The Magnificent Dogma of the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary- —

By Larry Peterson

from catholicism.org

 

The Third Ecumenical Council held by the Catholic Church took place in Ephesus in 431. The Council was called to refute the teaching being put forth by the Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius. He held that the Virgin Mary may only be called the Christotokos (Birth Giver of Christ) and not Theotokos (Mother of God).

 

This teaching was condemned and the Council confirmed that indeed, since it was God who was the Father, Mary was truly the Mother of God. This settled for all time the central mystery of the Catholic faith which is the Incarnation; Jesus Christ is one person with two natures; one divine and one human. This is a mystery we embrace and believe but will never fully understand.

 

Pope Pius XI, who had a profound devotion to the Blessed Virgin, honored her by creating a new feast day in her honor. In 1931, 1500 years after the Council of Ephesus had proclaimed that Our Blessed Lady was truly the Mother of  God; Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast Day of the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This action not only reaffirmed the Council's dogmatic proclamation that Mary is Theotokos, it also set October 11 into the Roman calendar as the day the feast was to be celebrated.

 

Since Vatican II's changes were put in place the Feast Day of Divine Maternity has become somewhat overshadowed by the dogma of Mary's "Perpetual Virginity". But make no mistake, these two dogmatic pronouncements are eternally joined together and they are inseparable. October 11 is still an active feast in the 1962 Roman Missal which is used during the extraordinary celebration of the Mass.

 

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church 495: Mary's Divine Motherhood;

Called in the Gospels, 'the mother of Jesus,' Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, "as the mother of my Lord." In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly the 'Mother of God' (Theotokos).

 

From the Catechism 496: Mary's Virginity:

From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived "by the Holy Spirit without human seed". The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own...

 

Our Blessed Mother was a young, innocent woman of about 14 years of age when the Angel Gabriel came to her and announced to her what God wanted from her. What could have gone through her young mind as this was asked of her? She must have been so afraid. How could she have had any possible idea that she would be the New Eve who would give birth to the New Adam who, in turn, would save us all?

 

This mystery of faith is so profound. This young woman, in effect, was chosen by God Himself to be his spouse. Their child would be both God and Man. He would change the world forever.

Mary's virginal motherhood sealed in perpetuity the truth of the Incarnation. She gave Christ the body He possessed. She gave Him the humanity that was part of Him. And all the time he was God...and she was His Mom. WOW!

 

     

Remembering Alzheimer’s Patients and their Caregivers

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Alzheimer's patient--Wikimedia Commons


Remembering Alzheimer's Patients
&
their Caregivers
 
Image may contain: text
                        
     

The Grand Finale to the Jubilee Year of Mercy is Upon Us—Thanksgiving*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy began on December 8, 2015, and Pope Francis gave us a quote to coincide with the Holy Year; “It is a favorable time to heal wounds, a time to offer everyone the way of Forgiveness and Reconciliation.”
On November 20, the Solemnity of Christ the King, The Holy Year will officially end. We will have focused on mercy and forgiveness for a year and received the graces that came along with it. It seems so fitting that the beauty and meaning of this entire Holy Year can now be encapsulated by the impending holiday season. The Holy Father wanted us to direct our actions and attention “on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father's actions in our lives . . . a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective".

Four days after the Holy Year ends we celebrate our great American holiday, Thanksgiving, and this year the holiday presents us with an extraordinary opportunity. What better time to show mercy and love, on a nationwide scale, from sea to shining sea, than Thanksgiving. It can be our grand finale to this grace filled year.

Thanksgiving is the one day of the year where we pause and simply give “Thanks” for all that we have, even if it is just a “little”; a job, good health, a cancer in remission, the subsiding of a three day old migraine headache, connecting with a long lost relative, the birth of a child, surviving a natural disaster...there are so many things that we can be thankful for. Most importantly, there is that great intangible that spreads across our nation on this day and it ties right into the culmination of the Holy Year of Mercy. That intangible is the abundance of mercy, forgiveness and love that explodes within the hearts of so many millions of people.

No-one in America needs to go hungry on Thanksgiving Day. On this day people all across the country and from every economic situation can have a turkey dinner. Homeless shelters and soup kitchens and prisons serve turkey. Folks who have little or no money are able to receive turkey baskets from various charitable organizations so they can have a turkey dinner at home with their families. You do not need to purchase gifts. All you have to do is show up, hang out, eat and enjoy the uplifted spirit of family and friends that are with you, even if they are strangers turned friends you just met in a soup kitchen.
In my parish alone, we manage to supply complete Thanksgiving baskets to about 250 families, feeding about 1000 people for the holiday. All of the food is donated by parishioners. Some folks donate money and that is used to purchase the frozen turkeys. In effect, virtually all the parishioners participate in the Giveaway. (I am sure many of you have similar programs in or near your own parishes.)
On the Sunday before Thanksgiving we distribute the turkeys and all the trimmings to people of all denominations in our area to take home for “turkey day”. Everything has come from the hearts of parishioners and is joyfully given to strangers so they might enjoy the day. How cool is that? And doesn’t it also speak to the Holy Father’s call to evangelize?
All across the United States, Catholic parishes, churches of other denominations, soup-kitchens and shelters, etc. show Christ’s mercy and love to strangers on Thanksgiving. It is a wondrous thing and such a beautiful way to finish up the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Unexpectedly, in the year 2016, the end of Holy Year of Mercy collided with our Thanksgiving holiday. If we listen we may even hear the “Drumsticks” smashing cymbals of mercy which resonate nationwide with sounds of love.
As we cross the finish line of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy we thank God for having allowed us to be part of such a grace-filled year. We also should thank Him for Thanksgiving. We can consider it the Grand Finale to the Holy Year just completed. It is a beautiful thing.

                       *This article appeared in Aleteia on November 18, 2016   
                                     ©Copyright Larry peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved.
     

