Thank you Lord Jesus…
for what you did for us 2000 years ago.
A guest post from Steven Broiles, former high school teacher, now a voice-over artist and cab-driver in New York City.
THANKSGIVING: A Holiday and a Command
By Steven Broiles
I returned home from my freshman year at Boys Town in 1971. That Thanksgiving, CBS had a news report about a high school girl who won a prize for her Thanksgiving essay. (She read it on air). The question she asked was, “What do we have to be thankful for?” She went on to list the reasons against gratitude—a never-ending war in Viet Nam, political corruption, a high crime rate, inflation and all the rest.
Well, here we are, 44 years later, and we have TWO never-ending wars and more turmoil than it seems we can handle. And from the looks of it, we’re about to be drawn into a conflagration with Russia. Suffice it to say, things do not look good.
So what do we have to be grateful for? Most of us will stuff our faces, get drunk, go to bed and join the hordes of shoppers on Black Friday. Thanksgiving has devolved into a feast of gluttony and consumerism gone mad!
But I have stopped to think about my own situation and how thoughtless I have been. Every day is like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”: Wake up, go to work, come home and eat, drink a six-pack, and go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.
We have an obligation to be grateful. Gratitude is not merely a virtue; It is a command. As I have said before, I believe I have a spiritual condition known as acedia. I have been told I am intelligent and articulate. But I cannot seem to break out of my rut. Every day is the same. There is a certain sadness at the work required to improve my situation. Then there is the sadness at the opportunity to do that work! It’s “damned if I do and damned if I don’t!”
And from the news I’ve been watching, the talk shows I’ve been listening to and the customers I have in my Uber car, it seems to me that most people are suffering from the same condition of acedia, to a greater or lesser degree. People can tell what is wrong with the country, or the City of New York, or their own situations. They say great things or have good ideas, but they can’t seem to do anything about it. People, myself included, seem to be crippled by indecision.
It seems to me as if almost everyone, at least as a corporate whole, has been beaten down to a state of demoralization, not quite on the state of despair, but seemingly hopeless, nonetheless. Not to be grotesque, but it is like nausea! For all of my Catholic education and all the sermons I have heard for over 50 years, I’ve heard a lot of things. But I have never heard the word “acedia.” If I had, I would have remembered it. The closest thing I have ever heard similar to it is “sloth.”
But then I thought about it. WHO is the author of confusion? WHO is the author of indecision? WHO is the author of despair? Of the resulting spiritual dry rot and cynicism? Certainly it is NOT God who wills these things. It is NOT God who creates and nurtures this spiritual torpor, this feeling of being stuck in a straightjacket! Is it no wonder I have been stuck in this attitude, and go about it, day after day? Is it no wonder I cannot seem to get out of this rut and transcend my problems?
I thought of the Serenity Prayer, and how it is a call to ACTION. “God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” My past unwillingness to do what this prayer says is the cause of the prolonging of my problems! It is an accountant’s prayer: I have to stop the chatter inside of my head. And I have to identify those things I cannot do anything about. (Fortunately, that list is rather short.) Then I have to identify those things I CAN do something about, or at least what I can do about my own situation. And I have to make my plan and stick to it, not being discouraged by the length of time it will take to achieve those things I have to achieve. Long story short: I make a T-account—a sheet of paper with a vertical line down the middle. The left column is the negative column, and the right column is the positive one.
And I have to bear in mind that my imagination can be my own worst enemy—of how easy it is for me to dwell on the negative and get carried away with it.
This is what I look for when I am listening to other people, whether they’re in my car or on the internet. Going negative is really easy. I think we’re all prone to it. God knows there is plenty going on right now to be negative about. And then I think about the logical conclusion to negativity gone mad: It ends in the insane asylum or in suicide!
I think that the daily exercise of the Serenity Prayer leads me to gratitude. We are COMMANDED by God to pray for our own affairs. So we stop everything and identify what we have to endure. Then we identify what we can do about it. We stop our wild imagination and its catastrophizing and get ahold of ourselves. And then we have gratitude for being able to do this much. We feel gratitude for the ability to endure another day, another problem, for the ability to think clearly. And that gratitude propels us into the next day.
