Category Archives: Christians/Christianity

U.S. Catholic bishops changed meeting venue from $600/night luxury resort only after 22 bishops threatened not to attend

Last week, from June 11 to 14, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had their bi-annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

The meeting was originally scheduled to take place at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Santa Barbara, Calif., a $600-a-night resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean, owned until recently by Catholic multimillionaire Tim Busch.

The luxury hotel boasts that each of its 358 guest rooms and suites has “a balcony overlooking the ocean or resort gardens.”

Only when the 22 bishops of California threatened not to come to the Ritz-Carlton did USCCB leadership change the venue to the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel where a single-occupancy one-bed room goes for about $179 a night. (Source: Religion News

But the USCCB General Assembly did manage to create a system for reporting sex-abuse violations committed by bishops, albeit it took them TEN months to do that after the release in August 2018 of a 1,356-page, redacted version of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on child sex crimes by Catholic priests.

By a vote of 205 to 16 with 3 abstentions, the General Assembly voted to authorize the design of a third-party system for receiving confidentially, by phone or online, reports of possible violations by bishops. By a 220 to 4 vote with 1 abstention, the bishops voted in favor of committing to activate the third-party reporting system by no later than May 31, 2020.

I sure would like to know who the 16 dissenting bishops are.

See also:

~Eowyn

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Psalm 52 speaks to CNN and MSNBC

Our answer to FAKE NEWS

Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man?
Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace
in the eyes of God? 

Your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor,
you who practice deceit.

You love evil rather than good,
falsehood rather than speaking the truth. 

You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue! 

Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
He will snatch you up and tear you from your tent;
He will uproot you from the land of the living. 

The righteous will see and fear; they will
laugh at him, saying, 

“Here now is the man who did not make God his
stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew
strong by destroying others!” 

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house
of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever. 

I will praise You forever for what You have done;
in Your Name I will hope, for Your Name is good.
I will praise You in the presence of Your saints.  

– Psalm 52 


Combatting lies with the truth of God’s word

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Sunday Devotional: The Mystery of Three Persons in One God

Matthew 3:1, 13, 16-17

In those days came John the Baptist,
preaching in the wilderness of Judaea….
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John,
to be baptized of him….
And Jesus, when he was baptized,
went up straightway out of the water:
and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove,
and lighting upon him:
And lo a voice from heaven, saying,
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Today, the universal Church celebrates the Holy Trinity — the mystery of Three Persons in One God.

That there is but one God and three Persons — the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit — is not only found in the above passage from Matthew 3, but also in other places in Holy Scripture:

Genesis 1:26

And God said,
Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness

John 5:7

For there are three
that bear record in Heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost;
and these three are one.

Matthew 28:18-20

Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Our greatest theologians had sought in vain to plumb the mystery of the Triune Godhead — of three Persons in one God.

St. Thomas Aquinas concluded in Summa Theologica:

We cannot come to the knowledge of the Trinity by reason alone, that is, by the natural and unaided efforts of the human mind. By our natural reason, we can know that God exists; that he is the First Cause of all; that he is one, infinite, simple, immutable, etc. But that the one God subsists in three really distinct Persons is a truth that can be known only by supernatural means. That is a truth beyond the reach of human reason to know, to prove, or to disprove. We know this truth by divine revelation, and accept it by supernatural faith; we take it upon the authority of God himself.… By aid of the light of glory the soul in heaven sees God himself clearly and truly.

And so we accept our human limitation and believe, putting our trust in the words of St. Paul that we shall understand fully when we see God face to face:

1 Corinthians 13:11-12

When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;
when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall understand fully,
even as I have been fully understood.

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

~Eowyn

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The Face of the Man on the Shroud

One of the mysteries of the New Testament is that there are no descriptions of what Jesus Christ looks like. Nothing about how tall He is, the color of His hair or of His eyes, or . . . .

None.

But being the sensory creatures as God made us, we can’t help but wonder what Jesus looks like.

How we thirst for and yearn to see His face. Psalm 27:8 gives voice to humanity’s sorrowful yearning:

“Your face, Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me.”

Our crie de coeur is given eloquent expression by St. Anselm (1033-1109) in Proslogium:

But if thou hast found him, why is it that thou dost not feel thou hast found him? Why, O Lord, our God, does not my soul feel thee, if it hath found thee? [My soul] strains to see thee more . . . but it sees that it cannot see farther, because of its own darkness . . . . Everywhere thou art wholly present, and I see thee not . . . and therefore my soul still walks in its darkness and wretchedness. For it looks, and does not see thy beauty. It hearkens, and does not hear thy harmony. It smells, and does not perceive thy fragrance. It tastes, and does not recognize thy sweetness. It touches, and does not feel thy pleasantness.

Artists, like Jon McNaughton, have used their imagination to fashion their images of Jesus.

In 2015, the scientific unit of the police force in Rome, Italy, used computer software that’s normally used to age an individual and reversed the process to generate the angelic face of what the man whose face and body are imprinted onto the Shroud of Turin would look like as a 12-year-old boy.

In 2018, Dr. Giulio Fanti, Professor of Mechanical and Thermal Measurements at the University of Padua, created a 3D carbon copy from meticulous measurements of the imprinted image of the Man on the Shroud. Master sculptor Sergio Rodella then made a statue in plaster from the 3D carbon copy.

Professor Fanti said:

“Christian tradition believes that the image that is seen on the Shroud is that of the crucified Jesus. And now science is of this opinion too. For years, using the most sophisticated 3D technologies, we have studied  the image left by the body on the sheet. And the statue is the final result.

This statue is a life-size, three-dimensional representation of the Man of the Shroud, based on the millimetric measurements obtained from the shroud in which the body of Christ was wrapped after the crucifixion.

On the Shroud I counted 370 scourge wounds, without taking into consideration the lateral ones, which are not imprinted into the Shroud because it enveloped only the front and back of the body. We can therefore hypothesize Jesus suffered a total of at least 600 scourges. Moreover, the three-dimensional reconstruction has allowed us to reconstruct that at the time of death, the man of the Shroud has slumped to the right because His right shoulder was dislocated in such a severe way as to damage the nerves.

According to our studies, Jesus was a man of extraordinary beauty (“bellezza straordinaria”). Long-limbed, but very robust; almost six feet tall, while the average height of the time was around 5′ 5″; with a regal and majestic expression.

We therefore believe that we finally have an accurate picture of what Jesus was like on this earth. From now on, it will no longer be possible to portray His image without taking this work into account.”

Here’s the face of the Man on the Shroud:

But in the end, it doesn’t really matter what we think Jesus looks like because when we finally see Him face to face, we will know it’s Him. To quote McNaughton:

“Someday when I actually meet the Savior, I’m not going to recognize Him because of how long His hair is or the color of His eyes, or whether He has a short beard or long beard, or how dark His skin is. I’m gonna recognize Him because of the way I feel, standing in the presence of the Savior.”

See also:

~Eowyn

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Pentecost Sunday: The Coming of the Holy Spirit

John 14:19, 18, 16-17

“the world will not see me anymore…
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
And I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever….”

Last Sunday, the universal Church remembered and celebrated our Lord Jesus Christ’s departure from Earth — the Ascension.

Having created us, He knows full well how bereft His followers would be by His leaving:

“grief has filled your hearts” (John 16:6)

Loving us deeply, Jesus promised “I will not leave you as orphans” and that the Father would send “another advocate” to help and be with us forever and “always until the end of time” itself (Matthew 28:20).

What a comforting thought!

Today, we celebrate the miracle of the Pentecost — the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles.

Acts 2:1-4

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Given the Holy Spirit’s importance, it is distressing how little we actually know about the Third Person of the Triune Godhead.

The Holy Spirit is mentioned in these places in the Bible:

  1. Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you….”
  2. Acts 2:1-4: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
  3. Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  4. 1 Chronicles 12:18: “Then the Spirit came on Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: ‘We are yours, David! We are with you, son of Jesse! Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you.’ So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.
  5. 1 Corinthians 2:13: “And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.”
  6. 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
  7. 2 Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
  8. Ephesians 1:13-14: “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.”
  9. Ezekiel 36:26-27: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them.
  10. Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
  11. Isaiah 11:2: “The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD
  12. John 3:6-8: “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
  13. John 14:16-17: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.
  14. John 14:26: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
  15. John 15:26-27: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.'”
  16. John 16:7-15: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
  17. Judges 3:10: “The Spirit of the LORD came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him.
  18. Luke 11:13: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
  19. Luke 24:49: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
  20. Matthew 12:31-32: “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
  21. Micah 3:8: “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.
  22. Romans 8:2-6: “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
  23. Romans 8:26: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
  24. Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

From the above passages, these are the attributes of the Holy Spirit:

  • He is a gift from God the Father, through the Son.
  • He is the first installment in our inheritance toward redemption, which implies there will be more gifts following the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • He is in-dwelling: He dwells in us and abides in us forever.
  • He enabled the Apostles to speak foreign languages.
  • He enables us to observe God’s commandments.
  • He teaches us “all things”, especially “everything” Jesus told us.
  • He glorifies Jesus.
  • He tells us “the things that are coming“.
  • He gives us “power from on high” — not power to do what we will, but power to do justice and to declare transgressions and sins.
  • He helps us when we are weak, and intercedes for us.
  • He is “the spirit of truth” who guides us to all truth, but whom the world neither knows nor accepts. That implies that when we follow the Holy Spirit and proclaim the truth, the world will also reject us.
  • He fills us with hope.
  • How do we know when something is of the Holy Spirit? These are His fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

And all we have to do is to ask the Father and He will send the Holy Spirit to us! How marvelous is that?

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit, by St. Augustine:

Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.
Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.

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

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: The Ascension of our Lord

In the 40 days after He resurrected from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to His apostles — in their homes, on the road, by the shores of the lake . . . .

Every time, strangely, His apostles did not recognize Him at first. We are told that’s because Jesus is transfigured — just as we, should we be so blessed, will be in “glorified bodies” when we are resurrected from the dead at the end of this world.

How precious those times must be which the apostles shared with their risen Lord.

And then, 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus told the apostles:

Acts 1:8-11

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Every time I read that passage, I weep, as I imagine how wrenching it must be for the apostles to say goodbye to their lord, master and friend forever.

But of course, Jesus would not just abandon His apostles — nor us.

John 14:19, 18, 16-17

“the world will not see me anymore . . .
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
And I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept Him,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
But you know Him,
for He lives with you
and will be in you.”

Not only did the Father send us the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, Jesus also left us His Body and Blood.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

How very much He must love us . . . .

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

~Eowyn

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Franklin Graham warns impeachment could spark civil war; calls on Christians to pray for Trump tomorrow

Evangelist Franklin Graham, 66, son of the late Billy Graham, is calling on Christians worldwide to pray for President Trump tomorrow,  a “special day of prayer”. Graham specifically asks pastors across America to lead their congregations in prayer for the president during Sunday services, Sunday school, and other gatherings.

More than 300 Christian leaders have given Graham their support. But other Christian leaders, such as Alan Cross, criticize Graham for politicizing and using prayer to engender partian support for Trump.

In a phone interview with Christian Post, Graham explains: “I am not asking people to endorse him [Trump]. That is not that point of this prayer. This is not an election year. So I don’t see how it could be political. He is the president. People have voted for him. He is in office and he is carrying out the duties of the presidency. He needs our prayers.”

Referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s insinuating comment on Wednesday, May 29, that charging Donald Trump was “not an option that we could consider” due to Justice Department policy that a president can’t be charged with a federal crime while in office, Graham said:

“I think what is going on in Washington has something to do with [my call to prayer]. It has bothered me and it has been a burden on my heart because this president is being attacked more than any president in modern history; attacked by the press more than Abraham Lincoln.

So he is the president of the United States. You had two years of investigation that came up with nothing. Now the media and his opponents in Washington are doing everything they can to destroy him. What we need to remember is that he is the president. That doesn’t mean that he is a perfect person. He is flawed like all of us. He has made plenty of mistakes but he is the leader of this nation. We have got huge problems in front of us.

We have trade problems with Canada and with Mexico and China. We have the Iranian situation right now. Venezuela is in meltdown mode. There is so much that needs to be done. We still have North Korea that still hasn’t been solved. The president, for him to be distracted with false accusations, with people doing all they can to destroy him, it hurts this country. It hurts all of us.

My prayer is not an endorsement of the president. I am not asking people to [issue] an endorsement. It’s to just call on God to give him wisdom because if he makes a good decision, it is good for all of us. If he makes a bad decision, it is bad for all of us. Whether we are Republican or Democrats or independents, this is just asking God to guide him and direct him as he makes decisions everyday that impacts our lives….

When I say protect him, protect him from his enemies. Because these enemies — it is not just the president, but it is tearing down the office of the presidency. This will hurt our country for many, many years if this is allowed to happen.

I am not talking about people who may disagree with certain policies. I am talking about those who are trying to destroy this presidency and destroy him. Those are the enemies. It is not people that disagree. I don’t agree with everything that he says or does. But he is still the president of the United States. The people voted for him and he won it fair and square and his enemies have not accepted that.

The election hadn’t been over 12 hours and they were making accusations about Russian interference and collusion with Russia. All that was nothing but a lie. For the last two years, the media has gone after our president day-in and day-out with collusion, cover-up, collusion, collusion, cover-up. None of that is there.

Mueller could not find any of that and he had an army of attorneys. They were sifting tens of thousands of emails, subpoenaing witnesses, taping all of these depositions. They couldn’t find one shred of evidence that there was collusion.

So since the Mueller report has come out, they are talking about impeachment. It is just crazy. It is destroying our country. Enough is enough….

Our nation is at a crossroads, at a dangerous precipice. This precipice is the failure of our democratic system. It is just a handful of people that are able to control the media and are able to dictate what comes across the media into a person’s home night after night, day after day. If the president was brought down for whatever reason, it could lead to a civil war. There are millions of people out there that voted for President Trump that are behind him that are angry and they are mad. We are just living a very dangerous territory and we need God’s help.

Our country is in a mess. We’re in political turmoil. Our government cannot be fixed without the hand of God. We are just too broken, too fractured, too segmented. The only way our country can make it is with God intervening and beginning to change the hearts of people. The only hope for this country is the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid for our sins with His life when He shed his blood on the cross. God raised Him to life.

He can come into every heart that is willing to trust Him. Every time a person yields their life to Christ, that heart is changed. America needs a heart transplant. America needs a new heart. We have become vicious. We have become angry. We have become bitter. It is just wrong. The only hope this country has got, we need to pray. We need to pray for our president.”

In an earlier interview, Graham called the attacks against President Trump “demonic.”

Graham is a political independent because, in his words, “in recent years, I have been very discouraged with the leadership in both parties.”

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Whoever loves me will keep my word

John 14:23-27

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

Today, the universal Church celebrates the 6th Sunday of Easter — the Sunday before the Ascension of our Lord.

In the above Gospel reading from John 14, Jesus prepares the disciples for His imminent departure, but reassures them — and us — that His physical departure does not mean we are abandoned.

To begin, the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Triune Godhead, would be sent to instruct, guide and actually dwell inside us. How amazing and cool is that!

Next, with His usual incisiveness and sweeping aside all the dizzying minutiae of Talmudic-Judaic laws and prescriptions, Jesus imparts to us a simple formula for how we are to be His faithful followers:

Whoever loves me will keep my word

And what is His word?

It really is as simple and profound as that.

For if we truly love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, then we also are faithful to the Ten Commandments because the ten follow the one, logically and naturally.

And if we do that — if we love Him not with empty words, but with our actions by following His word — then we will have peace and not be troubled or afraid.

All of which would explain why study after study testifies to the beneficent effects of being a true and faithful follower of Christ. See:

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

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: A new commandment

John 13:1, 31, 33-35

Before the feast of Passover,
Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world
and he loved them to the end.

When he [Judas] had left, Jesus said,
“…My children,
I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me,
and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’
so now I say it to you.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

A new commandment: “Love one another”.

With those three words, Jesus swept aside all the strictures and legal minutiae of Judaism, including six of the Ten Commandments. For if you think about it, if we truly “love one another,” we would:

  • Honor our fathers and mothers (5th Commandment).
  • Not kill or murder (6th Commandment).
  • Not commit adultery (7th Commandment).
  • Not steal (8th Commandment).
  • Not bear false witness against our neighbor (9th Commandment).
  • Not covet our neighbor’s wife/husband or anything that belongs to another (10th Commandment).

But what is love?

In our corrupt times, the word “love” is used to justify any or all deeds, even the most perverse. Pedophilia is called “man-boy love”; bestiality is called “zoophilia” — love of animals; incest is given a veneer of faux science by calling it “genetic sexual attraction”.

“Love” has become a synonym of the Church of Satan’s motto, “Do as thou wilt”.

So what is love?

Here are some clues from Holy Scripture.

(1) Love is selfless and self-sacrificing

1 John 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

Few of us will be called to die for someone else, but many have and do sacrifice for others: parents for their children; adult children for their elderly parents; care-givers for the elderly and sick; all who give their money, time and labor for another or a good cause, with no benefit to themselves.

So this is one measure of love: How much will you sacrifice for another?

(2) Other attributes of love

From the famous passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

(3) The way to God is through the heart, not the mind

Reading St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, I was struck by the rest of the passage:

1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

I understand the above passage as St. Paul’s reminder to us that, in the end, the way to God cannot be accomplished through our mind alone — our efforts to know and understand God, the unimaginably awesome being who created the Universe. As St. Paul reminds us: “for we know partially”. How can the created ever fully know the Creator?

The great St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), the philosopher-theologian who wrote tomes of impeccable logic and reasoning, but lived only to the young age of 49, knew well the limits of human intelligence and how “partially” we know.

On December 6, 1273, St. Thomas had a mystical experience while he was celebrating Mass, after which he abandoned his scholarly routine and refused to write again. When his friend and fellow theologian Reginald of Piperno begged him to get back to work, St. Thomas replied:

“Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me” (mihi videtur ut palea).

Three months later, on March 7, 1274, St. Thomas passed, leaving the Summa Theologica uncompleted.

There’s a reason why the Greatest Commandment of all begins not with our minds, but with our hearts.

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

~Eowyn

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Trump ends churches’ refugee-resettlement gravy train

In Luke 20 is an account of yet another attempt by Jewish rabbis and teachers to trip Jesus. Trying to entrap our Lord by catching Him saying something untoward so that they could then hand Him over to the Roman authorities, they sent “spies” to ask Jesus “Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”.

To which, Jesus calmly replied that we are to abide by the government’s laws: “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” (Luke 20:25)

In the matter of immigration, St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), whom the Catholic Church honors as a Doctor of the Church and regards as its greatest theologian and philosopher, respected a country’s laws governing immigration and would gravely disapprove of illegal “immigrants,” much less their brazen demands for special treatment in the U.S. today. So prudent and concerned was St. Thomas for the wellbeing of the host country that he recommended that even legal immigrants be granted citizenship only after 2 or 3 generations.

See “St. Thomas Aquinas disapproved of illegal immigration and expected all immigrants to assimilate

But Christian churches in the United States have become lawless and law-defying institutions.

In the name of “charity,” some churches are defying and violating U.S. federal government laws on immigration by providing “sanctuary” to those who are in the U.S. illegally and face deportation. See DCG’s Dec. 13, 2016 post, “Churches vow to offer sanctuary to illegal aliens“.

More than defying immigration laws, under the Obama administration, churches and other “faith-based” institutions had formed a lucrative alliance with the U.S. government in aiding and abetting illegal immigration and “refugee” re-settlement, contrary to the Left’s mantra of “separation of church and state”.

As an example, the Baptist Child and Family Services (BCFS) had very lucrative contracts with the Obama administration’s HHS, DHS, and other agencies. One such contract was for BCFS to acquire and operate the luxury Palm Aire Resort & Hotel to house illegal “children” at a cost of $50 million. Another contract was for the BCFS to provide “basic shelter care” to 2,400 “unaccompanied alien children” for just four months in 2014, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $182 million. BCFS’s lucrative contracts with the federal government would explain its president and CEO Kevin Dinnin’s bloated annual salary of more than $477,799.

See “Collusion of Church & State in Invasion of Illegals: $182M to house ‘unaccompanied children’ for just 4 months

But under President Trump, that gravy train is drying up.

Michele Jurich reports for Catholic Voice, May 13, 2019, that “With the U.S. government continuing to severely limit the number of refugees who enter the country under its auspices, Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB) [in the San Francisco Bay Area] has ended its resettlement program.”

Nationally, according to Refugee Council USA, the Trump administration has admitted only 12,151 refugees, which is less than 40% of the historically low 30,000 refugee admissions goal.

CCEB’s 90-day service contract with the federal government ended on May 8, 2019. As a consequence, although CCEB was scheduled to receive 100 refugees in fiscal year 2019, which began Oct. 1, 2018, the agency received “just eight”. But the numbers of refugees in CCEB’s resettlement program already had decreased over the last two years. In fiscal year 2018, CCEB was projected to receive 145 refugees; 100 were received.

This effectively ends the involvement of about 40 East Bay parishes in setting up apartments, driving newcomers to appointments and helping them feel at home in their new land. Over the past three years, these parishes have been actively involved in co-sponsoring refugee families. Reportedly, “many” of those refugees had worked for the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Christopher Martinez, CCEB’s chief program officer, said that those who have received assistance from Catholic Charities in the past can still request assistance in legal and housing matters: “Any family, if they need support, can always reach Catholic Charities. We want to build on that legacy.”

Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay in Berkeley and the International Rescue Committee in Oakland will continue to resettle refugees in the East Bay.

See also:

~Eowyn

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