This Year Holy Week Sends a Perfect Storm: Embrace Its Power

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

If you are Catholic and have not been to Mass or confession in thirty years or more you might think that forgiveness is beyond your  grasp and that there is "no hope" for you. You might even think that if you walked into a church you would turn into a pillar of salt. Well, here is the deal. All of that negative, " I'm too bad to be forgiven" or "It's too late for me" stuff is bunk. It is what is known as a "cop-out". But there is great news for all of us, wicked sinners included.

You see, a Perfect Storm is approaching. This might even be a once in a lifetime occurrence. During the upcoming days, Holy Week, Easter Sunday and the Holy Year of Mercy will converge into a spiritual tsunami ready to wash us all with its unrivaled, avalanche of Love., Forgiveness and Mercy.

Even if you have been the most self-centered, egotistical, s.o.b. since Caligula busied himself ravaging Rome, it does not matter. We all have an opportunity to run into this storm, open our arms wide, and embrace the deluge of unconditional love and mercy that God will be pouring down upon us. There is a catch. We have to want it and ask for it. That's all there is to it. That seems simple enough but for so many it is so hard to do. That is because something called Pride stops us over and over.

Recently I wrote about Dutch Schultz. Dutch was one of the most feared and brutal murderers in the bootlegging business in the 1930s. He ruled the Bronx and, as he lay dying after being gunned down in Newark, N.J., asked for a priest. He had his confession heard, asked for and received Anointing of the Sick and received Holy Viaticum (last Communion). Was Dutch Schultz turned away and told he did not qualify for mercy? Answer, NO.

Let us look at another fellow who makes Dutch Schultz look like a "goody-two-shoes". His name was Rudolf Hoess *. This man was the Kommandant at Auschwitz, the deadliest and most efficient of the German death camps. Hoess designed the extermination processes that were implemented there and was responsible for the murders of over two and a half million people.  

Every day, Rudolf Hoess kissed his wife and kids good-bye and went to work. While at work he  supervised the killings and torturing of countless men, women and children. After work he went home, kissed his wife hello, ate dinner with his family, read a book to his children and then tucked them into bed. What a guy. What a dad. What a husband. He also can lay claim to the title, Greatest Mass Murderer in History. 

Here is something not too many people are aware of.  Hoess  had ordered the execution of a group of Jesuits, including their Superior, Father Wladyslaw Lohn. The priests  were all herded out together to be killed but, ironically,  Father Lohn  was not with the others. The priest was somehow "absent" for his execution and the executioners did not know it. Was it Providence?

Rudolf Hoess was raised in a strict Catholic household but rebelled against his faith as a teenager. Right before his execution  he asked for a priest. It was Father Lohn who was sent to him. It was Father Lohn who heard his confession, anointed him and gave him his final Holy Communion. Then Hoess was sent to the gallows.

Isn't it amazing but, no matter how evil any of us has been, as long as we have a breath left in us God will hear our cries for mercy. All we have to do is ask. Even a monster such as Rudolf Hoess was given a chance at forgiveness. He responded to grace, seized the moment and asked for God's mercy. Was he redeemed? What do you think? (See temporal punishment )

The point is this. Love, Forgiveness and Mercy are ours for the asking. And now, as Holy Week and Easter Sunday join The Holy Year of Mercy, a Perfect Storm is about to blow across our world, a storm that you will want to be sucked up in and transported to another spiritual dimension. No matter what you have done, it is never too late. God waits with open arms for all of his children. Some will seize the opportunity, swallow their pride and ASK for forgiveness and mercy.  Others will never do it. We all have a choice. We can embrace the storm or hide from it.

Rudolf Hoess* should not be confused with Rudolf Hess, who was Deputy Fuhrer under Hitler

                                      ©Larry Peterson 2016 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
     

Pope Francis: Pride, Humility and the Gospel of the Day After

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Pope Francis has gone back to Rome. Sigh--I miss him. I live in central Florida so the closest he ever got to  me was probably about 330 miles away and that was in a foreign country, Cuba. The closest I got to him in the United States was when he traveled to Washington, D.C. which is over 900 miles away. No matter, I do miss him. His gentle, kind and loving face was all over the TV screen since last Tuesday. I have been among his captive audience. It was so uplifting and refreshing watching this apostle of Christ and descendant of St. Peter do his thing and, on TV no less, for all the world to see.. Yes, I miss him.

The Pope left last night at about 8 p.m. At 8 a.m this morning I was at morning Mass. The gospel reading for the day blew me away. This reading was not in place to reflect his visit but it did. The  reading was scheduled for today and put in place on the universal church calendar several years ago. So, it is pure coincidence this gospel reading and his visit overlapped. If not, it was inspired from above. (That one works for me).

This is from the Gospel of Luke; Chapter 9: vs 46-50
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 
For the one who who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest."

This gospel reading is all about the greatest of all the 'deadly' sins, Pride. It is also about the greatest of all 'heavenly' virtues, Humility. This is a "clash of the titans" of evil vs Good. And Pope Francis, without trying and by just being who God made him to be, wore the mantle of humility without fanfare, showmanship, pretentiousness or anything that might be self-serving in any manner. Yes, he wore that mantle and it was fastened to his shoulders with the clasp of Love. In so doing he showed  the whole world what it means to think of yourself last before all others.  (Was that a Fiat Hatchback?)

Jorge Mario Bergoglio never asked to be a bishop or a cardinal. He never "lobbied" for these positions or  sought them out in any way. He did not have "super-pacs" at his beckoned call when the vacancy for Pope opened. He simply loved being a priest, working with the poor and homeless and doing his best to follow God's call so he would make his life pleasing to Him. Make no mistake, God called him to the papacy. The secular world would mock that concept but that is why they cannot experience the joy so many millions of faithful experienced in America over the past week. If they could only swallow their damn pride a bit and open their hearts they may find the elusive peace that evades them.

Pope Francis is filled with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit leads him to stop his motorcade and wade into a crowd of children and hug them and kiss their foreheads. It compels him to embrace the crippled, the disfigured, the mentally challenged, the homeless as well as the "uppity-ups". He has no qualms about walking into a prison and embracing hard-core murderers, rapists, thieves, and drug dealers.

After seeing President Obama and offering Mass during his stop in Washington, D.C. he made a point of going to the offices of the Little Sisters of the Poor. He had to send a message to the entire world about the solidarity that exists within the Church when it comes to respect for life, ALL life. That message required no words---just action. The Pope gave that message by meeting with the Sisters who take care of the elderly poor, free of charge and have been doing so since St. Jeanne Jugan founded the order back in 1841 .

Pope Francis has left our country. He has left it a more contented and inspired nation. He has reached out to everyone and many have responded. He represents the Goodness and Love that Jesus Christ brought to us. He is His ambassador on earth. He did his work well. If this had been a baseball game it would have been called "Perfect". But now it is over and the Prideful will resurface.

Thanks for the grace, inspiration, love and memories Holy Father. We have to get you back here more often.

                                    ©2015 Larry Peterson All Rights Reserved


     

Redux from June, 2015: Laudato Si is a Spiritual Document for Everyone; It is NOT Political

As I watched Pope Francis on the tarmac at Andrew's AFB being surrounded by all the smiling, back-slapping secularist driven politicians who have been spitting in the very face of so many (myself included) intolerant, homophobic, hateful and mean spirited, Catholic/Christians, I knew I was viewing nothing more than "smiling" hypocrisy being confronted by a man filled with Love, Kindness, and a bit of Innocence. Anyway, I thought I would repost my blog on Laudato Si from June of this year.


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

"Laudato Si" is here and I think many people are thinking/suggesting,accusing/ (pick your own medicine)  that Pope Francis has turned into a "pol". Yup, he is just another politician on the world stage trying to advance an ideology. So everyone had better take a deep breath. Pope Francis has released a magnificent piece of work that demonstrates how WE (air/water/ trees/marine-life/plants/animals and human beings are all interrelated and depend on each other. Think how true that all is.

The earth is, in fact, our primary home. The sun and the rain nourish the earth's soil and it gives forth food for animals and people. Some animals eat only plants and then other animals may feed on them (ie: Impalas feed on plants and grass while lions are carnivores and eat Impalas). People feed and survive from the plants and the animals. There is a magnificent balance in nature and we human beings are the most intricate part of it. That is because we are not only the ones who can nurture it, we are also the ones who can harm and destroy it. This is what the Holy Father is telling us. Start taking responsibility for our primary home, the planet we live on.

Pope Francis has nailed it. We are all an extension of each other in this world. Laudato Si reflects the very first chapter of the Bible: The Story of Creation (Please, before reading Laudato Si, re-read the first Chapter of Genesis).
           At the end of the first chapter, v28-29; God blessed them saying: "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth."  God also said: See, I give you every seed bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that  crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food." And so it happened, God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good. Evening came and morning followed, the sixth day.

Pages and pages have already been written about this encyclical. It is being torn apart and analyzed by many and then all of these folks are offering their opinions as to what the document REALLY says. Naturally, almost all viewpoints differ. How fortunate we are to have such a wide variety of "expert" opinions to choose from. Well, here is an opinion no-one really gives much credence to--my own.

My opinion is simply this--Laudato Si is foremost a spiritual document reflecting the Word of God as set down in the very beginning of the Bible. God's primary creation, people, were given dominion over all things on Earth. The Pope is reminding us that we are all connected and all depend on each other and have to nurture and look out for each other. The plants, the animals, the air, the sea, all do what they have to do without reason. They just DO.

On the other hand, we, the people, reason and think. We have pride and ego and greed infiltrates many of our species. We have poured poisonous chemicals into our pure waters, we have polluted the air and sea and lakes, we have destroyed the rain forests. I need not go on. Laudato Si tells us to take care of our primary home, Mother Earth. It is the responsibility of all of us. It is not political but that it is how it will be viewed.

I, for one, wish to thank Pope Francis for "smacking us upside the head" and reminding us that our planet is more than a big blue marble. It is our primary home. Therefore, it is our God given responsibility to keep our home neat and clean.

                                        ©Larry Peterson 2015  All Rights reserved

     

Remembering 9/11/2001; Not Much Needs to be Written or Said

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


by Larry Peterson

The posted picture shows what once was. No matter, it will live on in our hearts, minds and souls forever

GOD BLESS AMERICA.


                      World Trade Center, New York City - aerial view (March 2001).jpg

TWIN TOWERS pre September 11, 2001

"Say 'NO' to death, to hatred, to violence , to error to evil, to degradation.

Say 'YES' to the good, to the beautiful, to truth, to justice, to responsibility,
to life, to peace and to love.

SAINT JOHN PAUL II


     

I Love Christmas and I Will be Praying for all the “Grinches” trying to Ruin It

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

I love Christmas and the entire season that surrounds it. Christmas is about faith and love and goodness and sharing and giving and all of those things that fill the hearts of the vast majority of people around the world with a renewed spirit that can shine through even the darkest moments we may have experienced during the preceding year. Yes, I love Christmas.

Christmas is so much more than a 'certain day' each year. It is an actual state of mind. It becomes part of whom many of us still are....Children at heart. And we become children again through our own children and even our grandchildren. We can love the anxiety and pressure and the cookies and candy and putting up the tree and neighborhood decorations the same as the little ones.  I  anxiously looked forward to Santa's arrival when I was a child and still looked forward to his arrival as the one who dressed up in a Santa suit and crept into my own house at midnight. Now my sons do that and I can hear about his arrival the next morning from the wide eyed grandkids who actually witnessed Santa disappear from their house after leaving presents under the tree. Yes, I love Christmas.

