April 26, 2016

The Demons of Abadon; Cover & Preview




ANNOUNCING!

The Demons of Abadon

A Novel

By Larry Peterson

NOW AVAILABLE!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5.8


Part of the Rebirth of Catholic/Christian Fiction


The Darkened were blackened souls filled with hate who had chosen to reject goodness in life. Upon leaving their earthly bodies they moved into a world absent of hope. It was the most dreadful place to be. Scorched and dark, it was steaming hot and never ending. The worst part was, this place was devoid of second chances. This caused the hatred inside the Darkened to burn like a white-hot, unquenchable fire. If only they could have said just once, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” 


Jacob had sat almost motionless for almost three hours. He had to go to the bathroom but, afraid to move, had held it. He could not contain it any longer and slowly and as quietly as possible began to stand up. His first step toward the rear of the house was silent. The second one was not. A “squeak” from the old plank floor reverberated up from under the boy's sneaker. Jacob thought it sounded like an explosion although it could hardly be heard at all. The boy's heart sank and he froze in his tracks. It was too late. “Where have you been boy?”----
Jacob knew that lying was bad. He also knew that if he told the truth it would be bad. Either way, he would be punished---again. He did not want to be bad. He definitely did not want to violate a commandment. He did not know what to do. He started to cry.


About the Author:

Larry is a Catholic/Christian blogger and, besides writing books,  posts diverse, weekly commentary on his blog. His work has appeared in such publications as Zenit from Rome, Aleteia, New Evangelists, Top Catholic Blogs, Big Pulpit, Catholic365.com and others. His first children's picture book, "Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes" was published in 2011. In 2012, his full length novel, "The Priest and the Peaches" was released.  "The Demons of Abadon",his latest novel,  began being published in Volume form (ebook format) in the fall of 2015. The complete novel (paperback and ebook) is now available.

Short link:  amzn.to/1SdW5gS


                             copyright ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved






April 15, 2016

Meet the Only Nun Sentenced to Death by a Nazi Court: Her Crime? "Hanging" Crucifixes*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

*An edited version of this article appeared in Aleteia on April 12, 2016.

Just imagine being arrested on Ash Wednesday for the crime of “hanging Crucifixes”. I cannot imagine how I would handle it. Maybe I would have taken the Crucifixes down. Honestly, I do not know. Helena Kafka, who became known as Sister Maria Restituta, refused. She was sentenced to death. The following year, on Tuesday of Holy Week, she was executed .

May 1, 1894, was  a happy day for Anton and Marie Kafka.  Marie had just given birth to her sixth child and mom and her daughter were both doing fine. The proud parents named their new baby girl, Helena.  Devout Catholics, Anton and Marie had Helena baptized into the faith only thirteen days after her birth.

The ceremony took place in The Church of the Assumption, in the town of Husovice, located in Austria.  Before Helena reached her second birthday, the family had to move and settled in the city of Vienna.  This is where Helena and her siblings would remain and grow up.

Helena was a good student and worked hard. She received her First Holy Communion in St. Brigitta Church during May of 1905 and was confirmed in the same church a year later. After eight years of school she spent another year in housekeeping school and, by the age of 15, was working as a servant, a cook and being trained as a nurse.

In 1913, she became an assistant nurse at Lainz City Hospital. This was Helena's first contact with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and she was immediately moved to become a Sister herself.  On April 25, 1914, Helena Kafka  joined the Franciscan sisters and on October 23, 1915, became Sister Maria Restituta. She made her final vows one year later and began working solely as a nurse.

When World War I ended Sister Maria was the lead surgical nurse at Modling Hospital in Vienna.  She and all other Austrians had never heard of Adolf Hitler and could never have imagined that one day, because of this man, their beloved nation would be annexed into the German Republic.
Blessed Maria Restituta

On  March 12, 1938, the Austrian Nazi Party pulled off a successful coup d'etat taking control of the government. These unforeseen and unimagined things had come to pass. The Nazis, under Hitler, now controlled the once proud Austrian nation.

