Category Archives: God’s creation

Being kind to animals

Serial killers are psychopaths, without remorse or empathy. Before they “graduate” to killing humans, in their childhood or teens, serial killers are known to torture and kill small and, therefore, defenseless animals.

So, if you’re kind to animals, that means you have empathy. It is what makes you fully human.

Here are some examples of human kindness toward animals, whom St. Bonaventure correctly and aptly called “creatures without sin” for it is only we humans who are born as fommes peccati — tinder for sin.

  1. What two young men did to rescue a kitten:
    humans & animals1
  2. Two boys save a dog:
    humans & animals2

  3. A firefighter resuscitates a kitten:
    fireman resuscitates kitten

  4. Another fireman resuscitates a mama cat:
    humans & animals4

  5. This man built a ramp to his car for his dog who’s old with arthritis:
    humans & animals3

  6. Officers salute a heroic police dog:
    humans & animals5

  7. This man found a fox lying on the street, severely injured by dogs. With patience and love, the man nursed the fox back to life and named it Cropper. Cropper refused to go back to the wild and chose to stay with the man. The two have lived together for over six years:
    humans & animals6

  8. Dogs and cats are treated horribly in China, but not all Chinese are cruel. These dogs were in a truck, bound for slaughter, if it were not for an animal rescue center that stepped in and paid about $8,000 for the dogs:
    humans & animals7

  9. In Thailand, an elephant lost his foot and parts of its nose in a landmine. After a few months of recovery, he is fitted with a prosthetic leg:
    humans & animals8

  10. A girl saves a puppy from drowning:
    humans & animals9

  11. A Marine found 4 very small baby rabbits alone beside their lifeless mother in the woods. So he took the bunnies home, fed them until they were big and strong enough to be released back into the wild:
    humans & animals10

  12. A fire fighter gives water to a severely-dehydrated koala bear who survived a forest fire in Australia:
    humans & animals11

  13. Chris P. Bacon the piglet was born without his hind legs. So his owners made a wheelchair for him from K’Nex pieces:
    humans & animals12 Source: AnimalMozo

More “Being kind to animals” tomorrow!

H/t FOTM’s josephbc69

~Eowyn

 

Little girl whose head was three times bigger than normal receives life-changing surgery

Baby Roona before surgery

Baby Roona before surgery

From Daily Mail: Roona Begum is enjoying a new lease of life after her swollen head was reduced from 37 to 23 inches during life-changing treatment. Indian-born Roona, 3, suffers with the illness hydrocephalus, which affects up to 500,000 children worldwide. The condition stems from a blockage in the valve that drains cerebral spinal fluid to the spine – squashing the brain, restricting its development and stunting its growth.

At three-years-old Roona’s head reached 37 inches in diameter – more than triple the average size for her age.

Her parents, Fatima Khatun and Abdul Rahman, were unaware of the severity of her condition for a long time because they could not afford routine medical care. Abdul said: ‘This all feels like a bad dream. We did notice her head getting bigger and bigger, people in our village would come see our baby. Children would come to our village to play with her and there were some children who would get scared looking at her head.

Following an MRI, doctors warned Roona’s parents that she could die if the fluid from her brain was not drained as soon as possible. Fatima said: ‘We were worried about the baby and how to provide her with better medical care as we were helpless with our financial condition.’

Roona’s neurosurgeon Dr. Sandeep Vaishya, was the first to asses her at Fortis Memorial Hospital in New Delhi. He said: ‘I thought it would just be a routine hydrocephalus. When I saw her for the first time my first reaction was ‘oh my god’ – it is stupendously big.’

Roona’s family, who lived in a single room hut with no running water or electricity in India’s remote Tripura state, could not afford treatment on their own – but several charities intervened and raised the money for her surgery.

Roona after surgery

Roona after surgery

Sadly Fatima and Abdul’s unwavering love for Roona was not always matched by those around them. Abdul said: ‘A lot of people said a lot of things in our village, some thought she was a deity and some suggested that we should give her away to an orphanage or an ashram, but we refused. We said if she lives she will stay with us. Otherwise she will go back to him who made her like this.’