Most importantly, Christmas is about Salvation. The story is so beautiful and profound. A simple carpenter, obeying the law, must take his full-term, pregnant teenage wife, on an 80-mile journey to the town of his ancestry for the census. Riding on the back of a mule she somehow manages to make the trip and God only knows (and HE does) how this could be possible. Not knowing anyone, they cannot find a place to stay and the baby is about to be born. Effectively homeless and in a strange town they wind up in a stable and mom gives birth to her child surrounded by smelly animals and old straw. Can you imagine?

This helpless infant is the Son of God, sent by His Father, and His birth among the lowest of the low shows us all the greatest act of humility ever enacted by anyone, before, then, or ever after. This baby will grow up and they will torture and kill Him when He is 33 years old. Why? Because He preaches forgiveness and kindness and that we should "love our neighbor" and "turn the other cheek". This made Him a threat to those in power. They just had to get rid of Him. Today, 2000 years later, over 2.6 billion people are following  Him. I guess killing Jesus did not bring the desired results. Yes, I love Christmas.

Today we still have those who want desperately to kill Jesus. From the maniacal Islamists around the world who are doing their best to physically murder Christians wherever they can find them to  the atheists, agnostics, pagans, heathens, satanists and their ilk who HATE everything about Christianity and Christmas. (Okay, okay, maybe not ALL of them hate Christmas but we never hear from them.)

To all of you who want to ruin this day, I ask, "Why?" You are also removing the love and goodness that is associated with it. So, shame on you. You know what, you are all just "plain old mean". You are the true "grinches" in the world. You are an embarrassment to all the tender hearts filled with kindness and generosity during this time of the year.

I wish to say to all you "grinches" that I will say a prayer for all of you this Christmas. I will pray that you might catch a glimpse of that star that shines so bright. Maybe a droplet of its light will find a way into into your heart. If you happen to catch a glimpse of this light please, do not turn away. You will have chosen to ignore a beautiful Christmas moment. This moment could be the greatest gift you ever receive. What do you have to lose? So keep your eyes and hearts open and MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and may God bless us, ALL of us. And yes, I do love Christmas.

     

Remembering 9/11/2001: : Not Much Needs to be Written or Said

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The posted picture says it all.  What is in it is no more.  But it lives on in our hearts, mind and souls.

                      World Trade Center, New York City - aerial view (March 2001).jpg

TWIN TOWERS pre September 11, 2001

"Say 'NO' to death, to hatred, to violence , to error to evil, to degradation.

Say 'YES' to the good, to the beautiful, to truth, to justice, to responsibility,
to life, to peace and to love.

SAINT JOHN PAUL II
     

Pride–the Main Ingredient in the Evil That Surrounds Us

by Larry Peterson

Eleven Nuns of Nowogrodek.jpg
Blessed Martyrs of Nowogrodek

The abuse, torture and killing of men, women and children continues. Throughout the history of humankind this has been so.  Why?  We might say it is because of  prejudice or pride or ego or just unabashed hatred.  Maybe contempt and envy enter into it.  Whatever it is, whatever causes human beings who are supposed to have the use of reason to turn against their own kind, eludes me.  It also sickens me.

What causes others to  purposely and oftentimes, gleefully abuse, torture, rape and kill their own kind, makes no sense.  Scorn, loathing and derision can combine and form a hatred so deeply imbedded that people actually kill themselves (suicide bombers) to destroy their perceived enemy even if that person is a little child.  Where can such hatred come from? How can it be so deep and vicious?  And why, why is it, that so many times the killings are carried out using God and virtue as justification.  The God I know is all about love and forgiveness.  We must not forget that He has given us free will and we choose our behavior.

Killing out of hatred while using God as the reason is an abomination of all that is good and pleasing to God. It is the ultimate hypocrisy committed by men and women and this even applies to avowed atheists who deny God's existence. They fit the profile simply because everyone knows, believer and non-believer alike, that NOT killing is the right thing.  It is part of our genetic material.

If you do kill due to pride, envy, anger, greed or lust you have abdicated your very self to the forces of evil.  Of all of these, pride is the greatest because it is the king of self-destruction and the primary portal to the evil that lurks waiting to embrace each and every one of us..                                                                                        

The word "genocide" was coined in 1948 by Raphael Lemkin. His word has been with us ever since. Scholars and historians can trace genocide all the way back to prehistoric man and some believe that even the Neanderthal was wiped out by genocide. The 20th century alone has seen seven periods of genocide.  It  started with the Armenians who were systematically murdered by the Turks between 1915 and 1918. The Turks managed to kill 1,500,000 of their "enemy".

In 1933 the Nazis opened their first concentration camp, Dachau.  Here over 25,000 Jews and Christians were killed as the Nazi genocide began. The atrocities continued until 1945.  When the allies finally liberated Germany it was found that Hitler's death machine had  managed to kill  more than 6,000,000 Jews and millions of others including Catholics and Christians, Gypsies, Hungarians, Romanians, Dutch, French, Poles, Russians, and the sickening list goes on.

We have seen genocide in Rwanda where, in 1994 alone, 800,000 people were brutally murdered.  Pol Pot in Cambodia managed to torture and kill over 2,000,000 people between 1975 and 1979.  Under Joseph Stalin's  forced famine over 7,000,000 Russians died between 1932 and 1933.  Many millions more died under his brutal and paranoid dictatorship. The 20th century alone has seen literally countless millions of people,  people just like you and I, systematically exterminated usually because some maniacal individual has seized power and the people who follow him are ready and willing to do his killing.

During the Nuremberg Trials how many of the accused Nazis used the excuse that they were just "following orders".  How cowardly to hide behind such an excuse. Yet, how many do that the world over?  Just because something has been declared a "law" does not necessarily mean it is right.  At what point do we as individuals stand up for what IS "right"?  How many of us would put ourselves on the line to defend what is 'right"?  The fact is, most of us know what "right" is but what price honor and integrity and freedom?  When it comes right down to it, many choose to turn their backs.

