Saturday, May 17, 2014

Catholic News World : Saturday May 17, 2014 - Share!


Pope Francis "Jesus teaches us to live the pain by accepting the reality of life with trust...."

Augustine's "Confessions": Language vs. Literature

Young Christian Pregnant Mother Sentenced to be Killed Please #PrayForMeriam #MeriamIbrahim

Free Catholic Movie MOLOKAI - Stars Peter O'Toole and David Wenham

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with members of the Apostolate of the Suffering and with the Silent Workers of the Cross on Saturday in the Paul VI Hall. Among the estimated 5,000 people in attendance, about 350 people were in 

The two apostolic associations were founded by Blessed Luigi Novarese for evangelization by and among people with illness and disability. According to its website, the purpose of the Apostolate of the Suffering is to bring about “a complete emancipation of suffering persons, through a work of evangelization and teaching of catechism directly carried out by the handicapped”. Its activity takes place in co-operation with the Silent Workers of the Cross, an association of priests and consecrated men and women.

In his message to the associations, marking the centenary of their founder’s birth, Pope Francis stressed that there are right and wrong ways to live with pain and suffering.
“A wrong attitude is to live pain in a passive manner, letting go with inertia and resignation. Even the reaction of rebellion and rejection is not a correct attitude,” he said. “Jesus teaches us to live the pain by accepting the reality of life with trust and hope, bringing the love of God and neighbour, even in suffering: and love transforms everything.” 
The meeting came on the 67th anniversary of the founding of the Apostolate of the Suffering and a little over one year after Blessed Luigi’s beatification on 11 May, 2013. 

Below is the Vatican Radio translation of the Pope’s message:

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome you and I thank you for coming! You are celebrating the centenary of the birth of the your founder, Blessed Luigi Novarese, a priest in love with Christ and with the Church and a zealous apostle of the sick. 

His personal experience of suffering, lived in childhood, made him very sensitive to human suffering. For this reason, he founded the Silent Workers of the Cross and the Apostolate of the Suffering, who still today pursue his work. 

I would like to recall with you one of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Mt 5,4). With this prophetic word, Jesus refers to a condition of life on earth, from which no one is spared. There are those who mourn because they are not healthy, those who mourn because they are alone and misunderstood. The reasons for suffering are many. Jesus experienced affliction and humiliation in this world. He gathered human suffering and assumed them in his flesh, he lived them profoundly, one by one. He knew every type of affliction, moral and physical: he experienced hunger and fatigue, the bitterness of misunderstanding, he was betrayed and abandoned, flagellated and crucified. 

By saying “blessed are those who mourn”, Jesus does not intend to declare an unfortunate and burdensome condition in life to be happy. Suffering is not a value in itself, but a reality that Jesus teaches us to live with the correct attitude. 

There are, in fact, right ways and wrong ways to live pain and suffering. A wrong attitude is to live pain in a passive manner, letting go with inertia and resignation. Even the reaction of rebellion and rejection is not a correct attitude. Jesus teaches us to live the pain by accepting the reality of life with trust and hope, bringing the love of God and neighbour, even in suffering: and love transforms everything. 

This is exactly what Blessed Luigi Novarese taught you, educating the sick and the disabled to value their suffering through apostolic action, carried out with faith and love for others. He would always say: “The sick must feel that they are the authors of their own apostolate”. A sick person, a disabled person can become support and light for other people who suffer, in this way transforming the environment in which he lives. 

With this charism, you are a gift to the Church. Your suffering, like the wounds of Jesus, on the one hand are scandal for the faith but on the other hand are the verification of the faith, a sign that God is Love, is faithful, is merciful, is consoler. United to the risen Christ, you are “active participant(s) in the work of evangelization and salvation” (Christifideles laici, 54). 

I encourage you to be close to the suffering of your parishes as witnesses to the Resurrection. This way, you will enrich the Church and collaborate with the mission of pastors, praying and offering your suffering even for them. I thank you very much for this!

Dear friends, may Our Lady help you to be true “workers of the Cross” and true “volunteers of suffering”, living the crosses and suffering with faith and love, together with Christ. I bless you and I ask you, please, to pray for me. 

