Category Archives: Christians/Christianity

35-year Seattle police veteran saves man’s life while off duty

Police protect and serve shield patch

From MyNorthwest.com: After 35 years as a Seattle police officer, and being the first woman ever to be a Seattle motorcycle cop, Seattle bike patrol figured she’d been though just about everything. “I’m near the end of my career,” she said. “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to save somebody’s life.”

But ten days ago, while off duty, Martin suddenly ran into a life-and-death crisis while driving to a hair appointment. “Something was in the cards,” she said. “I mean, I called for that hair appointment that day. How many times do you get a hair appointment the same day?”

While driving her car northbound on Bellevue’s Lakemont Boulevard, she saw a car cross over the centerline toward incoming traffic, and then swerve back, before slamming into a concrete barrier. Both Martin another driver stopped.

“When I got out of my car, I turned to her and just gave her that (phone) motion, and said “call 911.” she said. “I walked up to his car, I opened the door and I could see he was in some kind of medical distress.”

The unconscious 42-year-old man behind the wheel had just gone into cardiac arrest. Martin said he was not breathing, had no pulse, and there was a dog and a child with him in the car. “That boy was just confused,” she said. “It was just heartbreaking.”

Martin pulled the man onto the busy street and immediately started CPR, which she said, seemed to have little effect — at first. The man was not breathing, but Martin was working to keep blood pumping to his brain.

Martin gave the man a fighting chance to live. Bellevue firefighters and paramedics attempted to start the man’s heart with a defibrillator. Martin said the man not only survived, doctors let him go home from Overlake Hospital three days later.

Martin, who lost her father to a heart attack when he was only 52, said she was sensitive to the boy’s trauma. She said she comforted the little boy, while his father was with paramedics.

“I wanted to go over and talk to him,” she said. “I didn’t want to leave him the impression that I thought the outcome was going to be anything but positive. I just told him to think about his dad, and I wanted him to know I did my very best.”

Martin said her best was relying on the CPR training she had taken for years. “I think everyone should know it,” she said. “CPR has changed over the years. There’s no (mouth to mouth) breaths. What you’re trying to do is keep blood and oxygen pumping to the brain.”

DCG

Sunday Devotional: God of Mercy and of Right & Wrong

Genesis 18:20-21, 23-26, 32

In those days, the LORD said:
“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave,
that I must go down and see whether or not their actions
fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me.
I mean to find out.”

Then Abraham drew nearer and said:
“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;
would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it
for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?
Far be it from you to do such a thing,
to make the innocent die with the guilty
so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike!
Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”
The LORD replied: If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom,
I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

“Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.
What if there are at least ten there?”
He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”

The Genesis passage above is a sobering reminder that God is a just God, who has inscribed within each of us a moral code of right and wrong. As the Book of Jeremiah (31:33) puts it, that law is “written in our very hearts.”

If we, exercising God’s gift of free will, violates that moral code, knowing already in “our very hearts” what is right and what is wrong, there will be consequences, as the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah discovered, too late.

Genesis 19: 24-25

Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah
brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;
And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain,
and all the inhabitants of the cities,
and that which grew upon the ground.

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, by John Martin, 1852

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, by John Martin, 1852

If you think the Genesis account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is fictive, you should know that archeological excavations at Tall-el-Hammam, which fits the geographical context of Sodom and Gomorrah at 14 km. northeast of the Dead Sea in contemporary Jordan, confirmed the biblical account.

The archaeological team found stunning evidence that the cities in Tall-el-Hammam were suddenly and completely obliterated in the Late Bronze Age in a “terminal MB2 heat event”. In the words of one of the archaeologists, Dr. Steven Collins:

“…multiple lines of evidence continue to confirm that not only massive Tall el-Hammam, but also its many satellite towns and villages on the eastern Kikkar, suffered some sort of fiery, civilization-ending cataclysm toward the end of the Middle Bronze Age, with the selfsame, well-watered-in-abundance area remaining devoid of settlements for the next 600 years or so [….] The entirety of Tall el-Hammam’s MB2 footprint is covered in heavy ash (from .5m-1m thick), ash filled destruction debris, and other conflagratory indicators….”

