During the Lenten Season Forgiveness Rules. Look at “Dutch” Schultz

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

We are now into the third week of Lent and the road to redemption has been halfway traveled. Throughout the world Catechumens have almost reached their goal of full inclusion into the Catholic Church which takes place during the Easter Vigil. It is a beautiful thing. In addition, this past December 8, Pope Francis started us on our journey into the Holy Year of Mercy. Forgiveness is everywhere.

REDEEMER

To give an example of how God's mercy is ALWAYS available to those who seek it I would like to briefly mention a man by the name of Arthur Flegenheimer. Arthur was born in New York City in 1901. A German-Jew, by the time he was 27 he was known as Dutch Schultz and was quickly becoming one of the most feared mob bosses in New York. The "Dutchman" was a bootlegger (running illegal whiskey), a number's boss operating in Harlem and a "shakedown artist" within the NYC restaurant industry offering protection while using the restaurant unions as cover.

His main enforcer was the infamous, Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, a brutal killer who did Schultz's bidding without hesitation. Eventually the "Dutchman" got tired of Coll's wanting more money. As "Mad Dog" sat in a telephone booth talking on the phone he was machine-gunned to death by Schult's henchmen. Dutch actually provedto be a more brutal killer than "Mad Dog" Coll. So how does my brain combine Dutch Schultz,  The Holy Year of Mercy and Forgiveness together? Actually, it is not that hard to do, is it? This is the phenomenal redemption available to all through the Church and her Sacraments.

Dutch Schultz:  REDEEMED

Dutch Schultz wanted to kill U. S. Attorney Thomas E. Dewey (Later to be Governor of NY and the Presidential Candidate losing to Harry Truman in the 1948 election). The Mafia Commission told Schultz,  "NO, it would cause us too much trouble." Schultz refused to listen and decided to  kill Dewey anyway. The mob, under Lucky Luciano, sent "Murder Inc." after Schultz. On October 23, 1935, they gunned him down in a restaurant in Newark, N.J. Enter the sacrament of Penance and Forgiveness. Enter Mercy.

When Dutch Schultz was acquitted  on tax-evasion charges he converted to Catholicism. He believed that Jesus had saved him.  When he was shot he did not die right away. He was taken to the hospital for surgery and he immediately asked for a priest. He was 34 years  old  and his last thought while he was dying was to  ask Jesus for forgiveness and mercy.  The "Dutchman" went to confession, received absolution and was administered the Last Rites of the Church by a priest. Then he died.  Did Dutch Schultz go right to heaven? Did he get to the "pearly gates" and have St. Peter say, "Sorry Dutch, that priest made a mistake. What you did was uunforgivable. You are not welcome here." I think not.

In a few weeks it will be Good Friday. Catholic/Christian people all over the world will mourn and honor the bloodied, tortured and crucified Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus, the God -man who embraced forgiveness for all people and extended love to everyone. This is also what He wanted us to do. This is why he suffered and died for us. He offered Himself to His Father for us. Then we celebrate His Father's gift back to us, the Risen Christ. We all have been saved and we all  can get to share eternal life with the Blessed Trinity. All we need to do is seek forgiveness. Because of God's Mercy even Dutch Schultz can join in the celebration. It is a beauty beyond description.

                                       ©Larry Peterson2016  All Rights Reserved

     

Valentine’s Day is Overshadowed by Pride

 IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
By Larry Peterson
 Valentine's Day is here.  It is supposed to be all about Love. Yet beyond the heart covered Valentine cards, the flower bouquets and candy and all of that, we must, as unpleasant as it may be, recognize what we truly have going on this Valentine's Day of 2016.  Yes, make no mistake, Love is under attack this Valentine's Day and hatred seems to overshadow the Lovein the air.
Love is all about “Giving”, isn’t it? Christ loved us and GAVE His life for us. Now that is some serious “Giving”.  Most followers of Christ do their feeble best to follow His message. But---enter the deadly sin of pride. There is the demon that can grab us in its powerful grip and oftentimes, never let go. The great sin of pride is characterized by all those who seize onto words such as, hurt, libel, disrespect, impolite, mocked, uncivil, rude and the list can go on and on and on.
How sad it is that pride can destroy so much, from family relationships, to friendships, to nations. Whenever our “personhood” is offended by someone else, all that Love can vanish like a puff of smoke in a windstorm.  (Have you seen the “Love” extended by the candidates toward each other in the presidential debates?)
Oh well, it is part of God's gift of free-will allowing each and every one of us to make choices. Some of us can forgive and “turn the other cheek”. Others—no way.
Today it seems that Pride* has filled the hearts of many to a point where these people, so consumed, now HATE unconditionally.  What many of them hate most is one word and what it means. That word is made up of only two letters. That word is NO. They want no-one dare telling them what to do or how to behave. They have embraced secularism (defined as: a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship). 
Here is their problem:  Judeo/Catholic/Christian has boundaries.  Christianity tells us what God wants us to do and what NOT to do...why, the NERVE of Him!  So, many Secularists (not all) take it to another level in their personal, selfish requests to abolish the influence of institutions that have the temerity to say NO to certain behaviors. They even reject "natural law" for their own personal agendas.
Catholic/Christians are the most persecuted people on earth.  Why is that?  Why is there such hatred by so many toward something that is all about goodness and love?  All Christians (including 1.2 billion Catholics and 800 million Protestants  of varied denominations) follow Jesus Christ. That is 2 billion people or two thousand million people who follow His teachings and His promise of Eternal Life. What is the crux of His teachings? Well now, the bottom line is this, LOVE your NEIGHBOR & FORGIVENESS. Yeah, yeah, I know that many who proclaim to follow Jesus do not even make an attempt to Love their Neighbor or Forgive anyone for anything. How powerful is the sin of pride?
The Prideful  rant against Christmas which is all about "giving". They rail on about using the name of God in schools and at sports events. They want Crosses at cemeteries taken down from the graves of fallen soldiers. In many cases those who hate Christians kill them. Men, women and children die every day in different parts of the world simply because they are followers of Jesus. How can Love & Forgiveness be things to hate? How powerful is the sin of pride?
Well, nothing has changed since Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago.  He preached Love & Forgiveness so they beat Him, tortured Him and killed Him.  The loving crowds who screamed "Hosanna" on Palm Sunday turned fickle and screamed "Crucify Him" the following Friday.  The list of people murdered for following Jesus over the centuries (including his own apostles) is countless. Being a Catholic and Christian was never supposed to be easy.  Jesus Christ did nothing but Love us, each and every one of us. Look what happened to Him. How powerful is the sin of pride?
So, on this Valentine's Day, the question to be considered might be this. What is Love? The answer can be found in the Bible in the First Letter of John; Ch 4: 16-17.  "We have come to know and believe in the love God has for us. God IS Love, and whoever remains in Love remains in God and God in Him. 
Sadly,  on February 14, 2016, the war on Love increases in intensity.
*Pride: There are two kinds of pride; negative pride and positive pride. This column             references negative pride aka ‘selfishness’ or ‘meism’. Positive pride is the    good pride we take in working hard to do our best while loving our neighbor.
                    ©Larry Peterson2016 All Rights Reserved
     

