Category Archives: God

Sunday Devotional: How to fight for what is right

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Today’s reading is a sober and much-needed reminder of the difference between being righteous and being self-righteous.

Here are the definitions from Oxford Dictionaries:

  • righteous: A person who is “morally right or justifiable”; “morally good; virtuous”.
  • self-righteous: “Having or characterized by a certainty, especially an unfounded one, that one is totally correct or morally superior.

Jesus’ admonition in Luke 18 is about being self-righteous.

It’s an admonition that I especially must take to heart because I have this daily soap-box of Fellowship of the Minds.


Yes, we are to fight for what is right. But when you and I get all puffed out with righteous moral indignation, be sure that we’re not being self-righteous, for our Lord is “a God of justice, who knows no favorites.” (Sirach 35:12)

So what’s the antidote to self-righteousness?

Three things:

  1. Be sure that when we are on that moral high horse, our cause and our justice are God’s cause and justice.
  2. Humility: Don’t imagine that being righteous makes us morally superior or better than others.
  3. Love: The right kind of love. Not love of self — getting all puffy and grandiose that we are morally better than others — but love of God.

It’s always narcissism: our stumbling block is always narcissism.

Remember that the Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all our strength.

He is our lodestar. Always.

Jesus loves us this much

Fix our eyes not on ourselves, but on Him — while we battle for what is good, and right, and just.

And then perhaps someday, when it’s time for us to go, we too can say what St. Paul said:

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have competed well;
I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

May the peace and love and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,


A goodbye letter from your pet


If you’ve ever lost a pet, this will make you weep — uncontrollably.


“‘Owner, Dearest Friend,’ by Vivian Matthews

I could never say enough, Owner, dearest friend, to thank you for the love you gave to me, until the end.

I’m sorry that I hurt you by saying my goodbye. You gave me such a happy home, I lived a happy life. I leapt and played and laughed in ways you maybe couldn’t see. Of all the pets you might have loved, I’m glad that you chose me.

It’s okay to miss me, for I miss you too.

It’s okay to bow your head and cry if you have to.

However hard it seems today, your dear sweet heart will heal.

For now, my friend, remember me and feel what you must feel. But don’t give up on loving, Owner, dearest friend. Although the cost is oh so high, it’s worth it in the end — to know that you made this pet’s life the best one it could be. It should be no mystery why you meant the world to me.

So here’s my final word, my friend, this is my last wish: Find another lonely pet, then give to them my dish. And every time they make you smile, know that I’m smiling too, still so proud to once have been a dearest friend to you.

Love, always.”

H/t maziel


Two Kinds of Chameleon



Furcifer is a genus of chameleons whose member species are mostly endemic to Madagascar, but F. cephalolepis and F. polleni are endemic to the Comoros.
Scientific name: Furcifer
Lifespan: Panther chameleon: 2 – 3 years
Higher classification: Chameleons



Lucifer is the only genus of chameleons whose member species are not mostly endemic to Madagascar, but are most often found in American politics.
Scientific name: Lucifer
Lifespan: Panther chameleon: 2 – 3 years
Higher classification: Chameleons

Like many chameleons, the Lucifer genus possesses a remarkable ability to mimic its surroundings, enabling it to blend in and be almost invisible to its prey.

It’s a jungle out there. 
Know your enemy.  

Sunday Devotional: In times of trouble, remain faithful and be persistent

Psalm 121:1

I raise my eyes toward the mountains.
From whence shall come my help?

In trying times, have we not all felt Psalm 121‘s desolation and despondency?

Yesterday, I received news that a beloved priest had passed.

Father Richard was a brilliant man, blessed with a sharp mind, ironic wit, and facile in social interactions — rare attributes in priests and any person. After a lifetime as a History professor, he answered the Call and became a priest. He was my Confessor, to whom I made my tear-drenched Confession 14 years ago and so reconciled myself with God and the Church after decades of wanderings.

Hearing that he had passed, I broke down weeping — not for Fr. Richard, for I know he is in Heaven, conversing with Erasmus, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the other brilliant intellects of the Renaissance whom he had studied. My tears were for myself, for I am still here, in this wretched world, bone-tired and battle-weary in this endless spiritual and political war, the stakes of which only mount by the day . . . .

Not coincidentally, the answer to Psalm 121‘s and my cris de coeur is in today’s Scripture readings. May you find in them the same solace and encouragement I found.