See “Archaeologists find evidence of the obliteration of Sodom-Gomorrah“.

Let this sink in: A cataclysmic, “civilization-ending,” “conflagratory” (fiery) “heat event” that reduced Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, making the area uninhabitable for 600 years.

That’s no ordinary fire. Not even a volcanic eruption would do that.

As an example, the ecology of Mount St. Helens in Washington state quickly recovered after the devastating eruptions of May 18, 1980. Within weeks, small mammals like pocket gophers already started meandering through the devastation.

Sobering and frightening though the obliteration of Sodom and Gomorrah is, remember that God is also merciful and loving. All He asks is that we choose right, and when we go astray, we admit we had done wrong and ask for His forgiveness.

And when we do that, He is overjoyed and envelopes you in His warm embrace, and you will have a peace beyond all understanding, no matter this world’s slings and arrows, abuse and buffeting.

Coming HomeLuke 11:9-13

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

But admitting we’re wrong, of course, takes humility. And humility is sorely lacking in an increasingly narcissistic people and culture, devoted to the worship of the self, of “Do As Thou Will” — that first temptation by the serpent in that first garden.

All He asks is that we are true to what we already know “in our hearts”. Is it so much to ask?

The Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

And may the joy and peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

Trump’s acceptance speech pivots on America & Americans First

Did you watch Donald Trump’s speech as the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nominee last night?

What do you think of it?

If you haven’t watched it, here it is:

It was long, because Trump did not rush his words, but clearly and emphatically articulated (and sometimes shouted) important points he wanted to impress on Americans, and because he paused often, to acknowledge the reaction from the Convention delegates. All of which was not the performance of someone just reading from a teleprompter. Instead, this was a speaker who wanted to convey and impress on his listeners the gravity of America’s problems and how he would deal with those problems.

The heart of Trump’s message is a simple one:

America and Americans First

That principle should be self-evident, requiring no defense or justification — for who else but Americans would and should put America and Americans first? Don’t you put your own and your family’s wellbeing first? How is America to help others if America falls apart? And yet, we haven’t heard this overriding principle from other politicians, not even from Trump’s GOP primary rivals. It is also a message that the Left and their MSM accomplices, as well as the GOP elites, distort and malign as something evil — that standing up for and putting America first is “nativist,” “jingoist,” “fascist”…, as if the obligation of America and Americans is to be a doormat for the rest of the world.

From his central principle of “America and Americans First” — of making America rich and strong again — flows these derivative values and principles:

  1. Law and Order: A country that is in chaos cannot thrive economically. A fundamental responsibility of government is to protect and ensure the safety of the governed against criminals, whether criminals here illegally or those gunning down police. To ensure Americans’ safety, Trump is committed to our right to arm ourselves which is guaranteed by the Second Amendment. It is also on the theme of Law and Order that Trump indicts Hillary Clinton for her lawlessness in having a private email-server while she was secretary of state, and for the Obama FBI’s refusal to indict her for violating U.S. laws and endangering national security with unsecured emails containing classified state secrets and names of CIA agents.
  2. Secure Our Borders, to protect Americans against the flood of illegals, many of whom are criminals, and of Muslim “refugees” who the FBI has admitted cannot be vetted to exclude terrorists. On this, Trump reminds blacks that they are the economic victims of Obama’s and Hillary’s open-border policy, and that LGBTs were the victims of a Muslim gunman in Orlando. In so doing, without explicitly saying it, Trump reminds whites and straights that blacks and LGBTs are Americans, and putting “America First” should also mean putting all “Americans First”.
  3. A strong military, and better treatment for our veterans.
  4. In foreign policy and affairs, the United States will jealously guard our interests, be they financial, trade, or security. Trade treaties and arrangements will be rexamined and renegotiated, in order to restore America’s manufacturing industries and jobs. Our allies will have to pay their “fair share” for military defense (Japan, South Korea, but no mention of Israel) and step up to the plate against terrorism (NATO).
  5. Revive U.S. economy: Via restoring manufacturing jobs, getting allies to pay their fair share of defense costs, and lowering taxes.
  6. Populism: Trump ended his speech by telling America that unlike Hillary, who asks if Democrats are “with her,” his message is that he is “with you, the American people”.