From the new novel,The Demons of Abadon: A Character Interview with Charlie Winters

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

From the pages of the new, paranormal novel, The Demons of Abadon:  
Meet Charlie Winters:
Background:  Charles Joseph Winters (called Charlie by his friends) is a balding, 45 year old, 5 foot six inch, fire-plug of a man who weighs about 200 solid pounds and is as strong as an ox. Charlie, a kind hearted, generous man, will always fight for the “underdog”
.
Charlie was born in 1921 on the west side of Manhattan, in the  rough and tumble area known as “Hell’s Kitchen”. He lived there until 1959 when he and his wife, Eleanor (Ellie) moved from the city out to Northern New Jersey.  They had seen an old Victorian house on the edge of the Abadon Forest and fallen in love with it.  
Charlie was a very successful distributor of premium deli meats and supplied delicatessens and grocery stores in all the boroughs of New York City with his products. Life was good and life was peaceful, living in the “country”. Then along came the summer of 1966. That is when Bobby and Joey Peach came to spend the summer. Like a moth to a flame, it was their arrival which drew Jacob Lightfoot to their front door. Joey and Jacob were subsequently followed by the Demons of Abadon.  They hated the innocence of the children and the purity of their souls.
Charlie agreed to this interview because a lot of strange, inexplicable things have been going on since the boys arrived.  Charlie and I have a mutual friend, Father Tim Sullivan, and he asked me (for documentation purposes) if I would interview Charlie.  So, l should stop talking and start asking Mr. Winters if he can tell us what is going on.
For clarity Charlie will be C and I will be identified as L:

L : “Well Charlie, thanks for doing this interview. There has been some talk of strange goings on up here in the Abadon. Could you tell me about some of these so called, ‘goings on’?”
C: “Now look, Larry, let’s get something straight. If you’re being  sarcastic with me or making fun of this situation you can take a hike right now. I ain’t in the mood. This is not funny and these kids are in danger.”
L:  “Oh, hold on Mr. Winters. I apologize. I didn’t mean it that way. I am friends with Father Tim just like you are. That’s why I’m here. I am taking this very serious.  Please, I didn’t mean anything negative or condescending. Believe me. I did not mean it like that.”
C: “Well, okay then.  It started when Father Tim brought the boys up here a few weeks ago. They said a shadow man, or something like that, ran in front of the car and Father had to jam on the brakes to avoid hitting it and the thing ran across the road.”
L:  “Sounds scary. Is there anything else?”
C: “Is there anything else? Are you kidding me?  That was the very tip of the iceberg. There was this girl named Lily and she was all dressed in white and she brought Jacob here in a thunderstorm and then Bobby seen her upstairs.  And then---“
L: “Whoa, Mr. Winters. Please slow down a bit. Who is Lily?”
C: “Oh man, look Larry. This has been going on for a few weeks now. I even had this vicious shadow wolf knock me clear off my porch. I went flying through the air and landed on the gravel driveway. I was all scraped up and bloody.”
L: “Oh my God. That’s unbelievable.”
C: “Tell me about it.I was face to face with this beast as it came at me. Scariest thing ever happened to me—EVER. I was told the force he used was the hatred within him. That was because he could not actually touch me. It was freaky man, very freaky.”
L: “So what is going on now? Has a way to stop this madness been found?  What do you do to stop it.?”
C: “What do I DO to stop it? You told me you were friends with Father Tim. What did he tell you? Why did you come here? Why did he send you here? Look, wait right here. I’m getting him out here. This is ridiculous.”
Larry watched Charlie walk into the house. He waited a minute and then said to no-one in particular, “I better leave them alone for a while. After all, I have to figure it out first.”
                                                ©Larry Peterson 2016