Tuesday, December 2, 2008
OK, I will probably get myself ridden out on a rail for this post but I feel it's time to stop whining. Obama is the person who was chosen by our country for president. I didn't vote for him
because his stand on abortion is horrendous. But OUR country voted for him and maybe we ought to support him. And not blame him for all the gains which have NOT been made against abortion in the past 35 years.
ANYONE who runs for president has got to love the country because it's a horribly hard job, which is not that well paying and tends to be thankless when whomever is our president turns out to not be a godlike figure who fixes everything in 3 days or less.
Anyway, Obama's our president now and I think we need to remember that we are AMERICANS FIRST and Conservatives or Republicans second.
So I joined his website. I wanted to hear the news from the horse's mouth so to speak.
And today, they sent out an official announcement of his appointments which I felt was rather impressive.
First of all, he's doing something, as far as I know, is pretty unprecedented... he's RETAINING one of the Bush cabinet members, the secy of Defense. I don't know about you, but I think this is a real show of good faith and also of reaching OUT to conservatives and saying "Hey, I'm YOUR pres also!"
Secondly, he appointed Janet Napolitano as the head of homeland security. Naturally, being from her state, I'm happy to see that this puts Jan Brewer in the governor spot... she's a Conservative, Republican and pro lifer also. But I have to say that this is a good appointment for Homeland Security because while she was governor, Janet was very passionate about Homeland Security. She's an intelligent person and I think she'll be good in that office. (and far away from any life issues also...) :)
And finally, he appointed General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret), former Allied Commander, Europe, and Commander of the United States European Command, as National Security Advisor. Wow, truly Pres Obama doesn't know much about the military but this shows he is getting folks as advisors who ARE experts... I don't know this man but he sounds impressive and I think will be a good advisor...
Bottom line, Pres Obama may disagree with us on some issues, some of which folks like myself, are passionate about (like abortion... that's been the big thing with me for many years and it will continue thusly) but he is a human being, he is a fellow brother and he is a fellow American and I think we should approach this all with Christian love.
Let's give the guy a chance. So far, I'm quite impressed with his appointments... he's a hard worker, he's very intelligent and he actually might be a very good president.... and you know, sometime along the line, he COULD change his views on abortion... who knows...
As for the pro life movement? Well, it's obvious that whatever we've been doing for 35 years, hasn't worked. Because MOST of the small gains we have made are about to be wiped out. It may be time to re-think our strategy (something which many in the movement seem to not be willing to do). Mostly in the weeks since the pro life cause was horribly defeated in the national election, most folks in the movement, are just going on as usual when we all should perhaps be considering a change in direction.
Go back to Fatima. What did the Blessed Mother tell the children (and us)? PRAY THE ROSARY EVERY DAY. How did we manage to close a couple of clinics here? Going there and praying the Rosary in front of them.
Kind of a no brainer, now that I look at it. So why didn't I DO that in the first place... because you know, it was EASIER for me to work in the Pro life offices, march in the marches and work a booth at the fair than to commit to a daily Rosary but maybe that's just WHY the daily Rosary might WORK better....
Many years ago, a lady friend told me that prayer was the most important element of activism. "You know Sue," she said in her soft spoken southern accented voice, "Only God can change hearts!"
Friday, November 28, 2008
I find, in these tense days after the election, I am disillusioned with people in general. I don't MEAN to be - I just _am_.
Somehow the church was lame during the election and did NOT specify details on HOW to distinguish between non negotibles so no wonder many Catholics had a tough time.
For example, the Republican views on "immigration" which seem to be focused on poverty stricken Mexicans who have for decades, come here, worked for slave wages, enabling places like Walmart to offer things for cheap or farmers to farm without losing their shirts, are now, suddenly treated like criminals and un ceremoniously deported back to Mexico. When they have done nothing wrong, when they are PART of our economy and when, in many cases LIKE those who work for Walmart, they are paying income taxes (because it's automatically deducted from their paycheck but of course, they cannot be re-embursed at income tax time). The government knows that they are paying income taxes because there is a sizable amount of undocumented tax money which remains unclaimed. These are simple people, family people and church going and now being treated like criminals? Sounds like racism to me (because the Canadians are NOT being treated in such a shabby manner and we are NOT spending millions to build walls on the Canadian border) and racism is one of the five non negotibles that Catholics are asked to consider when voting. (Abortion is another).
I don't have a clue how "immigration" got started but it seems to be vaguely connected with 9/11 ...except the guys who "did" 9/11 were in the USA on green cards so would have NOT qualified as "undocumented" or "illegal". When I ask anyone about this, all I get is "well, drugs come in from Mexico". They come in from Canada also though and the simple people being treated like criminals are NOT the ones transporting the drugs. When I bring this up, no one has an answer. Which is one thing that totally disillusions me. WHY DOESN'T ANYONE EVEN ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS?
My Mexican neighbors are confused .... and if anyone bothered to learn Spanish (it's a beautiful language and knowing it enriches us!) so they could TALK to Mexicans, they would see for themselves. They are asking "what did we do? Why are my friends and family members being suddenly treated like criminals? Everyone is afraid now." How sad is this? In a country which boasts "give me your tired and your poor." Apparently that suddenly doesn't include Mexicans, I guess.
The Democrats have a much better stand on "immigration" with granting amnesty but a horrendous stand on abortion. The Republicans have a great stand on abortion but a horrendous stand on immigration. Where do you draw the line? I don't think it would have been "political" for the church to detail that to their people. I drew the line because abortion is killing 9 humans a minute and whereby "immigration" racism kills a few people, it isn't close to 9 humans a minute. The Mexican Americans voted Democratic because they are tired of living in fear. Can't really blame them.
Why do we have to make this choice? Why are ANY OF THE PARTIES REALLY MORAL in ALL their stands? (well I know the Democrats get millions of bucks from the abortion industry but why are the Republicans so blind about "immigration").
Then there was the story on "The Today Show" about the women priests. They interviewed a woman attorney who said how she had been a "good Catholic" for all these years (like she was doing THE CHURCH a favor) and tried to change the church's stand on ordination of women for all those years and finally got tired of it so she was "ordained" as a "priest" or priest-ESS or whatever she calls herself.
And now, she "celebrates Mass" and disrespects the Lord by not only dressing like a priest but by serving Communion to her followers (so she's misleading others). She doesn't give a hang that what she's telling them is Sacrament IS NOT or how she's misleading others down HER primrose path and denying THEM the REAL Body and Blood of Jesus. I mean if you think of it... HOW DARE SHE disrespect God like that? She reminds me of a passage in Timothy which talks about this very type of thing:
But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power.
(2 timothy 3:1 ff)
And what happened to HER CHANGING (instead of changing the church according to HER EGO). Just where did we forget that EGO means "EASING GOD OUT"?
Besides her misleading what looked like 100 or more people into coming to her blasphemous Mass, the "Today Show" LOVED it! Another chance to laugh at the Catholic church and how stupid we are for having only male priests. Nevermind that JESUS never ordained his Mother. Is this attorney so foolish as to think that IF Jesus wanted women priests, His Immaculately Conceived Mother would have been the first to be ordained?