Trump also graciously thanked Christians and Evangelicals for their support, saying he’s not sure he deserves it, which is uncharacteristically humble for him.

So how was Trump’s speech received by GOP elites?

If the editor of a supposedly conservative publication is an indication, it’s bad news for anyone hoping for Republican party unity to defeat Hillary, who will complete the destruction of America. Below is the shockingly vicious “The Demagogue Rises,” by Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief of The Washington Free Beacon:

Donald Trump delivered the longest, loudest convention speech in recent memory when he accepted the Republican nomination for president Thursday evening. He made no attempt to “pivot to the general election,” moderate his agenda, smooth over rough rhetoric. Gone was Mitt Romney’s Etch-a-Sketch, tossed into a dustbin with George W. Bush’s Freedom Agenda, George H.W. Bush’s Thousand Points of Light, Ronald Reagan’s Morning in America. Trump was his usual self: brash, boisterous, overbearing, defiant, inimitable, roiling with anger over the state of the country and the corruption, ineffectiveness, and arrogance of the nation’s elite. Trump won’t change, won’t learn, won’t listen, won’t apologize, won’t cavil, won’t conform to the traditions of presidential politics or adhere to the norms of political discourse. He doesn’t care about facts, he wants to overturn the postwar international order, he champions the will to power, he mercilessly attacks opponents. He’s a demagogue in dark suits, electric ties. I can only imagine what he’d be capable of if he were competent.

Because he’s not competent. He is actually truly, magnificently inept. The convention was a mess, haphazard, disorganized, weird. The botched roll call vote, Melania’s plagiarism, Ted Cruz’s hand grenade, the leaked speech draft—all of these gaffes and scandals occurred against the backdrop of dismal attendance, chants to put Hillary in prison, bizarre speakers, rambling addresses, early departures, and testimonies to Trump’s greatness. His campaign has practically no money, no advertising, no infrastructure, no grassroots operation. The other day, when he expressed uncertainty about whether the United States would lead NATO in defense of the Baltic States if they were attacked by Russia, Trump made history by provoking an international incident without even being president. Many GOP officials wouldn’t come near the convention, including Ohio’s popular governor. There are two Republican parties for the moment: the party led by Trump and the Republican Party in exile, the party of Kasich and Larry Hogan and Nikki Haley and Charlie Baker and Brian Sandoval and Mark Kirk and Ted Cruz. Election Day won’t just determine who will succeed President Obama. It will also determine the fate of Donald J. Trump’s hostile takeover of the GOP.

Continetti all but calls Trump a Hitler, and Americans who support Trump mindless Nazis.

Note that Continetti’s criticisms of Trump are all about style, not substantive issues — that Trump was “brash,” “boisterous,” and “mercilessly attacks opponents,” and that he did not pay obeisance to GOP old guard elites, who to the end strove to undermine Trump and boycotted the Republican National Convention. As for the “opponents” whom Trump “mercilessly attacked,” since the only “opponents” Trump attacked were Hillary Clinton and big business fat-cats (with apologies to cats) who hollowed out the U.S. economy with their outsourcing of jobs, that should tell us whose side Continetti is on.

If Hillary wins, it will be because of Republicans like Matthew Continetti who reserve their most vicious venom not for Democrats, but for a fellow Republican and patriot who simply wants to put America and Americans first. Should Hillary become president, the victory of Continetti, Bill Kristol, the Bushes, et al., against Trump will be pyrrhic because all that will be left of their Republican Party is an empty shell, devoid of rank-and-file members.

So what do you think of Trump’s speech? Take our simple short poll!

