Category Archives: Religion

Unhinged demorat: Protestor eats heart symbolizing President Trump

Two weeks until the election. Expect more insanity like this from the progressives.

h/t Weasel Zippers

DCG

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Sunday Devotional: I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me

Philippians 4:1, 4-7, 13

[I]in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved….
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus….
I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.

We live in dark times.

Evil seems to grow every day, by the minute.

The upcoming election will, no exaggeration, determine the fate of not just our lives, but the integrity of the U.S. Constitution and the continuation of the American Republic.

So, it is difficult not to fret and, sometimes, even despair.

At this point, only 23 days until Election Day, there is really very little anyone of us can do, other than pray and contribute whatever money we can to the candidates who stand for and will fight for what is right and good.

When Our Lord was suffering on the cross, He abandoned Himself completely to His Father’s will: “Thy will be done.”

We can do likewise.

Close your eyes and say the Surrender Prayer:

“Jesus, I surrender myself to You.
Jesus, You take care of it.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Thy will be done.”

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

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Have no anxiety at all

Philippians 4:6-9

Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.

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

~Eowyn

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Today is our Guardian Angels’ feast day!

Today is the feast day of our Guardian Angels!

A 2007 Harris poll found that 74% of U.S. adults believed in angels.

How do we know that each of us has a guardian angel? Because Jesus tells us so!

“See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” -Matthew 18:10

The word “angel,” in Greek is angelos, in Hebrew is malach, in Arabic is mala’ika– which all mean “messenger.”

Angels are incorporeal (without body, material form or substance) spiritual beings who can assume bodily form. They act as messengers and intermediaries between God and humanity. St. Augustine said that although angels are defined by their function as messengers or message-bearers, their activities are not limited to just this function. Messenger is one of their functions, not their nature.

St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that each angel is unique, a species unto itself — truly a mind-boggling idea. (J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Catholic, probably had angels in mind when he fashioned the Ents, who are each a species unto itself.) That means each angel is truly an individual, with his own personality and quirks. This may explain why some guardian angels are pro-active, while others seem not to be.

Major philosophers — such as the great medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), René Descartes (1596-1650), John Locke (1632-1704), and most recently, the American philosopher Mortimer Adler (1902-2001) — offered compelling reasoning for the existence of angels. (For the conversion of Adler, a Jew, see “A philosopher-pagan comes home: The conversion of Mortimer Adler“.)

Theologians maintain there is a hierarchy of angels, their belief stemming from allusions in both the Old and New Testaments (Genesis 3:24; Isaiah 6:1-7; Ezekiel 1, 10; Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12; Colossians 1:16, 2:10, 2:15) to “seraphim,” “cherubim,” “thrones,” “dominions,” “mights,” “powers” and “principalities” in the “heavenly places.”

Dionysius the Areopagite and St. Thomas Aquinas delineated three hierarchies of angels, and three orders within each hierarchy, totaling nine orders in all:

  • 1st hierarchy: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones.
  • 2nd hierarchy: Dominions, Virtues, Powers.
  • 3rd hierarchy: Principalities, Archangels, Angels.

Of the nine angelic orders, five are sent by God for external ministry among bodily creatures, as indicated by their names of Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels—all of which refer to some kind of administrative or executive office. Of these five orders, only the last three minister to human beings (which implies that the other two orders minister to non-human bodily creatures, like animals?):

  • Principalities are in charge of the whole of humanity.
  • Archangels minister to nations — their leaders and those persons whom God tasks with special work to do on Earth.
  • Angels, the last order, are God’s messengers to and guardians of individual human beings.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, a guardian Angel is appointed by God’s loving providence to each human being from the moment of birth because “the dignity of human souls is great.”

Throughout the lives of “changeable and fallible” human beings, their guardian angels assist them toward goodness. Although the guardians never fail or forsake their human charges, they eschew interfering with Divine providence or with our free will to commit sin, if we so choose, and to suffer punishment.

When I see a drunk or derelict sleeping on a bus bench or curled up in a street corner, I can’t help but wonder how very sad their guardian angels must be. Imagine what it must be like to be the guardian angel of a serial killer . . . .