In her first surgery, Dr. Sandeep Vaishya drained fluid from her brain and applied a pressure bandage to reduce the circumference of head and remodel the bones. The operation was the first of many for little Roona and the surgeons drained nearly eight pints of fluid from her skull over three weeks. Neurosurgeons then inserted a shunt to redirect the fluid to her stomach and remodelled her skull to fit it to her new head size.

Dr. Sandeep Vaishya said: ‘Surgery itself is a major challenge in such small babies because when we remodel the skulls we have to open the whole scalp and a lot of bone cuts are done. And actually in the last remodelling surgery her blood pressure dipped so much that we had at one point in time thought we might even lose her.

But Roona surprised everyone and now six months later, she is out of the danger zone and recovering well. Her head remains larger than average, but the diameter of her head has been reduced to 23 inches – there will be no further reduction in size.

Fatima and Abdul have even welcomed a healthy little boy to the family and are hopeful that Roona will one day learn to walk and talk on her own. Roona’s mother said: ‘The doctors said she would not live, but she has lived to see more than two and a half years. For that I’m happy. She is much better now.

‘She can hold her head straight and she can move her head from side to side on her own. I would be very happy if she could become a normal child and could stand like normal kids.’

roona begum3

Abdul is just as happy with Roona’s miraculous journey and is thankful for the flood of support they received from around the world. He said: ‘Roona’s case is known to the world. They are discussing it and other cases are also getting attention because of Roona. All of those who have supported Roona in the treatment and all those who were around during the tough phase – I want to thank every one of them.’

Little Roona is just one of four children whose journeys to recovery are explored in the upcoming TLC show My Baby’s Head Won’t Stop Growing.

Parker Hendrix was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in utero and at the time her brain was so crushed by fluid pressure, it was hardly visible on scans. Now seven, she has undergone three shunt replacements and has just started first grade.

In Uganda, Tumuewabze sought treatment for her baby Lyndos Tumuramye at CURE children’s hospital Talent, who are pioneering new corrective surgeries to treat hydrocephalus.

Another patient at CURE hospital, ten-year-old Vincent Kintu, underwent life saving surgery by Justin Onen to reduce the swelling on his brain – a tough operation made more complex by his age.

Roona appears in My Baby’s Head Won’t Stop Growing on TLC, Monday, July 25th.

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

Sleeping Fur-babies

dog sleeps on backdog sleeps on bellydog sleeps stretched outpuppy in carpuppy in shoekitten by windowkitten in a bookkitten in a tissue boxcat in barbecuecat sleeps on backcat on a bumkitten in grape treekitten in pocketcat sleeps on floorkitten in shoekitten sleeps against wall

And a blue bunny!

blue bunny

H/t FOTM‘s maziel

~Eowyn

Muslims want to ban dogs in the UK?

Bethany Blankley, a political analyst for Fox News Radio, reports for Constitution, July 16, 2016, that Muslims in the UK have launched a campaign called “4Public Purity,” via flyers and social media, to ban dogs from a country famous for its love of dogs and other pets.

Below is a campaign tweet:

4publicpurity tweet4publicpurity.org’s website even demands that non-Muslims must comply because:

“As citizens of a multicultural nation, those who live in the UK must learn to understand and respect the legacy and lifestyle of the Muslims who live alongside them. This is why it is imperative that the British people understand that in order to allow Muslims to feel truly welcomed, it is up to the British themselves to agree to some things that might make them feel uncomfortable. It is true that dogs are well loved as pets, but the inter-cultural relations inside the kingdom should prevail.”

But Snopes, whatever you may think of it, is skeptical about the authenticity of the campaign for the following reasons:

  1. “There is no evidence of the existence of an organization called For Public Purity prior to March 2016, when the Facebook page and web site were first created.
  2. None of the group’s materials offer contact information beyond a web address and a social media presence.
  3. For Public Purity has no discernible association with any real-world Islamic organizations.
  4. Though it’s true that there are Islamic writings suggesting that dogs are unclean and their saliva, in particular, should be avoided, it is neither an issue on which all Muslims agree, nor, judging from the dearth of previous calls for banning dogs from public spaces, one that most Muslims find critical to their faith. Many Muslims are, in fact, dog owners.”

