Tag Archives: charity

Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio, “Angel of Mexico”

Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio

Today, the universal Church honors Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio, known as the “Angel of Mexico”.

Sebastian was born of poor Spanish parents.  At 31, he journeyed to Mexico, wherein he began to work very hard taking care of the fields.  He was extremely ingenious, effective and talented, since he was known for building roads and/or bridges to help agricultural trading and merchandising, also fulfilling general travelling needs.  His 466-mile road that went from Mexico City to Zacatecas took Sebastian ten years to build.  Sebastian also had to deal with the politics that facilitated the building of this road with the indigenous people who lived in the various towns and cities that this road affected.

Sebastian, at the age of 60, being a wealthy farmer and rancher, entered into a “virginal  marriage” with a lady who did not have enough money for a dowry, allowing her to live a proper and respectable life.  His first wife died and he once again, entered into a second such marriage for the same reason, with his second wife dying at a young age.

There is no end to Sebastian’s generosity and kindness.  At the age of 72, he distributed all of his personal property to the poor and entered into the Franciscan order as a brother.  He was assigned to the 100-member friary at Puebla de los Angeles, south of Mexico City.  For the next 25 years, Francis collected alms for the friars.

For the sake of background, the Franciscan order provided that all of the friars were to work for their bread.  But many times, whilst the Franciscans were serving the poor and the lepers, they had no monies to give them.  Hence, begging for alms was then permitted.

St. Francis demanded that the friars give good examples, that they live their lives pursuant to what they preach.  One time, St. Francis entered a town with his brothers, wherein the brothers expected St. Francis to preach.  He did not say a word to the people.  When questioned by his brothers why he did not speak, St. Francis said, “Speak the Gospel constantly, and when necessary, use words.”  St. Francis explained that just by walking through the town as they did, treating people with kindness and love, was the highest manner of preaching.  Certainly, Sebastian truly lived his life in a Christ-like manner as has been set forth above.  Therefore, he preached incessantly!  Nevertheless, St. Francis gave the brothers this maxim:

“There is a contract between the world and the friars.  The friars must give the world a good example; the world must provide for their needs.  When they break faith and withdraw their good example, the world will withdraw its hand in a just censure.”  (2 Celano, #70).

Sebastian’s wonderful charity and generosity up to and including his age in the 90′s, earned him the name, “Angel of Mexico”.  In 1787, Sebastian was beatified, and received the honor of being called, “Blessed”.

What a wonderful man!  His compassion, empathy, kindness and generosity is what Jesus requires of us!  The thought came to my mind what the famous French priest, St. Vincent de Paul, said, “Be kind, be kind, be kind, and you will be a saint!”  Let us attempt to follow the example of dear Blessed Sebastian.  We send you our love dear Blessed one, and we thank you for your wonderful example of being “Jesus in disguise“.

With love and respect,

Joan

Source:  Vatican website

Letter From Jesus About Christmas

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don’t care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on.

If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn’t be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 – 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don’t you write and tell him that you’ll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up with your prayer. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford and they don’t need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don’t know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile. It could make the difference between life or death.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a “Merry Christmas,” that doesn’t keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn’t make so much money on that day, they’d close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary — especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here’s a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no Christmas tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don’t know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, or some other charity that believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don’t do things in secret that you wouldn’t do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don’t forget: I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I’ll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I’ll help you, but the ball is now in your court.

And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love.

I love you,

Jesus

What Grandma Taught Me About Santa Claus

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid.

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even dummies know that!”

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her “world-famous” cinnamon buns.  I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so.  It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. “No Santa Claus?” she snorted….”Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”

“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.

“Where” turned out to be Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. “Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.

I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.  The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough; he didn’t have a good coat.

I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

“Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. “Yes, ma’am,” I replied shyly. “It’s for Bobby.”

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, “To Bobby, From Santa Claus” on it.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa’s helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.”

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were – ridiculous.

Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care. And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

Merry Christmas.

H/t my dear Jewish friend Sol.

~Eowyn

Entrepreneur Finds a Clever Way to Raise Money for the Homeless

Leave it to a business manager (who is also a Christian) to put capitalism to work in a way that highlights the poor and raises funds – in a method so easy it can be copied in other poor cities.

image courtesy charlotteposters.org

Welcome to North Carolina, a vastly poor state with high unemployment and below-average education. The city of Charlotte has been hit hard with the current depression, and homelessness has skyrocketed there.

A sales manager for a local company, Brian Hadley, felt the Lord calling him to do something. Putting his knowledge of business to work, he figured if the homeless community had their own “product” to sell they could raise a lot of cash. But what kind of product could that be?

One thing homeless people are very good at is holding up signs. So what if they all held signs that said something inspiring, and this could be turned into a poster, and people would buy it?

Say hello to the Lord’s Prayer expressed through homeless voices:

Hadley sells the posters for $10 each and has already made thousands for charity in his hometown.

People started buying them as gifts for family members. The more the word got out, others in the state decided to do their own version of it. A mere 18 months after Hadley began his project, two other cities already have spinoff operations. They have collectively raised some $14,000.

Hadley recently spoke to the Charlotte Observer and was pleased with the spinoffs. Let us hope more cities in more places begin their own.

If you’d like to buy a poster you can visit the official website.

-Candance