Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Christmas Reflection

"Jesus has given us the gift of Himself. We can give him the gift of our hearts. The fullness of our hearts is revealed by our actions: how I treat the homeless, how I treat these refugees, how I treat each individual person—-not as an impersonal one of millions, but as one in a million. Each one is Jesus, who suffers in this distressing disguise. It’s the body of Christ you are touching. How loving our hearts and our hands must be, to be able to bring our compassion to them…

"The Joyful Mysteries are not all pure joy; rather they are tinged with sorrow and suffering. For Jesus, Mary and Joseph, that was their life, and they freely accepted the will of God. On this joyous Christmas Day, we too can share in the sorrow and suffering of the refugees. Our joy transcends this transient human suffering when we embrace it with love."

--Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, address to Bengali refugees, December 25, 1971 (from the forthcoming book My Christmas with Mother Teresa by John Mathews with Justin Soutar)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quote of the Day

"In fact, the mystery of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, which occurred historically more than 2,000 years ago, is implemented as a spiritual event in the 'today of the liturgy.' The Word, who dwelled in the virginal womb of Mary, in the celebration of Christmas, comes to call anew the heart of each Christian. He comes by and calls. Each one of us is called to respond, as Mary did, with a personal and sincere "yes," placing ourselves fully at the disposal of God and his mercy. How many times Jesus comes in our lives and how many times he sends us an angel. And how many times we don't realize it because we are very busy, submerged in our thoughts, in our activities, and in these days, in the preparation for Christmas, and we don't realize the one who is passing by and knocking at the door of our hearts asking to be welcomed, asking for a "yes" like that of Mary. A saint said, 'I fear that the Lord will pass by.' Do you know why he was afraid? It was fear of not realizing, of allowing him to pass by.

"When we feel in our hearts, 'I would like to be better. I repent of this thing I've done,' there is the Lord who calls, who makes us feel this, the desire to be better, the desire to be closer to others, to God. If you feel this, stop. The Lord is there. Go to pray, and maybe go to confession to clean up the dwelling a bit. This is good. But remember well, if you feel this desire to improve, it is He who is calling. Do not let him pass by.

"In the mystery of Christmas, beside Mary, in silence, is the presence of St. Joseph, as is represented in all the nativity scenes, also in this one that you can admire here in St. Peter's Square. The example of Mary and of Joseph is for all of us an invitation to welcome Jesus with an entirely open soul, Jesus who out of love has made himself our brother. He comes to bring to the world the gift of peace. 'Peace to those on whom his favor rests,' as the choir of angels announced to the shepherds. The precious gift of Christmas is peace and Christ is our true peace. And Christ calls to our hearts to give us peace. Peace of the soul. Let us open the gates to Christ.

"We entrust ourselves to the intercession of our Mother and of St. Joseph, to live a Christmas that is truly Christian, free of all worldliness, prepared to welcome the Savior, the God-with-us."

--Pope Francis

Monday, December 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The heart of man desires joy. All of us aspire to joy. Every family, every people aspires to happiness. But what is the joy to which the Christian is called to live and to give witness? It is that that comes from the closeness of God, of his presence in our lives. Since Jesus entered history, with his birth in Bethlehem, humanity has received the seed of the Kingdom of God, as the earth receives a seed, the promise of a future harvest. We don't need to look elsewhere. Jesus came to bring joy to everyone and for ever.

"It is not a joy that is merely anticipated or set in paradise -- 'here on earth we are sad but in paradise, we'll be happy.' No. It's not that. Rather, [it is] a joy that is already real and that can be felt now, because Jesus himself is our joy, is our home....

"All of us who are baptized, the children of the Church, are called to welcome ever again the presence of God in our midst and to help others to discover it, or to rediscover it if we've forgotten it. It is a beautiful mission, similar to that of John the Baptist: to point people toward Christ -- not to ourselves -- because He is the final goal toward which the human heart reaches when it seeks joy and happiness....

"The Christian is a person who has his heart full of peace, because he knows how to place his joy in the Lord, even when the difficult moments of life arise.

"To have faith does not mean to not have difficult moments, but to have the strength to face them, knowing we are not alone. And this is the Peace that God gives to his children."

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Quote of the Day

"So now, let us allow Isaiah’s invitation - “Comfort, give comfort to my people” - resound in our hearts in this time of Advent. Today there is a need for people who are witnesses of the mercy and tenderness of the Lord, which shakes up those who are resigned, revives the discouraged, ignites the fire of hope. It is He who ignites the fire of hope, not us!

"So many situations require our consoling witness. To be joyful people, consoled. I think of those who are oppressed by suffering, injustice and abuses; those who are enslaved by money, power, success, worldliness. Poor things, they have a false consolation, they do not have the true consolation of the Lord!....

"Isaiah’s a balm on our wounds and an impetus to prepare the way of the Lord diligently. The prophet, in fact, speaks today to our hearts to tell us that God forgets our sins and consoles us. If we trust in Him with humble and contrite hearts, He will break down the walls of evil, He will fill the holes of our omissions, He will pave the bumps of pride and vanity and will open a path of encounter with Him.

"It is curious, but so many times, we are afraid of consolation, of being consoled. In fact, we feel safer in sadness and desolation. Do you know why? Because in sadness, we feel almost like the protagonists. Instead, in consolation, the Holy Spirit is the protagonist! It is He who consoles us, it is He who gives us the courage to come out of ourselves. It is He who brings us to the source of every true consolation, that is, the Father. And this is conversion. Please, let yourselves be consoled by the Lord! Let yourselves be consoled by the Lord!"

--Pope Francis

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: A Crowning Victory

Well, it happened again: another Republican landslide victory. Can you believe it? In the Louisiana Senate runoff election this past Saturday, December 6, Republican challenger Bill Cassidy soundly defeated Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu, receiving 57 percent of the vote to 43 percent for Landrieu. With this stunning final victory of the 2014 Congressional general elections, Republicans have picked up a total of nine new seats in the U.S. Senate, three more than they needed to gain a majority in the upper house of Congress. Just a few weeks from now, Republicans will hold 54 Senate seats to 46 for the Democrats.

And yes, the mainstream media outlets were wrong again in predicting a close election. Of course, since they are overwhelmingly controlled and influenced by the same Wall Street corporate interests that largely control and influence the Obama administration, it's little wonder that their content is so heavily biased and unreliable (which is why I try to avoid it as much as possible). Because they worship the false triune god of money, sex and power and are thus living in permanent spiritual darkness, the big media moguls are naturally more interested in serving us deception than truth, especially when the truth inconveniently pierces their flimsy little soap bubbles. I was wondering how this election was going over the weekend, but I didn't hear anything about it, so this morning I visited the Fox News website (one of those mainstream media outlets) to find out what was going on. I had to do some digging to find any news of the election at all, since they had pretty well buried the story. Once I finally unearthed what I was looking for, I was pleasantly surprised. What a great capper to the historic and game-changing elections of 2014!

It's plainly obvious that the Obama administration and the mainstream media are in denial about the sweeping Republican and Tea Party takeover of America. It's a huge defeat for them and their anti-God agenda, and they just can't seem to get over it. These pundits and politicians are the sorest losers I have ever seen. President Obama and his lackeys want their way no matter what, and even with the end of their political careers staring them in the face, they are desperate to ram the rest of their agenda down our throats by any legal or illegal means necessary before the day of reckoning arrives and they are finally compelled by law to leave office. They and their mainstream media pals wish that all of this just hadn't happened, that the new Republican majorities in Congress and state governorships would just go away. They need to wake up and face reality.

As a last-ditch attempt to minimize their losses, the big corporate interests that back the Obama adminitration and the mainstream media are now putting enormous pressure on our newly elected and re-elected Republican and Tea Party representatives in both houses of Congress to cowardly surrender to their immoral agenda for this nation. Their one remaining hope to is corrupt enough Republican senators and members of Congress to allow that agenda to continue moving forward largely unimpeded despite this historic power shift. So let's keep our newly elected and re-elected public servants in our prayers, that they stick to their guns and do what is right for our country in accord with their Judeo-Christian values, the natural law and the Constitution of the U.S. instead of giving in to bribery and blackmail as so many establishment politicians have done. It's our duty as Christians to pray for our elected officials, so let's not forget to do this. We are, or at least we should be, a Christian country, a nation that trusts in God. We cannot restore America to greatness without Him. So let's pray for our country every day.

With this post, I will now close my ElectionWatch 2014 series. Thank you for reading and following along. May God bless you, and may He watch over and bless the United States of America! Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, pray for us!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

"He [Jesus] makes us know the Father, introduces us to this inner life that He has. And to whom does the Father reveal this? To whom does he give this grace? 'I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little ones'. Only those whose hearts are like the young are capable of receiving this revelation, the humble of heart, the meek, who feel the need to pray, to open up to God, who feel poor; only he who goes forward with the first Beatitude: the poor in spirit.

"Many may know the science, theology well, so many! But if they do not practice this theology on their knees, humbly, like children, they will not understand anything. It will tell them many things, but they will not understand anything. Only with this poverty is one capable of receiving the revelation that the Father gives through Jesus, through Jesus. Jesus is not like a captain, an army general, a powerful ruler, no, no. He is like a bud. Just like we heard in the First Reading: 'On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse'. He is a bud that is humble, mild, and came to the humble, and to the meek, to bring salvation to the sick, the poor, the oppressed...

"We ask the Lord, in this Advent season, to bring us nearer to his mystery and to do so the way that He wants us to do: the way of humility, the way of meekness, the way of poverty, the road where we feel sin. So that he can come to save us, to free us. May the Lord give us this grace."

--Pope Francis