The picture in the upper right is of eleven nuns. These Sisters had honor, integrity and loved their fellow man. They were  prisoners of the Nazis in the town of  Nowogrodek in Poland. The year was 1942. The Nazis had already exterminated or sent to work camps all of the 10,000 Jews in Nowogrodek and now they were killing the Polish people.

The Sisters volunteered to die in place of 120 other prisoners who were scheduled for execution. The Nazis agreed and released half of the Polish prisoners, sending  the rest to work camps. The nuns were taken out into the woods, made to stand next to an open pit, and individually shot to death. The date  was August 1, 1943.  They had such respect for life they willingly died to save ten times their number.

We can only imagine what they were feeling as they watched their friends before them fall into that pit, holding hands with each other one moment and dead the next. Today they are known as the Blessed Martyrs of  Nowogrodek. They were beatified by St. John Paul II on March 5, 2000.  How many of us would do that for people we did not know?

Today we watch mass killings taking place throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia and Africa. The murder and attempted annihilation of Christians continues unabated and is on the increase at this very moment.  From the individual killing of  Father Frans Van der Lugt, beaten and murdered in Syria in April for being a Catholic priest, to the 80 people in North Korea executed last November for owning Bibles to the imprisonment of Meriam Ibrahim with her two babies for being Christian to the massacres of  Christians taking place in so many places around the world, the hatred and demonic behavior increases day by day. It has been going on since the existence of mankind has been recorded.  It is a behavior that flies in the face of what we are as a species.  Somewhere, it is happening at this very moment.

                                                          Father Frans van der Lugt

I believe there is a self-centeredness and false pride that exists in all of us.  It is the gateway for evil to enter into us.  Many reject this evil.  Many have too much love in their hearts to be influenced by such temptation. Many do not.  Lucifer is alive and well and using these open "gateways" that are available to him all over the world.  Quite often he is very successful at gaining entrance into available souls.

Bottom line, Lucifer, aka Satan, was the greatest of all God's angels. But his pride made him choose to challenge his Creator. He lost that battle and was cast out.  He is filled with a vitriolic hatred for God and Love and has been waging his evil war against  God and Love ever since.  Often time he finds an open "gateway" and has successfully used this path to recruit millions of willing souls. But, he can never win.

                                            ©Larry Peterson 2014 All Rights Reserved

         

    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 Perversion of “Love & Kindness”; Belgium OKs Euthanasia for Children;

    by Larry Peterson

    Three months ago  the civilized, highly sophisticated nation of Belgium looked on as  the collective wisdom of the upscale Belgium Social Justice Committee coagulated into making a recommendation to Parliament that they should approve a bill which would legalize euthanasia for children.  Well now, what do you know?   Belgium's lawmakers heeded the advice and OVERWHELMINGLY voted to extend the country's euthanasia law to children under 18 (they have had the law in place for adults since 2002) .  They passed this bill on February 13th. The nation awoke on the morning of Valentine's Day ready and willing to enjoy the holiday sharing love with each other. But this Valentine's Day came with a new twist.  They found out that once King Phillippe signed the bill just passed kids can willingly, surrounded by a LOVING support group which will include parents, doctor and shrink, "happily and mercifully" kill themselves.

    How loving, how compassionate, how civilized so many people have become.  There is wide public support from the Belgian people (unbelievably predominantly catholic) for this bill  which passed  by a 2 to 1 majority. Socialist, Hans Bonte, said, "all Belgians, including MINORS, deserved the right to bid farewell to life in humane circumstances without  having to fear they were breaking the law".  Heaven forbid, can you imagine a seriously ill child dealing with the added burden of fearing they might also break a  law?  Are you kidding me?  One independent House member, Laurent Louis, stood up and said that the majority of his colleagues were violating the natural order.  "A child is to be nurtured and protected, all the way to the end, whatever happens. You do not kill it."  He was mocked.

    The Catholic Church and the Belgian clergy are vehemently opposed and have been right along. But they  are  those "old, out of touch, church leaders telling people what they should and should not do.  Well , God bless them.  Those "old fools" are standing tall in the face of an evil that has embraced a once beautiful country which has now turned ugly wrapped in a shroud of secularism.   Belgian law now allows for the killing of sick children .  How have so many  been able to advance into the meistic, secular world of the 21st century where deciding who should live and die  is the preferred  virtue of goodness. When did the folks who are "stuck"  in the conscience driven world  of God first, followed by family and country and who defend ALL life, get relegated to the ranks of the "ungood"?

    The Catholic Church is not in a popularity contest with the secular world.  It is also not in a popularity contest with those who proclaim to be Catholic yet defy the church's teachings.  The Church is the way to the Truth and it is defending and protecting the faith it was created to defend.  It defends the right to life of all,  from the unborn to the sick, disabled, deformed, mentally challenged, elderly and those simply unwanted. It is standing tall in Belgium and saying, "NO!" to this abomination.  At what point in time did secular mankind decide that it could "kill" as an act of love?  Is it because "love" is all about kindness and virtue and they were the ones who embraced it? How sanitized yet preposterous is that? No, the "love" of the secular world is about self-love before all else. People know best and those in power are omniscient.

    How sad this all is that  folks who respect the very dignity,  beauty and miraculous creation of each life have suddenly been "flipped" into the category of "heartless and cruel" by a secular world that defiles all those who might dare disagree with it?  Tear down the crosses, ban the name of God, ridicule the churches and their priests and nuns. This hypocrisy is not "love" but rather, "anti-love".  Don't these people understand the dark underbelly of this entire concept?  Apparently, they do not.  But they have chosen to take the road of personal gratification deifying their own selves. And that is what happens when God is removed from the equation of life...you come to believe you have the right to kill children. How did we ever become so civilized?