2 Timothy 3:14-4:2

Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God
and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction,
and for training in righteousness,
so that one who belongs to God may be competent,
equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

Armor of God I can do all things through Christ

For we are told —

Luke 18:6-8

The Lord said,
“…Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

footstepsSee also “Sunday Devotional: He will never break your heart“.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,


Churches sue over Massachusetts transgender bathroom law

transgender bathroom

From MSN: A new Massachusetts law that prohibits discrimination against transgender people in public restrooms is “punishing” the protected religious speech of churches and pastors, a conservative Christian organization claims in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), based in Scottsdale, Arizona, said it sued on behalf of four Massachusetts churches to protect their right to operate their facilities “in a manner that doesn’t violate their core religious beliefs.” The lawsuit names Democratic state Attorney General Maura Healey and members of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination as defendants.

Attorney General Maura Healey

Attorney General Maura Healey

The law, which was signed by the governor in July and went into effect in October, bars discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations. Among other things, it allows individuals to use the bathroom or locker room that corresponds with their gender identity.


Healey has found that churches are places of public accommodation.

The ADF contends in the lawsuit that churches would be forced to open changing rooms, shower facilities and restrooms based on perceived gender identity and not on biological sex. The groups says because the law also prohibits covered entities from making statements intended to discriminate or to incite others to do so, Healey and the commission “also intend to force churches and pastors to refrain from religious expression regarding sexuality that conflicts with the government’s views.”

“Neither the commission nor the attorney general has the constitutional authority to dictate how any church uses its facility or what public statements a church can make concerning a deeply held religious belief, such as human sexuality,” said attorney Steve O’Ban, senior counsel for ADF.

A spokeswoman for Healey said her office is reviewing the lawsuit.

“We are pleased that we finally have a law in place that protects transgender people from discrimination in public places. This law is about civil rights and is critical for people who were without full protection and equality under the law for too long,” said spokeswoman Jillian Fennimore.

An assistant to the commission did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The lawsuit asks the court to suspend enforcement of the law against the churches while their lawsuit proceeds. The churches suing are Horizon Christian Fellowship, in Fitchburg: Abundant Life Church, in Swansea; House of Destiny Ministries, in Southbridge; and Faith Christian Fellowship in Haverhill.


Darwin, the retriever cat

Meet Darwin, a cat who was found as an orphaned kitten and adopted by a kind-hearted woman.


Darwin brings home leaves and found objects, mostly paper items, from his nightly prowl.


Here’s an account by Darwin’s person, Karen Flynn:

A friend from West Oakland called me. He had found an orphaned kitten. I was going to just socialize him and adopt him out, but that … uh … didn’t happen. I knew from the get-go that he was odd. I called him Darwin because I was convinced he was going to naturally select himself out of the gene pool. If there was a dangerous object, he would find it. He would chew on tacks, broken glass, scissors, X-Acto blades, walk toward hot burners and open flames, that sort of thing.

He started out by bringing leaves. It took me a while to figure out how they were getting in the house. The early ones scared me. I was living alone at the time, and I found them under the kitchen table. I finally remembered to look for the fang marks. Phew.

I think the first non-leaf thing was the instructions for quinine bush tea. He still makes a big yowling announcement when he brings these gifts. If I’m out really late, I’m lucky to get anything. If I’m home early, he’ll sometimes make 5 or 6 trips. Most of it is just yucky garbage, though.

Darwin doesn’t just retrieve garbage. Over the course of a month, the cat brought home 2 matching pairs of slippers.


Darwin even has his own Facebook page, which includes motion-activated infrared video footage of Darwin bringing his found objects home in the middle of the night.

There are other retriever cats.

See, for example, “Timmy the cat ‘borrows’ neighbor’s tiger toy“. A cat in Israel brings home the dog, LOL:


Sunday Devotional: ‘Where are the other 9?’

Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

Are you one of the ungrateful nine?

Be the “leper” who says “Thank you,” for surely you have many, many things to be grateful for — that you are alive, to start, breathing in air, hearing the sound of a bird, tasting an apple, seeing the sun rise this morning . . . .

Eowyn's garden Sept. 2016

Some of the most miserable people I’ve met are people who are sour, entitled, unappreciative, and thankless. Study after study have found that gratitude, not money, is the key to being happy. Happy people tend to:

  • express gratitude on a regular basis;
  • practice being optimistic;
  • engage in frequent acts of kindness;
  • savor joyful events; and
  • practice forgiveness.

Despite our troubles, think of all the good things you have, and be grateful, because it’s all gratuitous. We didn’t “earn” any of it.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

And remember to tell God you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength. It’s only proper, because —

Jesus loves us this much

Give thanks, and be joyful!

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,