In Summa Theologica, St. Thomas also wrote that at the end of a human being’s earthly life, the guardian angel of the virtuous person will be replaced with an angelic companion because the guardian’s mission will have been successfully discharged. What a wondrous thought — that our guardian Angel who has known and loved us all our lives will be our friend and companion through all eternity!

But the wicked in Hell “will have a fallen angel [or demon] to punish him” for eternity. Let that thought sink in . . . .

My husband, James, who passed away a year and a month ago, was blessed to have encountered his guardian angel (see “We have no nurse named Benjamin“). James spent the three years before he passed in a quality assisted care facility where he continued to write each day, and succeeded in publishing three books. He said he felt his angel’s presence and companionship all the time. There were times when he almost fell but didn’t, propped up by an invisible hand.

How his angel, Benjamin, must love him.

I believe James finally saw his angel face-to-face, and the two are wandering the Universe together.

Just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean our guardian angels aren’t with us all the time. In fact, there are many stories of angelic encounters and assistance. See, for example:

My days are so busy with writing and family-, house- and garden-work that the only time when my mind is at rest is when I walk in the hills. On one such walk some years ago, I talked to my guardian angel and humbly asked him to show me he’s there. Instantly, I felt his presence walking alongside me, on my right. I can’t tell you what he looks like (he is a bodiless spirit after all), but what I felt was his staggeringly-profound LOVE — a love that is unconditional and wholly unearned, the depths of which I have never, and will never, experienced from any human.


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.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. How is my relationship with my guardian angel?
  2. Do I listen to him?
  3. Do I bid him good day in the morning?
  4. Do I tell him: “Guard me while I sleep”?
  5. Do I speak with him?
  6. Do I ask for his advice?

Talk to your Guardian Angel!

He loves you very, very much, more than you’ll ever know.

Tell him you love him.

And thank your Guardian Angel today and every day — for watching over and protecting you, and for loving you in spite of ourselves.

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Relieve the troubles of my heart (suicide)

Psalms 25:1-2, 4-7, 16-17, 20-21

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,
my God, in you I trust….
Make known to me your ways, LORD;
teach me your paths.
Guide me by your fidelity and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
for you I wait all the day long.
Remember your compassion and your mercy, O LORD,
for they are ages old.
Remember no more the sins of my youth;
remember me according to your mercy,
because of your goodness, LORD….
Look upon me, have pity on me,
for I am alone and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart;
bring me out of my distress….
Preserve my soul and rescue me;
do not let me be disgraced, for in you I seek refuge.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me;
I wait for you, O LORD.

for I am alone and afflicted“….

I woke up this morning feeling blue.

A year and a month ago, I lost my husband, whom I had loved since I was 22. While most of my grieving is done, there are times when it still hurts. So when I came upon today’s first reading, from Psalms 25, I wept. But the tears were healing tears.

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” -Lucius Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65), Stoic philosopher and statesman

Did you know that the rate of suicides in the United States is increasing — a sad phenomenon that, no doubt, is exacerbated by the government’s COVID-19 lockdown and social-isolation policies, and the attendant stress. (See DCG’s post: “Texas hospital sees “alarming” rate of juvenile suicide patients“)

Here are some statistics from the CDC, via the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • In the 20 years from 1999 to 2018, the total suicide rate in the United States increased 35% from 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999 to 14.2 per 100,000 in 2018.
  • Over 44,965 Americans die from sucide every year. Approximately 123 Americans die by suicide every day. (SAVE)
  • In 2018, suicide was:
    • The 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 48,000 people.
    • The 2nd leading cause of death among Americans ages 10-34.
    • The 4th leading cause of death among ages 35-54.
    • The 8th leading cause of death for ages 55-64.
    • Strangely, the CDC does not rank suicide for those ages 64 and older. But the suicide rates by age (see figure below) would suggest that suicide is the No. 1 leading cause of death among the elderly, especially those widowed or divorced.

Men commit more suicides: In 2018, the overall suicide rate among males was 3.7 times higher (22.8 per 100,000) than among females (6.2 per 100,000), but disproportionately even higher for elderly men. As shown in the figure below, the suicide rate of men 75 and older was 39.9 per 100,000, whereas that of elderly women was 4.0.