Text from Vatican Radio website 

Augustine's "Confessions": Language vs. Literature

By: Chantelle Grondin: The Confessions of Saint Augustine of Hippo constitutes the world's first autobiography and has been perhaps one of the most influential pieces of biographical literature in the Western world. It has changed lives, shaped monasteries, influenced philosophy, and inspired theology. There are few books in the world that analyze with such honest frankness the wounds which humanity inflicts upon itself, and the rationalization we use to run from God only to be thrust back into His arms again. The first time I read it cover to cover, I was just emerging from a rather painful place in my life where I was in a prime position to look over my own self-inflicted wounds, and so I could recognize much of my own "wandering by the way" in Augustine's life story. It was a book of profound movement for me, an impetus to move myself to a place of rest where I could find peace for my troubled heart. But I won't get into that. There are a hundred and one things I could talk about when it comes to Augustine's Confessions, but that would make for an incredibly long post, so I plan to look at one small element of interest here and will perhaps return to look at others in future posts. For now, I'd like to muse on some of the things Augustine has to say about both the dangers and the goods involved in language and literature

Within the first three books of the Confessions, Augustine charts the development of his first sins from childhood to adolescence, critiques his early education and later schooling, and describes his first friendships and his adoption of Manichaeism. Within these first three books, Augustine lays the foundation, and even gives some very detailed accounts, of his need for God's mercy and salvation. There is this beautiful line near the beginning of the book that explains Augustine's entire purpose in writing: "Through your own merciful dealings with me, O Lord my God, tell me what you are to me. Say to my soul, I am your salvation." The entire Confessions is Augustine's revelation of the sinful depths to which he had fallen, and his joyful discovery of God's abundant love and mercy for him. He expresses this reality of God in some of the most beautiful language, making full use of his extensive education in Roman rhetoric, which qualifies him as one of the most compelling authors in all of Christendom. This, perhaps, is what distinguishes the scholastic from the mystic in Christian theology: our rational soul may be convinced by scholastic logic and methods of reasoning, but it is the beautiful love language of the mystical soul that moves our hearts to long after that same love.

However, Augustine is not the most positive of literary theorists; in fact, he utters some pretty harsh invectives against the Greco-Roman epics and tragedies. As a teacher of rhetoric -- what we would probably consider "literature" in the modern university -- Augustine has a deep preoccupation with language and how we use it. He spends a large portion of the first three books discussing the difference between literature and literacy. Literacy is the ability to read and write, to spell correctly and maintain good grammar, so we can make ourselves understood to others and so that we can understand them. Literature, for Augustine, is the fictional stories that people tell for education, for entertainment, or for some sort of remuneration in the form of money or fame. For Augustine, literature is tied very closely to sin: it often tells lies by presenting immoral behavior as something desirable. Literature can be a grave spiritual danger. Literacy, on the other hand, is simply the accumulation of words and language, and there is nothing immoral about that. But is it true that all literature is an evil that should be avoided? Does Augustine subscribe to what Socrates says in Plato's Republic that story-tellers should be banished from the city, and that even stories mothers tell to their children should be censored?

Augustine begins with musings on what it must have been like to be a baby, an infant. The word "infant" in Latin, infans, literally means "one unable to speak". This is how we all start out: we have no command of language, no way to express ourselves, no speech, no words, no literacy. But Augustine points out that just because we were not able to express ourselves in words does not mean that we did not have desires within us that we longed to communicate to others. This is central to Augustine's conception of what it means to be human: we are created beings that long to be in communion with others; we long to know and be known; we want to make known our inner thoughts and desires so that they may be fulfilled. And the way by which we do this is through the acquisition of language. Even God makes Himself known to us in this way through His Word, both in Scripture and in His living Word, Christ Himself. Words are the building blocks of communion with both God and our fellow man.

Augustine speaks of the frustration of being a baby who has no words to communicate its desires. All a baby can do is cry for what it wants and get frustrated when it is misunderstood. We are probably all familiar with this feeling, even though we are fully capable of speech. Sometimes we get in arguments with others and it seems that, no matter what we say, we can't get through to them. We can't make our inner thoughts known to them in a way that they can comprehend. I've seen the frustration on my younger sister's face when she tries to speak to me and I can't understand her. She's fourteen years old, but she has Down Syndrome and her speech is underdeveloped, so oftentimes I don't always understand what she's telling me. Especially because her mind has developed faster than her speech, it's difficult to see her struggling to make her thoughts understood. It's as if there is a block between her and me which keeps me from truly coming to know her, to be in communion with her. I find it easy to agree with Augustine that the acquisition of language is a primary good because it makes possible the acquisition of so many other goods, including the primary good which is God.

