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Good News Everyday!

NHA TRANG, Vietnam: Sitting cross-legged on a straw mat in the middle of the living room, Tong Phuoc Phuc sings a soothing Vietnamese lullaby. For a moment, his deep voice works magic, and the tiny room crammed with 13 babies is still.Phuc giggles like a proud papa. He’s not related to any of them, but without him, many of these children likely would have been aborted. And to Phuc, abortion is unimaginable.

The 41-year-old Catholic from the coastal town of Nha Trang has opened his door to unwed expectant mothers in a country that logs one of the world’s highest abortion rates. In 2006, there were more than 114,000 abortions at state hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City — outnumbering births. Most pregnant, unmarried Vietnamese women have few options. Abortion is a welcome choice for many who simply cannot afford to care for a baby or are unwilling to risk…

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Pope Benedict XVI: Homily on the Assumption 2008

SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

St Thomas of Villanova Parish, Castel Gandolfo
Friday, 15 August 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the oldest Marian Feast, returns every year in the heart of summer. It is an opportunity to rise with Mary to the heights of the spirit where one breathes the pure air of supernatural life and contemplates the most authentic beauty, the beauty of holiness. The atmosphere of today’s celebration is steeped in paschal joy. “Today”, the antiphon of the Magnificat says, “the Virgin Mary was taken up to Heaven. Rejoice, for she reigns with Christ for ever. Alleluia”. This proclamation speaks to us of an event that is utterly unique and extraordinary, yet destined to fill the heart of every human being with hope and happiness. Mary is indeed the first fruit of the new humanity, the creature in whom the mystery of Christ – his Incarnation, death, Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven – has already fully taken effect, redeeming her from death and conveying her, body and soul, to the Kingdom of immortal life. For this reason, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, the Virgin Mary is a sign of certain hope and comfort to us (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 68). Today’s feast impels us to lift our gaze to Heaven; not to a heaven consisting of abstract ideas or even an imaginary heaven created by art, but the Heaven of true reality which is God himself. God is Heaven. He is our destination, the destination and the eternal dwelling place from which we come and for which we are striving.

St Germanus, Bishop of Constantinople in the eighth century, in a homily given on the Feast of the Assumption, addressing the heavenly Mother of God said: “You are the One who through your immaculate flesh reunited the Christian people with Christ…. Just as all who thirst hasten to the fountain, so every soul hastens to you, the Fountain of love, and as every man aspires to live, to see the light that never fades, so every Christian longs to enter the light of the Most Blessed Trinity where you already are”. It is these same sentiments that inspire us today as we contemplate Mary in God’s glory. In fact, when she fell asleep in this world to reawaken in Heaven, she simply followed her Son Jesus for the last time, on his longest and most crucial journey, his passage “from this world to the Father” (cf. Jn 13: 1).

Like him, together with him, she departed this world to return “to the Father’s House” (cf. Jn 14: 2). And all this is not remote from us as it might seem at first sight, because we are all children of the Father, God; we are all brothers and sisters of Jesus and we are all also children of Mary, our Mother. And we all aspire to happiness. And the happiness to which we all aspire is God, so we are all journeying on toward this happiness we call Heaven which in reality is God. And Mary helps us, she encourages us to ensure that every moment of our life is a step forward on this exodus, on this journey toward God. May she help us in this way to make the reality of heaven, God’s greatness, also present in the life of our world. Is this not basically the paschal dynamism of the human being, of every person who wants to become heavenly, perfectly happy, by virtue of Christ’s Resurrection? And might this not be the beginning and anticipation of a movement that involves every human being and the entire cosmos? She, from whom God took his flesh and whose soul was pierced by a sword on Calvary, was associated first and uniquely in the mystery of this transformation for which we, also often pierced by the sword of suffering in this world, are all striving.

The new Eve followed the new Adam in suffering, in the Passion, and so too in definitive joy. Christ is the first fruits but his risen flesh is inseparable from that of his earthly Mother, Mary. In Mary all humanity is involved in the Assumption to God, and together with her all creation, whose groans and sufferings, St Paul tells us, are the birth-pangs of the new humanity. Thus are born the new Heaven and the new earth in which death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more (cf. Rv 21: 1-4).

What a great mystery of love is presented to us once again today for our contemplation! Christ triumphed over death with the omnipotence of his love. Love alone is omnipotent. This love impelled Christ to die for us and thus to overcome death. Yes, love alone gives access to the Kingdom of life! And Mary entered after her Son, associated with his Glory, after being associated with his Passion. She entered it with an uncontainable force, keeping the way behind her open to us all. And for this reason we invoke her today as “Gate of Heaven”, “Queen of Angels” and “Refuge of sinners”. It is certainly not reasoning that will make us understand this reality which is so sublime, but rather simple, forthright faith and the silence of prayer that puts us in touch with the Mystery that infinitely exceeds us. Prayer helps us speak with God and hear how the Lord speaks to our heart.

Let us ask Mary today to make us the gift of her faith, that faith which enables us already to live in the dimension between finite and infinite, that faith which also transforms the sentiment of time and the passing of our existence, that faith in which we are profoundly aware that our life is not retracted by the past but attracted towards the future, towards God, where Christ, and behind him Mary, has preceded us.

By looking at Mary’s Assumption into Heaven we understand better that even though our daily life may be marked by trials and difficulties, it flows like a river to the divine ocean, to the fullness of joy and peace. We understand that our death is not the end but rather the entrance into life that knows no death. Our setting on the horizon of this world is our rising at the dawn of the new world, the dawn of the eternal day.

“Mary, while you accompany us in the toil of our daily living and dying, keep us constantly oriented to the true homeland of bliss. Help us to do as you did”.

Dear brothers and sisters, dear friends who are taking part in this celebration this morning, let us pray this prayer to Mary together. In the face of the sad spectacle of all the false joy and at the same time of all the anguished suffering which is spreading through the world, we must learn from her to become ourselves signs of hope and comfort; we must proclaim with our own lives Christ’s Resurrection.

“Help us, Mother, bright Gate of Heaven, Mother of Mercy, source through whom came Jesus Christ, our life and our joy. Amen”

Satisfying that deepest human longing — Heaven

Reread this 1999 catechesis on the reality of heaven by Pope John Paul II last night before bed. Think, supreme and definitive happiness…

“Heaven is the transcendent dwelling-place of the living God…” Pope John Paul II

1. When the form of this world has passed away, those who have welcomed God into their lives and have sincerely opened themselves to his love, at least at the moment of death, will enjoy that fullness of communion with God which is the goal of human life.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “this perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed is called “heaven’. Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfilment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (n.1024).

Today we will try to understand the biblical meaning of “heaven”, in order to have a better understanding of the reality to which this expression refers.

2. In biblical language “heaven””, when it is joined to the “earth”, indicates part of the universe. Scripture says about creation: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gn 1:1).

Heaven is the transcendent dwelling-place of the living God

Metaphorically speaking, heaven is understood as the dwelling-place of God, who is thus distinguished from human beings (cf. Ps 104:2f.; 115:16; Is 66:1). He sees and judges from the heights of heaven (cf. Ps 113:4-9) and comes down when he is called upon (cf. Ps 18:9, 10; 144:5). However the biblical metaphor makes it clear that God does not identify himself with heaven, nor can he be contained in it (cf. 1 Kgs 8:27); and this is true, even though in some passages of the First Book of the Maccabees “Heaven” is simply one of God’s names (1 Mc 3:18, 19, 50, 60; 4:24, 55).

The depiction of heaven as the transcendent dwelling-place of the living God is joined with that of the place to which believers, through grace, can also ascend, as we see in the Old Testament accounts of Enoch (cf. Gn 5:24) and Elijah (cf. 2 Kgs 2:11). Thus heaven becomes an image of life in God. In this sense Jesus speaks of a “reward in heaven” (Mt 5:12) and urges people to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (ibid., 6:20; cf. 19:21).

3. The New Testament amplifies the idea of heaven in relation to the mystery of Christ. To show that the Redeemer’s sacrifice acquires perfect and definitive value, the Letter to the Hebrews says that Jesus “passed through the heavens” (Heb 4:14), and “entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself” (ibid., 9:24). Since believers are loved in a special way by the Father, they are raised with Christ and made citizens of heaven. It is worthwhile listening to what the Apostle Paul tells us about this in a very powerful text: “God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:4-7). The fatherhood of God, who is rich in mercy, is experienced by creatures through the love of God’s crucified and risen Son, who sits in heaven on the right hand of the Father as Lord.

4. After the course of our earthly life, participation in complete intimacy with the Father thus comes through our insertion into Christ’s paschal mystery. St Paul emphasizes our meeting with Christ in heaven at the end of time with a vivid spatial image: “Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thes 4:17-18).

Sacramental life is anticipation of heaven

In the context of Revelation, we know that the “heaven” or “happiness” in which we will find ourselves is neither an abstraction nor a physical place in the clouds, but a living, personal relationship with the Holy Trinity. It is our meeting with the Father which takes place in the risen Christ through the communion of the Holy Spirit.

It is always necessary to maintain a certain restraint in describing these “ultimate realities” since their depiction is always unsatisfactory. Today, personalist language is better suited to describing the state of happiness and peace we will enjoy in our definitive communion with God.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church sums up the Church’s teaching on this truth: “By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has “opened’ heaven to us. The life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect possession of the fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ. He makes partners in his heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ” (n. 1026).

5. This final state, however, can be anticipated in some way today in sacramental life, whose centre is the Eucharist, and in the gift of self through fraternal charity. If we are able to enjoy properly the good things that the Lord showers upon us every day, we will already have begun to experience that joy and peace which one day will be completely ours. We know that on this earth everything is subject to limits, but the thought of the “ultimate” realities helps us to live better the “penultimate” realities. We know that as we pass through this world we are called to seek “the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col 3:1), in order to be with him in the eschatological fulfilment, when the Spirit will fully reconcile with the Father “all things, whether on earth or in heaven” (Col 1:20).

R.I.P. Ron Provost

Love’s the greatest healer to be found…

To The Family and Friends of Ron Provost:

This past Sunday I offered my heart in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the soul of my friend of many years, Ronald Provost.

I will again this Sunday.

Since hearing of Ron’s death earlier this week I’ve found myself, even now, conflicted over his passing. If truth be told, my friendship with Ron occurred during a time when dissipation of life ruled both our days and our nights. Alcohol, drugs, false philosophies and lying political movements, all of which, could never set us free. No, underlying this dissipating cloud was our shared need–and at times–desperate search for, love and truth. Yes, this is what Ron and I shared in common during our time together on earth, the search for love and truth–the meaning of life.

For many years this search of ours always ended in terrible defeat. On too many occasions we found ourselves in the position of men full of sorrows and woe. Yet, thankfully, it was at those very times–when one or the other of us was most in need–that we were there for the other, even though neither of us possessed the cure to what ailed us. ..If it’s true that the human mind can only take so much, and it is, it’s true because of the absence of authentic love and truth within these frail human hearts of ours—something only God can provide in full, and does. It is just as St. Augustine states, “O’Lord our hearts are always restless until they rest in you.”

With his passing, my friend has flown on ahead of us all and met up with the heart of God’s love and truth in fullness—Jesus Christ. Little did we in our day discuss together this merciful God of Love who for our sake became the man of all sorrows for his creatures; and thus the only way, truth, and life capable of leading these thirsty souls of ours up and into the needed love, peace, joy, and rest that is the eternal beatific vision of God the Father in Heaven…

Ron knows well today the meaning of life: to come to know, love, and serve God in this life and be with him forever in the next… On this, I’m not conflicted. And so, may his soul ever increase in such blessedness as a true child of the Light. This is the prayer of my heart I’ll be offering up along with the Virgin Mother of God, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters this coming Sunday…

Rest in peace Ron Provost.

I send herein the love of our family and continued prayers on behalf of the entire Provost family, relatives, and friends.

A closing song for my friend I think he’d enjoy; followed by the Sacred Scripture readings of the day, on this his memorial…

 

Reading I

Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95

King Nebuchadnezzar said:

“Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,

that you will not serve my god,

or worship the golden statue that I set up?

Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I had made,

whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet,

flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe,

and all the other musical instruments;

otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace;

and who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar,

“There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you

in this matter.

If our God, whom we serve,

can save us from the white-hot furnace

and from your hands, O king, may he save us!

But even if he will not, know, O king,

that we will not serve your god

or worship the golden statue that you set up.”

King Nebuchadnezzar’s face became livid with utter rage

against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual

and had some of the strongest men in his army

bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

and cast them into the white-hot furnace.

Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles,

“Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?”

“Assuredly, O king,” they answered.

“But,” he replied, “I see four men unfettered and unhurt,

walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.”

Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed,

“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,

who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him;

they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies

rather than serve or worship any god

except their own God.”

Responsorial Psalm

Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R. (52b) Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,

praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;

And blessed is your holy and glorious name,

praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,

praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,

praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you who look into the depths

from your throne upon the cherubim;

praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,

praiseworthy and glorious forever.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

Gospel

Jn 8:31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,

and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham

and have never been enslaved to anyone.

How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,

everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.

A slave does not remain in a household forever,

but a son always remains.

So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.

I know that you are descendants of Abraham.

But you are trying to kill me,

because my word has no room among you.

I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;

then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”

Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,

you would be doing the works of Abraham.

But now you are trying to kill me,

a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;

Abraham did not do this.

You are doing the works of your father!”

So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication.

We have one Father, God.”

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,

for I came from God and am here;

I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

END OF POST

God is spirit Meatwad…

“Your Jesus confesses he is your Lucifer, now go wArship your great demon Jesus like a good tiny minded christian soldier…”  Meatwad 

Morning Star - Artist: Greg Mort

 First, some background:               

22 And the Scribes, who were come down from Jerusalem, said: *He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of devils he casteth out devils.               

23 And after he had called them together, he said to them in parables: How can Satan cast out Satan?               

24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.               

25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.               

26 And if Satan be risen up against himself, he is divided, and cannot stand, but hath an end.               

27 No man can enter into the house of a strong man, and rob him of his goods, unless he first bind the strong man, and then shall he plunder his house. 28 *Amen, I say to you, that all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and the blasphemies wherewith they shall blaspheme:               

29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, shall never have forgiveness, but shall be guilty of an everlasting sin.               

30 Because they said: He hath an unclean spirit.               

31 And his mother and his brethren came: and standing without, sent to him, calling him.               

From the Editor:               

Dear Meatwad,                

From your comments below it’s obvious that you’ve not acted to blaspheme the Holy Spirit… I have not received the gift of reading the state of souls, nor do I make any judgement on yours. But, one thing is clear, you know neither the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. And so, because of spiritual ignorance you remain unaware of the One responsible for the origin of your soul prior to conception, the interior workings of the soul presently, nor its eternal destination at the twilight of life… All this means is that my reply below will be charitable toward you because as former blasphemer (and worse) of Jesus Christ myself, I know that a day is coming that you will look upon the Son of Man and the Son of God in glory yourself, and like me, realize (with great remorse and tears, I might add) that you hated Him without reason. As Jesus Crucified is Divine Mercy incarnate for all proud souls such as our own; especially in the great moment of need–remember that…                

My Emphasis/My Comments:               

“I attest to the fact that Mary is the quickest, surest, and safest way to the True God made flesh, Her Son, Jesus” [I do… And I offer this encyclical that you might better grasp the role of Mary in the economy of man’s eternal salvation and the life of the Church. And after this, if you find an inkling of inspiration within your heart, follow it by reading and putting into practice True Devotion To Mary–To Jesus through Mary. You will not be turned away at the All-Beautiful Door…]              

Spoken like a true believing catholic. You catholics have every angel and good spirit ever to live in your flock, but you fail to speak of the Father in heaven. [God is spirit Meatwad.  And all things corporeal and non-corporeal, good or evil, are ultimately subject to the will of the Father, the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth… ] It is Mary, Jesus, and all others but the Father. [How So? Explain… Here is the unending creed we believe and recite daily during Holy Mass–in union with God–from the rising of the sun through its setting continually in the world. Notice it begins with “We believe in God, the Father, the Almighty…” So, there is actually unceasing universal prayer in direct reference to the Father, even in this very moment.] I know this is going over your head [It is the Spirit-inflamed heart of man which reaches up by way of the soul and enriches the intellect of the same man with divine wisdom…], with that trinity deception ingrained in your faith […and Divine Wisdom confirms Himself by the Very Holiness of His Name–One God, Three Persons, the Father, Son, Holy Spirit.] you think talking about Jesus is talking of his father [He who has seen the Son, sees the Father, only because the Son has revealed Him to them. No one goes to the Father in spirit on their own except through the Son, Jesus the Christ. And so, Jesus (God Saves) is the absolute prerequisite for attaining eternal salvation in this world. You will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven without Him. This is a spiritual fact confirmed in hypostatic union with the one true God. And the only reason you do not believe is because you do not know the Spirit.] How many passages have your Jesus speaking about his Father. Hmmm, somebody seems schitzo, speaking about his fahter but he is himself’s father??? [The Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son doing His work of reconciling the world to Himself. A world He loves in sending the Son, Jesus Christ.] Rubbuh room time for you believers in deceptions! [Here is the first “Rubbah Room” Meatwad, along with its cure… Beware of bad spirits.]               

I have this for you, who is Lucifer? RIGHT! L-boy is duh BaahdMann, something about “a bright morning star” is Lucifer, some say its other names are Satan etc,,, right James Mary E? Yeah. Well I have some good gospel news for you found in revelation 22:16, it is actually red lettered in my copy, of the second to last words attributed to your Jesus christ the son father and holy crap, “I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star”,,, THAT is your Jesus speaking there James Mary. Seems you have fallen for the grand deception you are warned about, I just figured it all out fer yuh, yuh betchuh. Your Jesus confesses he is your Lucifer, now go wArship your great demon Jesus like a good tiny minded christian soldier. [I addressed this earlier in the background reading. As for Lucifer, maybe this will help clear up your confusion…]               

Lucifer               

(Hebrew helel; Septuagint heosphoros, Vulgate lucifer)               

The name Lucifer originally denotes the planet Venus, emphasizing its brilliance. The Vulgate employs the word also for “the light of the morning” (Job 11:17), “the signs of the zodiac” (Job 38:32), and “the aurora” (Psalm 109:3). Metaphorically, the word is applied to the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12) as preeminent among the princes of his time; to the high priest Simon son of Onias (Ecclesiasticus 50:6), for his surpassing virtue, to the glory of heaven (Apocalypse 2:28), by reason of its excellency; finally to Jesus Christ himself (2 Peter 1:19; Apocalypse 22:16; the “Exultet” of Holy Saturday) the true light of our spiritual life.               

The Syriac version and the version of Aquila derive the Hebrew noun helel from the verb yalal, “to lament”; St. Jerome agrees with them (In Isaiah 1.14), and makes Lucifer the name of the principal fallen angel who must lament the loss of his original glory bright as the morning star. In Christian tradition this meaning of Lucifer has prevailed; the Fathers maintain that Lucifer is not the proper name of the devil, but denotes only the state from which he has fallen (Petavius, De Angelis, III, iii, 4).             

 END OF POST/ BEGINNING OF PRAYERS FOR YOU