~Eowyn

 

Psychiatrist says demonic possession is real

crucifix repels vampire

Richard Gallagher, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist and a professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College.

In an article for The Washington Post on July 1, 2016,  Dr. Gallagher describes some of his experiences. Below is his essay in its entirety.

As a psychiatrist, I diagnose mental illness. Also, I help spot demonic possession

By Richard Gallagher, M.D. and Professor

In the late 1980s, I was introduced to a self-styled Satanic high priestess. She called herself a witch and dressed the part, with flowing dark clothes and black eye shadow around to her temples. In our many discussions, she acknowledged worshipping Satan as his “queen.”

I’m a man of science and a lover of history; after studying the classics at Princeton, I trained in psychiatry at Yale and in psychoanalysis at Columbia. That background is why a Catholic priest had asked my professional opinion, which I offered pro bono, about whether this woman was suffering from a mental disorder. This was at the height of the national panic about Satanism. (In a case that helped induce the hysteria, Virginia McMartin and others had recently been charged with alleged Satanic ritual abuse at a Los Angeles preschool; the charges were later dropped.) So I was inclined to skepticism. But my subject’s behavior exceeded what I could explain with my training. She could tell some people their secret weaknesses, such as undue pride. She knew how individuals she’d never known had died, including my mother and her fatal case of ovarian cancer. Six people later vouched to me that, during her exorcisms, they heard her speaking multiple languages, including Latin, completely unfamiliar to her outside of her trances. This was not psychosis; it was what I can only describe as paranormal ability. I concluded that she was possessed. Much later, she permitted me to tell her story.

The priest who had asked for my opinion of this bizarre case was the most experienced exorcist in the country at the time, an erudite and sensible man. I had told him that, even as a practicing Catholic, I wasn’t likely to go in for a lot of hocus-pocus. “Well,” he replied, “unless we thought you were not easily fooled, we would hardly have wanted you to assist us.”

So began an unlikely partnership. For the past two-and-a-half decades and over several hundred consultations, I’ve helped clergy from multiple denominations and faiths to filter episodes of mental illness — which represent the overwhelming majority of cases — from, literally, the devil’s work. It’s an unlikely role for an academic physician, but I don’t see these two aspects of my career in conflict. The same habits that shape what I do as a professor and psychiatrist — open-mindedness, respect for evidence and compassion for suffering people — led me to aid in the work of discerning attacks by what I believe are evil spirits and, just as critically, differentiating these extremely rare events from medical conditions.

Is it possible to be a sophisticated psychiatrist and believe that evil spirits are, however seldom, assailing humans? Most of my scientific colleagues and friends say no, because of their frequent contact with patients who are deluded about demons, their general skepticism of the supernatural, and their commitment to employ only standard, peer-reviewed treatments that do not potentially mislead (a definite risk) or harm vulnerable patients. But careful observation of the evidence presented to me in my career has led me to believe that certain extremely uncommon cases can be explained in no other way.

*          *          *

The Vatican does not track global or countrywide exorcism, but in my experience and according to the priests I meet, demand is rising. The United States is home to about 50 “stable” exorcists — those who have been designated by bishops to combat demonic activity on a semi-regular basis — up from just 12 a decade ago, according to the Rev. Vincent Lampert, an Indianapolis-based priest-exorcist who is active in the International Association of Exorcists [IAE]. (He receives about 20 inquiries per week, double the number from when his bishop appointed him in 2005.) The Catholic Church has responded by offering greater resources for clergy members who wish to address the problem. In 2010, for instance, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops organized a meeting in Baltimore for interested clergy. In 2014, Pope Francis formally recognized the IAE, 400 of whom are to convene in Rome this October. Members believe in such strange cases because they are constantly called upon to help. (I served for a time as a scientific adviser on the group’s governing board.)

Unfortunately, not all clergy involved in this complex field are as cautious as the priest who first approached me. In some circles there is a tendency to become overly preoccupied with putative demonic explanations and to see the devil everywhere. Fundamentalist misdiagnoses and absurd or even dangerous “treatments,” such as beating victims, have sometimes occurred, especially in developing countries. This is perhaps why exorcism has a negative connotation in some quarters. People with psychological problems should receive psychological treatment.