         

    “Silent Night”– when Humility crushes Pride

    by Larry Peterson

    Peace on earth? Where is it? Is it in Syria? How about Pakistan? Maybe Sudan or Iraq? It is definitely not hanging out in Afghanistan or Iran. How about Cuba?  What does "Peace on Earth" mean? It is not a cease fire between warring factions. It is not a complicated or even simple agreement between nations. True Peace on Earth can only come about by the destruction of the great demon, Pride, and there is only one true weapon that can go head-to-head with Pride and crush it. That weapon is more powerful than all the weapons in all of the arsenals in the world put together. That weapon is Humility.

    The weapon of Humility came to us in the form of a newborn baby on Christmas.  This story is so amazing that our simple common sense will tell us it was never fabricated or made up. The most creative writers who ever lived could not have conjured up such a preposterous tale. Imagine, a king being born in a smelly, dirty animal stall to a simple teenage girl whose husband was a struggling carpenter with no money. Then the couple would have to take the baby King and run for their lives because the reigning king, Herod, feared the baby might grow up and overthrow him. Herod's Pride seizes him so he sends his soldiers to kill the baby King. You are  familiar with the rest of the story. As preposterous as this story may seem more than a billion people believe it. For two thousand years this belief  has continued to transform the world. Millions upon millions of us  celebrated His birth the world over the other night. How can that be? It is due to that great intangible we call FAITH. You can't see it, you can't touch it and you cannot  smell it. However, if you open yourself up to it, it can grab you in a life-long embrace that might take your breath away.

    Peace without love is an illusion. It cannot exist. It can never come from our own agenda. That is because the deadly toxin, Pride, gets inside us and drips its venom into our hearts filling our egos so much that they sometimes explode with hatred. This hatred is quite visible in the Middle East where Christians are being killed and tortured every day because they believe in this baby and who He grew up to be. The Good News is we have been given the antidote. It is Humility.

    Our greatest of all gifts, FAITH, allows us to  believe that God, the Creator of all that is, shared Himself with us through  His Son and, in so doing,  humbled Himself in the most profound act of selflessness that was and will ever be. This was God become man for us. He came as a helpless, innocent newborn, barely able to grasp the finger of his Mom. He allowed himself to be born amidst  the squalor and filth of a stable. Poor shepherds from the hillside were His first visitors. Humility lay in a pile of straw and  looked up into the beautiful face of His weary Mom. A few small pot fires provided enough light for the man of the family, Joseph, to see the two people that he had to care for and protect. No bells were ringing...no trumpets blaring ...no cymbals were smashing. The deafening quiet made this the greatest of Silent Nights.  Thirty-three years later, booming thunder would echo His death and three days after that brilliant sunshine would announce our redemption. It is the most beautiful of all truths.

    Seventy-three years ago the story of Our Lady of Lourdes was presented in the movies under the title "The Song of Bernadette". Franz Werfel, the author, had a prologue appear on screen before the movie began. It said, "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe no explanation is possible."  That is not exactly true. FAITH is a gift that many non-believers have seen fit to grab onto. They have responded to God's graces and listened. They have grabbed the 'brass ring'. Many more cannot escape the all consuming Pride that keeps telling them they are so much smarter than all those 'believers'. I only wish they would reach out and allow that little hand to squeeze their finger, just  for a moment. It will not hurt one bit and they might find out they were not so smart after all..

         

    Being Anti-Christmas Equals Permanent Denial

     by 

    I admit it. I get pretty ticked off at some of the anti-Christmas stuff that is dumped on us Christmas lovers this time of the year.  If you do not like Christmas, if you do not believe in Christmas, if you are anti-Christian, an atheist, agnostic, or even a Vulcan,  why do you give a ‘flying reindeer’  what we Christmas lovers love?  Why can’t you let us enjoy our creches with the innocent baby and Christmas trees and  wide-eyed children filled with the awe of an impending  visit by Santa on Christmas Eve? How in the name of candy canes and snowflakes can these things bother you? Hey man, I don’t care if you don’t roast chestnuts on an open fire or do not drink eggnog. Why do you care if I and the millions like me, do?  But a heavy weight has finally been lifted from my shoulders. I have finally  accepted the fact that you anti-Christmas people have been around for centuries (ever hear of King Herod) and are never going to stop your ranting and raving. Yes, this Christmas I am at peace with you.
    Christmas is so much more than a ‘certain day’ each year. It is about faith and love and goodness and giving and sharing and the twinkle in the eyes of children and songs about  peace and joy and angels and poor people (shepherds) and rich people (the wise men) and the star, the brightest and  most wonderful star ever seen.  For over two thousand years this  star has lit the way for all  blood-lines as they traveled across the centuries. It is about  Salvation–the Salvation available to each and every one of us who has ever lived. So, whatever  is the problem with all of you  anti-Christmas, anti-God, anti-Jesus people who are somehow “offended” by KINDNESS and GOODNESS and LOVE? Why do you want to ruin it for the vast majority of people who LOVE Christmas and all it stands for? How can you be so  self-centered and self-absorbed that you are willing to snatch  joy and happiness right from the hearts of millions of children? What is wrong with you supposedly tolerant, caring, people?  I don’t get it. How can you hate Christmas?  Well, I have decided that you cannot hate Christmas. If you say that you do–you are living in a state of permanent denial.
    So, for this Catholic man who believes that the reason for Christmas is the Virgin birth of Christ the Savior  this  is the Christmas that I have come to peace with  you  anti-Christmas folks, all of you. Filled with the “Bah-Humbug” spirit you have tried to bludgeon all of us  Christmas lovers  into submission. And you and your kind have been doing it for centuries, even before Dickens had Scrooge mouth "bah-humbug" back in 1843. It is old news folks, very old news.
    Please know that this Christmas this believer will  say a prayer for all of you who do not believe. I will pray that  you catch a glimpse of that star that shines so bright.  Maybe a droplet of its light will find its way into  your heart.  If you do happen to catch a glimpse of it don’t turn away. You will have ignored a beautiful Christmas moment. You will have chosen the proverbial “hunk of coal” over a “sweet candy cane”. I swear, it is true. So keep your eyes and hearts open and Merry Christmas to EVERYONE.  For me, this Christmas is truly Peace on Earth no matter what anyone says or does.
         

    “Is There A Santa Claus? You Better Believe it”

    by Larry Peterson


    I just though that I would make a suggestion to those highly sophisticated,  elitist, and pontificating editorialists and pundits (both print & broadcast) around the country who have been apparently blessed with much more insight and wisdom than a shmoe like me will ever have. If some seven or eight year old kid writes you a letter asking about whether or not Santa Claus is TRUE please take a moment before answering to review the answer one of your colleagues, Francis Pharcellus Church penned to eight year old, Virginia O'Hanlon, 116 years ago. It answers this very question. This editorial has become a timeless classic and is the most reprinted editorial in newspaper history. I love it and believe it. (That's right, I BELIEVE IT, so what.  Hey, what did you expect. I did not go to Harvard.)
    So, without further adieu:
    Is There A Santa Claus?
    From the editorial page of The New York Sun
    September 21, 1897
    _______________________________________________
    Dear Editor---I am eight years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN, it’s so. Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
    Virginia O’Hanlon
    115 W. 95th St.
    _______________________________________________
    Dear Virginia, your friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
    Yes Virginia, there isa Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.We should have no enjoyment except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
    Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
    You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and  picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah Virginia, in all this world, there is nothing else real and abiding.
    No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives! And he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten time ten thousand years from now , he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
         

    Frank Bernardone (aka St. Francis of Assisi) Would They ‘Baker Act” Him in 2013?

    by Larry Peterson

    On October 4th, we Catholics celebrated the feast day of the great St. Francis of Assisi.  Pope Francis, during his homily at the Mass, encapsulated his namesake with this one brief sentence; "In all of Francis' life, love for the poor and the imitation of Christ in his poverty were inseparably united, like the two sides of a coin." 

    The  Catholic Church has a rich and fabulous history of people who have been elevated to the rank of Canonized Saint.It is a four  stage process to sainthood.  Reaching the first stage a person is then called "Servant of God". The second stage is called "Venerable". Beatification is the third stage and then a person is called Blessed. Last but not least is the actual canonization. That is when a person is declared a saint.

    All of  these people belong in our Catholic 'Hall of Fame' and among them are some who are so well known that  their names are recognizable by most people even after  two thousand years. St. Francis of Assisi is one of those 'Hall of Famers' and he lived about 850 years ago.

    I am a cradle Catholic  and I went to Catholic school from grades one through twelve. I learned about many saints and martyrs and it always seemed to me that what we were taught placed these folks in a heavenly world more so than in a real, earthly world. As a kid, I never understood how the martyrs were willingly and happily dying for Jesus. Weren't they scared? Did some of them possibly cry? Were they so filled with the Spirit that they were always stoic and reserved accepting their horrible fate with  joy while thanking God for the honor of a martyr's death?

    Fear is a normal emotion. Courage is when you stare it down and confront it regardless of the consequences even unto giving up your life.  Filled with a faith that was unshakable they loved God and their fellow man so much  that their courage knew no bounds even as they faced death. These were people of valor filled with grace, honor, fortitude and foremost, love.

    My namesake and one of my favorite saints is St. Lawrence. Legend has it that he  was roasted alive by the Emperor Valerian in August of 258 A.D. The story is that Lawrence, having been tortured for a period of time over hot coals said to his executioners,"I believe I am done on this side, please turn me over." 

    I do not believe that really happened but it goes to my point of being taught about the saints being "happy"  even as they endured the most horrible tortures. Anyway, I try to take my supernal heroes and bring them  into my world of the 21st century. Then I imagine them doing their thing in the zero tolerant, politically correct, secularist world that we living, wannabe saints exist in. How do you think St. Francis of Assisi would have fared in the year 21st century?

    Peter Bernardone, a wealthy silk merchant from Assisi, and his wife Pica, also from a wealthy family, gave birth to a son in 1181. They named him Johnny but later his father changed his name to Francis because he loved France, a country where he had made a lot of money (maybe dad had his own issues). Anyway, Frank grew up as a wealthy kid and had everything money could buy. He was handsome, courteous and dashing.

    In 1204 frank went off to war and had a dream directing him to go back to Assisi. He did return and for some reason lost all desire for the worldly life. He joined a pilgrimage to Rome and joined with the poor who would beg in St. Peter's Square. The experience moved him to want a life of poverty. Back home in  Assisi he began preaching in the streets and soon he had a following.

    St. Francis of Assisi dedicated his own life to the poor and to Christ in poverty. He founded the Franciscan Order and the Order of Poor Clares. In 1224 he received the Stigmata, which are the wounds that Christ received when He was crucified. This is not folklore or rumor or an "old wives tale". The Stigmata has been documented and St. Francis did have it. In addition, the man was known for his love of animals, and many of the statues erected in his honor have a bird sitting on his extended finger and maybe a squirrel at his feet. 
    So how would Frank Bernardone have fared in modern day  America? What would have happened if he decided to throw off his expensive clothing and don some old clothes he got from a thrift store? What if he wore those clothes to Main Street and started preaching on the corner? What if he had tried to preach that way in front of  a church? What if he went and knocked on the door of the nearest Catholic rectory and asked for some food?

    More than likely the priest probably would have given him a number to the parish 'outreach' or maybe St. Vincent de Paul Conference, wished him well and closed the door. Then Frank would have had to find a phone to use and maybe he would have found one and maybe not. Sooner or later he would definitely have been spotted by the cops who would want to see ID and find out what he was doing and where he lived. They probably would have called his father. 