My friend Eric was very kind in allowing me to keep my boxes of books in his house when I moved out of my apartment shortly after 9/11. I got those boxes out of his garage this past summer. I kept a few of those books—a very few. One of the philosophers I used to read was Gabriel Marcel, who wrote “Creative Fidelity.” (I gave the book away: I placed the boxes of books—one or two boxes a day—on the stoop to the house. People would come by and take what they wanted.) Marcel has said that there are problems and then there are mysteries, and that one of the problems he noticed in life is how we treat everything as if it is a problem. Then we treat each other as if the other person is a problem. Then we wind up treating ourselves as if we are a problem! The answer, he opined, is to look at life and our participation of it as a mystery, and to participate in that mystery.
This is what I think is our primary spiritual problem—a lack of gratitude. We have been and are very fortunate, despite what we must endure. And things do not look good. Let us practice gratitude and count on it to get us through things. Let us not wind up like a certain Presidential candidate (cough! cough!) who insists upon “being treated fairly”! Let us continue to be grateful for what we have—and what we have been spared—and participate in the Mysteries of our Catholic Faith.
Let me always remember that Our Lord told His Apostles, before He Ascended into Heaven, “Behold! I have overcome the World.” Let us always employ the Serenity Prayer as the Road to Sanity and Gratitude!
I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving this Thursday and in the days ahead.
It was foretold.
As the visions during the night continued, I saw
one like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
when he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.
Our Lord Jesus Christ confirmed it.
Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.“
And we are told He will come again.
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father,
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, he is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, ” says the Lord God,
“the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”
The Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all our strength.
May the joy and peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
On Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, during an episode of ABC’s execrable “The View,” a show that promotes an image of women as empty-headed, gossipy harridans, Whoopi Goldberg said Christian refugees from the Middle East are just as dangerous as Muslims.
Whoopi, 59 or more likely 66 (according to a 1984 New York Times article), is a high school drop out who changed her name from Caryn Elaine Johnson, her birth name, to Whoopi because of her flatulence. As she once explained: “If you get a little gassy, you’ve got to let it go. So people used to say to me, ‘You’re like a whoopee cushion.’ And that’s where the name came from.” (Wikipedia)
Newsbusters reports that during the segment of “The View,” the show’s team of harpy hosts talked about the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis in the wake of the Paris attacks.
We now know that at least the mastermind attacker had gained entry into France through the country’s refugee resettlement program.
The Paris attack has led many in the U.S. to question Obama’s refugee program, especially given the FBI’s own admission that they simply don’t have the data base to vet the refugees. See:
Co-host Joy Behar exclaimed that this stance wasn’t very Christian, then implied that the Christian refugees are super dangerous: “[Oklahoma City bomber] Timothy McVeigh was a Christian. Just sayin’.”
Behar provided no evidence to support her assertion, which is not surprising because, as The Federalist points out, McVeigh wasn’t a Christian. McVeigh identified as an agnostic and said his violent actions weren’t motivated by any religious associations, but by an extreme hatred for the federal government.
Whoopi Goldberg followed Behar’s convoluted line of thinking by pointing out how Adolf Hitler was totally a Christian. She said, “There have been a lot of monster Christians. Hitler was a Christian.”
Like Behar, Whoopi’s claim is also wildly incorrect.
Hitler and the Nazis were animated by Nordic pagan myths, not Christianity. The Federalist points out:
H/t FOTM’s MomOfIV
Ben Carson is in another controversy.
This time it’s over what he said about the tragic case of Terri Schiavo — the woman who died in 2005 from dehydration and starvation, after years of legal and political battles, and 15 years after slipping into a coma that doctors later called a persistent vegetative state.
On Nov. 14, 2015, Adam C. Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Carson disagreed with then-Florida governor Jeb Bush’ attempt to bypass court rulings to force the re-insertion of feeding tubes for Schiavo, and referred to the Terri Schiavo case as “much ado about nothing.”
Consistent with his reaction in previous controversies, Carson insisted in an exclusive to LifeSiteNews on Nov. 18 that his remarks had been “taken out of context and misinterpreted.” He said: “When I used the term ‘much ado about nothing,’ my point was that the media tried to create the impression that the pro-life community was nutty and going way overboard with the support of the patient.”
Ben Johnson reports for LifeSiteNews, Nov. 19, 2015, that some pro-life leaders remained uneasy after hearing Carson’s explanation, and numerous LifeSiteNews readers said they wished they could know “the context” via a full recording of the exchange between the Tampa Bay Times (TBT) reporter and Ben Carson.