To those idiots who want women priests and say the church is unfair, I ask them "Well, maybe you can answer this - God must also be unfair because you know He only allows WOMEN to be Mothers so why is that?"
Of course in our immoral depraved age, motherhood is not respected but actually, I consider it on an equal basis, RESPECT-WISE as being a priest because in being a mother you are allowed to partake in God's Creation of a new life and also, you have a special closeness to children AND Grandchildren which men do not have. God and His Church are NOT unfair. We each have our incredibly awesome things we can do. We women can be mothers and men can be priests. Why should men OR women have it all?
You see, if people bothered to PRAY or to just RESPECT GOD and His church, all of this would be a real no brainer and they wouldn't even waste time worrying about how women cannot be priests and men cannot be mothers.
(In a speech on youtube, Ms Via states that she was so religious from childhood and also aware of the "injustice toward women". Amazing how she forgets that the most highly thought of individual human in the Catholic church next to Jesus, is Jesus' Mother, A WOMAN. When I listened to this speech (all 58 minutes of it), it truly amazed me that she's a PhD and she knows so little. No wonder our son - also a PhD - reminds me that especially in the case of folks like her, PhD can mean "Piled higher and deeper" Rather interesting are what she calls "radicalizing events", those which led her out of "being a good Catholic" as she described herself to being ordained and having her own parish. One of which was when she went for her tenure at the Catholic University where she taught, she did not pass the test for "Catholicity" and was asked to leave. Wow, I wonder why? Because she doesn't know what the Catholic church teaches? And the second "Radicalizing event", she tells us, is that she was barred from teaching in a Catholic University by the Bishop when she signed an ad - from "Catholics for a free choice" which stated that abortion was a "moral choice" at times. (It should be noted the "Catholics for a free choice" are neither Catholic NOR into free choice because the only choice THEY believe in, is abortion and they are funded by the abortion industry also. The 129 member organization has a president who makes over 60,000 a year!) Needless to say, I definitely suspect Ms Via's elevator doesn't go to the top floor so to speak, but I think that the Bishops should warn people against individuals like this because they can be confusing if folks do not know any better! I could write a whole blog on HER. Maybe I will.... in the future. By the way, Jane Via, if you do read this, I, as a member of several "IQ" groups, would have to say that one would greatly suspect your brain is somewhat lacking since you have managed to do all this studying and have very little knowledge of Catholic doctrine OR Catholic History. Also be warned that you may be playing with your eternal salvation in order to massage your Ego here on earth. Is it really worth taking those type of risks, Jane? "He whose soul is flat, the sky will cave in on them by and by" Edna St Vincent Millay)
Which brings me to the third group I am disillusioned with and that is the person in the pew. Because the most awful pro abortion people (who are ALREADY WORKING TO UNDO 35 years of work on the part of the pro life movement as we speak) have been elected to office and you know, few seem to care. People are just going about their daily life, worrying about what they are going to buy for their next purchase or what they are going to wear to the next "occasion". While these evil people are opening the door for abortions to exponentially multiply.
Do they think abortions WON'T multiply? Look at Russia which encouraged abortion for many decades and now find themselves as a dying society. The average woman in Russia has had NINE abortions and now that the floodgates were opened a few decades ago, the government is actually trying to STOP the flow of baby killing but finding it very difficult to do.
But no one is even upset about it. The pro life movement has gone into immediate denial mode. "Donate more money" say the emails and letters "so we can continue our good fight" and "we have made a lot of progress and will continue to do so" despite the fact that every last bit of progress they have made is quickly being undone.
I have been told "don't be too hard on the prolife movement" and basically that I'm full of it when I'm understandably alarmed and dismayed.
I feel like I am standing alone. My constant prayer as the darkness is rapidly closing in, seems to be "Holy Spirit, please push the darkness away". I got that from Fr Spitzer on EWTN and it helps. So does the Rosary. But what is very upsetting is that so few seem to see the darkness.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. 2 tim 4:3-4As the saying goes: "you don't have to be a cannibal to be fed up with people".
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I have received via the internet (and seen on TV actually), two stories which are supposed to be inspirational and/or inspire guilt or I'm not sure.
One story is of a man who is the person who raises and lowers a bridge so the trains can cross. One day he takes his son (who is about 5 years old) to work with him. As the father is occupied and the bridge is up to allow a boat to pass, the son climbs down in the underside of the bridge. Then a train comes. The father looks for the son and notices that where the son is, if he lowers the bridge, the son will get crushed. He calls to the son but the child does not hear him. He must now make the agonizing decision of saving his son (by not lowering the bridge) or killing his son by lowering the bridge to save the hundreds of people on the train. He decides in favor of the people on the train and lowers the bridge.
In the second story which I just received, it's the same principle only this time, a father is told his young son has the only pure blood with which they can make a vaccine to cure thousands of people. Ignoring the questionable medical basis of this one - vaccines are generally NOT made from human blood - the bottom line is the same as the first story. The father "donates" the son (after lying to the son and saying he would not allow anything to happen to him) and the son dies and the doctors say basically (though not so bluntly) "oops, we didn't know it would take so MUCH of his blood".
The analogy is supposed to be God the father, giving His Son to die for us. In each story, the apathy of the people who are saved is commented on. "Didn't you know I killed my son to save you?"
If we think about each story, at least, this was MY reaction, it's troubling. Could WE make that decision? To destroy our own kid to supposedly save other lives? I doubt that any of us could do this. So it ends up being a dilemma rather than something which is uplifting. (at least to me).
I have been troubled by these stories every time I've heard them or seen it passed on the internet and recently, realized WHY I've found the story so confusing and so troubling and not really LIKE the sacrifice that Jesus made.
Because there are some things which are very different here and perhaps not religious at all.
First of all, the underlying idea is that by the death of a small innocent, lives can be saved which is not really that far away from the idea of abortion or murder or embryonic stem cell research etc. Certainly NOT a religious idea at all. Quite the contrary.
But secondly, what is REALLY wrong with these stories is that we are being compared to God the Father which is totally inappropriate. We are not God, we are human and God is not us - He is NOT human but infinite. And our creator.
And finally, in the story, the small child has no choice in the matter. In the first, no choice at all - the father makes the choice and in the second, choice based on the idea that it will NOT kill him, the child and choice at an age where free will is not developed yet - hardly more of a choice than in the first story.
I don't know if anyone really, if they think about it, finds these stories inspirational. I know they are often told as inspirational stories.
But these are so different from Jesus. Jesus, unlike God his Father, was/is man as much as He is God. And God did NOT make this choice FOR HIM. God ASKED Him to make the choice of allowing Himself to be sacrificed for the salvation of mankind and He could have said "no" just as any one of us has the free will to say "no". But Jesus, at the age of 33, did NOT say "no". He said "yes". Of His own free will. And that is what is so beautiful because Jesus loved us THAT much as to, though not really wanting to suffer that much, telling the Father that if He "must drink this cup then so be it".
And interestingly enough if we wish to look for analogies, there are many and even a couple in the 20th century... i.e. individual humans who had a choice to make a sacrifice and said "yes" to God much as Jesus did.
One of them was Gianna Beretta Molla, a pediatrician who, if she followed the line of the stories above, would have sacrificed her unborn baby in abortion so she could live and save many lives (as she did in her job as a pedriatrician) as well as be mother to her other 3 children. But instead of following the two above stories and sacrificing her unborn child (when she was found to have cancer of the uterus and require treatment to live), she said "take the child first - save my child".
And the child was born (Gianna just had the tumor removed) and they named the little girl, Gianna, after her mother. Gianna the mom, died a week later but to the end had no regrets.
On the morning of 21 April 1962 Gianna Emanuela was born by Caesarian section. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of 28 April, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of "Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you", the mother died of septic peritonitis. She was 39 years old.
Like Jesus whom she followed, she said yes to sacrificing HERSELF and although one might say, this was hardship on her children and husband (and it likely was), these children and certainly Gianna the daughter (who later became a pediatrician like her mother and has saved many lives) would say, could a mother love any more than this? (not withstanding that many of us believe Gianna is in Heaven praying for all of us - she was proclaimed saint by the Catholic church a few years ago).
I think it is really important to make this distinction and to clarify these confusing stories which compare US to God the Father.
Sacrificing someone ELSE's life (without THEIR choice being involved) not only does not necessarily save anyone but is a decision God would NOT ask us to make in the framework of the scenarios given in the stories and even in the Bible when Abraham is willing to sacrifice his son, God stops him. A pretty clear message.
But sacrificing OUR OWN lives is another story. Perhaps for some of us, that might be the ultimate act of love, to follow our Savior in His Choice to do this. And for many of us, to read about this IS a great source of inspiration.
What did Gianna the daughter (pictured here with her father and Pope John Paul II) feel about this sacrifice that her mother made to save her life? Here is what she wrote when a church dedicated a stain glass window to a rendering of her mother:
I am very honoured and moved to be here today with all of you and I thank Fr. Thomas Rosica with all my heart, and his staff, the parishioners and friends of the Newman Centre who are present at this important ceremony. Three days ago, when Padre Tom showed me the church windows for the first time and I saw my mother smiling, I was filled with joy and so pleased, because I have always imagined her in this way, knowing that the message of her life couldn’t be represented better.
Every moment of her entire existence was a real testimony of Christian love and faith, lived concretely and with joy in everyday life: as a young girl, as a fiancée and wife, as a mother and doctor. She always trusted in Divine Providence and she has crowned her exemplary life in the name of a love without measure. She is always with me and since the momentous day of April 24, 1994, I have felt myself to be part of an ever growing family comprised of so many people throughout the world who, like me, pray to her, confide in her, and feel close to her. I believe that this is also the design of Divine Providence, that now I shall never be alone.
Dear Mom, I ask you to fill me and all those who suffer and are in difficulty with your own strength of soul, your hope, your courage to live life to the full. Protect and help all mothers, their families and all who turn to you and entrust their needs to you.
(Imagine praying to a saint who is your Mom!)
Gianna was born on April 21, 1962 which was Holy Saturday, that year and her mother died on April 28, 1962, the eve of what would become Divine Mercy Sunday a few years later. I was received into the Catholic church on April 11, 1963, Holy Thursday, the following year and I truly feel that Gianna's prayers had a lot to do with my OWN conversion...
St Gianna Molla is a saint ESPECIALLY for our times when the lives of children are thought to be so expendable or even sometimes as a way of thinking that destroying their lives can save others (as in the stories of the internet forwards).
The story of Dr St Gianna Beretta Molla
Beautiful recounting of the St Gianna story and many photos
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
A website sent to me by another member of an internet list, suggested that only a small part of the 700 billion dollar bailout, if applied to world hunger, would go a long way to solve the hunger problem. When I saw the title, the premise seemed totally not feasible to me and so, I did not bother clicking the link, much to the chagrin of the person who sent it as he obviously believed it. He commented that the website had led him to believe that the goal of conquering "world hunger" was at least, in sight.
However, evidence suggests that this goal is NOT AT ALL in sight and for many reasons. As one scholar I was listening to this am - Fr Mitch Pacwa, SJ, commented, a lot of world hunger is caused by bad governments including the fact that a goodly part of the AID sent them, never gets there and/or gets stopped by bureaucracy etc. Right now according to the mass media (which we KNOW is NOT friendly to the Catholic church to put it mildly), 80 percent of the world's hungry are being FED BY the Catholic church. And as we know, if a proposed solution to the "financial crisis" had a hard time getting through Congress, we can be assured that a proposal of even a part of that money to feed the hungry would CERTAINLY die in committee! :) The bottom line of the article was not, I suspect to seriously propose a solution to "world hunger" but rather to point out what a bad move, the 700 billion dollar bail-out was.
As an FYI, I was sure one of the advantages of a liberal Democrat being elected to president would be a returning to peace, because Conservatives are supposed to be, more sensible than liberals and also patriotic enough (how old fashioned) to SUPPORT the president in solidarity now that the election is over. (Fr Mitch, affore mentioned, defined solidarity as recognizing our mutual "human-ness" and while not accepting what we may feel to be immoral ideas, supporting the president on a HUMAN level and helping whenever we can).
I was wrong though because many Conservatives are whining as loud and unreasonably as liberals were doing, after Bushie got into office.
There are times I think the number of THINK-ing folks regardless of what their IQ scores were in school, is fastly dwindling to a handful and somehow, the concept of large numbers of humans with power and purposeful activity and a significant amount of anger and frustration, who do not THINK is more scary than any one politician's policies OR the 700 billion bucks we flushed down the toilet, borrowed from God-knows-where-I-don't-even-want-to-speculate.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Seems not enough Christians voted morally, their greed overcoming their moral compass at the sound of Obama's empty promises. We could have made a statement in this election. We could have pushed back the darkness but instead too many of us SUPPORTED the darkness. Just like those Christians who voted for Hitler, Castro and others.
Seems we never learn.
"He who does not study history is doomed to re-live it"
Not all change is good. Prepare for higher taxes and less money. No country has EVER taxed itself to economic security. And this country may NO LONGER HAVE the protection of God since we are killing 9 unborn babies per minute and we just elected a man for president who is joined at the hip with the evil Planned Parenthood, and financed by their blood monies to the tune of 10 million dollars and it seems, NOT ENOUGH OF US EVEN CARE.
Fr Corapi of EWTN said it well. "If you elect immoral politicians, you get what you deserve"
Obama needed the Catholic Vote to win. He got enough of it, it seems. Some polls were saying that 60 percent of Catholics were planning to vote for Obama.
Where did we fail? Was it the big "catholicvote.com" website which didn't really carry a strong message because the creators did not want to SELF FUND IT but instead insisted on asking for donations? Many Bishops spoke out but in the parish I attend, I did not hear ONE sermon advocating the importance, the morality of voting pro life. I suspect many other Catholics did not hear many pro life sermons also.
And now, Fr Pavone of priests for life has his BIG meeting for "strategy" now. What strategy? Get it Fr, Many Catholics don't care because they have NO MORAL COMPASS left. They cannot see past their pocketbooks. Do you really think that shouting over and over at the choir is going to do anything to stop abortion?
Fr writes on his website:
Americans have made a grave mistake in electing Barack Obama to the presidency. Yet America herself remains great and is not a mistake, which is why so many of her citizens will continue, with even greater energy and determination, to defend her founding principles.
Defend our founding principles? We just flushed them down the toilet, Fr Pavone, by our choice at the polls.
The pro life movement, hate to say it, is WORTHLESS, WEAK, INEFFECTIVE. Too many in the movement have made that their job so that if abortion ever became illegal, they would lose their livelihoods. And in 35 years and 48 MILLION humans dead, the pro life movement has done little to change anything.
I remember an African American minister speaking at a HLI convention in the mid-90's saying that one of the reasons abortion still existed was "WICs" (Weak Ineffective Churches). And here it is 13 years later and his words are still ringing true.
Maybe we need to flush the pro life movement down the toilet with the principles we just flushed.
We don't need the pro life movement because it seems when it comes to REAL action, it's constipated. We don't need "new strategies" or more speeches to the choir. We don't need the emotional rallies, the marches or the rest. Probably all we need is A LOT of people praying the Rosary daily for the end to abortion and when the time comes, Catholics making a moral choice of a candidate who will build the "culture of life" and not promote the "culture of death". Of course that does not give anyone employment, or an emotional high or a "feel good" for little output, feeling. IT JUST WORKS.
I will hope and pray that God who can overcome all, will help those of us who DID vote morally.
At least we can live with our consciences.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
How Obama REALLY feels about abortion and babies:
"I've got 2 daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old. I'm going to teach them family values but if they make a mistake, why should they be punished with a baby?" (from a speech to campaign followers) (Obama to campaign followers)
Also snippets of Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood:
Obama pledged to Planned Parenthood that he would protect abortion "rights" and is shown speaking to a Planned Parenthood gathering. Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the USA has started their own campaign to the tune of 10 million dollars to get Obama elected. This video is rather eye opening to say the least.... Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger wrote prolifically that she believed in Eugenics i.e. abortion and birth control to "select out" poor people, minority races etc. One African American magazine years ago, said that since only 1 in 8 anglo babies is aborted but 1 in 4 African American babies is aborted, it is like a genocide - they gave me permission to reprint their whole magazine (I called the editor) in the early 1990's. So here is an African American who is supporting Planned Parenthood (Obama). Are they still racist? A student organization which did an undercover investigation found that the employees they talked to suggested that Planned Parenthood was still racist.
This video is from Fox News and they did their homework and present actual footage of Obama's speech to Planned Parenthood:
Friday, September 12, 2008
Someone on one my health groups posted an article by an alternet writer named James Levine. I guess it was considered health because it was talking mental health. The long article ranted against both the entire field of psychology as well as religionists and although it admitted we were not a healthy generation, offered no alternate means of treatment for the adjustment problems we are seeing in today's society.
Somehow the article struck a bad chord in me. Maybe it's the hot weather or the inane media election hype... or maybe I've just had my fill of ranting athestic articles which attempt (very poorly, I may add) to rip up all religion but offer no better alternative.
I ended up writing a somewhat passionate response to the article which is as follows:
1. The author's main premise is that all psychology is no better than a placebo at treating mental illness. I think it's simplistic to discard all psychological treatment as "no better than a placebo" and from my observations, very incorrect. I've had enough dealings in the field to observe that in some areas, although treatment certainly has room for improvement, they have made strides and also do have a certain number of success stories.
2. The author never defines what he means by "mental illness" or "insanity". To lump all mental illness into one pot is not only simplistic but really incorrect and leads me to really question whether the writer of this article is very ignorant or just not aware of modern science. Some of what we call "mental illness" (for example, bi polar, schizophrenia etc) has a large factor which is physical and thus responds well to medications.
3. Finally, Levine comments: "It is my experience that psychiatry, Scientology and fundamentalist religions are turnoffs for genuinely critical thinkers." This is not only ignorant and shows a real bias on the part of the author, it's incorrect. Without trying real hard, I can name many highly intelligent critical thinkers who are members of all religions INCLUDING the much maligned Scientology. And in considering the lack of knowledge obvious, in this article which TOTALLY IGNORS several CLINICAL STUDIES and disses the entire field of psychology, I would NOT include the author in any group of "critical thinkers" Critical, yes. Thinker, not.
Let's just take a look at the RESEARCH
1. Several MEDICAL STUDIES done by scientists (not religionists) have suggested that:
A. People prayed for after surgery tend to have a SIGNIFICANTLY better recuperation rate than those not prayed for (DESPITE the fact that in the several studies I've read, they were double blind i.e. none of the patients in the cohort knew if they were being prayed for or not).
B. Elizabeth Kubler Ross started her long series of research for her book "ON DEATH AND DYING" as an atheist and yet, after observing that down to the man/woman, people who had ANY TYPE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF, dealt with death and illness WAY BETTER than people with NO religious belief, SHE HERSELF changed her atheistic position and became a believer in God.
C. Fulton Sheen, while a Catholic Bishop, has written some of the best researched books which are respected by religionist and non religionist alike... He wrote that when Catholics went to regular confession, almost none of them required any type of counseling.
NOTE: I am not suggesting everyone become a religionist but simply pointing out that people dissing religion with NO basis in fact, observation or research are highly suspect of just being plain ignorant... because there is a body of observational data available which suggests that religion seems to deliver definite benefits to its adherrants, enough data that it should be respected as a valid way of life, at the LEAST.
My own observations. I come from an era where religion was NOT forbidden in the schools and where praying was acceptable in all places. When I was in High School and abstinance before marriage was encouraged, there were a small percentage who were se/xually active but in my senior class of 980, only ONE became pregnant. She married the father, and began a large family. Only a handful were caught smoking dope. You could NOT obtain any type of party drugs on campus and hardly anyone used alcohol - alcohol was CERTAINLY NOT a regular thing at teen parties!
No one in our school committed suicide in the four years I was in high school. STD was pretty unheard of among teens and the most prevailent cause of death among teens was car accidents.
We had a "senior sermon" attended by all the students and presided over by clergyman from Catholic, Protestant and Jewish faiths. Witchcraft and that sort of thing was very looked down upon and abortion was the unthinkable - most girls feeling that killing an unborn baby in their womb was a most horrendous idea.
Compare to now... Suicide has been the most prevailent cause of teen death for several years now (ironically ever since O'Hare went to the supreme court and the court legislated from the bench against the even MENTIONING of God in the schools - never mind that the son she "fought for" became a fundamentalist Christian and had nothing more to do with his angry mother who was eventually murdered by one of her fellow atheists).
Abortion and teen pregnancy are common. STD is in epidemic in the high schools.
Physically, we are the one of the sickest societies in the first world DESPITE the fact we spend more on health care than most other countries. Breast cancer is an epidemic (kills 80,000 women a year) and that happened after the birth control pill, which had been suggested to CAUSE cancer as early as the 1930's with repeated results ON LINE in a Canadian study in 1960. Now 38 worldwide studies have suggested that abortion ALSO greatly raises the risk for breast cancer and one of those studies was a CLINICAL study by pro choice scientist Janet Daling whose results suggested that girls who have abortions before the age of 18 (by some figures 80 percent or higher of abortions) may have a 250 percent greater risk of breast cancer by the age of 40.
And the real epidemic is cancer (of all types) which KILLS (BY CDC STATISTICS) 550,500 people a year, with a close second by smoking (associated with 400,000 deaths) - more young people are smoking NOW than back in the 1960's when the ill health effects were unknown- and yet all we see in the dumbed down media is whining about obesity (by CDC statistics associated and WEAKLY SO) with 27,000 deaths a year.
Gee folks, seems atheism isn't even working to keep us PHYSICALLY healthy let alone MENTALLY healthy. hmmmm..... the facts speak WAY LOUDER than Mr Levine's opinions.
And maybe that's why the working folks (as Barry Obama put it) "bitterly cling to their religion and guns", despite how the media tries to manipulate their minds. In fact, despite the constant whining of media liberals and atheists, it seems that 85 percent of the American public clings to their religion. :)
http://abortionbreastcancer.com/ (has several references to the 38 worldwide studies which suggest that abortion greatly raises the risk for breast cancer)
Medical research suggests power of prayer (reporting on 2 double blind, clinical studies which suggested that people prayed for experienced medical benefit even if they didn't KNOW they were being prayed for)
----- Original Message -----
Has American Society Gone Insane?
By Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet
Posted on September 11, 2008, Printed on September 12, 2008
For many Americans who gain their information solely from television, all critics of psychiatry are Scientologists, exemplified by Tom Cruise spewing at Matt Lauer, "You don't know the history of psychiatry. ... Matt, you're so glib." The mass media has been highly successful in convincing Americans to associate criticism of psychiatry with anti-drug zealots from the Church of Scientology, the lucrative invention of science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.
Monday, September 1, 2008
I have listened to all the speeches given at the Democratic convention (the main players anyway).
The thing which strikes me is that several of them "speak with forked tongue". For example, Al Gore talked passionately about diminishing our reliance on "fossil fuels" (i.e. oil) however, he owns 3 jet planes! And several cars. He talked emotionally about solar power but despite the fact that he has plenty of bucks to build solar power into HIS palatial homes, he continues to rely (like the rest of us) on electricity.
Joe Biden was one of the more scary speakers for me. He had very recently spoken out about Obama not being qualified and yet his speech at the convention was ripping up both Bush AND McCain and speaking emphatically, like a Baptist preacher that Obama was the man we NEED. Working the audience much as some of the TV evangelists do. Biden has been asked by several bishops to not present himself for Communion in the Catholic church because of his pro abortion stand and yet, he continues to ignore this saying he's "personally pro life" (however has opposed most pro life legislation except the partial birth abortion ban which he apparently voted in favor of). He looks to me like a man who can be bought.
But Obama is the most interesting of all. His promises are extremely vague.... go after Bin Laden in Afganistan with "increased troops" (does that mean the return of the draft?), restore the "American dream" whatever that is. He tries to come on like he's a WORKING man but is nothing of the sort... attended a posh prep school in Hawaii, then Columbia and then, Harvard Law school. "he could have gone to Wall street" several speakers chanted, "but instead choose to help the poor people". Well, sort of. He organized a massive registration effort for Bill Clinton's campaign "earning himself a job in a Civil rights law firm". This suggests that neither Wall Street NOR a local law firm had been an option for him, until he got some name recognition going. After he got to the law firm, although he might have done some pro bono work, I'm sure the money for the majority of his cases, was quite liveable.
He talks about his mother raising two children by herself. Not quite true. According to a couple of sites, his mother who is caucasian and dad who was Kenyan, divorced when he was young and then, his mother married a caucasian Indonesian oil manager and moved the family to Indonesia but apparently Barack was soon returned to Hawaii where he was "mostly raised" by his Grandparents. His mother returned to Hawaii apparently several years later - she and second husband had a girl, Barack's half sister. So it's his grandparents who made the sacrifices but that's less dramatic than his picture of his single mother raising the kids by herself (even though she was likely not poor and definitely, was not single for several years).
Michelle Obama, a dynamic speaker, also tries to relate to the "poor people" but she graduated with a law degree from Harvard also and worked in a law firm where she was asked to mentor an intern. That intern was Barry who was described as "more interested in Michelle than corporate law". Again, it seems that she has had a prestigious career so when she said she lives for her kids, that's doubtful since her last position after being Dean at the U of Chicago was Vice President of Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Certainly the American dream of working one's way up but NOT in the blue collar manner and not the fulltime mother she gave the impression of being in her speech "My girls are the most important thing of my life" she said, "they are the first thought I think about in the morning" (and probably that's the LAST time she thinks about them until she gets home from her career job.
Bottom line- nothing poor about Obamas so would they really be able to relate to the 50 year old unemployed auto worker?
In observing Barack, it seems he was unable to give the stage to anyone else. After Michelle's speech, he burst into the convention on the Tron Screens via satellite and congratulated Michelle on her speech but mostly spoke to the audience.
After Biden's speech, Biden's wife came up and they made a dramatic show of kissing in front of everyone. Then, with a silly grin on her face, she said "we have a surprise guest" Biden didn't get it at first and ignored her so this was something he was not told about beforehand and she said again "we have a surprise guest" . As Biden was looking a bit confused, Obama hops out of the wings and takes over, telling the audience that HIS speech tomorrow would be in the stadium because he wanted EVERYONE who wanted to come, to be able to come.
There are a lot of things they DON'T talk about with Obama like how he PERSONALLY when in the Illinois state Senate, killed a bill which allowed for a baby born alive from a late term abortion to get medical care. "It would weaken Roe V Wade", he explained. NARAL loved it and so did Planned Parenthood to the tune of some rather hefty donations, I'm sure. For the Gore campaign, Planned Parenthood spent 5 million bucks to win over 5 swing states to Gore (and they succeeded). I'm sure they are NOT going to spend LESS on trying to get Obama in.
But think of it. A man who opposes a bill to give a poor infant, born alive after a late term abortion, medical care (effectually causing the murder of that infant) - can this be a person who really cares about ANY humanity (other than himself)? If people think so, they may be badly mistaken.
And on the GOP side, McCain, instead of doing the "politically correct" thing and choosing someone like Romney for his Vice President, he chose a woman who is not only pro life but courageously stands up for her beliefs (and she's already getting cut up in the press). He rose about 50 points in my estimation for that move. Sarah Paline is not only admirable but strong.
It's really getting to be like Armageddon - the evil (lying and misrepresentation and advocating the deaths of 1.5 million infants a year as the Democrat do, IS evil) against the good - McCain whose voting record is totally pro life and Sarah who is the first to run for a major office who bluntly and loudly stands up for her beliefs. Which will the American people choose. I hope they make the right choice.
The only Democrat, by the way, who made an intelligent and civilized speech was Bill Clinton and he rose in my estimation for doing so. He pushed the idea of change but he did NOT speak disrespectfully of Bush OR McCain.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
His speech was well delivered and eloquent and promised almost a perfect world (should we elect HIM president). He delivered it with deep emotion, a zeal which was quickly picked up by his listeners who cheered him on.
Nice sounding as his speech and promises were, it all bore little resemblance to reality.
He promised tax cuts for the middle class and not "2 percent of the richest people" only the reality is that most folks got tax rebates this time around so it wasn't only the rich and I have direct evidence that at least some of the low income folks got the rebates because a friend of mine IS in that category and they got a rebate of only $300 bucks LESS than we did when they pay a fraction of the taxes we pay and also subscribe to several government help programs. Obama should research the "facts" he proclaims.
National Geographics has been showing several programs reflecting the on going research on "9/11". These programs directly conflict with those who wish to blame our present leaders for the terrorism. Seems Osama Bin Laden is a billionaire and has financed "terrorism cells" all over the world including one in NY city! Also the radical moslims feel that world domination BY THEM is the only thing which will save the world. And they apparently had been planning something like 9/11 for 15 years before it happened.
In another National Geographics program, they showed some of the things Saddam Husein did to terrorize his people. For example, they showed the police throwing a man off a building just because he criticized Saddam. Apparently Saddam had them video all the torture and abuse and show it on TV in order to terrorize Iraqis. This carefully researched National Geographics show DIRECTLY conflicts with Michael Moore's depiction of "happy people under Saddam" in "Fahenheit 9/11", the film which many people based their votes on, last time around.
Those who read history will find that Bin Laden had been writing threatening notes to Clinton when he was president and that Clinton describes in his book, "MY LIFE" sitting on the couch, ordering Iraq to be hit with a missile. The only difference between Clinton and Bush was that Clinton just DID the war moves whereas Bush went to Congress to get the will of the people. But of course, the bottom line is that Bush gets unpopular whereas most folks think Clinton was one of the best presidents.
So Obama's promise to immediately pull our troups out of Iraq would not only put the Iraqis at great danger but is likely to put our own USA soil in significant danger. McCain by contrast, reminds that you cannot reason with a terrorist especially if they have decided they MUST rule the world. And that the troups would be pulled in a reasonable manner.
Catholics writing about Obama are not much help. One Bishop reminds that his voting record is 100 percent "pro choice". But Obama is not only 100 percent pro ABORTION and financed by huge financial interests in the abortion industry but also was instrumental in killing the law protecting babies born alive from late term abortions, and allowing them to be given a chance at life. He voted for having them killed or letting them die because allowing them to live would "weaken" Roe v Wade (he said).
Obama offers health care to "all who need it" but forgets that any kind of nationalized health care will raise our taxes to the moon. Already people on the health care system overtax it with elective surgery etc. A nice promise but not real practical solution given.
His biggest plea is "we need change" but I'd like to remind that change just for the sake of change may be a very bad idea.
McCain lacks the young vibrant charm of Obama but if you read what his platform is, it makes a lot more sense and does offer practical solutions to our problems.
I hope the American people, for once, try to read and inform themselves of what the REAL issues are and not as some have done in the past, move forward to support a candidate cloaked in a schizophrenic haze of "a miracle will happen".
Thursday, April 17, 2008
President Bush's speech was also beautiful and profound - that brought tears to my eyes as he spoke about the rights of ALL people from the womb to the elderly. He treated the Pope (who was celebrating his 81st birthday) with dignity but gave him a warm welcome. When Raymond Arroyo asked Bush what he saw when he looked into the eyes of the Pope (in an interview last week), Bush replied one word. "God. I see God", he said.
None of this was reported by the news media, obviously upset that the Catholic church would be portrayed in any type of positive light.
Instead, they concentrated on one sentence in a speech the Pope delivered, apparently before he arrived on American soil, about the Priest scandal. This one sentence became the headliner for most of the news - both on TV and on the internet:
In his most extensive comments about the crisis to date, the pope said that he was "deeply ashamed" and that the scandal had caused "great suffering" for the church and for "me personally." Speaking to reporters aboard his flight from Italy, Benedict also pledged greater efforts by the church to bar pedophiles from the priesthood.Extensive comments? ONE SENTENCE? Since when is a sentence "extensive comments"?
From this the internet news launched into long articles about how much money the church has paid out to those who claim abuse from priests ad nausium.
The TV news searching long and hard, managed to find one priest, accused of touching boys, who was, according to them, not removed quickly enough from duties. They criticized the Pope hugging Cardinal George, that priest's Bishop. I guess they feel the Pope should have kicked him or something because he was "imperfect" in handling this situation (ignoring that the man traveling the country campaigning for his wife, our former president Clinton, used his powerful position as president to seduce a young woman, REPEATEDLY, in the Oval Office and then, perjured himself (i.e. LIED ABOUT IT) in front of the entire country. Can we say Hypocrasy?)
Finally, ABC news interviewed one tearful couple who looked in their 70's. They claimed some priest had been over to their home daily to "say his morning prayers" and had repeated raped their 5 year old daughter. She, according to the couple, had not told them about this until years later because she said she was "afraid" that her father would murder the priest (the father apparently had said if anyone ever hurt her, he would kill them).
Has anyone ever heard of manufactured memories? I for one, was not impressed by this case. Few people remember ANYTHING which happened at the age of 5 and had the child really suffered that type of trauma, she would have shown definite signs of abuse which would have been so obvious, shame on her parents for ignoring these signs. However, I think this "abuse" (like so many others) just happened in her head and NOT in reality.
The facts show that less than 1 percent of Catholic priests have been ACCUSED of abuse and of the small percentage, even less are convicted. Never-the-less, the constant battering by the news services has left many priests in great fear that anything they say or do, might be misinterpreted by say, a student who was given a non passing grade in school or angry for some other reason. And I speak this as having had a Jesuit for my spiritual advisor for several years. The wear and tear of this media blitz on our priests has been immeasurable but no one has even heard about this at all.
The media also showed film footage of people with signs from the anti Catholic group, SNAP. The signs read "Celibacy doesn't work".
Fact remains that 10 percent of Protestant ministers (who are allowed to be married) have been accused of sexual misconduct but according to government statistics, the most sexual abuse happens in families - 75 percent of childhood sexual abuse is committed by parents or step parents or close relatives.
But never shall the news moguls be confused with facts. The bottom line, seems to be "do anything which can neutralize the courageous Pope's visit and if we can mudsling at the Catholic church, well by all means, do it!"
Satan is alive and well in the news media which REALLY doesn't like the Catholic church because of the church's strong stand against abortion, an industry which in the 1980's had reached a profit of 500 million a year (according to Nathenson who was one of the co-founders of NARAL) and now, may well be profiting in the billions.
Hopefully Catholics will be smarter than that and discard the negative spin from the news media. Hopefully. Unfortunately for those who do not listen to EWTN and other Catholic media, outfits like ABC News are all they have to inform them of the news.
The group, SNAP, has told the media that the Pope's statement about the priest abuse was "not enough". Not surprising because in other interviews, the group (none of which are still Catholic by the way) has stated their bottom line is the demise of the Catholic church. Catholics should remember that "EX-Catholics are about as Catholic as Ex-husbands are married."
Finally for those who are abused, I don't have a lot of sympathy for their backlash movement against the church and the 99 percent of priests who are pure and obedient to their vows. I, as a victim of being sexually molested myself as a 12 year old by my music teacher, will admit that a sexual molestation like that can somewhat ruin a person's life in a way but also, a child when confronted by a stranger who does this, can take him/herself out of the relationship and should do so, after the first offense.
In other words, when my 50 year old, married violin teacher, the father of 2 kids himself, molested me in the car going home from a concert, I did not give up the violin... I only found another violin teacher.
All this is just a smoke screen so Americans do not really get the impact of the fact that abortion mills murder 5000 unborn babies each day. To the tune of a big profit. Let's hear the news bimbos talk about that one. Don't hold your breath! They only care about kids when they can use them to diss the church which stands up for morals which they would like to forget.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The University of Notre Dame in Southbend, IND, has apparently presented the play entitled the "Vagina Monologues" for the past 2 years as a student production and is planning to present it again this year.
The V-monologues, apparently presents several sub-plays, some of which include chanting, singing and repeating vulgar terms for the female part, much resembling, said one article, "a Billy Graham crusade". Others have described the play as thinly veiled male bashing or reducing a woman to being a sexual object and in the CNS article, it was mentioned that alternate expressions of intimacy like lesbianism are included in the play. According to Bishop D'arcy of the diocese of South Bend Indiana, who opposes Notre Dame's decision and who has apparently studied the text of the V-monologues, one of the subplays portrays a sexual relationship between a woman and a young girl. I suspect that this play will likely be openly or covertly anti Catholic as most of this type of stuff is.
"The Vagina Monologues is offensive to women; it is antithetical to Catholic teaching on the beautiful gift of human sexuality and also to the teachings of the church on the human body relative to its purpose and to its status as a temple of the Holy Spirit. The human body and the human person, in the tradition of the church, must never be seen as an object. "
"The theme, however, finds no place in the text in question. In that text, the physical is separated from the spiritual. The body is separated from love. The woman is separated from the man and is even placed in opposition to him. There is nothing of beauty here, nothing of love. There is much here which Notre Dame has stood against and has opposed in recent times, both in administrative decisions and in pastoral work. It is especially painful that this play is being performed at Notre Dame, the school of Our Lady, as many of her graduates call her. She, who is both virgin and mother, has always drawn people in this place to the highest ideals in their respect for one another and for women. Her watchful presence over the campus and her prayerful intercession for Notre Dame over the years cannot be tarnished; but her presence, so often invoked in this place, gives special responsibilities on the rest of us who love her and who love her university."
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
While campaigning for his wife’s Democratic nomination, Bill Clinton, was confronted by pro-Life demonstrators. One protester held up a sign that said "Abortion is murder." Bill Clinton lost his cool: "I gave you the answer. We disagree with you." He continued,
"You wanna criminalize women and their doctors and we disagree. I reduced abortion. Tell the truth, tell the truth, if you were really pro-life, if you were really pro-life, you would want to put every doctor and every mother as an accessory to murder in prison. And you won't say you wanna do that because you know, that you wouldn't have a lick of political support. Now, the issue is who, the issue is, you can't name me anybody presently in politics that did more to introduce policies that reduce the number of real abortions instead of the hot air putting out to tear people up and make votes by dividing America. This is not your rally. I heard you. That's another thing you need is a president, somebody who will stick up for individual rights and not be pushed around, and she won't."
This is a clever ruse on the part of Mr Clinton, a view probably shared by his wife, Hillary and an easy excuse for condemning both pro lifers and the pro life movement but of course, it is a totally warped view of reality.
First of all, it's a lie that Clinton did a lot to reduce abortions. He wouldn't DO that since he was heavily FINANCED by the abortion industry!
Secondly, Pro life folks are NOT targeting ANY humans either providing abortions or having abortions. What they are targeting is the idea that the termination of a human being can be a "choice" in a country which has a document offering ALL Americans the right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness", these things which are NOT offered to those unlucky infants in utero whose mothers decide that they should not live.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about the whys and wherefores of Roe V Wade (and its companion decision, Doe V Bolton) which allows this "choice" for any reason up to the moment of birth.
The Supreme Court does not work with the scientific reality that an unborn child IS a full fledged human being. Their decision, a very close one, by the way - vote was like 5 in favor, 4 against - was based on their decision that the writers of the Constitution did not mean to include unborn children among those having the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and so in a strict interpretation of the Constitution, the protection of unborn children would come under question (according to the decision).
While it is true that when the Constitution was written, there WERE several groups of people not considered to be included in the declaration of these "inalienable rights" (among which were indentured servants, slaves, and women), since abortion was considered, for centuries, a horrendous insult to mother and baby, it is likely that the only reason unborn babies were NOT specified in the Constitution as protected, was because it was likely, off the radar screen of those who drafted it, that anyone would NOT advocate the protection of unborn children.
A Guttmacher institute survey several years ago (in the 1980's, I think) found that if abortion were not legal, 75 percent of women would not have abortions. Many of the aborted women I've met, are now sorry that this "choice" was available - they had chosen this route out of desperation and because of pressure from society, family and friends but as the years pass, find that they never get over those children who were never born because of their decisions.
One of the strongest pro life groups around and one of the fastest GROWING groups in the USA is "Silent No More", a group composed OF aborted women who feel they were cheated out of a part of their lives by that decision and want to warn other women BEFORE they make that choice.
Finally, another Guttmacher survey found that "the more women know about abortion, the more they are against it".
So Mr and Mrs Clinton, nice try but no dice. Pro life means PRO LIFE and the protection and acknowledgement of the sanctity of human life in all ages and all habitats, including women, babies AND those doctors providing abortion.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
We've all been to missions at church. Mostly it's a priest who is a good speaker and we sit and listen and that's good, we learn a lot. But somehow I have not been too inspired to go to this type of mission.
At our church just before Lent, we had a different type of mission given by John and Sally Cojanis. I guess the fact that they ARE lay people and that people who have attended their missions say there are some miraculous physical healings taking place, intrigued me enough to attend.
This couple, obviously in a long term marriage, are just ordinary folks like us, living on a major shoestring (they are some of the few in the fulltime ministry who really ARE living hand to mouth - although God's Hand to their mouth!).
Cojanis' are real. They don't pretend to be something they aren't. John does prayers of healing (and attendees of his mission participate in praying for others, a very healing practice in itself) but he says up front that sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't (the physical healings). I think the spiritual healings DO happen to all who attend! And those are the most important healings.
You cannot really put them in a category or box. They are NOT "faith healers". But miracles happen at their missions. They are charismatic but probably not in the charismatic movement.
They DO give talks containing homespun wisdom which all can relate to. For example we were told to go to confession. John asked us "what if you were in this very fancy restaurant, you know the type where the waiter comes and asks (in a British accent) 'can I grind some pepper for your dinner?'. And then the waiter goes into the kitchen, kicking open the door and you see all sorts of cockroaches - on the counters, on the floors?" He then pointed out that if we don't go to confession, our souls could look like that restaurant kitchen! It was memorable!