The much higher suicide rate of elderly men accounts for why the elderly (75 and older) have the highest suicide rate of all age groups — of 43.9 per 100,000.

I added to the figure “Total rates by age”

Which racial group do you think have the highest suicide rate?

If you guess Black, you’re wrong.

In 2018, white Americans committed more suicides than other racial/ethnic groups because of the disproportionately high suicide rate of white males.

If you are “alone and afflicted” and in despair, look to our Lord.

Look to our Lord on the cross.

No man or woman has suffered as much as He had.

He understands your pain and your despair.

Tell Him:

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,
my God, in you I trust.

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

~Eowyn

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Trump announces executive order protecting babies who survive abortion

Excellent news!

From NY Post: President Trump will sign an executive order to protect babies born prematurely or after surviving an abortion, he announced Wednesday.

“Today, I am announcing that I will be signing the Born Alive Executive Order to ensure that all precious babies born alive, no matter their circumstances, receive the medical care that they deserve,” the commander-in-chief told attendees while delivering the keynote address at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

“This is our sacrosanct moral duty,” he remarked at the virtual event.

The president went on to tout the importance of Catholic schools for offering underserved children a chance at a better education.

In his speech, Trump also announced an increase in federal funding for neonatal research “to ensure that every child has the best chance to thrive and to grow.”

The White House declined The Post’s request for more details on the order, including when they hoped it would be signed.

The order was meant to strengthen pro-life efforts, though what it would specifically do was not immediately explained.

A source familiar with the contents of the order told Bloomberg that it would highlight existing legislation that offers increased protections for premature or unborn babies.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Sunday Devotional: My ways are not your ways

Isaiah 55:6-9

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

That is why while we may pray for our wishes, in the final analysis, we must remember that it is God’s will that must be done because we simply don’t know everything, nor do we know the grand scheme of things, nor what really is good for us.

But to pray that God’s will be done, now and always, requires humility and the abnegation or surrender of our own will — to God’s.

And that is difficult for us narcissistic and willful humans.

The key is love.

If we indeed love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all our strength, we then truly can say: “Thy will be done.”

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

~Eowyn

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This is America today: 62% of Americans conceal their political views out of fear

How many of you have experienced what I have? — You’re in a small social gathering. Someone in your group begins ranting about Trump or some other conservative politician or policy, as if everyone in the group is in agreement.

I have never had the experience of a conservative doing that, have you?

Our personal experiences are now confirmed by a July Cato Institute survey that found that Americans increasingly are self-censoring.

Whereas in 2017, 58% of Americans said they concealed their political views, today nearly two-thirds of Americans—62%—say the political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive.

Although conservatives are more prone to self-censorship as you would expect, the phenomenon actually crosses partisan lines, with majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) all saying they have political opinions they are afraid to share.

But it’s not all Democrats.

It’s the bullies, whom Cato Institute calls “strong” or “staunch liberals,” who are the only political group who feel they can say what they believe. Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of “staunch liberals” feel they can freely voice their opinions, whereas a slim majority (52%) of centrist liberals feel they have to self-censor — an increase of 7% from 2017. This points to the increasing radicalization of some Democrats, who are intimidating even fellow Democrats.

But centrist liberals still have it easy compared to others: 64% of political moderates and nearly 8 of every 10 (77%) conservatives self-censor.

Self‐​censorship is widespread across demographic groups as well. Below are the percentages of each group who self-censor:

  • Race: 65% of Latinos, 64% of Whites, 49% of Blacks.
  • Gender: 65% of men, 59% of women.
  • Income: 60% of incomes over $100,000, 58% of peoople with incomes less than $20,000.
  • Age: 66% of people over 65, 55% of people under 35.
  • Religion: 71% of religious, 56% of non‐​religious.

I was surprised by more men than women engaging in self-censorship.

My interpretation of the smaller percentages of women, blacks, youth, poor, and atheists (or non-religous) who self-censor is that they are probably “staunch liberals” — radical leftists who feel and in fact do freely express their opinions and beliefs, and bully/intimidate/harass others into silence.