But I believe I’ve seen the real thing. Assaults upon individuals are classified either as “demonic possessions” or as the slightly more common but less intense attacks usually called “oppressions.” A possessed individual may suddenly, in a type of trance, voice statements of astonishing venom and contempt for religion, while understanding and speaking various foreign languages previously unknown to them. The subject might also exhibit enormous strength or even the extraordinarily rare phenomenon of levitation. (I have not witnessed a levitation myself, but half a dozen people I work with vow that they’ve seen it in the course of their exorcisms.) He or she might demonstrate “hidden knowledge” of all sorts of things — like how a stranger’s loved ones died, what secret sins she has committed, even where people are at a given moment. These are skills that cannot be explained except by special psychic or preternatural ability.

I have personally encountered these rationally inexplicable features, along with other paranormal phenomena. My vantage is unusual: As a consulting doctor, I think I have seen more cases of possession than any other physician in the world.

Most of the people I evaluate in this role suffer from the more prosaic problems of a medical disorder. Anyone even faintly familiar with mental illnesses knows that individuals who think they are being attacked by malign spirits are generally experiencing nothing of the sort. Practitioners see psychotic patients all the time who claim to see or hear demons; histrionic or highly suggestible individuals, such as those suffering from dissociative identity syndromes; and patients with personality disorders who are prone to misinterpret destructive feelings, in what exorcists sometimes call a “pseudo-possession,” via the defense mechanism of an externalizing projection. But what am I supposed to make of patients who unexpectedly start speaking perfect Latin?

I approach each situation with an initial skepticism. I technically do not make my own “diagnosis” of possession but inform the clergy that the symptoms in question have no conceivable medical cause.

I am aware of the way many psychiatrists view this sort of work. While the American Psychiatric Association has no official opinion on these affairs, the field (like society at large) is full of unpersuadable skeptics and occasionally doctrinaire materialists who are often oddly vitriolic in their opposition to all things spiritual. My job is to assist people seeking help, not to convince doctors who are not subject to suasion. Yet I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners nowadays who are open to entertaining such hypotheses. Many believe exactly what I do, though they may be reluctant to speak out.

*          *          *

As a man of reason, I’ve had to rationalize the seemingly irrational. Questions about how a scientifically trained physician can believe “such outdated and unscientific nonsense,” as I’ve been asked, have a simple answer. I honestly weigh the evidence. I have been told simplistically that levitation defies the laws of gravity, and, well, of course it does! We are not dealing here with purely material reality but with the spiritual realm. One cannot force these creatures to undergo lab studies or submit to scientific manipulation; they will also hardly allow themselves to be easily recorded by video equipment, as skeptics sometimes demand. (The official Catholic Catechism holds that demons are sentient and possess their own wills; as they are fallen angels, they are also craftier than humans. That’s how they sow confusion and seed doubt, after all.) Nor does the church wish to compromise a sufferer’s privacy any more than doctors want to compromise a patient’s confidentiality.

Ignorance and superstition have often surrounded stories of demonic possession in various cultures, and surely many alleged episodes can be explained by fraud, chicanery or mental pathology. But anthropologists agree that nearly all cultures have believed in spirits, and the vast majority of societies (including our own) have recorded dramatic stories of spirit possession. Despite varying interpretations, multiple depictions of the same phenomena in astonishingly consistent ways offer cumulative evidence of their credibility.

As a psychoanalyst, a blanket rejection of the possibility of demonic attacks seems less logical, and often wishful in nature, than a careful appraisal of the facts. As I see it, the evidence for possession is like the evidence for George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. In both cases, written historical accounts with numerous sound witnesses testify to their accuracy.