Sister Restituta was very outspoken in her opposition to the Nazi regime. When a new wing to the hospital was built she hung a Crucifix in each of the new bedrooms. The Nazis demanded that they be removed. Sister Restituta was told she would be dismissed if she did not comply. She refused and the crucifixes remained hanging on the walls. 

One of the doctors on staff, a fanatical Nazi, would have none of it. He denounced her to the Nazi Party and on Ash Wednesday, 1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo after coming out of the operating room. The "charges" against her included, "hanging crucifixes and writing a poem that mocked Hitler”.

Sister Maria Restituta, the former Helena Kafka, loved her Catholic faith and, filled with the Spirit, wanted to do nothing more than serve the sick. The Nazis promptly sentenced her to death by the guillotine for "favouring the enemy and conspiracy to commit high treason".  The Nazis offered her freedom if she would abandon the Franciscans she loved so much.  She adamantly refused. She would be the only Catholic nun ever sentenced to death by the Nazis.

An appeal for clemency went as far as the desk of Hitler's personal secretary and Nazi Party Chancellor, Martin Bormann. His response was that her execution "would provide effective intimidation for others who might want to resist the Nazis".  Sister Maria Restituta spent her final days in prison caring for the sick. Because of her love for the Crucifix and the Person who was nailed to it and died on it, she was beheaded on March 30, 1943 which also happened to be Tuesday of Holy Week. She was 48 years old.
                                                   
Pope John Paul II visited Vienna on June 21,1998.  That was the day Helena Kafka, the girl who originally went to housekeeping school to learn how to be a servant, was beatified by the Pope and declared Blessed Maria Restituta.  She had learned how to serve extremely well. But the one she served best of all was her Savior. She gave Him her life.

Blessed Marie Restituta, please pray for us.
    

          ©LarryPeterson  2016

April 1, 2016

My Pal Jumbo Never Went To Mass Until----Then He Never Missed Mass Again*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

*This column also appeared in Aleteia on Easter Sunday, 2016

Jumbo Feeney and I grew up together in the Bronx and we have been best friends since "Hector was a pup". We can go a year without talking to each other and when we get on the phone together it is just like we spoke ten minutes ago. I love the guy. But sometimes he drives me nuts. Why? Because he has an opinion on most things known to man (oops,and woman) and will never admit he is wrong.

When I see his name and number on the screen of my smart phone I usually do not answer right away. I need time to mentally prepare for the impending event. I know that invariably, when I answer, Jumbo will be in mid sentence having been already talking as if I had been on the phone the last minute or two. I will not have a clue as to what he talking about and it takes me a minute or two to figure it out. By the time I do he is already four minutes into his conversation of speaking to no-one.  It is a fantastic dynamic we have. So the first thing I do is  quickly pray very hard for all the gifts of the Holy Spirit to immediately explode within me . I need all the help I can get.

 Yesterday I see Jumbo's name and number on the screen. (If my phone was truly smart it would wait until I was ready for the call but it doesn't care). I immediately violate my own rule and answer the phone. Jumbo is talking and already in mid sentence, "---you know what I'm talking about Petie, right?"

I think fast and say, "Uh, sure Jumbo. What was that you said first? You couldn't do what?"

It was a smart move on my part. Jumbo says, "Oh man, weren't you listening?"

"I was hanging on every word, Jumbo, but you were talking so fast I missed part of it."

"Petie, (he has always called me Petie) I am going to Mass this Sunday. What do you think of that?"
He paused and waited for my non-reply. Then he hollered into the phone, "Hey Petie, you there? Say something, will ya? Hope I didn't give you a heart attack or something."

Jumbo Feeney had not been to Mass in decades. He would go for a social event like a wedding or a funeral but never on his own. But he sounded different. As if he really meant it.

I recovered and said, "Uh, no, nothing like that. Just some mild chest pains and a headache. They are subsiding."

I waited a moment and said, Okay Jumbo, what happened? It has been many years since you went to Mass on your own."

"Okay Petie, here it is. And I ain't never told this to anyone so keep it under your hat. Every night when Midge and I go to bed she grabs my hand and we say a Hail Mary. Then she says, "God loves you Jumbo." Then we go to sleep."