Methodology: The Cato Institute Summer 2020 National Survey was designed and conducted by the Cato Institute in collaboration with YouGov. YouGov collected responses online during July 1–6, 2020 from a national sample of 2,000 Americans 18 years of age and older. Restrictions are put in place to ensure that only the people selected and contacted by YouGov are allowed to participate. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.36 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Forgive

Sirach 27:30—28:7

Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the LORD’s vengeance,
for he remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Could anyone nourish anger against another
and expect healing from the LORD?
Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself,
can he seek pardon for his own sins?
If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath,
who will forgive his sins?
Remember your last days, set enmity aside;
remember death and decay, and cease from sin!
Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor;
remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.

Mathew 18:21-35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times?” 
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. 
That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants. 
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. 
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt. 
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan. 
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount. 
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused. 
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt. 
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair. 
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! 
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. 
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt. 
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

Researchers again and again have found that forgiveness is not just good for the recipient, it is also good for our own physical, mental and spiritual health.

The best definition of “forgive” I know is to refrain from wishing ill to the person who has hurt you, but instead wish him/her well. Don’t nurse the grievance and let it fester inside you.

But to forgive doesn’t mean to forget, for if we forget, we are simply setting ourselves up for a repeat of the offense. Nor does forgiving means we must approve of the offender or the offending act. Nor does forgiving necessarily means we must continue the relationship because sometimes the offense enables you to clearly see who that person really is. As a result, you simply no longer desire to be in his/her company.

The late Christian psychologist Dr. Everett Worthington (1931-2019) developed some techniques that prove useful. One of them is the two-chairs technique. Someone with a grievance sits in Chair A and addresses a real but absent offender sitting in Chair B, telling him how he feels. The subject is then asked to move to Chair B and respond as the offender might. Sitting in the offender’s place to explain why they acted as they did, the offended subjects are forced to think “outside the box,” to put themselves in the other’s place, perhaps seeing for the first time circumstances they had previously overlooked. This can open the way for seeing both sides of the story, and, eventually, to forgiveness.

Here is Dr. Worthington on a 5-step method we can use to forgive:

The death of my husband a year ago led me to really realize just how ephemeral and fleeting our lives are. A result of that realization is my forgiving a college-era friend whom I had not seen in ten years. I simply decided to let go of the hurt from what she did, or rather what she failed to do. It was simply not important in the larger scheme of things. I discovered that forgiving her was surprisingly easy and very liberating.

How forgiving are you?

There’s a short quiz you can take to find out. Click here.

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

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: What does ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ mean?

Romans 13:8-10

Brothers and sisters:
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery;
you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet, ”
and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this saying, namely,
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love does no evil to the neighbor;
hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

We are told by our Lord to “love thy neighbor”.

Not just to “love” our neighbor, but to “love your neighbor as yourself”.

I have to admit that I’ve always found that commandment to be a tall order, for how am I to “love” someone who has hurt or injured me, or whose political stance is drastically different from mine and which, I believe, has led to the ruination of the America I love?

My vexation is compounded by the fact that I have never heard a priest define who our “neigbor” is and what “loving” our neighbor actually means.

In Luke 10, Jesus used the parable of the good Samaritan to explain what He meant by “loving” one’s “neighbor”:

  • The robbers in the parable — evil doers — are not our “neighbor”.
  • Our “neighbor” is the man who fell victim to the robbers, that is, anyone we encounter in our lives, even strangers, who find themselves in foul circumstances through no fault of their own.
  • Unlike the priest and the Levite, the Samaritan assisted the victim and, in so doing, demonstrated what “loving our neighbor” means — which is to treat those who are in need through no fault of their own “with mercy,” that is, with kindness and compassion, and to provide assistance.

See my post of July 14, 2019: “Sunday Devotional: What does loving our neighbor and our enemy mean?

Now, in his letter to the Romans 13, St. Paul has provided us with further definition of what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself”:

  • Not commit adultery against another.
  • Not kill another.
  • Not steal from another.
  • Not “covet” (df: strongly desires) what another has.
  • Not do evil to another.

That I can do!

How about you?

And always remember what precedes “love your neighbor as yourself” in the Greatest Commandment of all (Luke 10:27):

You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind.

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

Offered in humility and love,

~Eowyn

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