In the end, however, it was not an academic or dogmatic view that propelled me into this line of work. I was asked to consult about people in pain. I have always thought that, if requested to help a tortured person, a physician should not arbitrarily refuse to get involved. Those who dismiss these cases unwittingly prevent patients from receiving the help they desperately require, either by failing to recommend them for psychiatric treatment (which most clearly need) or by not informing their spiritual ministers that something beyond a mental or other illness seems to be the issue. For any person of science or faith, it should be impossible to turn one’s back on a tormented soul.

[End of Dr. Gallagher’s essay]

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: The Messengers

Genesis 18:1-10

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre,
as he sat in the entrance of his tent,
while the day was growing hot.
Looking up, Abraham saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
“Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant.
Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet,
and then rest yourselves under the tree.
Now that you have come this close to your servant,
let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves;
and afterward you may go on your way.”
The men replied, “Very well, do as you have said.”

Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah,
“Quick, three measures of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls.”
He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer,
and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
Then Abraham got some curds and milk,
as well as the steer that had been prepared,
and set these before the three men;
and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.

They asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
He replied, “There in the tent.”
One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son.”

3 angels appear to Abraham at Mamre

The above passage from Genesis 18 is one of many passages in the Bible referring to angels, so many that, as (still) Pope Benedict XVI said in 2009, “We would eliminate a significant part of the Gospel” if we did not believe in angels.

The word “angel” is derived from the Greek word angelos, which simply means “messenger.” They are couriers of the divine—incorporeal spiritual beings who act as intermediaries between God and humanity. As St. Augustine (AD 354-430) explains: “Angels are spirits, but it is not because they are spirits that they are angels. They become angels when they are sent. For the name angel refers to their office, not their nature. You ask the name of this nature, it is spirit; you ask its office, it is that of an angel, which is a messenger.” In other words, angels are defined by their function as message-bearers, although this capacity does not exhaust their activities.

To the question of why God would need messengers, the answer is “Of course, not.” God doesn’t need anyone. But our creator God is so bursting with protean creativity that He has fashioned and will continue to create every imaginable and unimaginable, animate and inanimate, that inhabit the fullest range and spectrum of what is possible.

Philosophers and theologians through the ages have offered thoughtful arguments for the possibility and existence of angelic beings. One of the most famous accounts is that by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274).

According to Aquinas, there are four kinds of substances that are commonly known in the world. They are mineral, vegetal, animal, and human—the last substance being an amalgam of the first three, but with something more. Like animals, human beings have bodies; but unlike animals, humans also have souls, and so are made of both corporeal and spiritual substances. The four kinds of substances comprise a series of grades in the universe, all of which, “participate and represent the goodness of God in various ways.” Aquinas then reasoned that the gradation of substances is completed by the inclusion of another kind of being intermediate between God and humans, which is made of purely spiritual or incorporeal substance. The angelic pure spirits would thus “round out the order of things” because a created universe that does not include such beings will have failed to realize an important range of possibilities.

Similarly, philospher René Descartes (1596-1650) in Meditations On First Philosophy, reasoned that since human beings are composed of mind and body — “a thing that thinks” instead of just a body, which is “not a thing that thinks” — Descartes then concluded that there would also be minds without bodies, i.e., pure spirits or intelligences.

For his part, American philospher Mortimer Adler (1902-2001), who wrote an entire and very serious book on angels (Angels and Us), correctly concluded that in the last analysis, the existence of angels turns on whether God exists for the simple reason that, being divine messengers, angels depend on God for their very creation and existence. In his book, How To Think About God, Adler frames the question concerning the existence of God in the following manner:

“If we are persuaded that the physical cosmos is not the ultimate, inexplicable, and uncaused reality, then we are under a rational obligation to posit the existence of the supreme being as the supernatural—and uncaused—cause that explains the preservation of the cosmos . . . [as well as] its creation.”