We were also asked to forgive someone we know. I, at first, thought, "well I've forgiven everyone" but John told us "think of someone you need to forgive, someone who did not treat you very well!" And a friend who had dropped me without any explanation came to mind. John led us through a prayer of forgiveness for that person. He said the words and we repeated after him. And that was a healing feeling to do that. More importantly we learned HOW to pray like that! "You know, the bridge to Heaven is made of YOUR forgivenness!" John reminded us. What a picture and how true seeing as how we pray in the Lord's Prayer "Forgive us our sins AS we forgive those who sin against us!"
What I loved about this mission was I could relate to everything they said in their talks (Sally read a poem about if Jesus came to stay with us, would we have to change the way we lived? Would we feel comfortable or wait for Him to leave?). And then, after the talks, we prayed together and John taught us HOW to pray for each other. It was a spiritually intense experience and very healing whether the physical healing came or not.
John and Sally are very much in demand (I can imagine - most who attend this mission love it) and they travel a lot, living most of the time in a motorhome and following a rather backbreaking schedule.
John has had two unsuccessful heart bypass surgeries and lives with the cloud over his head of wondering how much longer the Lord will allow him to minister. The mission was not easy for him to give. The second day, he sat down for part of the prayer service and looked very tired and pale after the first session was done.
There are many around who claim to be annointed and I find most of them not what they claim but, and I don't say this lightly, this couple SEEMED really annointed to me, very up front and just darned good people.
There were no spectacular healings at our session although I heard that at the night session, there were more healings. I felt the pain in my arthritic thumb go away and also the crunching in my neck (from arthritis). The crunching in my neck is still gone but the pain in my thumb has returned with a vengeance. Relief from it for a couple of days was nice though.
John said to continue our healings we needed prayer AND fasting. And that fasting combined with prayer was powerful. "But don't fast to lose weight," he told us. And this Ash Wednesday, I fasted for the first time in my life. And it was hard for me but a good feeling.
If John and Sally Cojanis visit your parish, go to their mission - go both days because I believe it is an honor to have attended and you will certainly, walk away with a whole lot of spiritual healing, increased skills in praying, serenity and peace and some good tools for practicing Christianity. You might even witness a miracle of physical healing or two or three.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Sooner or later in a blog like this, I've got to write about death. Because it's something we all, will have to face.
However, I find I wrote about death last week so this will be my second post about it. Oh well.
I will never forget an email I got early in my web net era. The writer, a young woman, wrote:
"You are correct about starvation killing us. What I want to know is, how long does it take to die of starvation? You see I stopped eating a week ago."In my usual manner, I was reading email in the early hours of the morning and I stared at that one for several minutes, a feeling of horror creeping over me. Something about it led me to believe she was serious and really wanted to end her own life. I wrote back what might be called a collection of "bromides" (what DO you say to someone who is intent on ending her life?). Like "you have your whole life ahead of you" and "can anything be so bad that death is preferable to living?" and so forth. I never heard back from the woman so don't know if she was reaching out in her final hour or if she aborted the plan. I hope, of course, the latter.
We all have seen death in the movies and TV many times. I'm sure you are familiar with the scene.
Bad guys (and women) die quickly, usually by accident or gunshot but since they have no personality, we don't worry about them.
And good people die lying there, either in their beds or on the street. They have a serene look on their faces - some even seem look wide eyed at the other side of the room suggesting they have seen an angel coming to get them (and in many movies, people are SHOWN on the other side, walking in a beautiful field of flowers toward a golden horizon).
Church tells us we should work and pray for a Holy Death. Which is basically what the movies are showing us. A beautiful death where we smoothly transition from life to eternity. In the "Hail Mary" we ask Jesus' mother to pray for us during the two most important times in our lives.... NOW at the moment -and- at the hour of our death.
Trouble is, being 63 years old, I'm beginning to see some folks around me die and their deaths are anything but the movie variety. They are angry, they often fight with their families and a greater number than we would like to think, commit suicide by stopping consuming liquids and food.
A relative in our family who was dying of cancer, told his wife "Come on let's get on with this" and he stopped drinking fluids. He rallied for a day when some of his siblings came to visit him and he ate some popsicles but then the day after they left, no fluids again.
A priest friend of mine had two personas. One was the kindly elderly priest - what most people who knew him saw. The other was the one I knew, an angry disappointed man who wondered every day whether he had made the wrong life decision. A man who was so angry, he felt he couldn't face his anger and told me he distracted himself when he started thinking about it. "Has that diminished your anger?" I once asked him. "No" he admitted.
I felt it's always better to face one's fears and anger because that's the only way to get rid of it. One of my favorite poems is "the litany of fear" from Herbert's Sci Fi book, DUNE:
"Fear is the mind-killer.Of course, men tend to suppress their emotions and he was no exception. On the contrary. He did not take my advice about this, and so, instead of facing his fears, he got increasingly angry and afraid inside. And it began to, I believe, take its toll on him physically.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it is gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain."
I guess I hoped he would come to grips with his life situations which really were not bad - he had lived a long full life and I thought a nice retirement and resting for his last years when he really could pray and spend time with God getting ready for the big passage (and interceding for the many people in the world who are needy), would be the ticket.
But that was not to be. Instead he starved himself more and worked feverishly to avoid thinking about how angry and afraid he was inside.
"My greatest fear", he once told me, "is that when I face God in death, I will reject Him!" I thought that was ridiculous - who would say "no" to God. He looked sad and said I didn't understand. And I guess I didn't.
But God in His Mercy, must have thought that a real possibility because as it turned out, he had some kind of stroke and was so confused before he lost consciousness forever, that he undoubtedly didn't even THINK about refusing God's mercy.
And I suppose in a way that tells us just how merciful God IS but geesh, this is NOT how you want to see a priest die!
I am remembering a saying I once heard "most men live a life of quiet desperation!"
I have seen one lady die a Holy Death - she was a patient named Anna whom I visited a few times to give her Communion. And I was not with her when she died but I saw in her face, when I visited her the last couple of times, real beauty, breathtaking beauty. Almost like a luminescence shining out from her face. I bring those I go to visit, treats like candy or small gifts (magazines etc) but to this lady, the greatest gift I could give her was praying the Rosary with her. One time she made it through (and this was difficult because she was very ill). "We made it through," she said, triumphantly in her weakened voice and touched my arm with her frail hand. "yes, true" I said, smiling at her beautiful face.
The last time I visited her, three days before her death, she was too weak to say a Rosary so we said a couple of "Hail Mary's". I gently took her arm and said "Anna, you know I love you!" and she said "Yes I do and I love you too".
A couple of days later, her daughter called to tell me that she had died. I felt great serenity about her death because when I saw her, she was on the threshold of Heaven.
But most I have seen die, do not die Holy Deaths and some die definitely unholy deaths but God in His Mercy will reach out to us all and I guess that's as inspirational as seeing someone die a Holy Death.