"That's a beautiful thing, Jumbo. Midge is a great gal. She loves you a lot."

"Yeah, I know, I know. But I never paid attention and just let her say her prayer and that was that. And she never bugged me about it, ever."

"So what happened?"

"Well, last night, Midge was acting weird and suddenly passed out. I kind of freaked out. She fell down on the floor and was out cold. Jimmy quickly says to me, "Grandpa, its grandma's blood sugar. She needs something sweet to eat. You have  to check her blood sugar. "

I said, "Damn Jumbo, so what happened?"

"Petie, I didn't know what to do. She has diabetes all these years and I didn't know what to do. I went blank. So, my twelve year old grandson gets Midge's blood sugar kit out, sticks her finger and finds out her sugar is 39. He gets some OJ and some sugar and some stuff for her to eat and he saved her Petie. My grandson  saved my wife while I stood there like a useless ass. If he wasn't there I----." Then I heard my 6'5", 250 pound buddy, stifle a sob.

It was a startling story and I didn't know what to say to him. I can hear Jumbo's tear filled voice say to me, "Petie, Jimmy and I got her  on the couch and she is now sitting up. She takes a deep breath, looks at me and asks me if I will you please go to Mass with her on Easter Sunday."

"So, what did you tell her?"

"I put my arm around her shoulder, looked her square in those beautiful green eyes and said, 'Midge, I swear to you, I will go to Mass with you every Sunday from this Easter on. I swear it. All those times you told me that 'God loves me', well Midgie, you were right. The least I can do is give Him some time back. After all, He gave me you back. I owe Him big time."

"Hey Jumbo, give Midge  a hug for me, will ya. And, Happy Easter. Love ya, man."

"Yeah, love ya too, Petie. Happy Easter."

                                 ©Larry Peterson2016 All Right Reserved

March 21, 2016

This Year Holy Week Sends a Perfect Storm: Embrace Its Power

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

If you are Catholic and have not been to Mass or confession in thirty years or more you might think that forgiveness is beyond your  grasp and that there is "no hope" for you. You might even think that if you walked into a church you would turn into a pillar of salt. Well, here is the deal. All of that negative, " I'm too bad to be forgiven" or "It's too late for me" stuff is bunk. It is what is known as a "cop-out". But there is great news for all of us, wicked sinners included.

You see, a Perfect Storm is approaching. This might even be a once in a lifetime occurrence. During the upcoming days, Holy Week, Easter Sunday and the Holy Year of Mercy will converge into a spiritual tsunami ready to wash us all with its unrivaled, avalanche of Love., Forgiveness and Mercy.

Even if you have been the most self-centered, egotistical, s.o.b. since Caligula busied himself ravaging Rome, it does not matter. We all have an opportunity to run into this storm, open our arms wide, and embrace the deluge of unconditional love and mercy that God will be pouring down upon us. There is a catch. We have to want it and ask for it. That's all there is to it. That seems simple enough but for so many it is so hard to do. That is because something called Pride stops us over and over.

Recently I wrote about Dutch Schultz. Dutch was one of the most feared and brutal murderers in the bootlegging business in the 1930s. He ruled the Bronx and, as he lay dying after being gunned down in Newark, N.J., asked for a priest. He had his confession heard, asked for and received Anointing of the Sick and received Holy Viaticum (last Communion). Was Dutch Schultz turned away and told he did not qualify for mercy? Answer, NO.

Let us look at another fellow who makes Dutch Schultz look like a "goody-two-shoes". His name was Rudolf Hoess *. This man was the Kommandant at Auschwitz, the deadliest and most efficient of the German death camps. Hoess designed the extermination processes that were implemented there and was responsible for the murders of over two and a half million people.  

Every day, Rudolf Hoess kissed his wife and kids good-bye and went to work. While at work he  supervised the killings and torturing of countless men, women and children. After work he went home, kissed his wife hello, ate dinner with his family, read a book to his children and then tucked them into bed. What a guy. What a dad. What a husband. He also can lay claim to the title, Greatest Mass Murderer in History. 