In the end, despite his self-identification at the time as a “pagan” (which he defines as an irreligious person who does not worship the God of Christians, Jews, or Muslims), he concluded that “we have reasonable grounds for believing in God, not with certitude, but beyond a reasonable doubt.” Born a Jew in 1902, Adler was an agnostic for most of his life. Although he held a rational belief in a transcendent supreme being, he insisted that he lacked the gift of grace, finding himself unable to cross what he called the “great gulf between the mind and the heart.” In his last years, however, he made that transit. In 1984, bedridden with illness, he sought solace in prayer and finally accepted the grace he had long sought. After a lifetime as a pagan, Adler professed his belief “not just in the God my reason so stoutly affirms . . . but the God . . . on whose grace and love I now joyfully rely.” He died a Roman Catholic, on June 29, 2001.

Guardian Angel

Being powerful pure spirits without bodies, angels are therefore invisible and genderless. Though invisible, they can assume physical form when they interact with human beings, as three of them did in Genesis 18, appearing as three men to deliver to Abraham an important message from God — that Abraham’s elderly, way past menopause wife, Sarah, will bear a son, which of course is a miracle.

Since angels can assume physical form when they interact with human beings, in theory, that form does not necessarily have to be human, which is a fascinating thought indeed.:)

So how do we know when it’s an angel?

When the form, be it human or animal or . . . , delivers an important message, the nature of which always is to urge you toward the good.

Has that happened to you?

For true stories of angelic encounters, go to our “Angels and Saints” page for all the post-links colored green. Here’s a simple but lovely prayer to our wonderful 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.

And may the Peace and Joy and Love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you this glorious Sunday!

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: How we heal America

The national conventions of America’s two major parties will soon convene. The Republican National Convention will commence in a week, on July 18th, in Cleveland, Ohio; and a week after that on July 25th, the Democratic National Convention will begin in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

All signs point to both being tumultuous, with political activists already mobilized in the thousands, determined to wreak havoc. (See “Hacked messages of #BlackLivesMatter leader reveal Obama admin’s plan for ‘summer of chaos’ and martial law“)

Many Americans are looking to one or another of the presidential candidates as the solution for this country’s ills. Again and again, FOTM‘s TrailDust and reader Seumas urge and remind us that the solution is not found in this or that political leader, but in our individual repentance. They are right, for in the end, we have neither power nor control over others. We can only each change ourselves.

Book of Deuteronomy 13:10-14

Moses said to the people:
“If only you would heed the voice of the Lord, your God,
and keep his commandments and statutes
that are written in this book of the law,
when you return to the Lord, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul.

“For this command that I enjoin on you today
is not too mysterious and remote for you.
It is not up in the sky, that you should say,
‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
Nor is it across the sea, that you should say,
‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
No, it is something very near to you,
already in your mouths and in your hearts;
you have only to carry it out.”

And so, the solution for our country’s ills is simple, yet seemingly so difficult for so many:

“return to the Lord, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul”

Good Shepherd saves lost lamb

Please, loving God — God who loves us like a Father; God who loves us so much He suffered and died on a cross for our sins; God who loves us so much He sent His Holy Spirit so that we are not left “as orphans” (John 14:18) — with humility in my heart and tears in my eyes, I entreat You:

Psalm 69:6, 2-4, 14-15, 19

God, you know my folly;
my faults are not hidden from you….
Save me, God,
for the waters have reached my neck.
I have sunk into the mire of the deep,
where there is no foothold.
I have gone down to the watery depths;
the flood overwhelms me.
I am weary with crying out;
my throat is parched….
God, in your abundant kindness, answer me
with your sure deliverance.
Rescue me from the mire,
and do not let me sink….
Come and redeem my life.

Pray for America.

May the Peace and Love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

In The Beginning Was The Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1

Russian translation of John 1 verse 1:
В начале было Слово ,и Слово было у Бога ,и Слово было Бог .
(the image above is based on a Russian Orthodox icon of Christ)

Jesus was before all created things, the author of all. It is hard to get our minds around such a huge thought. He was there before the “Big Bang,” as it’s prime mover. At the moment of creation, He spoke,

“Light be!!!”

…and light was. The heavens and the earth will pass away and be replaced, but His words will never pass away. His love endures forever.

Don’t wait one minute to commit your life into His loving hands.