I find Snopes‘ reason no. 2 persuasive because since the 4Public Purity ban-dog campaign has no contact information, that means there is no way for anyone to actually verify the authenticity of the campaign by contacting the organizers.

The 'Religion of Peace' hates dogs!

The ‘Religion of Peace’ hates dogs!

That being said, it is true that Islam hates dogs — a hatred that has its origins in the Hadith, the corpus of reports on the teachings, deeds and sayings of Muhammad. Specifically, in the Hadith‘s Sahih Muslim, Book 24, Number 5246, it is said:

“Angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or a picture.”

For more, see “Why Muslims hate dogs“.

Given the downright saintly qualities of dogs, I would say that the “angels” who “do not enter a house in which there is a dog” are actually fallen angels, i.e., demons. The same thing has been said about the “angel” whom Muhammad claimed to have visited him in a cave, who browbeated Muhammad to found Islam.

See:

Just more evidence that not only is Islam not a religion of peace, it’s a Religion of Loonies.

H/t FOTM‘s Ken Russell

~Eowyn

Twin sisters who were born holding hands are still inseparable two years after they defied the odds to survive

twins

From Daily Mail: Twin sisters who held hands in the first seconds of their lives can’t stand being away from each other, two years after their odd-defying birth.

Jenna and Jillian Thistlethwaite were born on May 9, 2014 in Akron, Ohio after sharing the same amniotic sack – a condition that affects about 1 in 10,000 pregnancies and increases the chances of complications. Their mother Sarah had spent 57 days on bed rest to minimize the risks and was relieved to give birth to two healthy girls.

The twins were born 45 seconds apart and as soon as the doctors held them close to each other, they clasped hands, stunning everyone in the delivery room.

Two years later, the bond between the sisters has grown stronger than ever, their mother told People magazine. ‘Sometimes if my husband goes to the store, he’ll take one twin and I’ll keep the other,’ Thistlethwaite said. ‘When that happens, they both get really upset and ask for each other. They’re definitely really close. They’re like two peas in a pod.’

twins2

Jenna and Jillian were born two days before Mother’s Day in 2014 to Thistlethwaite and their father Bill.

Doctors had detected the monoamniotic pregnancy at 19 weeks during the third ultrasound. That day, the parents, who already had a one-year-old son named Jaxon, also found out they were having twins.

Most twins have their own amniotic sack during the pregnancy. But monoamniotic twins, who are always identical, share the same one, which comes with additional risks. Their umbilical cords can become entangled or compressed, or one of the cords can get wrapped around the other twin’s neck.

Thistlethwaite took a leave from her job as an eight-grade math teacher and went inpatient at Akron’s Children’s Hospital. Her husband, a clinical director, went there every day after work from their home in Orrville. Doctors told them they could deliver the twins at 32 or 34 weeks of gestation and the parents settled on 33 weeks.

Jenna and Jillian were born on May 9, weighing almost five pounds each after what was already a rare birth. But what they did during the first seconds of their lives stunned the doctors even further.

‘Once they made sure they were OK, they held them up so mom and dad could see,’ hospital spokeswoman Amy Kilgore, who was there for the birth, told Fox 8‘As soon as they were side by side, they held hands. It gave me chills.’ ‘When they held them up and I saw their hands together… It’s indescribable, really,’ their father said.

twins3

The sisters, who were born premature, spent some time in the neonatal unit before going home.

By the time they turned 1, Jenna and Jillian kept grabbing each other at every opportunity while sitting together or during meals. Two years on, they have developed distinct personalities. Jenna is the cautious one while Jillian is more of a daredevil. If one of them starts crying, the other will try to comfort her by rubbing her back, hugging her or finding a pacifier.

But even though their bond remains strong, Jenna and Jillian have started to dabble in a bit of sibling rivalry. ‘If Jenna does something bad, I’ll ask her about it and she’ll say, “No, Jillian did it!”‘ Thistlethwaite told People. ‘But they look so much alike that sometimes I really can’t tell which one of them is in trouble.’

DCG

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