The same day, Nov. 19, TBT reporter Adam C. Smith posted a full transcript of the exchange with Carson during the Florida GOP’s Sunshine Summit conference:
Times: Dr. Carson, a few years ago when Gov. Bush was in charge of the state, he and the Florida Legislature moved to overturn the court decision on Terri Schiavo to force the feeding tube to be reinserted. What was your view of that as a doctor at the time?
Carson: Well, I said at the time, “We face those kinds of issues all the time and while I don’t believe in euthanasia, you have to recognize that people that are in that condition do have a series of medical problems that occur that will take them out. And your job is to keep them comfortable throughout that process and not to treat everything that comes up.”
Times: Did you think it was appropriate for Congress and the Legislature to —
Carson: I don’t think it needed to get to that level. I think it was much ado about nothing. Those things are taken care of every single day just the way I described.
From the transcript above, by “much ado about nothing,” Carson clearly was referring to the efforts by then Florida governor Jeb Bush to intervene in the Schiavo case in order to save her life.
Schiavo’s brother, Bobby Schindler, who leads the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network and has praised Governor Bush’s handling of his sister’s case, said in a column that Carson’s followup comments are not reassuring. Schindler wrote in TBT‘s Buzz blog:
“I have deep respect for the accomplishments and commitment Dr. Carson has shown for life. But our family remains deeply troubled that in seeking to clarify his remarks, he has not unequivocally condemned what happened to my sister. In fact, his suggestion that simple ‘consensus’ among family members and health care providers could justify what happened to my sister is problematic. If I had agreed with Michael Schiavo (Terri’s husband) to starve and dehydrate my sister to death, would that have made it right?”
Orlando lawyer, John Stemberger, one of Florida’s most prominent social conservative activists, said Carson’s Schiavo comments have seriously damaged his appeal to many voters:
“I like Ben Carson a lot, but it is very disappointing that he does not even understand the basic pro-life principle that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. Terri was never in an active dying process. She was a severely disabled person who was killed through the brutal and painful process of starvation and dehydration. While Ben Carson may think this is ‘much to do about nothing,’ for most pro-life voters, it morally disqualifies him as a candidate. He is not thinking clearly about this matter and should reconsider his careless comments.”
Ben Carson has a painting in his home of himself in the foreground, with Jesus standing behind him.
Would our Lord Jesus Christ call Bush’s and others’ efforts to rescue Terri Schiavo “much ado about nothing”?
There are also important policy reasons for conservatives to be skeptical about Ben Carson, see Kelleigh Nelson’s article in NewsWithViews.
Black Friday is a week away, the biggest retail sales day of the year when Americans begin the annual frenzy of buying stuff for Christmas.
Here is American Family Association (AFA)’s Christmas buying guide: the Naughty-or-Nice 2015 Retailer List.
AFA divides top U.S. retailers into 4 color-coded groups:
Here are the Blue or exceptional businesses:
Here are the Green Christmas-friendly companies:
Here are the Yellow or marginal businesses:
Here are the Red companies — DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY!
H/t FOTM’s MomOfIV
In our dark times, more than ever we hunger for signs of God’s grace.
This is a first-person account of that grace, by Dann and Tracey Staddler who were in a horrific car accident, when an Angel saved Tracey from their burning car.
As recounted by CBN, on the night of their 4th wedding anniversary, the Stadlers’ car was hit head on by a drunk driver going the wrong way down the interstate. The drunk driver immediately was killed; Dann and Tracey were badly injured and trapped inside their crushed and burning car.
Dann recalls, “The whole entire car was filled with smoke. I could smell the burning leather. I could smell the burning flesh. I knew that I was going to start on fire very soon because I couldn’t breathe. I could feel my lungs burning. There was so much wreckage pushed in on us that we just couldn’t move. Tracey was literally trapped by the engine and everything else had collapsed in on her.”
Tracey says, “I looked at my husband and he reached over to try to unbuckle my seatbelt, and then whoosh, he started on fire. I tried getting to him but I couldn’t move. I was trapped.”
Motorists arrived on the scene and quickly began rescue efforts to get them out of their burning car.
Dann says, “They stopped their car and ran up to our car which was now engulfed in smoke and flames. They began praying as soon as they came upon the wreckage and they moved into action almost as quickly. They were doing everything they could spiritually to help rescue us; however God’s will was going to play out; they were there involved in it.”
Tracey says, “I remember leaning up and looking at all these people lined up and they were hysterical. And I remember even locking eyes with a woman.”
But the car doors were jammed shut. One man pulled on the driver’s side door frame until the glass finally broke out.