    Eight hundred years ago in Assisi, Frank's dad was so infuriated at his son's behavior that when Frank came home from Rome, his dad beat him and locked him in the basement for a year. Today,  Frank's father could not legally  beat his son and lock him in the basement. So he might have asked the cops to 'Baker Act" his grown son. If you do not know what  "Baker Act" means, it is simple. In Florida there is a law that allows the police or family or most anyone to have someone who is acting "irrational', and could be a danger to themselves or others, to be taken into custody and placed in lock down for 72 hours so they can be evaluated. The person has no say in the matter. Then it is up to the courts. If Frank told a modern day judge that he would rather live with the poor and beg for food even though he did not have to that judge may have put him in the 'booby-hatch' for a lot longer than 72 hours. 
    Let me, as they say, "cut to the chase'".  Francis of Assisi was a spiritual man who loved Christ and loved the poor. He gave up everything worldly to serve the poor. He asked for nothing and eventually thousands followed him as Franciscan priests, friars, brothers and missionaries. The Order of Poor Clares came into existence because of Francis. Francis of Assisi changed the world through the love of the poor and the love of Christ in poverty. 
    I cannot imagine how a man like Francis would do his thing today.  But, all things are possible with God, even in the pompous, secularist, meistic world of the 21st century. Just take a look at who suddenly became our Pope. A simple Argentinian named Jorge Bergoglio  was elected and he took the name of Francis, a simple man from Assisi.

                                                      copyright ©Larry Peterson 2013             

         

    “Truly An Amazing Story” I cried & laughed

    Review Redux:

    5.0 out of 5 stars The Priest and the PeachesApril 2, 2012
    By 
    Arlena (Broken Arrow, OK, United States) - See all my reviews
    (REAL NAME)   
    This review is from: The Priest and the Peaches (Kindle Edition)

    Author: Larry Peterson
    Published By: Tribute Books
    Age Recommend: 14+
    Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
    Raven Rating: 5
    Blog Reviewed For: Great Minds Think Aloud
    Review:

    This was truly an amazing story of The Yimey Peach Family from the Bronx, New York. "The Priest and the Peaches" story started with five children being newly orphaned and their struggle to survive together as a family. With the help of the Father Tim Sullivan steering them to make good and wise decisions the children were able to overcome many obstacles that were presented to them. And in the end this Peach Family got a surprise from a person who had once been their enemy, was now there for them showing much love.

    I really did enjoy reading this novel. It did cause me to cry a little but I also laughed at so much of it too. The story really makes one think of just what really could happen when you are an orphan. The book is really a page turner. I believe Mr. Larry Peterson did a excellent job with the telling of this story "The Priest and the Peaches" and I definitely would recommend this novel to all. The Priest and the Peaches" was a excellent read!

         

    New Year’s Day & The Blessed Virgin Mary

    A little about Catholics (myself included)  and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    We Catholics have adorned our Blessed Mother with many titles (47 different ones I believe) and she is the greatest of all saints. We believe that she has been spared from original sin and was taken into heaven body and soul never having to die in this world. But, before she left here she lived here, as a woman, a mom and a housewife.  I think we do not pay enough attention to the earthly life of our spiritual Mom. January 1st of each year we Catholics honor her  with a day we call the Solemnity of Mary; the Mother of God. In the catholic world today is a Holy day of Obligation and, just like on Sundays, going to mass is required. This woman is worthy of and deserves this special day of honor..
    Remember that Mary  had already survived the possibility of execution by stoning  because she was pregnant prior to her marriage. You can’t tell me that she did not think about the potential consequences of her pregnancy. (Even her Son, the God Man, broke into a sweat in the Garden of Eden thinking about what was coming. Why wouldn't  Mary be worried?) She knew she was pregnant, she knew this was an extreme violation of Jewish law and she knew the penalty.  Her life was out of her hands and her fate thrust into  the hands of another, a man named Joseph, her betrothed. Fortunately, he was the best fiancé ever, married her, took her in and accepted her child as his.
    Then, at full term in her pregnancy,  she has to travel with her husband over 80 miles on a donkey to be counted in a census.  She survives the four or five day journey (no rest-rooms between Nazareth and Bethlehem)and the countless contractions she must have had along the way to discover that her frantic husband cannot find a place for them to stay.  She winds up giving  birth in a stable with smelly animals,  lots of straw, no running water and who knows how clean those swaddling clothes were. She was probably all of 14 years old.
    Let’s not forget that after  awhile word comes to them that Herod wants to kill their baby. Hey, all you moms and dads, how would you like to know the head of the government has authorized your child’s execution? Can you imagine? So, this poor young mom  is forced to make a 300+ mile journey to Egypt, hiding her child as best she can, while  all the time hoping her carpenter husband can elude the soldiers searching for them. Talk about  anxiety. Talk about fear. Talk about having Faith and praying like you never prayed before.
    It probably was a year or two before the family made it back to Nazareth. Here they probably lived in a  typical baked clay and straw brick house. Each day Mary would have to sweep the beaten clay floor, go to the cistern for water, travel outside the town walls for daily necessities such as spices and grain which she would have to grind  into flour to bake fresh bread (no preservatives in those days) . Of course, there was the laundry.  Trust me, there were no laundromats and there were no detergents. There were also no diapers or Pampers or band-aids or cough syrups or baby powder or microwave chicken nuggets or McDonald's either.  Her husband would be in his shop doing his carpentry chores and her boy, Jesus, would be with His dad or maybe helping His mom. And life would go on, day after day after day. The years go by and  she is witness to  his horrendous execution. No mom should ever have to witness her child being butchered. She was there for His first breath and His very last.

    In conclusion, He came here for us and she gave birth to Him for us. She wiped His runny nose, changed His dirty diaper and watched Him grow up and be killed for us. That is why we call her MOM too. We believe that she is still watching out for us, her other kids. Ultimately, this  transposes into the Greatest Story Ever Told. Jesus was the leading Man and Mary, the leading woman . You have to LOVE this story and its two main characters, from Beginning to Never-Ending.
                                                     copyright © 2013 Larry Peterson