Here is something not too many people are aware of.  Hoess  had ordered the execution of a group of Jesuits, including their Superior, Father Wladyslaw Lohn. The priests  were all herded out together to be killed but, ironically,  Father Lohn  was not with the others. The priest was somehow "absent" for his execution and the executioners did not know it. Was it Providence?

Rudolf Hoess was raised in a strict Catholic household but rebelled against his faith as a teenager. Right before his execution  he asked for a priest. It was Father Lohn who was sent to him. It was Father Lohn who heard his confession, anointed him and gave him his final Holy Communion. Then Hoess was sent to the gallows.

Isn't it amazing but, no matter how evil any of us has been, as long as we have a breath left in us God will hear our cries for mercy. All we have to do is ask. Even a monster such as Rudolf Hoess was given a chance at forgiveness. He responded to grace, seized the moment and asked for God's mercy. Was he redeemed? What do you think? (See temporal punishment )

The point is this. Love, Forgiveness and Mercy are ours for the asking. And now, as Holy Week and Easter Sunday join The Holy Year of Mercy, a Perfect Storm is about to blow across our world, a storm that you will want to be sucked up in and transported to another spiritual dimension. No matter what you have done, it is never too late. God waits with open arms for all of his children. Some will seize the opportunity, swallow their pride and ASK for forgiveness and mercy.  Others will never do it. We all have a choice. We can embrace the storm or hide from it.

Rudolf Hoess* should not be confused with Rudolf Hess, who was Deputy Fuhrer under Hitler

                                      ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved

March 11, 2016

Meet a REAL Man; Joseph of Nazareth (Feast Day, March 19)

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

I call Joseph of Nazareth the "Shadow Saint" because so little is known about him. There is not even one spoken word he ever said that was recorded.  But his quiet life resonated like huge cymbals being smashed together over the ages and into our very 21st century existence. For it was Joseph of Nazareth who saved the Son of God so he could live to save all of us.

 God sent His Son to us because without His perfect sacrifice we would have been lost forever. All humankind contributed to the death of Jesus Christ. He suffered and died for us  because the love of God is so unfathomable it was the only way to give us all a second chance to grab onto the brass ring of Eternal Salvation. But without Joseph maybe the brass ring would not have been.

Joseph of Nazareth and his boy, Jesus Christ
The ONLY man who could ever call him "my boy"
Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth, was obviously humble and egoless and gave of himself. He was a real MAN.  And it was this man, this quiet, shadow saint who single handedly saved the life of our Savior from being put to death while He was still an infant. Imagine if he had not been able to accomplish this.

As a man, I try to imagine having to confront what Joseph confronted as Mary’s husband. He accepted her pregnancy at a time when the scandal of such a thing oftentimes meant execution for the woman. He was forced to put her on the back of a donkey and take her 80 miles over rocky, dirt roads to Bethlehem for the census. She was almost full term and the trip would have probably taken three to five days. I would have been sick to my stomach praying we could make it. Then, upon arrival, his wife goes into labor. There were no ERs, no cell phones, no 911 calls, no paramedics…you are on your own, end of story.

He was in a strange town without friends and could find no shelter. He was probably trembling and telling his wife, “Stay calm sweetie, it will be all right. Don’t worry. Don’t worry.”  And he is forced to bring her to a dirty, smelly stable that is an animal shelter. Here she has to give birth to her child who is the Son of God. As a man, he must have felt so inadequate, so un-manly. His heart must have been breaking.

The miracle of the Virgin Birth takes place and mother and child are fine. But then Joseph discovers that King Herod wants to kill his baby boy. Okay guys, think about it. You have made it this far and now you learn the army has been ordered to find your child and kill him. They are out in force searching for YOU and YOUR family. They are killing all boys two years old and under so as not to miss killing your son. But it is you and your wife and child they want. Those other children are ‘collateral damage”, an afterthought to Herod’s vicious orders. The fear and anxiety within Joseph must have been overwhelming yet he did his best to remain upbeat.

Somehow, someway, with his resolve of faith and trust in God propelling him forward, he made it to Egypt and saved his family. I have no idea how he managed to do it. Egypt was three hundred miles away but he got them there safe and sound. He saved not only the Redeemer and probably the Blessed Mother from death, he made it possible for all of us to be saved too.

One final thought about this incredible person;  Joseph of Nazareth was the only man who ever lived who could point to the Son of God and say, "That's MY boy." Imagine that.

St. Joseph, thank you and please pray for all of us. HAPPY FEAST DAY

                                    
                          ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved



March 7, 2016

Zero Tolerance and God's Mercy equals Oil and Water; They Do Not Mix

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Last week I wrote a piece about Arthur Flegenheimer aka Dutch Schultz. The notorious bootlegger, gangster and murderer, along with his henchmen, prowled the streets of the Bronx during the 1930's spreading murder and mayhem wherever he took his negative pride and enormous ego. But the old cliche, "Live by the sword, die by the sword" rang true for the "Dutchman". On October 23, 1935, he was gunned down in a bar in Newark, N.J. The "hit" was ordered by Lucky Luciano and carried out by members of  Murder Inc. As things would have it,  Dutch did not die right away. Enter the sacrament of Penance and Forgiveness. Enter God's Mercy.

Pope Francis brought us into The Holy Year of Mercy on December 8, 2015. But I have come to believe, based on the rules of Zero Tolerance, true mercy can only come from God. Dutch Schultz was a bad guy who did very bad things. He murdered, he stole, he ruined people's lives. Yet, in the end, the man sought out God and His mercy. And he received it.

Dutch was a converted Catholic and, as he was dying, asked for a priest. He went to confession, received absolution and was administered the Last Rites of the Church. Dutch Schultz was granted mercy and forgiveness by God through the power given to the priest. What if Dutch had been applying for the job of a part-time school bus driver for a Catholic school? Zero Tolerance rules would NEVER have allowed it.

Therein lies the two edged sword for us Catholics. If God can give forgiveness and mercy to all who truly seek it, how can we, His good people, pick and choose from those doing so? Zero Tolerance, in my opinion, is the great enigma we all face as Catholics. We must always protect the vulnerable (young & old) against the predators out there. But what about the others? I think, especially during the Holy Year of Mercy, we must all pray for an answer to this dilemma.

My article on Zero Tolerance and The Holy Year of Mercy appeared in Aleteia last week. I ask you to refer to that link for more on this topic.

Slogan for The Holy Year of Mercy: "A Time to Heal, to Help, to Forgive"


©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved

February 23, 2016

During the Lenten Season Forgiveness Rules. Look at "Dutch" Schultz

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

We are now into the third week of Lent and the road to redemption has been halfway traveled. Throughout the world Catechumens have almost reached their goal of full inclusion into the Catholic Church which takes place during the Easter Vigil. It is a beautiful thing. In addition, this past December 8, Pope Francis started us on our journey into the Holy Year of Mercy. Forgiveness is everywhere.
REDEEMER

To give an example of how God's mercy is ALWAYS available to those who seek it I would like to briefly mention a man by the name of Arthur Flegenheimer. Arthur was born in New York City in 1901. A German-Jew, by the time he was 27 he was known as Dutch Schultz and was quickly becoming one of the most feared mob bosses in New York. The "Dutchman" was a bootlegger (running illegal whiskey), a number's boss operating in Harlem and a "shakedown artist" within the NYC restaurant industry offering protection while using the restaurant unions as cover.