Dann says, “The window then shattered into a thousand pieces and kind of fell away. I was literally on fire at that point, my face, my head, my right side, my right arm, my right leg, they were all burning. And so I pulled myself out and they came over and grabbed me and took me over on the median in the grass and rolled me out and put the fire out that way. In the meantime Tracey was trapped in the car. She could feel her face burning and at that point she was convinced she was going to die.”
“I realized, ‘This is it. I’m leaving.’ And so I prayed. I said prayers I never even knew were in my mind. I said, ‘Father I pray that You forgive me for my sins. You said You have many mansions in Heaven and I pray there’s one for me.’ And I said, ‘Please don’t let me burn to death.’ And then I looked up and there he was.
When I say ‘He’ it was a person who I knew wasn’t of this world. It was a Heaven sent person in an angelic form. And at that point he just lifted me up and I went with him. He pulled me out and we started getting further away from the accident site. At that point I know I left my body. I know I did. He told me I could look back if I wanted to, but I didn’t want to. And the further we got away from the accident site the more peace I felt – such peace. And the love? The love can’t be explained; we’re too finite in our words. It can’t be explained in human terms. The love, like you are going home. There was no pain, no regret, only anticipation. The only thing that mattered was my relationship with Christ. And I felt like I was in the arms of God, of Jesus Christ himself.”
Tracey says as they ascended into heaven she saw her grandmother who died when Tracey was a little girl. “And I was so thrilled to see her and she was thrilled to see me. She knew me and I knew her right away. I started to go toward her and I stopped and I said, ‘Megan!’ That’s our oldest daughter who was nine months old at the time. And I said, ‘I have to go back.’ I mean I knew I was going to see the face of God. I knew it. But I couldn’t let Megan grow up alone. And we started going down, and this was just the opposite of going up. It was hard. It was cold. It was fast, and it was painful coming back.”
Tracey says her spirit returned to her broken and burned body. At the same time rescuers saw a man walk out of the woods and up to the car.
“And they saw him come closer and closer to the car and he appeared to have a glow about him. And, at the same time there was another man who was behind all of this going on. He was praying fervently for our rescue and our recovery. And, he said just as the angel came upon the scene, he was buckled to his knees because he felt the healing power of Jesus Christ so intensely that it just overpowered and overwhelmed him. One of the rescuers was able to free Tracey, and that’s when he said she was just as light as a feather. She just essentially popped out right in his hands. As the angel was there he bent over her, and he put his hands over her face.”
Tracey says, “He took his hands and I knew he was healing me. And he said, ‘Tracey, everything’s going to be alright.’ He healed me.”
Dann Says, “He turned and looked and locked eyes with one man in particular and very slowly and deliberately he said, ‘Take care of Tracey.’ Nobody knew our names at that point. Tracey’s purse was in the car burned up. She was pulled unconscious from the car. I had not been speaking her name, Tracey had not spoken her name, so for him to know her name, he could only have been heaven sent.”
The man turned and walked back into the woods. Soon after, emergency workers arrived on the scene and transported Dann and Tracey to nearby hospitals. The next several months were filled with pain and difficulties as they recovered from multiple fractures and Dann’s severely burned body, but Tracey says the presence and peace of God was with her when she prayed.
She says, “That sustained me. I could feel peace from my head to my toe when I prayed to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It worked better than any pharmaceutical out there. It really did. And the peace again, I prayed to be filled with peace.”
In their book Angels in the Fire, Dann and Tracey recount how God has used the crash to show His Presence in their lives. They say they are thankful they’ve been given a second chance in life, even in difficult times.
Dann says, “God was there for us. Jesus Christ was there for us. He gave us – He gave Tracey in particular, a healing. He’s used what happened to us for many other things. We do have a lot of joy in our lives; not always happiness, not always thrilled with some of the challenges we’ve faced, but the joy of Christ is always with us.”
Tracey says, “Tracey says, “I just recognize that fact that God is with me every day through everything; in the littlest decisions, He’s there. I don’t know why I was saved, but He for some reason thought I was worth saving. I’m very thankful for that. I really am.”
Here’s a simple prayer to our Guardian Angels, by St. Bonaventure (1221-1274):
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom His Love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide. Amen.
Talk to your Guardian Angel!
He loves you very very very much, more than you’ll ever know.
And thank your Guardian Angel today and every day — for watching over and protecting you, and for loving you in spite of ourselves.
See also these other angelic encounters: