January 27, 2015

Pride~The Common Denominator in All Things Evil

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


"There is a danger that threatens everyone in the church, all of us. The danger of worldliness. It leads us to vanity, arrogance and pride."
Pope Francis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The headlines and newscasts are filled with the news of President Obama's outrage over House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to speak before the United States Congress in March. Apparently a protocol was violated and the Speaker did not inform the White House. 

So why is the President of the United States so angry over this supposedly unprecedented invitation to a foreign leader by the Congress? Who cares, right? WRONG? He was offended. Protocol was the excuse for his anger. The primary cause was "ego". His ego was sand-blasted into disarray when he was ignored by a person who is NOT the "Big Cheese". In other words, President Obama's pride was deflated. Ah yes, that old 'demon' pride has once again reared its ignominious and ugly head. He sure knows how to spoil a salad. If protocol was stepped upon it still is no reason to get so angry. But stepping on the pride of someone, anyone, oftentimes yields this result.

Pope Francis' quote above uses the words, "threatens everyone in the church, all of us". He is referring to the Pride  that is part of all of us. There is "positive pride" which refers to taking pride in your  work, your appearance, how hard you study, how you treat others etc. Then there is "negative pride" which has been the downfall of so many. This is all about self-gratification and taking care of  your favorite and most revered son/daughter of  worldliness aka secularism, good old "#1", yourself. This never reaps a fruitful harvest.

This "negative pride" has permeated every nook and cranny of humankind since the days of Adam and Eve. Satan aka Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, used his main weapon to draw Eve into his realm. He used pride to tempt her. Consumed with her inner vanity she was easy pickings for Satan. "Eat the apple (yes, the apple is probably symbolic) and you will be like God."  

Eve wanted to be like God and her Pride pushed her teeth into that apple and she bit, She turned it over to her man, Adam. Misery loves company and she was probably not feeling very well after that first swallow. Adam bit  into the other half of the apple. VOILA--Original sin and its primary effect, Pride, have been at the forefront of all chaos ever since.  

The untold and undocumented cause of countless cases of pain and suffering caused by Pride over the centuries cover the pages of history. Wars, genocide, torture, scorched-earth policies continue to this very day.  Countless friendships have been permanently severed and how many families have been torn apart?  All because Satan is able to wield his greatest tool, Pride, unchecked and freely. All because so many people willingly grab onto it and refuse to let go.

This incident is fresh in my mind so I would like to share. I was talking to a close friend of mine the other day and he had just finished talking to his younger brother on the phone. The brother told him that Catholics can eat meat on Fridays during Lent. My friend told him he was wrong. They got into an argument and my friend hung up on his brother. He told me he is not calling him back until he apologizes. I reminded him that he was the one who "hung up". He did not care because his brother started it.

These two had not spoken in almost ten years and finally got back together and now---oh man, are you kidding me? And they will both go to Mass and Communion in their respective cities and pound their breasts and bow their heads and be totally oblivious to the two greatest commandments of Loving God and Loving their Neighbor that they are breaking. 

Ah, the great sin of Pride. We have all seen the results up close and personal within our own worlds. Just like my friend and his brother we may be a prisoner of Pride's deadly grip on ourselves. Parents estranged from children, siblings estranged from each other, families torn apart. The common denominator is always Pride. But the good news is there is an antidote. It is called Humility. St. Augustine said, "It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels."

 Here is the link to the Litany of Humility. Truly, this prayer is a powerful weapon. It also takes courage to say it. This is how it begins:
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me. 
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus

                                                          Copyright 2015 Larry Peterson

January 21, 2015

The "Double Whammy" of January 22, 1973: Roe V Wade & Doe V Bolton

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

This coming Thursday is the 42nd anniversary of Roe vs Wade and  the annual March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C. Thousands upon thousands of "Pro-Life" advocates will  brave the freezing weather in defense of the unborn.  Millions more across the country will gather at state capitols, cities and small towns  lending their support to the most defenseless of the defenseless.  The hopes and prayers of all these folks (including myself) are for the High Court to overturn Roe vs Wade.  I am  a "pro-life" person who had an "up close and personal" experience with the miracle of life and the pain of death all on the same day.  If I had harbored any doubt whatsoever about the "viability of a fetus" that doubt was vanquished  forever 36 years ago.

At the beginning of Loretta's sixth month of pregnancy she unexpectedly went into labor. Bleeding profusely she was rushed by ambulance to the hospital and our fourth child, a daughter, was born. She also lived and died very quickly, within minutes.  I had called ahead to Holy Trinity Catholic Church and a priest, Father Murray, was waiting for our arrival. Our baby was baptized and buried with my parents. She was our child and was a gift from God. We had  been preparing  for the arrival but it came three months earlier than expected.  No matter, she was a real person who lived and died.  Her name is on a tombstone. It simply reads: Theresa Mary Peterson. September 6, 1978---September 6,1978.

Theresa was not simply a "fetus".  She was not "products of conception". She was not an "annoyance", or an extra pair of shoes to worry about or another potentially "sleepless night". She did not mean  less money in the bank.  No, Theresa Mary was worth far more than any of that multiplied a thousand times over.  Nothing can change the fact that she did exist, albeit for the briefest of moments. In God's world there is no "time" as we know it. HE lives in the "Eternal Now".  Theresa Mary now lives there with HIM. (I like to think she is close friends with her namesake, St. Therese)

My own daughter was born premature for unknown reasons. But she was alive and fully intact from head to toe. She only lacked  additional time in the womb.  Today she would have probably been saved. Knowing that, I cannot help but  think of the millions of little people like Theresa Mary who have been intentionally put to death in a heinous fashion because they  they might cost too much money or might interfere with a career.  Maybe they were vanquished simply because they were an unexpected inconvenience. How many have been eradicated simply because people take no responsibility for having sex, getting pregnant, and deciding that this "thing" has to go before it "ruins" their lives.

 Here is a quick "news flash" (hopefully at least a few young people will see it): You can actually wait until you are married to have sex. Then you have it with the person you are married to and expect to spend your life with. That type of relationship captures the true beauty and wonder of not only the sex act but also of having children. It is the continuation of God's plan for the human race.  It comes from the Natural Law.

Today many people mock those concepts. Self-gratification seems to be the secular battle cry for continual pleasure. This is an illusion that oftentimes simply leads to sadness. Having sex just to have sex, can be demeaning and self-destructive. In addition, it is NOT the same thing as breathing, eating, and sleeping. Those bodily functions are instinctive and necessary for us to live. We do NOT have to have sex to live. We won't die if we say NO.  Many people actually choose to live a life of celibacy.  It is OKAY to do so. And make no mistake, none of them die from NOT doing "it".

January 22nd  will be the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling known as "Roe vs Wade".  Simply put, the court, by a 7 to 2 majority, said that abortion is a citizen's fundamental right under the United States Constitution.  You are all familiar with how that ruling  has torn our nation apart.  What many people do not seem to be aware of is the other ruling that took place on that very same day.  It provided the proverbial  "double whammy" to the abortion issue. That  ruling is called "Doe Vs Bolton".  Once again, it was a 7 to 2 majority vote affirming the ruling.  The US Supreme Court had given birth to the "Roe & Doe" twins.

The ruling in the "Doe Vs Bolton" case is summed up here: (The link supplies the details:
The Court's opinion in Doe vs bolton stated that a woman may obtain an abortion after viability, if necessary to protect her health. The Court defined "health" as follows:

         "Whether in the words of the Georgia statute, "an abortion is necessary" is a professional judgement that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court, 319 F. Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgement may be exercised in the light of all factors-physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age-relevant to the well being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health."

Amazing as it is, if Roe vs Wade was ever overturned, Doe vs Bolton would take its place. Doe vs Bolton allows for abortion "after viability" for almost any conceivable reason. Read the excerpt above closely. According to Doe vs Bolton an abortion could be permitted at full term because the baby's crying when born might cause too much stress for someone in the house who has a psychological problem. Far fetched? Not really. Just get a doctor to sign off on it.

God help us today and tomorrow.

                                                                    copyright 2105 Larry Peterson
                                                               

January 19, 2015

The "Sin" of Blasphemy Is NOT "Free Speech".

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Asia Bibi, a mother of five and a Catholic, languishes in a Pakistani prison. She has been there for five years.  She waits for them to come and drag her to the gallows where she will be hanged by the neck until dead. Why? Because to the Muslims working alongside her in the fields, she was an "Infidel". They demanded that she bring them water and she "defiled" them by drinking some of it. They mocked her and cursed her religion and Jesus and she defended Him and her faith. She was summarily accused of "mocking" Allah. Her crime? Blasphemy.  In Pakistan "Blasphemy" is a capital crime punishable by death. Asia Bibi's death sentence has been upheld by the Pakistani Supreme Court.  May the God of Love help her.

We are quite the interesting species, aren't we? The fascinating twist in all of this Blaspheming thing is that our highly sophisticated and secular world mocks the idea of "Blasphemy" as a non-existent  "sin" and "crime". Instead, when people of this upscale, modern era blaspheme, they choose to call it "free speech".  The French publication, "Charlie Hebdo",  mocked and ridiculed Allah. They also have mocked and ridiculed Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Pope,  and all connected to Jesus. This publication continually strikes and cuts deeply at the very heart of a person's innermost core beliefs. But hey, it is OK because it is "Free Speech". This is an absurdity.

Blasphemy is defined as an "impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things" or "an act of cursing or reviling God". Freedom of Speech is defined as "the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, incitement to violence or rebellion, etc. Seems to me that they are two totally different things.

We sojourn back 2000 years and we remember a certain High Priest named Caiphas, symbolically tearing his robes when Jesus, asked if he was the Son of God, answered, "I am".

"Blasphemer!" he screamed. "Blasphemer!" And they took the Man who simply preached love and forgiveness away to be tortured and crucified. They even traded Jesus for the release of a convicted murderer and seditionist. Ah, Blasphemy, so vague, so ambiguous, so diabolical and so convenient to use as an excuse to do murder and/or get rid of political foes.

 Asia Bibi loved Jesus and her Catholic faith. Who do these people think they are to judge her and condemn her to be hanged for thinking differently than they do? Whoever gave them the right to deprive her five children of their mother? Who do they think they are to be able to decide her faith makes her a Blasphemer? The fact is, their actions make them the Blasphemers. This mind set is not only distorted and twisted it is just plain wicked. No God of love and mercy approves of this viciousness.

How many  people have been tortured and murdered over the centuries as Blasphemers because they followed Jesus Christ? We could never count that high. Ironically, as we have journeyed past the Age of Enlightment and onward into the 21st century with incredible advances in science, medicine, literature and civility, we can look over our shoulders and see people being hanged, beheaded, crucified and killed in unimaginable ways because of the ancient 'sin' of Blasphemy.

 There is an old  cliche that says, "Never discuss politics or religion with your friends". There is simple wisdom for you.  But today, a satirical publication like Charlie Hebdo, can ridicule and mock the things that demean and debase the very core of a person's heart and soul. And it is not only Charlie Hebdo. It is the entertainment world (Bill Maher says people who believe in God are "idiots"), school systems, city council men and women, school administrators, judges, lawyers, congressmen, senators and all who reject and trample on a person's religious beliefs by passing rules against these beliefs. When people do this they are, like it or not, blaspheming. So an outraged group of world leaders gather together and march together and suggest it is "Free Speech" that is under attack. The fact is Free Speech had nothing to do with the attack on "Charlie Hebdo". The paper is a blaspheming publication hiding behind a mask called 'satire'.

The United States of America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written with God's Natural Law as their foundation. We have been given by our Founders, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Yet, we have all of these people in power at all different levels trying to squash religion within the same country that, by law, gives them that freedom and to which many swear allegiance and loyalty.

Comes a new day and these same people will turn around and be outraged when blasphemers are viciously attacked and murdered by psychopathic killers who have had their core beliefs mocked and trampled upon and believe that killing the "Blasphemer" is justified. These radical Islamists seem to forget that they also are Blasphemers the only difference being they carry automatic weapons and kill people they have passed judgement upon. It is sure a good thing that Christians believe in forgiveness.

Blasphemy and Free Speech are two different things. Free Speech never was put in place so people  could  dishonor and publicly mock and defile those whose religious beliefs they disagree with. NOT doing that is called respect. Whatever happened to that? The "sin of blasphemy" needs to be tossed back onto  the ash heap of historical hubris and buried forever under all the pain and heartache it has wrought. Those of us who are protected by laws allowing Free Speech need to once again incorporate some common decency and respect in the words we use  about those folks we do not agree with. You know, there was a time not too long ago where a mutual respect did exist among people.

Blaspheming others is NOT the exercise of Free Speech. It is the perversion of that God given right. May the  God of Love help us all.

                                                               Copyright 2015 Larry Peterson


January 13, 2015

Marriage & Family~~Pre and Post Woodstock

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

This  opening paragraph quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; #1603"The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws....God Himself is the author of marriage."

Last October there was quite the "kerfuffle" created by the secular press when the 2014 Synod of Bishops on the Family was taking place. In their ongoing quest to 'secularize' the Catholic Church the main stream media (print & broadcast) was reporting (speculating is the right word) that, under Pope Francis, the 'new' church would soon be embracing homosexual marriage and unmarried cohabitation. They also anointed Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany as the Church's "true voice of reason" because, in his keynote address to the Synod, he suggested that maybe it was time for the church to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to be allowed to receive communion.

The media never seems to grasp the fact that it takes more than a "suggestion" by one cardinal to change church teaching. They rarely if ever reported that this meeting of the Synod was only the first part and it would reconvene again a year later. They always seem to 'pick & choose' the narrative that fits their constant secular agenda. Let's face it, the secular world is not interested in what the Church is, what its history and tradition is and certainly not in its dogmatic teachings. We, as a people, deserve more responsible and forthright journalism. The fact of the matter is NOTHING has changed regarding Catholic Church teaching on the subject of marriage.

Matrimony in the church is one of the seven Sacraments. Within the sacramental life it is meant for a man and a woman who love each other to join together creating a new family that ultimately continues the creation that God initially put in place. It is sacrosanct and inviolable. Furthermore, before Jesus Christ instituted this sacrament it existed under what we call Natural Law. Natural Law is given to us by God. (I also like to call it, "Common Sense". Please use the link for a Catholic explanation of marriage and natural law.)

My initial reason for  starting this essay was to ask the question, "What happened to the concept of marriage being only between a man and a woman? How did that concept seemingly evaporate in only several decades after centuries of acceptance by humankind as "Natural"? In the sophisticated, secular world of 2015 I can be branded an intolerant homophobe for believing that marriage is ONLY for a man and a woman. Let me try to share the world I come from and how most Catholics were raised in the pre-Woodstock era.

Marriage was considered, foremost, an integral part of Natural Law as handed down by God. A man and a woman would meet and fall in love. After a period of time, if they so chose, they would join together as husband and wife creating a new family. It was at this point in their lives when they moved in with each other and lived together. It was a vocation, a calling, and it was not for everyone. Most folks accepted this premise without question. Most folks did choose that path in life. Most were married in a church and most intended to be together "until death do us part". Finally,  most newly marrieds became parents continuing  God's plan of continuing the human race. And that was the way it was.

So, what happened? I suggest it started in 1969 at Woodstock. The now "hallowed" rock & roll jamboree that signaled the end of the 60's  ushered in the officially liberated era of "do your own thing". We have moved onward since then another 45 years and today, living together BEFORE getting married is almost taken for granted. A matrimonial "test drive" seems a requirement prior to the actual nuptials taking place. No fault divorce makes it very easy to dissolve marriages dismissing vows that were freely taken when the words "until death do us part" were said by the bride and groom to each other. Homosexual marriage is being demanded as a choice and a right and if you disagree you are considered intolerant and a racist. God and Natural Law are being mocked. And that is the way it is. But not everywhere.

The way it was is still in vogue within the Catholic Church. And here is where I will end this essay. From January 5-9, the Confraternities of Catholic Clergy in the United States, Australia, Britain and Ireland unanimously reaffirmed their support for Church teaching on marriage and family rejecting any proposals at the 2014 Synod of Bishops that the Church alter pastoral practices and doctrine in this area.

In a statement issued at the end of a five-day conference  they pledged their “unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, as proclaimed in the word of God and set out clearly in the Church’s ordinary and universal magisterium.”

And that was the way it was and that is the way it is. Maybe they never heard of Woodstock.

                                                                copyright 2015 Larry Peterson

January 6, 2015

"Big Brother" is Watching Everyone. What Happened to God?

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Surveillance is a lovely word. Derived from the French word, surveill, it flows harmlessly off the tongue. But what it means when it lands is anything but lovely. It means  continuous observation of a place, person, group, or ongoing activity in order to gather information. And today, as we enter the highly upscale and sophisticated year of 2015, it is most likely that every single one of us has been somehow surveilled. This is, to me, scary, scary stuff. So I ask the question, why? Why in the name of all that is FREEDOM is it necessary for us all to be monitored, watched, photographed, videotaped, and even scanned?  I will tell you why and It Makes Sense To Me--just look at the empty churches.

Yeah, that's right. It started when the sophisticates began their quest to eliminate God from our Judeo-Christian, uniquely American foundation. The chipping began long ago but over the past 50 years the jack-hammers and explosives have been busy busting up and blowing up the very fabric of our nation's identity which had been woven together by God's own thread.

Prior to 1960 we did not need so many rules, regulations and surveillance because the vast majority of people were --get ready, here it comes--were considered "God fearing, law abiding Americans". The US Government has kept on expanding, like a huge hot air balloon with an unlimited capacity to embrace the "hot-air" that has created so much of our lost privacy and freedom.Today many Americans have morphed into more of a "Self-serving, I am entitled, I'm not bothering you American". Whatever have we wrought? What we have wrought is Secularism.

I grew up in  New York City in the South Bronx during the 1950s and early 60s. We lived in an apartment that had four rooms, one of which was a small, eat in kitchen. There were seven of us, Mom, Dad and five kids. We were no different than any one else in the neighborhood. Some families had two kids, some had ten. No big deal. No one complained or considered that they were deprived or different or poor. During the heated summer months the humidity spent the sunlight hours steaming the bricks on the buildings so as to keep the nights hotter than the days, We kept our windows and front door wide open. There was a fire-escape outside the rear bedroom window and any one could have walked right in at any time of the night. Most everyone kept their apartment doors open to grab the breeze that might waft upward through the stairwells. It was a time when people enjoyed an inner peace.

Things began to change and before you knew it it was 1969 and front doors and windows were suddenly shut. Attendance at church became less and less. People, mostly younger folks, were demanding more "rights" inhibiting the rights of others in the process. The War in Vietnam was raging and more and more deadbolts were being installed. Vatican II changes were implemented and the Catholic Church experienced an upheaval by secularists who decided to interpret the changes to fit their personal beliefs. The 80s led to the 90s and more sophisticated, personal  alarm systems were developed for homes and cars. The computer age captured us all and by the 21st century we are all subjects to these incredible machines. They are the "ones" controlling and monitoring our personal lives, including our safety.

During October of 2014, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia gave a lecture entitled "Strangers in a Strange land".  He pointed out that in 1950 Quebec, Canada had a 90% attendance by Catholics at Sunday Mass. In 2014 it as at 6%. There are young "Catholics" in Quebec who, if asked "What time is Mass?", reply, "What is that?" In the United States attendance in 1960 on average was about 75%. Today it hovers at about 20% and half of those folks do not believe in the "Real Presence",  a fundamental doctrine of the catholic faith. Almost 50%  of people who call them- selves Christian do not believe in the Resurrection of the body, another basic tenet of Christianity.

Fifty years ago most folks had a fundamental respect for each other. Since the age of secularism that seems to have waned severely. There is a sense of self-gratification that has grabbed hold of many. Women wanted equality with men. They now stand on subways and buses and do not have the door held open for them. Not all men are like that but it is not like it was.

As God was slowly diminished  "Big brother" slowly expanded his presence. Today he watches us like a "hawk" with cameras and recorders virtually everywhere imaginable. That is because we, the people, cannot be trusted. Drones for everyone will become the vogue especially private detectives, lawyers, and government agencies. Our back yards are no longer our private domain. Every aspect of out lives is now being scrutinized.  It seems we have traded God and His commandments for a Government that has power over your entire being. I liked it better when we kept the doors open.

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.
It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other"
----John Adams; 2nd President of the United States

                                                                     

                                                                           Copyright2015 Larry Peterson                                                

December 31, 2014

THE PICTURE: From 2014; The Angelic Face of "Little Christy"

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

If there is one thing that is etched into my mind when I think back about the year of 2014 it is THE PICTURE. I am not trying to be graphic or shocking or anything like that. I am just trying to show  how an innocent child can be brutally murdered on camera because she was born Christian, killed for propaganda purposes, and the outcry from the world is barely audible. I do not understand.

Look at THE PICTURE below. You should feel sickened by it. It should repulse you. It should even give you nightmares. First the evil agents of Satan murdered her mom. (Make no mistake, this is the work of Satan and his followers.) Then they murdered this innocent, frightened child. I never knew her real name. I named her "Little Christy" because she was killed for being a follower of Christ.  (She did not even know this). Look at THE PICTURE. This is the evil that is spreading like rampaging locusts all across the planet. It has even started in our own country.

About 40 miles south of Indianapolis, Indiana is the city of Columbus, population about 45 thousand. Recently, three churches were vandalized on the same night. The common words sprayed on the walls were "INFIDELS" and KORAN 3:151.  This verse states, "We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah (reference to Christian Trinity) of which he had not sent down any authority. And their refuge will be fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers."

Australia, Canada, Europe, and now the United States. The Evil has spread. We had all better be vigilant and pray. It is time for all Americans to  join together to confront what has stepped across our very thresholds of peace, our churches. Look at THE PICTURE. Those who took it are ruled by "hate" and have NO boundaries.
                                        copyright December 31,2014 Larry Peterson

Remembering 2014--Killing Christians; Including  Baby Christy

                                                                               

December 30, 2014

Christianity Under Attack: Religious Freedom Protects It. Without it Many Die. May God Bless and Preserve America's Freedoms

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

Countless articles, essays, blogs and so forth will be in print as we welcome in the New year of 2015. I'm not going to reminisce or wallow in what might have been or what should be. I just want to mention a family to you. Maybe you have heard of them, maybe not. Their names were Magdy Tawfiq, his wife, Sahar Rizk and their daughters, Catherine, 13 and two younger girls aged 10 and aged 9. Unlike Americans, these people did not have the Constitution of the United States of America in force to protect them. No, they were Coptic Christians (which is Catholic too) and they lived in Libya. They were our  Christian brothers and sisters in faith. They loved Jesus Christ and the message of Love and Hope and Salvation that He brought to all mankind. They believed as we do. Unlike us they are dead. They were brutally murdered because of their love and respect for the Son of God, Jesus.

Sahar and Magdy; July 20, 2000
Magdy and Sahar were married on July 20, 2000 and moved to Libya in 2001. Magdy worked at a Diabetes clinic in Sirte for two years and then  he began working with Sahar at the Jarf Health Center. People reported that Doctor Magdy treated all the people there regardless of having money or not and was beloved by everyone. They loved God, each other and tried their best to treat all people equally.

At 4:00 am on Tuesday, December 23, Doctor Magdy woke to knocking on the door of his building. He assumed it was a patient with an emergency needing immediate attention. When he opened the door he was greeted by armed masked men. They attacked him, handcuffed him and placed him in a chair. The family, living in fear after many threats from Ansar Al-Sharia, had become the target of cowardly, masked, gunmen who were taking their orders from the realm of evil.

The hooded demons went to the bedroom and shot Sahar dead. Then they took Doctor Magdy outside  and shot him through the head and chest leaving his crumpled body  handcuffed in a heap. Catherine's 13-year old body was found outside of town. The two youngest girls were forced to watch the murders. They were left alive to tell the story and are now living with relatives. It is all so hard to even imagine what these kind, decent, innocent people have to endure prior to their actual deaths. The fear, the anxiety, the hopelessness must be beyond anything we here in America can ever fathom.

We live in America. They lived in Libya. We share the same faith, the only difference being we are here and they are there. Therefore, based on location, we live and they die. And how much  do we hear about these atrocities and the virtual elimination of Christianity throughout the Middle East and other parts of the world? We hear hardly anything. You and I can get up on a Sunday morning and head off to our  churches and none  of us is concerned about our safety. Not one of us worries about being murdered for believing in Jesus.

Yet, in other parts of the world on the very same day we are going contentedly off to Church, our Christian brothers and sisters, including children and babies, are being brutalized, raped, beheaded, burned, shot and hanged for believing exactly what we believe. Look at the wedding photo of Magdy and Sahar. The picture might have been taken in Milwaukee, or New York or maybe Atlanta or Dallas. If that had been the case then they would still be alive and this story would not have to be written, But the truth is evil is running rampant throughout the world and its primary target is Christianity.

ALL Americans should embrace with all their might the freedoms our Founding Fathers handed down to us, especially Freedom of Religion. Yet there are those who portray this freedom and Christianity as an affront to them. They do not like religion because it stands its ground against the forces of secularism. These Americans want to purge religion from the public square. They will even go to court to have a cross removed from somewhere they have decided should not have it. Those that do this are just selfish and self consumed for not respecting so many of their fellow citizens and for refusing to accept the fact that they are chipping away at the very freedoms that give them the right to  protest in the first place.

They might want to consider that the Islamist radicals want them dead too. If you are an American they hate you whether or not you are a Catholic, a Jew, or an atheist. They  hate anyone who is an American.  I wish they would look at the wedding photo of Magdy and Sahar. They did not have the freedom we have. They have been slaughtered.

As we embark on the journey that is the year, 2015, I would like to remember people such as Father Frans Van der Lugt, murdered by ISIS in March because he was a Catholic priest. He was 76 years old. Pray for Asia  Bibi, a mother of five, in prison in Pakistan for five years and waiting to be hanged. Her crime--"blasphemy". She is Catholic and defended Jesus. Then there is Salem Matti Kourk who was hiding out in Mosul and went to find some food. He was captured by ISIS , beaten, murdered and his body left in front of the Church of the Virgin Mary, which ISIS had also destroyed.  Of course we cannot  forget the thousands of men, women and children kidnapped, murdered and mutilated throughout the year of 2014 by the evil ones who hate Christianity. Genocide against Christians is real.

I end this with a link to the story I wrote about "Little Christy". If ever there was a picture that could show the face of evil in this world this blog has it. Let us celebrate our freedoms as Americans and fight to the bitter end to protect them. The alternative is beyond imagination.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015  May God's Blessings be upon you




December 26, 2014

When Thinking Family Consider That Two Teenagers Set The Standard for Us All

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

From the Book Of Sirach Ch 3: 2-4

For the Lord sets a father in honor over his children;
A mother's authority he confirms over her sons.
Those who honor their father atone for sins;
They store up riches who revere their mother.

N.B: In this essay the use of the word PRIDE refers to Negative Pride

The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday following Christmas. If you are among the millions of folks who never pay an iota of attention to this family, maybe you should. Why? Because this is the family that "set the bar" for all families. Comprised of two teenagers, Mary and Joseph and their boy, Jesus, their unconditional love for God and each other cannot be surpassed.  The birth of Jesus is the greatest act of humility imaginable.

This was God, the Creator of all that there is, becoming like one of His creations. He could have come in a majestic way, surrounded by armies and servants and glitter and pomp. He chose to come in the simplest way of all, among the animals in a cave. As He began His earthly life His body was wrapped in cloth and then placed on straw. Why would He do this?

 He did this because he loved us unconditionally and wanted us to learn that Pride, the greatest of the deadly sins and the root cause of all the evil in the world,  must be kicked to the curb at all costs. Pride was the reason He came to us. From the first sins of Adam and Eve to the very present, Pride is the villain. Pride is why He had to redeem and save us. Incredibly, he became as HUMBLE as humanly possible to teach us that humility is what conquers Pride. Amazingly, He chose teenagers to set the example for everyone from that very night onward. They showed us that  the love between a man and a woman  will always conquer negative pride if tempered with Humility. For marriage is about loving and sharing and giving of oneself to another--totally. Humility is the virtue that effects that giving.

We know so little about the lives of Joseph and Mary, yet they are an integral part of the Salvation story.  Mary's acceptance of a pregnancy that might have resulted in her being stoned to death as an adulteress, was another act of monumental humility. Joseph, a good man and a faithful Jew true to the law, accepted a woman who was pregnant as his wife, another act of extreme humility. The Holy Family was the complete and perfect embodiment of Humility. It remains so to this very day .

 Isn't God  amazing in the way He does things? This is the story of our Salvation and the rebirth of Hope. This Salvation became available to all people for all time and its success was entrusted to a couple of have-not teens whose humility and love of God enabled them to conquer the seemingly impossible. They married against incredible odds and traveled to Bethlehem while Mary was full term, a three to five day journey on the back of a donkey. Joseph walked guiding the donkey. Mary gave birth in a cave  surrounded by smelly animals and filth and then they managed to escape the soldiers of King Herod who were trying to kill their newborn Son. Oh yeah, lest we forget, they also  made it to Egypt, about three hundred miles away. We know the rest of the story.

If you take a moment to ponder all that happened and how it happened and why it happened, it will leave you breathless. And then we remember it was all done for all of us. There was nothing done for themselves, not one thing. We need to get back to "Family" and the Holy Family is the model to build on. We must never forget that within that family it was the husband and father who protected his wife and Son from the evils of the world. The Son humbled Himself  and gave his life for us all.  And the Mom, the most humble of all women ever, crushes the head of the evil serpent with her heel. In so doing she is protecting all of her "children" (which includes you and I) for all eternity. Humility conquers pride. Just look to the Holy Family.

December 23, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS to ALL

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Adoration of the Shepherds, Charles Le Brun


WISHING EVERYONE A BLESSED, PEACEFUL, and CONTENTED CHRISTMAS

GOD BLESS YOU ALL

Larry Peterson






copyright Larry Peterson 2014


                                                  

December 19, 2014

"Peace on Earth" Humility is the Key and the Christ Child is the Answer

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

Peace on earth? Where is it? Is it in Syria? How about Pakistan? It is not in Sudan or Iraq. It is definitely not hanging out in Afghanistan or Iran. Pakistan?—God help us. How about Russia and Ukraine and Ferguson, Missouri? What does "Peace on Earth" mean? Well my friends, it means exactly what it says: PEACE on EARTH. However, has there ever been Peace on Earth? From the beginning of the human race until today, I think not. We might ask, “and why not?”

The answer is actually simple and straightforward. True Peace on Earth can only come about by the destruction of the great demon, Pride. Yes, Pride destroys Peace. It also destroys love between people, within families, among friends and co-workers. How often does Pride bring forth its seedy companions of wrath and envy? Pride prompts murder and mayhem and wars. It has done so from time immemorial. It is probably the most destructive force on the planet and we all have it within us. How can so many of our species conquer this malignant force while others succumb to its devilish grasp? The answer is some people have what is called Humility.

How do we find our Humility? How can we kick the power of Pride to the curb? The answer came to us in the form of a newborn baby on Christmas and we celebrate that day in one week. Humility exploded on Christmas Day.  God Himself, the Creator of all that we have, including free-will, came to us and lived with us. Hey folks, this act was HUMILITY SUPREME. All we have to do is look into a pile  of straw at a newborn baby.  Therein lies our answer to finding Humility.

This story is so amazing that our simple common sense will tell us it was never fabricated or made up. The most creative writers who ever lived could not have conjured up such a preposterous tale. Imagine, a King being born in a smelly, dirty, animal stall to a simple teenage girl whose husband was a struggling carpenter with no money. Then the couple have to take the baby King and run for their lives because the reigning king, Herod, feared the baby might grow up and overthrow him. His Pride seizes him so he sends his soldiers to kill the baby King. They kill hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent children in their heinous bloodletting yet never find the child they were looking for to begin with. 

As preposterous as this story may seem, more than two thousand years later more than two billion people still believe it. For over two millenium this belief has continued to transform the world. Millions upon millions of us will celebrate this miraculous birth a week from now. How can that be? 

It is due to that great intangible we call FAITH. You can't see it, you can't touch it and you cannot smell it. However, if you open yourself up to it, it can grab you in a life-long embrace that might take your breath away. Faith in God and all He has done is the greatest of all the gifts we will ever receive. It spawns kindness, and temperance and patience. And Faith breeds Humility. Humility will lead to love, true love of others, not ourselves. This is fact.

Peace without love is an illusion. It cannot exist. It can never come from our own agenda. That is because the deadly toxin, Pride, is inside us and Satan prowls the world dripping his venom into our hearts using Pride as the gateway “drug”. Many of us reject his “empty promises”. Many do not and their egos are commandeered so easily that they sometimes explode with hatred. 

This hatred is quite visible throughout the world today. Christianity is actually on the verge of being wiped out of the Middle East as Christians are being killed and tortured every day simply because they believe in this baby and who He grew up to be. The Good News is we have been given the antidote. It is Humility.

Our greatest of all gifts, FAITH, allows us to believe that God, the Creator of all that is, shared Himself with us through  His Son. To accomplish this He  humbled Himself in the most profound act of selflessness that was and will ever be. This was God become man for us. He came as a helpless, innocent newborn, barely able to grasp the finger of his Mom. He allowed himself to be born surrounded by the squalor and filth of a stable. Poor shepherds from the hillside were His first visitors. Humility lay in a pile of straw and looked up into the beautiful face of His weary Mom.

A few small pot fires provided enough light for the man of the family, Joseph, to see the two people that he had to care for and protect. No bells were ringing, no trumpets were blaring and no cymbals were smashing. The deafening quiet made this the greatest of Silent Nights.  Thirty-three years later, booming thunder would echo His death and three days after that brilliant sunshine would announce our redemption. It is the most beautiful of all truths.

FAITH is a gift that many people have seen fit to grab onto. They have responded to God's graces and listened. They have grabbed the 'brass ring'. There are many more who cannot escape the all-consuming Pride that keeps telling them they are so much smarter than all those 'believers'. 

How sad this is because this Pride is Satan’s portal that will allow him to take them on a road that leads to complete misery dominated by an all-consuming hatred of anything that is Good. If only they would reach out and allow that little hand to squeeze their finger, just for a moment. It will not hurt one bit and they might find out that respecting and honoring Humility can do a person wonders. It could even lead to Peace on Earth.

During this Christmas Season let us all consider asking  for an extra dose of Humility and then pray for Peace on Earth and that Good Will be in ALL people, everywhere. 
                                              
                                   Copyright Larry Peterson 2014