As a toddler, Augustine begins to learn to speak organically by watching others and imitating the sounds they make, learning what words indicate what things and how they are strung together to make coherent sentences. He speaks of how he "schooled" his mouth to make the same sounds that other people made so that he could communicate his ideas to them. This is a natural form of "schooling" that grows from Augustine's natural, God-given abilities, unlike the schooling he will receive as he grows up. But, as often happens in the Confessions, a greater ability often provides a greater danger of abuse, so that Augustine can say, "I waded deeper into the stormy world of human life" at the same time as he rejoices in gaining mastery over his native language. With every gain in ability for good, human beings are also granted a greater ability for evil. While a small child with a limited capacity for speech, with a limited ability to work his will on other people, Augustine was also limited in his ability to sin. Now that he has mastered language, he has been opened up to a larger world of both virtue and vice. His exposure to abuses in language, such as lying, false praise, boasting, descriptions of immoral acts, and other vices, create that "stormy world" into which he describes himself wading.

As a young boy, Augustine is sent to school to learn grammar, but he finds it boring and painful because the children must learn by constraint and punishment. He enjoys reading literature more than learning to spell because the stories are entertaining. This is hardly surprising, perhaps, but Augustine is troubled by this because the stories through which he was taught the nuances of fine rhetoric centered on immoral stories of the gods. Augustine mentions specifically some of the Greco-Roman myths that he read about as a boy: Aeneas and Dido's love affair, Aeneas's later abandonment of Dido, and Dido's suicide; one of Jupiter's many adulterous relations with human women in which he impregnated Danae by sending a golden shower into her lap. Learning these stories as a boy only served to put Augustine's mind "in the gutter", as the saying goes, before he had the opportunity to build up any of the opposing virtues, thereby planting the seeds of greater sins in his adolescence. Augustine says he thoroughly enjoyed reading the Greco-Roman epics and tragedies, but that he learned things from them that greatly damaged his spiritual welfare. Because of this experience with literature in his youth, Augustine struggles with this difference between literacy and literature. On the one hand, literacy is a good thing, objectively good; it is good to be able to read and write and express the thoughts inside our hearts. On the other hand, literature can be corrupting: it can tell stories about immoral or evil things, while making them seem good or useful or entertaining.

Augustine shows us another aspect of literature that can become a danger to our souls when he talks about some of his experiences when he had gone on to what we would consider nowadays as "university". He left home to move to Carthage around the age of nineteen to continue his schooling in rhetoric and lived an admittedly dissolute lifestyle. One aspect of this lifestyle that Augustine dwells on at length is going to see plays, tragedies particularly, and being emotionally moved by them. He liked to see dramas that would inspire strong emotions in him, especially melancholy ones. This is one of the powers of literature, of good story-telling, that we become emotionally invested in the characters and in their joys and sorrows. Augustine looks specifically at the content of these tragic tales: Aeneas and Dido engage in fornication, Aeneas abandons Dido and breaks his vows to her, and Dido kills herself in grief. The tragic drama of the story is supposed to makes us feel sympathy and sadness for these characters, but the reality of their tale is that they were committing grave sins with one another, against one another, and against themselves. Their souls were already dead long before their bodies were. But the emotional connection that we can form with these characters and their sorrows can warp our apprehension of the realities of sin and death. This is what Augustine finds so repulsive about these tragedies he used to love. Their emotional content warped his ideas of what is truly lovable and what is truly sorrowful in this life. The very thing that sets literature apart from the other sciences -- theology, philosophy, and so on -- is also the very thing that can make it truly dangerous to the life of the soul. Nothing makes a more compelling argument to the will than emotional investment. Therefore, Augustine says, literature that aims at making us sympathetic to sin or emotionally invested in the plight of sinners as heroes instead of sinners can be damaging to the life of our souls. In Augustine's own life, he saw such investment blind him to the tragedy of his own sinful life and provided justification or, even worse, affirmation of his dissolute lifestyle.

Does Augustine have anything redeeming to say about literature at all? Well, he wrote the Confessions, for one thing, which, although it is obviously not meant to be "fiction", is indeed a story, the story of a soul's journey from darkness to light, sickness to health, agitation and despair to peace and joy. The Confessions are also filled with some of the most beautiful examples of poetry in praise of God, poems that express the depth of love and gratitude that comes from a heart that was restless until it found its rest in Him. Augustine gives two reasons for why he is writing this book: to praise God for the wonders He has worked in Augustine's life by saving him from his sins and bringing him into the light of truth; to share with anyone who might read them the depths to which God is willing to come to save us from ourselves. Literature, then, for Augustine, should be edifying and didactic; it should build us up and teach us something. And, above all, it should glorify God. In his Confessions, Augustine attempts to do for literature what God has done for him: convert it to God's use and transform it into a vehicle by which humanity can grow in virtue rather than vice, in truth rather than lies. Literature needs a firm foundation in philosophy, an experience of which Augustine describes in emotional terms: "I was aroused and kindled and set on fire to love and seek and capture and hold fast and strongly cling ... to wisdom." Philosophy keeps literature honest and helps it to actively seek universal truth in its depictions of the human condition, whatever it might be. Literature also needs a firm foundation in the Scriptures, from which so much of literature's goodness and beauty can flow. Scripture is, in its essence, a love song written by God for humanity to express His deep desire to be one with us and His never-failing commitment to our salvation: "He brought me forth into a broad place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me" (Ps. 18:19); "You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride" (Song 4:9); "I have taken you by the hand and kept you" (Is. 42:6); "I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who raises an infant to his cheeks" (Hos. 11:4); "I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you" (Jn. 14:18); "As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you; abide in My love" (Jn. 15:9). When the beauties of Scripture are kept at the heart of literature, the literary work will become life-giving and enriching; it will reflect the beauty and goodness inherent in the love story it imitates. God, as the greatest Author of all, gives us a pattern on which to base our own sub-creations in the world of art. When these principles are applied, literature takes on its most fruitful and dynamic form, and becomes a medium by which we can eventually find rest for our restless hearts.


The point of this blog is not to tell anyone what they should or should not consider entertaining, nor what films, books, lyrics, or television shows are morally or artistically good or bad. The point is to engage with the stories that are creating our culture on an intellectual level, to meet the morals with our minds before they go to our hearts. Once you know what's in the entertainment you imbibe and you're aware of how it may be shaping your perceptions of the world around you, well then, imbibe away!
Shared From 
My Photo 

I am a PhD student in literature at the University of Ottawa. My interest in literature spreads beyond the canon and into whatever areas of life in which stories are being told. Movies, music, comic books, television -- everything serves as a story, and these stories inform our own life stories. The novels and movies we laud and loathe inform us of our cultural story, the desires of our hearts, and our vision of ourselves. In thinking about stories, we think about us and enact one of the most important things we can do as individuals: know thyself.

Today's Mass Online : Sat. May 17, 2014

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 284

Reading 1ACTS 13:44-52

On the following sabbath
almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
R. Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel JN 14:7-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to Jesus,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

Young Christian Pregnant Mother Sentenced to be Killed Please #PrayForMeriam #MeriamIbrahim

For Father Samir, Meriam's death sentence adds cruelty to human rights violations 
by Samir Khalil Samir
Raised as a Christian, the Sudanese woman was sentenced to death for apostasy. Because she was married to a Christian man, she was also given 100 lashes for adultery. As Islamic radicalism spreads its violence around the world, it is time for Muslims to condemn Islam's violent version, choosing the "Islam of the city," not the "Bedouin Islam of the desert."

Beirut (AsiaNews) - Convicted of apostasy, a Sudanese woman was sentenced to death by hanging. Since she is seven months pregnant, the sentence will not be carried out for two years after she gives birth. Considered a Muslim, her marriage to a Christian man is not legal under Islamic law; therefore, she will also submit to one hundred lushes for adultery. As astonishing and horrible as the story may sound, it is a real life tale of human rights violations.
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag is 27. Her father is a Muslim who left her and her family when she was born. Raised as a Christian by her Ethiopian-born Orthodox mother, she later married a Christian from South Sudan.
However, Sudan has been under Sharia since 1983. As a result of this, an Islamic court sentenced Meriem to death last Sunday. She was given four days to recant and return to Islam.
Speaking from the caged box in the courtroom yesterday during the final ruling, she told the judge"I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy".
In addition to the death sentence, the judge imposed 100 lashes for "adultery". Meriem had been arrested because her marriage in August 2013 to a Christian man was not valid under Islamic law. When she told the court that she was a Christian, and not an adulteress, the Islamic court convicted her of apostasy as well.
After the sentence, some of Meriam's friends demonstrated in favour of her release. Her lawyers plan to appeal, pointing out that the sentence contradicts Sudan's constitution (as does Islamic law).
Given the international community's growing interest and outcry, AsiaNews has turned to Islam expert Samir Khalil Samir for his thoughts. Here is what he had to say.
The cruelty and human rights violations embodied in Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag's story and conviction lead me to a number of considerations.
First of all, she was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother, she was for all intents and purpose, according to Islam, a Muslim. In such cases, the father, not the offspring, always decides. Yet, this is a violation of basic human rights and children's rights. We must protest against this practice as it is applied across the Islamic world without an utterance of protest.
When a Christian father - for the sake of expediency, for divorce for example - chooses to become Muslim, all his children become Muslim and are taken away from their Christian mother and given to the father's Muslim side. This happens in dozens of cases each year in Egypt. The father is Muslim, so the whole family must be Muslim. Such a principle is unacceptable.
Secondly, her father left the family, the young woman was a Christian. Her mother is Christian, and she got married to a Christian. A Muslim woman has no right to marry a non-Muslim. She must always choose a Muslim husband or a husband willing to become one before marriage. This problem exists in Europe as well. All Muslim women living in Europe have to force their husbands to become a Muslim; otherwise, they cannot marry or are not allowed to marry because they cannot get the green light from their embassies. The fact is that a woman from a Muslim country, in Italy for example, must obtain a single status certificate to marry. To do so, she has to write to her embassy, which rarely replies. When she goes to the embassy, she says: 'I need this document'. The embassy usually replies: 'Bring your future husband's conversion certificate.' All this is crazy, and Europe does nothing to solve this problem. This is a second offence to human rights.
Thirdly, there is the Islamic legal perspective on apostasy. AsiaNews has dealt with it extensively. Changing one's religion is a human right, protected under Article 18 of the Charter of Human Rights, which guarantees that everyone has the right to change or renounce religion. However, in Islamic countries, this is impossible. Every year, many people are killed by their family, if not by the State, for doing so. When people leave Islam, and say so publicly, they must be killed. Often, the only solution for them is to live like Muslims, experiencing their change only in their heart. This is what many do. That, however, becomes impossible if the person marries a Christian, just as Meriam did.
Fourthly, there is the fact of the death penalty as a punishment for apostasy. Why the death penalty? For what crime? This is the most offensive aspect of the whole thing from a moral point of view! I can understand that within a certain religious tradition leaving one's faith, i.e.  apostasy, may be seen as a sin but that, in and of itself, is not a crime. That someone may be given the heaviest penalty and be put to death is unacceptable.
In Sudan's case, there is finally an aspect of unqualified cruelty: delaying the death penalty until the victim gives birth to the child she has in her womb. It is as if the court is saying: We will kill you but we want your baby! It is unspeakably cruel for the mother and the child's future. Sooner or later, he will find out how his mother died, killed after giving birth.
All five of these elements are unacceptable.
Violence in and criticism of Islam
There is a broader problem here. As cruel as they may be, the kind of violence and death that Meriam can expect are gaining ground in the Muslim world. We see it in Syria, Egypt, Mali, Nigeria and elsewhere.
Many say that Islam has nothing to do with violence, that Islam means tolerance, etc. That is untrue. Islam opposes certain forms of violence but accepts other. A certain kind of reawakening among radical movements, spurred by "weakness in the Islamic world," is usually blamed for this bloodthirsty reaction.
Many Muslims are conscious that Islam is being rejected all over the world. They see Islamophobia everywhere. And they often say, "We need to go back to the sources." Yet, it is exactly those revivalist movements that show that the violence of early Islam. Understandably, the latter belonged to the Bedouin world of the 7thcentury, but it would be a mistake to believe that in the 21st century, "If we want to find the essential source of our religion, of our thinking, of our culture, we must materially recreate the desert of the 7th century."
Here in Lebanon I hear a lot of people say: "There are two Islam: a Bedouin Islam, that of the desert (the Arab desert I mean), and the ordinary Islam. We do not want the Bedouin Islam, we want the Islam of the city".
A serious problem haunts the Islamic world, which we might described as "theological". How can we interpret what is in the tradition, that is the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Sunna? Can we continue to claim that the true Islam is that of the Medina period (622-632), that is Muhammad's warrior period? Is that the ideal? Or can we say that that way of life was an initial phase, quite normal for Bedouins, and typical of the pre-Islamic era. And that it is being maintained for cultural reasons? If this theological issue is not settled, then Islam will stand against the whole world and against itself because most Muslims do not want this kind of Islam.
Unfortunately, the voice that theologians, revolutionaries, warriors and politicians hear is that of violence. Muslims who oppose violence lack the courage to protest, or the opportunity to do so.
It pains me to see all those Muslims who complain about Islamophobia in Europe do nothing when it comes to protesting against the type of violence visited upon Meriam. Yet, that is what they ought to do. Muslims should go in front of Sudan's embassies around the world and say, "We are opposed to this." If they do not do that, it is quite reasonable to expect Westerners, Africans, and the entire world to say that "Islam is a religion of violence."

If Muslims want to save Islam's honour, and I hope they do, they must have the courage to go against radical and intolerant interpretations of Islam. Only then can they say that "Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace."
Sign the Petition to Save her - Get Involved by following this LINK

Nigerian Girls Still Held by Terrorist Group - Please Pray #BringBackOurGirls


CISA RELEASE: CHIBOK, May 13, 2014 (CISA) –Attempts to broker the return of the missing school girls held in a rebel camp somewhere in northern Nigeria were apparently quashed when a government minister forcefully rejected any deal.
According to Global Information Network, the offered deal, from Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Boko Haram rebel group of kidnappers, would have released the girls in exchange for prisoners being held by the Nigerian government. Minister Abba Moro gave thumbs down to any exchange.
Shekau made his offer in a video, obtained by a French news agency, which is believed to be the first to show the missing girls alive. In long gowns or “chadors” worn by Muslim women, the girls are sitting silently or in prayer lead by the kidnappers who also claim to have converted the girls to Islam. Most of the girls, between 14 and 16 years of age, were Christian.
Thousands of Boko Haram suspects –including women and children – have been jailed over the years by security forces since fighting intensified between insurgents and Nigerian soldiers back in 2011. Human rights groups call the jail conditions “atrocious.” After a prison break earlier this year by Boko Haram fighters, more than 600 people, most of them unarmed recaptured detainees, were summarily killed by the military, according to “credible sources” cited by Amnesty International.
The Nigerian government has now reportedly made “indirect contact” with the terrorist group. The official response to the kidnapping – delayed for almost 3 weeks – infuriated Nigerians and sympathizers all over the world who responded with the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Rallies continue to be held in Nigeria and in Washington, including a televised appeal by Michele Obama.
Meanwhile, the watchdog group Amnesty International has gathered testimonies to confirm that Nigerian security forces knew that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters was approaching the town of Chibok four hours before the kidnapping and did nothing to stop them.
Nearby military commands in Damboa and Maiduguri were repeatedly contacted with warnings by both security and local officials.
Armed Boko Haram fighters on motorbikes and trucks were seen by locals, some of whom also raised the alarm. In the village of Gagilam, local civilian patrols alerted officials, including the Borno State Governor and senior military commanders based in Maiduguri. One resident of the area said he made several calls to local officials and was promised by the security people that reinforcement was on its way.
Two senior officers in Nigeria’s military confirmed to Amnesty International that the military was aware of the planned attack even before the calls received from local officials.
An urgent, independent and transparent investigation is clearly essential. But the first priority for Nigeria’s security forces is to achieve the rescue of the schoolgirls.

Saint May 17 St. Paschal Baylon - Patron of Eucharistic Associations

St. Paschal Baylon
Feast: May 17

Feast Day:May 17
Born:1540, Torrehermosa, Aragon
Died:17 May 1592
Canonized:October 16, 1690 by Alexander VIII
Major Shrine:Royal Chapel in Villareal
Patron of:Patron of Eucharistic congresses and Eucharistic associations
The state of poverty was honored by the choice of our blessed Redeemer, and hath been favored with his special blessing. It removes men from many dangers and temptations, and furnishes them with perpetual occasions for the exercise of self-denial, patience, penance, resignation to the divine will, and every other heroic Christian virtue: yet these great means of salvation are by many, through ignorance, impatience, and inordinate desires, often perverted into occasions of  their temporal and eternal misery. Happy are they who, by making a right use of the spiritual advantages which this state, so dear to our divine Redeemer, offers them, procure to themselves present peace, joy, and every solid good; and make every circumstance of that condition in which providence hath placed them a step to perfect virtue and to everlasting happiness. This in an eminent degree was the privilege of St. Paschal Baylon. He was born in 1540, at Torre-Hermosa, a small country town in the kingdom of Aragon. His parents were day-laborers, and very virtuous; and to their example our saint was greatly indebted for the spirit of piety and devotion, which he seemed to have sucked in from his mother's milk. Their circumstances were too narrow to afford his being sent to school; but the pious child, out of an earnest desire of attaining to so great a means of instruction, carried a book with him into the fields where he watched the sheep, and desired those that he met to teach him the letters; and thus, in a short time, being yet very young, he learned to read. This advantage he made use of only to improve his soul in devotion and piety: books of amusement he never would look into; but the lives of the saints, and, above all, meditations on the life of Christ were his chiefest delight. He loved nothing but what was serious and of solid advantage, at a time of life in which many seem scarce susceptible of such impressions. When he was of a proper age, he engaged with a master to keep his flocks as under-shepherd: he was delighted with the innocent and quiet life his state permitted him to lead. That solitary life had charms for him. Whatever he saw was to him an object of faith and devotion. He read continually in the great book of nature; and from every object raised his soul to God, whom he contemplated and praised in all his works. Besides external objects, he had almost continually a spiritual book in his hands, which served to instruct and to inflame his veal in the love and practice of virtue. His master, who was a person of singular piety, was charmed with his edifying conduct, and made him an offer to adopt him for his son, and to make him his heir. But Paschal, who desired only the goods of another life, was afraid that those of this world would prove to him an incumbrance; he therefore modestly declined the favor, desiring always to remain his humble state, as being more conformable to that which Christ chose for himself on earth, who came not into the world to be served, but to serve. He was often discovered praying on his knees under some tree, while his flocks were browsing on the hills. It was by this secret entertainment of his soul with God, in the most profound humility, and perfect purity of his affections, that he acquired a most sublime science and experience in spiritual things, at which those who were the most advanced were struck with admiration. He could truly say with David: 1 He spoke of God and of virtue with an inimitable unction and experimental light, and with sentiments which the Holy Ghost alone forms in souls which are perfectly disengaged from earthly things, and replenished with his heavenly fire. Often was he seen ravished in holy prayer; and frequently was not able to conceal from the eyes of men the vehement ardor of the divine love with which his soul melted in an excess of heavenly sweetness. He felt in himself what many servants of God assure us of, that "the consolation which the Holy Ghost frequently infuses into pious souls, is greater than all the pleasures of the world together, could they be enjoyed by one man. It makes the heart to dissolve and melt through excess of joy, under which it is unable to contain itself." In these sentiments did this servant of God sing with David: 2 The reward of virtue is reserved for heaven; but some comforts are not denied during the present time of trial. Even in this vale of tears, Isa. li. 3. It is sufficiently understood that the saint did not receive these heavenly comforts without severe interior trials, and a constant practice of self-denial, by which his heart was crucified to the world. The dew of extraordinary spiritual comforts never falls on unmortified souls, which seek the delights of this world. St. Paschal in his poverty joined alms with his continual prayer; and not having any other means to relieve the poor, always gave them a good part of his own dinner which was sent him into the fields.

