria Restituta was a nun and a nurse in Germany during World War II. She was guillotined in 1944. Why?  Because she refused to take down a crucifix from a bedroom wall in a hospital.  Father Otto Neururer was a Catholic priest who had the audacity to perform an "illegal" baptism.  He was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp and, under the direction of Martin Summer, aka "The Hangman of Buchenwald", was hanged upside down and left that way until he died. The Nazi era is littered with the corpses of not only millions of Jews, but also of Catholic/Christians whose main crime was usually helping their brother and sister Jews. When all is said and done their crime was always one of embracing what is LOVE and what is GOOD.

There are the Martyrs of Nagasaki, 26 men and boys, crucified in Japan on February 5, 1597. Why?  They followed and preached LOVE and GOOD.  Pope John Paul II canonized 25 martyred priests who had been murdered between 1927 and 1928 during the Cristero War in Mexico.  During these dark days in Mexico thousands of others were also killed for following LOVE and GOOD.  From Jesus Christ, to his apostles, to the early Christians being mauled to death in the Colosseum,  to the Holocaust and onward to Father Frans Van der Lugt on April 7, 2014, the bloody war against LOVE and GOOD advances undeterred.  Ironically, this war can never win its hate-filled quest to rid the world of its despised enemy.

I could go on and on because there have been so many, many people tortured and killed for following LOVE and GOOD that the stories would fill volumes. But there is one group of 16 followers of LOVE and GOOD that I must mention because I believe they saved a nation from its own self-destruction. Those 16 people are all women and are known as  the  Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne. These women, holding hands and singing, willingly offered themselves to the guillotine if it could bring an end to the horrors of the French Revolution. One by one they smilingly went to their deaths. Under Maximilien Robespierre the bloodlust and hatred toward Catholics raged as the twisted virtues of the Age of Enlightenment and the Reign of Terror mixed their evil brew into a daily severing of heads before screaming mobs. Not this time. On July 17, 1794 that all ended.

The mob was gleefully screaming when the nuns were brought to the execution site. While holding hands the  nuns began singing  Salve Regina and Veni Creator Spiritus. Suddenly, the thousands of people present fell silent. The only sound to be heard was the thump of the guillotine as it went about it its impersonal savagery. When the executions were finished the witnessing mob had changed.  Instead of cheers there were tears and sobs and heads hung low. People began to pray.  Ten days later Robespierre was executed and the French Revolution and Reign of Terror ended.  The evil was evaporated under the power of LOVE and GOOD.  The 16 courageous nuns were beatified and declared "Blessed" in May of 1906 by Pope St. Pius X. Their canonization is pending. Talk about courage. Talk about LOVE. Talk about all that is GOOD.  Theirs changed a nation.

 The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very fulfillment of all that is LOVE and GOOD because GOD is LOVE and LOVE is GOD. The fact that His life and death changed the world forever seems to be passed over by many who think  that part of the story is a mere fable.  Well, for those who believe, no explanation is necessary and for those who do not, none is possible unless they open their minds and hearts and ask to see the unseeable. Then, they too will see. For all those who have given their very lives for this LOVE and for those who will in the future, theirs are the stories we should all honor and embrace.  HAPPY EASTER & HAPPY PASSOVER

P.S.  Question: How come no one was ever able to find the Body?

     

The Savagery Against Christians Continues: Father Frans Van der Lugt; Murdered for Loving His Neighbor

Father Frans Van der Lugt: April 10. 1938---April 7, 2014
Murdered for Loving Jesus and Loving his neighbor

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

Monday, April 7, 2014, was probably just another day for most of us.  Creatures of habit, we got up and, more than likely, went through the same repetitive routine from brushing our teeth, showering, putting the coffee on, getting dressed and doing the things we do in what ever order that is unique to each of us.  Then we lived the rest of  our day doing the same usual things we always do.  Of course there were those who did not have an ordinary, mundane day.  Some would get up and never make it to the next day.  Father Frans Van der Lugt, 75,  was one of them.  And he did not die due to age or illness.  He was brutally beaten and then shot to death with two bullets to the head. Why?  Because he loved Jesus and was  doing what Jesus asked of His followers; he had been loving his neighbors.

Father Frans had lived in Syria for 50 years.  In fact, he had been "loving his neighbors" very close to where Jesus actually lived and died and rose again.  A Jesuit priest, he had devoted his life to helping those in need especially the "young people with mental health problems".  He never asked for anything for himself  just for the Christians and Muslims he was trying to assist with food and medicine.  His Al-Ard Center, a community center and farm he started in 1980, was aimed to foster dialog between people of different faiths. Consequently, there were many in Syria who loved this man, this follower of the Christ.  It followed that there were also those who hated him.

In February, Father Van der Lugt appealed to the people of the world via YouTube for help for the people in Homs, the city where his AL-Ard Center was located.  His people were suffering from hunger and mental anguish resulting from the constant shelling and bombing.   The United Nations mediated a truce and food and water were brought in. Then 1400 people were allowed to leave. A city which once had a  Christian population of over 60,000 was now down to a few dozen. The people remaining wanted Father Frans to leave. He refused. He had said, "The Syrian people have given me so much, so much kindness, inspiration and everything they have. If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their difficulties."

On Monday, April 7, as most of us were doing our 'regular' thing, unidentified assailants stormed into Father Frans monastery where he was tending to the few Christians left in the city.  The 75-year old priest was savagely beaten by masked cowards before being executed with two bullets to his head.  Father Frans Van der Lugt has now joined the ranks of martyred Catholic/Christians and I have no doubt that one day he will be declared a saint.  We pray for the soul of good Father Frans and ask him to pray for all of us.
                                 
                                              ©Larry Peterson 2014 All Rights Reserved

     

Killing & Persecuting Christians & Jews: The Evil of the Centuries Continues Unchecked

Jozef & Viktoria Ulma; Polish Catholics
Executed by the Nazis on March 24, 1944
Crime: Hiding a Jewish family
by Larry Peterson
Look at the picture of the people to the right.  There names are Jozef & Viktoria  Ulma.  Polish Catholics, they gave their lives so that their Jewish neighbors might live.  It happened 70 years ago and nothing has changed.  It is the year 2014 and Nazi goon squads, empowered by the "law" as defined by the Final Solution, are no longer around.  But their heirs apparent live and kill to this very day.  North Korea, the number one nation for Christian persecution, publicly executed  80 people last November  for 'possessing' Bibles.  Yes...Bibles. In that demonically controlled country alone  it is estimated that close to 70,000 followers of Jesus are suffering in prison camps for crimes such as going to church, sharing their faith or owning a Bible.  Where is the world's outrage and condemnation?

Feeding the Christians to ferocious, flesh-eating lions and tigers inside the Colosseum in ancient Rome was done for 'entertainment'.  Like a modern day Sunday football game packed with screaming fans, thousands upon thousands of shrieking spectators packed the seats and aisles inside the Colosseum as young men, women and even children were torn apart for the pleasure of the emperor and the citizens.  This inhumane and vicious bloodlusting  has been followed by centuries of Christian persecution.  Today it has mushroomed into a horrendous and bloody human rights crisis.  History has been witness to the wholesale slaughter of God loving people, both Christians and Jews.  Loving God has proven to be a dangerous and deadly love affair for many.

Joe Ulma was a librarian, a photographer, an experienced fruit grower and a  bee-keeper.  He was very active in his town of Markowa and was involved with the Catholic Youth Organization.  He was 12 years older than his wife, Viktoria, who was a homemaker and mom to their six children: Stanislaw, age 8,  Barbara, age 7,  Vladyslaw, age 6,  Franciszek, age 4,  Antoni, age 3, and Maria, age 2. In addition, Viktoria was pregnant with their seventh child and was almost full term.

During the summer of 1942 the Nazi military police began deporting Jewish families from Markowa to the Nazi death camps as part of the Final Solution.  The only way Jews in Markowa could survive was for them to be taken in and hidden by non-Jewish Polish citizens.  The Ulmas took eight Jews into their home.  They knew what the penalty would be if they were found out but, being devout Catholics, they were not about to turn their backs on their Jewish neighbors.  During the darkness of night the Szall family, which included  dad, mom, and four kids plus two sisters from the Goldman family, were snuck into the Ulma house and hidden in the attic.  Somehow they managed to stay in hiding for one and a half years.

Early on the morning of March 24, 1944,  Lt. Eilert Dieken led his band of German soldiers to the Ulma house and surrounded it. They had been informed that the Szall family had been hiding there. They promptly caught all eight of the Jewish people which included two adults and six children. The prisoners were brought outside and several witnesses were gathered to act as observers.  Each of the eight was summarily shot in the back of the head.  Then Lt. Dieken ordered the Ulmas outside. He had the Ulma children lined up and made them watch as their dad and pregnant mom were shot to death right in front of them. The children began screaming so 23-year old Joseph Kokott got permission from Dieken to quiet them.  He shot three of them while his fellow executioners, Michael Dziewulski and Erich Wilde, shot the rest.  In a matter of minutes the German squad had executed  17 people.  The 17th person was Viktoria's seventh child.  It was discovered upon exhumation to bury them in a cemetery that the child was almost born as Viktoria lay dead in the grave pit.  What evil there is in the hearts of so many.

I include the Ulma family in this essay because we always discuss the people who are tortured, raped, imprisoned, brutalized and killed for their religious beliefs in terms of hundreds and/or thousands; and in the case of the Holocaust, many millions.  We tend to lose sight of the individuality of each of those people.  The Ulmas were no different than the rest of us. And, like the Ulmas, each and every one of those who has suffered  the fear and agony of the religiously defiled, was an  individual person with feelings, hopes and dreams. They had family and friends whom they loved,  they laughed, they cried, they loved to dance and sing, to hug their children and to eat cake. They enjoyed a Sunday picnic and loved Christmas or Passover. And they all had every shred of personal  dignity  ripped unmercifully from their very existence.  Their crime, in the case of the Ulmas, loving their neighbor through Christ; in the case of the Szall family and Goldman children, being the Jewish neighbors that were loved.  To understand this heinous behavior by people against people is so hard to do. I can only surmise that it must be hatred of God Himself and, since  the God haters cannot see or touch Him, they hate and defile those that love Him.

We here in the United States have been blessed with religious freedom. It is under serious attack by those who would eliminate God from our society. They do this by using the very freedom this nation affords them. They must turn to history to see what has happened in non-God societies.  We can see the beginnings of serious Christian persecution right here in America.  I hope and pray that there is not a future Ulma family somewhere within our borders. We must always remember how blessed we are to live in this country with the freedoms it provides.  Freedoms worth dying for.  Especially our first freedom, Freedom of Religion.

Post Script: Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma were declared Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1995 and their cause for Beatification  was presented to Rome by the  Catholic Church of Poland in 2003.