His main enforcer was the infamous, Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, a brutal killer who did Schultz's bidding without hesitation. Eventually the "Dutchman" got tired of Coll's wanting more money. As "Mad Dog" sat in a telephone booth talking on the phone he was machine-gunned to death by Schult's henchmen. Dutch actually provedto be a more brutal killer than "Mad Dog" Coll. So how does my brain combine Dutch Schultz,  The Holy Year of Mercy and Forgiveness together? Actually, it is not that hard to do, is it? This is the phenomenal redemption available to all through the Church and her Sacraments.
Dutch Schultz:  REDEEMED

Dutch Schultz wanted to kill U. S. Attorney Thomas E. Dewey (Later to be Governor of NY and the Presidential Candidate losing to Harry Truman in the 1948 election). The Mafia Commission told Schultz,  "NO, it would cause us too much trouble." Schultz refused to listen and decided to  kill Dewey anyway. The mob, under Lucky Luciano, sent "Murder Inc." after Schultz. On October 23, 1935, they gunned him down in a restaurant in Newark, N.J. Enter the sacrament of Penance and Forgiveness. Enter Mercy.

When Dutch Schultz was acquitted  on tax-evasion charges he converted to Catholicism. He believed that Jesus had saved him.  When he was shot he did not die right away. He was taken to the hospital for surgery and he immediately asked for a priest. He was 34 years  old  and his last thought while he was dying was to  ask Jesus for forgiveness and mercy.  The "Dutchman" went to confession, received absolution and was administered the Last Rites of the Church by a priest. Then he died.  Did Dutch Schultz go right to heaven? Did he get to the "pearly gates" and have St. Peter say, "Sorry Dutch, that priest made a mistake. What you did was uunforgivable. You are not welcome here." I think not.

In a few weeks it will be Good Friday. Catholic/Christian people all over the world will mourn and honor the bloodied, tortured and crucified Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus, the God -man who embraced forgiveness for all people and extended love to everyone. This is also what He wanted us to do. This is why he suffered and died for us. He offered Himself to His Father for us. Then we celebrate His Father's gift back to us, the Risen Christ. We all have been saved and we all  can get to share eternal life with the Blessed Trinity. All we need to do is seek forgiveness. Because of God's Mercy even Dutch Schultz can join in the celebration. It is a beauty beyond description.

                                       ©Larry Peterson2016  All Rights Reserved

February 13, 2016

Valentine’s Day is Overshadowed by Pride


 IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

 Valentine's Day is here.  It is supposed to be all about Love. Yet beyond the heart covered Valentine cards, the flower bouquets and candy and all of that, we must, as unpleasant as it may be, recognize what we truly have going on this Valentine's Day of 2016.  Yes, make no mistake, Love is under attack this Valentine's Day and hatred seems to overshadow the Love in the air.

Love is all about “Giving”, isn’t it? Christ loved us and GAVE His life for us. Now that is some serious “Giving”.  Most followers of Christ do their feeble best to follow His message. But---enter the deadly sin of pride. There is the demon that can grab us in its powerful grip and oftentimes, never let go. The great sin of pride is characterized by all those who seize onto words such as, hurt, libel, disrespect, impolite, mocked, uncivil, rude and the list can go on and on and on.

How sad it is that pride can destroy so much, from family relationships, to friendships, to nations. Whenever our “personhood” is offended by someone else, all that Love can vanish like a puff of smoke in a windstorm.  (Have you seen the “Love” extended by the candidates toward each other in the presidential debates?)
Oh well, it is part of God's gift of free-will allowing each and every one of us to make choices. Some of us can forgive and “turn the other cheek”. Others—no way.

Today it seems that Pride* has filled the hearts of many to a point where these people, so consumed, now HATE unconditionally.  What many of them hate most is one word and what it means. That word is made up of only two letters. That word is NO. They want no-one dare telling them what to do or how to behave. They have embraced secularism (defined as: a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship). 

Here is their problem:  Judeo/Catholic/Christian has boundaries.  Christianity tells us what God wants us to do and what NOT to do...why, the NERVE of Him!  So, many Secularists (not all) take it to another level in their personal, selfish requests to abolish the influence of institutions that have the temerity to say NO to certain behaviors. They even reject "natural law" for their own personal agendas.

Catholic/Christians are the most persecuted people on earth.  Why is that?  Why is there such hatred by so many toward something that is all about goodness and love?  All Christians (including 1.2 billion Catholics and 800 million Protestants  of varied denominations) follow Jesus Christ. That is 2 billion people or two thousand million people who follow His teachings and His promise of Eternal Life. What is the crux of His teachings? Well now, the bottom line is this, LOVE your NEIGHBOR & FORGIVENESS. Yeah, yeah, I know that many who proclaim to follow Jesus do not even make an attempt to Love their Neighbor or Forgive anyone for anything. How powerful is the sin of pride?

The Prideful  rant against Christmas which is all about "giving". They rail on about using the name of God in schools and at sports events. They want Crosses at cemeteries taken down from the graves of fallen soldiers. In many cases those who hate Christians kill them. Men, women and children die every day in different parts of the world simply because they are followers of Jesus. How can Love & Forgiveness be things to hate? How powerful is the sin of pride?

Well, nothing has changed since Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago.  He preached Love & Forgiveness so they beat Him, tortured Him and killed Him.  The loving crowds who screamed "Hosanna" on Palm Sunday turned fickle and screamed "Crucify Him" the following Friday.  The list of people murdered for following Jesus over the centuries (including his own apostles) is countless. Being a Catholic and Christian was never supposed to be easy.  Jesus Christ did nothing but Love us, each and every one of us. Look what happened to Him. How powerful is the sin of pride?

So, on this Valentine's Day, the question to be considered might be this. What is Love? The answer can be found in the Bible in the First Letter of John; Ch 4: 16-17.  "We have come to know and believe in the love God has for us. God IS Love, and whoever remains in Love remains in God and God in Him. 

Sadly,  on February 14, 2016, the war on Love increases in intensity.

*Pride: There are two kinds of pride; negative pride and positive pride. This column             references negative pride aka ‘selfishness’ or ‘meism’. Positive pride is the    good pride we take in working hard to do our best while loving our neighbor.

                    ©Larry Peterson2016 All Rights Reserved

February 8, 2016

From the new novel,The Demons of Abadon: A Character Interview with Charlie Winters

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

From the pages of the new, paranormal novel, The Demons of Abadon:  
Meet Charlie Winters:

Background:  Charles Joseph Winters (called Charlie by his friends) is a balding, 45 year old, 5 foot six inch, fire-plug of a man who weighs about 200 solid pounds and is as strong as an ox. Charlie, a kind hearted, generous man, will always fight for the “underdog”
.
Charlie was born in 1921 on the west side of Manhattan, in the  rough and tumble area known as “Hell’s Kitchen”. He lived there until 1959 when he and his wife, Eleanor (Ellie) moved from the city out to Northern New Jersey.  They had seen an old Victorian house on the edge of the Abadon Forest and fallen in love with it.  

Charlie was a very successful distributor of premium deli meats and supplied delicatessens and grocery stores in all the boroughs of New York City with his products. Life was good and life was peaceful, living in the “country”. Then along came the summer of 1966. That is when Bobby and Joey Peach came to spend the summer. Like a moth to a flame, it was their arrival which drew Jacob Lightfoot to their front door. Joey and Jacob were subsequently followed by the Demons of Abadon.  They hated the innocence of the children and the purity of their souls.

Charlie agreed to this interview because a lot of strange, inexplicable things have been going on since the boys arrived.  Charlie and I have a mutual friend, Father Tim Sullivan, and he asked me (for documentation purposes) if I would interview Charlie.  So, l should stop talking and start asking Mr. Winters if he can tell us what is going on.

For clarity Charlie will be C and I will be identified as L:

L : “Well Charlie, thanks for doing this interview. There has been some talk of strange goings on up here in the Abadon. Could you tell me about some of these so called, ‘goings on’?”
C: “Now look, Larry, let’s get something straight. If you’re being  sarcastic with me or making fun of this situation you can take a hike right now. I ain’t in the mood. This is not funny and these kids are in danger.”
L:  “Oh, hold on Mr. Winters. I apologize. I didn’t mean it that way. I am friends with Father Tim just like you are. That’s why I’m here. I am taking this very serious.  Please, I didn’t mean anything negative or condescending. Believe me. I did not mean it like that.”
C: “Well, okay then.  It started when Father Tim brought the boys up here a few weeks ago. They said a shadow man, or something like that, ran in front of the car and Father had to jam on the brakes to avoid hitting it and the thing ran across the road.”
L:  “Sounds scary. Is there anything else?”
C: “Is there anything else? Are you kidding me?  That was the very tip of the iceberg. There was this girl named Lily and she was all dressed in white and she brought Jacob here in a thunderstorm and then Bobby seen her upstairs.  And then---“
L: “Whoa, Mr. Winters. Please slow down a bit. Who is Lily?”
C: “Oh man, look Larry. This has been going on for a few weeks now. I even had this vicious shadow wolf knock me clear off my porch. I went flying through the air and landed on the gravel driveway. I was all scraped up and bloody.”
L: “Oh my God. That’s unbelievable.”
C: “Tell me about it. I was face to face with this beast as it came at me. Scariest thing ever happened to me—EVER. I was told the force he used was the hatred within him. That was because he could not actually touch me. It was freaky man, very freaky.”
L: “So what is going on now? Has a way to stop this madness been found?  What do you do to stop it.?”
C: “What do I DO to stop it? You told me you were friends with Father Tim. What did he tell you? Why did you come here? Why did he send you here? Look, wait right here. I’m getting him out here. This is ridiculous.”
Larry watched Charlie walk into the house. He waited a minute and then said to no-one in particular, “I better leave them alone for a while. After all, I have to figure it out first.”

                                                ©Larry Peterson 2016

January 29, 2016

Pride vs the Humility of Pope Francis

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson
This is from the Gospel of Luke; Chapter 9: vs 46-50
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 
For the one who who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest."
This gospel reading is all about the greatest of all the 'deadly' sins, Pride. It is also about the greatest of all 'heavenly' virtues, Humility. This is a "clash of the titans" of evil vs Good. And Pope Francis, without trying and by just being who God made him to be, wears the mantle of humility without fanfare, showmanship, pretentiousness or anything that might be self-serving in any manner. Yes, he wears that mantle and it is fastened to his shoulders with the clasp of Love. In so doing he continually  shows  the whole world what it means to think of yourself the least among all others.  (Was that a Fiat Hatchback or a Ford Taurus?)
Jorge Mario Bergoglio never asked to be a bishop or a cardinal. He never "lobbied" for these positions or  sought them out in any way. He did not have "super-pacs" at his beckoned call when the vacancy for Pope opened. He simply loved being a priest, working with the poor and homeless and doing his best to follow God's call so he would make his life pleasing to Him. Make no mistake, God called him to the Papacy. The secular world may mock that concept but that is why they do not understand.  That is why they cannot experience the joy so many millions of faithful are experiencing with his Papacy. If they could only swallow their damn pride a bit and open their hearts to some  humility they may find the elusive peace that evades them.
Pope Francis is filled with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit leads him to stop his motorcade and wade into a crowd of children and hug them and kiss their foreheads. It compels him to embrace the crippled, the disfigured, the mentally challenged, the homeless as well as the "uppity-ups". He has no qualms about walking into a prison and embracing hard-core murderers, rapists, thieves, and drug dealers. Pope Francis sees the Face of Christ in EVERYONE.
Last September, during his stop in Washington, D.C.,  he visited with  President Obama and then offered  Mass in the National Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. When he finished he made a point of going to the offices of the Little Sisters of the Poor. He had to send a message to the entire world about the solidarity that exists within the Church when it comes to respect for life, ALL life. That message required no words---just action. The Pope gave that message by meeting with the Sisters who take care of the elderly poor, free of charge,  and have been doing so since St. Jeanne Jugan founded the order back in 1841.
Pope Francis  left our country a more contented and inspired nation. He reached out to everyone and many  responded. He represents the Goodness and Love that Jesus Christ brought to us and, despite the horrors of jihad and the emptiness of secularism pervading our lives,  his presence and example make our world  a better place. He is HIS ambassador on earth and  he represents HIM well.   We have all been blessed.
                                      ©Larry Peterson 2016   All Rights Reserved