How great soever his love was for his profession, he found however several difficulties in it which made him think of leaving it. He was not able, notwithstanding all the care he could take, to hinder a flock of goats he had in charge from sometimes trespassing on another's ground. This occasioned his giving over the inspection of that flock. But he found other troubles in taking care of other cattle. Some of his companions, not baying the same piety with himself, were but too much addicted to cursing, quarrelling, and fighting; nor were they to be reclaimed by his gentle rebukes on these accounts. He was therefore determined to leave them, not to participate in their crimes. And to learn the will of God in this important choice of a state of life in which he might most faithfully serve him, he redoubled lids prayers, fasts, and other austerities. After some time spent in this manner, ho determined to become a religious man. Those to whom he first disclosed his inclination to a religious state, pointed out to him several convents richly endowed. But that circumstance alone was enough to disgust him; and his answer was: "I was born poor, and I am resolved to live and die in poverty arid penance." Being at that time twenty years of age he left his master, his friends, and his country, and went into the kingdom of Valentia, where was an austere convent of barefoot reformed Franciscans, called Soccolans, which stood in a desert solitude, but at no great distance from the town of Montfort. He addressed himself to the fathers of this house for spiritual advice; and, in the mean time, he entered into the service of certain farmers in the neighborhood to keep their sheep. He continued here his penitential and retired life in assiduous prayer, and was known in the whole country by the name of the Holy Shepherd. To sequester himself from the world, he made the more haste to petition for the habit of a lay-brother in the house above-mentioned: and was admitted in 1564. The fathers desired to persuade him to enter himself among the clerks, or those who aspired to holy orders, and sing  the divine office in the choir; but they were obliged to yield to his humility, and admit him among the lay-brothers of the community. He was not only a fervent novice, which we often see, but also a most fervent religious man, always advancing, and never losing ground. Though his rule was most austere, he added continually to its severity, but always with simplicity of heart, without the least attachment to his own will; and whenever he was admonished of any excess in his practices of mortification, he most readily confined himself to the letter of his rule. The meanest employments always gave him the highest satisfaction. Whenever he changed convents, according to the custom of his order, the better to prevent any secret attachments of the heart, he never complained of any thing, nor so much as said that he found any thing in one house more agreeable than in another; because, being entirely dead to himself; he everywhere sought only God. He never allowed himself a moment of repose between the Church and cloister duties, and his work; nor did his labor interrupt his prayer. He had never more than one habit, and that always threadbare. He walked without sandals in the snows, and in the roughest roads. He accommodated himself to all places and seasons, and was always content, cheerful, mild, affable, and full of respect for all. He thought himself honored if employed in any painful and low office to serve any one.
The general of the order happening to be at Paris, Paschal was sent thither to him about some necessary business of his province. Many of the cities through which he was to pass in France, were in the hands of the Huguenots, who were then in arms. Yet he offered himself to a martyrdom of obedience, travelled in his habit, and without so much as sandals on his feet, was often pursued by the Huguenots with sticks and stones, and received a wound on one shoulder of which he remained lame as long as he lived. He was twice taken for a spy; but God delivered him out of all dangers. On the very day on which he arrived at his convent from this tedious journey, he went out to his work and other duties as usual. He never spoke of any thing that had happened to him in his journey unless asked; and then was careful to suppress whatever might reflect on him the least honor or praise. He had a singular devotion to the mother of God, whose intercession he never ceased to implore that he might be preserved from sin. The holy sacrament of the altar was the object of his most tender devotion; also the passion of our divine Redeemer. He spent, especially towards the end of his life, a considerable part of the night at the foot of the altar on his knees, or prostrate on the ground. In prayer he was often favored with ecstasies and raptures. He died at Villa Reale, near Valentia, on the 17th of May, in 1592, being fifty-two years old. His corpse was exposed three days, during which time the great multitudes which from all parts visited the church, were witnesses to many miracles by which God attested the sanctity of his servant. St. Paschal was beatified by Pope Paul V. in 1618, and canonized by Alexander VIII. in 1690.

If Christians in every station endeavored with their whole strength continually to advance in virtue, the Church would be filled with saints. But alas! though it be an undoubted maxim, that not to go on in a spiritual life is to fall back, "Nothing is more rare," says St. Bernard, "than to find persons who always press forward. We see more converted from vice to virtue, than increase their fervor in virtue." This is something dreadful. The same father assigns two principal reasons. First, many who begin well, after some time grow again remiss in the exercises of mortification and prayer, and return to the amusements, pleasures, and vanities of a worldly life. Secondly, others who are regular and constant in exterior duties, neglect to watch over and cultivate their interior; so that some interior spiritual vice insinuates itself into their affections, and renders them an abomination in the eyes of God. "A man" says St. Bernard,4 "who gives himself up entirely to exterior exercises without looking seriously into his own heart to see what passes there, imposes upon himself, imagining that he is something while he is nothing. His eyes being always fixed on his exterior actions, he flatters himself that he goes on well, and neither sees nor feels the secret worm which gnaws and consumes his heart. He keeps all fasts, assists at all parts of the divine office, and fails in no exercise of piety or penance; yet God declares, '' He only employs his hands in fulfilling the precepts, and his heart is hard and dry. His duties are complied with by habit and a certain rotation: he omits not a single iota of all his exterior employments; but while he strains at a gnat, he swallows a camel. In his heart he is a slave to self-will, and is a prey to avarice, vain-glory, and ambition: one or other or all these vices together reign in his soul."


Friday, May 16, 2014

Free Catholic Movie MOLOKAI - Stars Peter O'Toole and David Wenham

Molokai (1999) "Molokai: The Story of Father Damien" (original title) 113 min - Biography | Drama - 17 March 1999 (Belgium) The true story of the 19th century priest who volunteered to go to the island of Molokai, to console and care for the lepers. For  Breaking News, Prayers, Inspiration and Free Movies

Director: Paul Cox Writers: John Briley, Hilde Eynikel (book) Stars: David Wenham, Kate Ceberano, Jan Decleir |
For  Breaking News, Prayers, Inspiration and Free Movies

No comments: