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Learning About The Quran ... From A Catholic Archbishop

For years, Fitzgerald has been urging his fellow Christians to acquaint themselves with Islam and its holy book, the Quran. It has been a challenging mission at a time when many non-Muslims associate Islam with violence and when many Muslims think the West has declared war on their faith.



Miracles, like those connected to the appearance or the intercession of the Virgin Mary, cannot possibly be explained as work of Satan. Miracles which, for all intents and purposes, draw millions to Jesus Christ Himself. When I dug deep into the historical miracles of the Catholic Church, especially those connected with the intercession and appearance of the Virgin Mary, I knew I had something enormous to contend with. What I found, dear reader, blew my mind.

Continue: http://www.thecordialcatholic.com/learning-marys-miracles-blew-mind/


Do young atheists bond in a collective flight from death?

Written by Michael Tymn (Michael Tymn's blog)

A web site called The Friendly Atheist recently came to my attention. The first thing that struck me was that the editor and eight of the nine regular contributors all appeared to be in their 20s or early 30s, the ninth contributor perhaps in his 50s. Their brief biographies suggested that most of them were raised in religious homes and are now rebelling against organized religion without any consideration for alternatives.



The Pharisee and the Publican

This is another great piece by James Behrens. As usual he brings in a

story that goes along with the Scriptures. I have permission to share this.

The Pharisee and the Publican

A friend of mine recently told me that she does not feel God’s presence

in her life. She said that she does not doubt the existence of God but

that she had no sense of his presence in the daily routines of her life.

She is active in her church. She is married and the mother of grown

children. I know her she is a very giving and vulnerable person –

giving of herself to those in her life, vulnerable to the many claims

that life makes on her heart.

As she spoke, the thought occurred to me that many of us are in the same boat.

Souls adrift in this vast sea of life, surrounded by the rising

and falling of waves upon which ride all kinds of flotsam – religious

words, rosaries, prayer books, rituals and other religious artifacts

which, if grabbed and taken on board, bear within themselves a promise

to make God appear and guide us to shore.

Which, of course, never happens. I am reminded of a little card someone

once sent to me. On the card was a picture of a little boat on the

ocean and the words, “Dear God be good to me. Thy sea is so vast and my boat is so small.”

And so we have this gospel this morning about the Pharisee and the

Publican. The Pharisee comforts himself, in the front of the temple,

with self congratulatory words of praise, aglow in the warmth of his

self-assured smugness that he has arrived, made it to a place of favor

in the eyes of God. And the Publican remains in the back of the same

temple, begging for God’s mercy out of a deep awareness of his own


The Pharisee thinks he has it made. All his ducks are in a row, but

unfortunately they are all dead and he does not know it. At least not

yet. He may be closest to the Holy of Holies area of the temple but he

is nowhere near the God whom he addresses.

And the Publican hangs his head low, aware of his sinfulness and his

deserved place in the last pew. He may feel far from God yet God is

nearer to him than he realizes. The man’s aching sense of emptiness and

need is a cry to God, and God hears and draws near, because the man

had room for him in his heart.

The one who thought he knew everything had so much more to learn. And the one who

was stung by his misconceived distance from God had God sitting with him, in that last pew,

though he could not see him or feel his presence.

And so my friend goes through her days, wishing that a sense of God

would become clearer in her life. And all the while, God is in the

details of her life, as she cares for her husband and family, gives of

herself to her church and community.

We search for God who seems all the more absent the more we hear about him and long for him.

It is that very absence that deepens the heart, moving us nearer to each other,

as we sail on the seas of life, looking for the God who has already arrived in the small confines of our boat.

James Stephen Behrens, O.C.S.O.

Monastery of the Holy Spirit


From: I am

This a wonderful, faith filled poem written by Arcana who post his poems at this site.


My omnipresence is all seeing

in my endless vigil

I watch as gods crumble

to be swept away by time

their brief reigns as dust

I observe the rise and fall

of civilizations once mighty

conquered, abandoned, deposed

supplanted by new orders

in spiraling struggles

for petty dominion

I see far beyond all that's seen

I know the unknown well

I watch as stars are born

to light the worlds they warm and mourn

their passing as they fade

I feel joy and sadness

though I bear only love

I gift all to those awake

who recognize their unity

with interdependence of species

and share where others take

Cursed for others failings

as a parent watches over their children

my patience and forgiveness are immutable

though rarely seen

with faith I am felt

I go by many names....

I am salvation

I am source

I am creator

I am guidance

I am wisdom

I am forgiveness

I am love

I am hope

I am the fabric of the Universe

I am eternal

Who am I....

I am

© 9b01310f-612c-42d3-9238-b8787cff6b93.png

Source: I am


The Noon Day Devil

James is a very good writer who has a gift of writing about life and seeing God and grace at work in all situations. I would like to share one of his writings with you. I knew James’s mother and loved her. She was intelligent, insightful, with a good sense of humor. His family is close knit and it shows in how they loved and took care of their mother. I hope you like the story that he has given me permission to share.

The Noon Day Devil

During the last year or so of my mom’s life she would have almost daily

episodes of what I think is called the noon day devil. Come the

afternoon, her personality would change. She would become disoriented,

delusional and more than a bit cantankerous. After a few hours, she

would emerge from it and have no recollection at all of what happened to her.

Life went on as normal, until the next time the so called devil arrived on the scene.

One afternoon I was sitting with her and she asked who I was. She was

totally blind at that point. I told her that I was Jeff. She said no

you are not. You are Robert. Robert is my younger brother and I

expected him to arrive later that afternoon. I tried again to make her

understand that I was in fact Jeff. She said why are you fooling around with me?

You are Robert, this discussion is closed, now get me out of here.

She thought she was in the hospital. And so she continued. Robert,

if you do not get me out of here and back to the decency of my home, I will never forgive

you. And I mean never. And that goes for tomorrow, too. She paused for a moment and

then said and that goes for the day after that, too. I said okay.

Robert arrived, strode into the room, kissed mom and mom said it’s so

good that you came, Jeff. I looked at Robert and told him that he was

in some very, very deep trouble.

The episode passed, mom was back to herself, comfortable in her

surroundings, and life resumed its normal course. All was of course

forgiven and forgotten. Well, maybe not all. Robert still grunts every now

and then over taking the fall from grace. We all understood that mom was not well

and took all that she said in stride. But her struggles make me wonder about the

noon day devils that arrive in our own lives, throwing us into delusional states

of blindness, confusion, disorientation. We, too, then resort to cutting

offending others out of our lives, keeping them at a distance by banishing

them to the realms of the unforgiven.

In this gospel, the official is forgiven everything by his master. And

because he refuses to act in kind toward a fellow servant, his life ends up

a bigger mess than he was in before. He was given everything and in not taking

to heart the lesson of that gift of forgiveness, he loses everything.

Forgiveness involves a reach beyond our ways of handling our failures

to the way God handles them. The reach can be a long one, for the ways

of God may move us a good distance from our comfort zones, those places

where we stew in our resentments and grudges. But those get very heavy

after a while. And the only way to lighten the load is to let them go

and forgive each other from our hearts. And it might be one way to hold at

bay the noon day devil when he wants to settle in for a visit. I do not think

he is the kind of creature who feels at ease with those graced with the gift

of light-hardheartedness, those people who bless this world with forgiveness.

James Stephen Behrens, O.C.S.O.

Monastery of the Holy Spirit


Words define our lives

This is from a very good friend, her name is Gail Bardis I want to share what she sent this morning.

Good Morning, After the Bible, I enjoy the dictionary. It contains the words that define our lives..our world. A word that I have recently become involved with is self. It is worth checking out the long list of self words in the dictionary..self-doubt, self-hate, self-isolation, self-mocking, self-obsessed, self-control, self-centered....Try using these words to describe yourself and to describe three movies...Birdman, Selma, and American Sniper. Birdman is about self-pity an emotion that I am working hard to eliminate from my life. You will be fascinated. To grow in God's Love means giving up of self which I can understand. Off to dance.


From: What we believe

I see your point and don't disagree with it. However reading is a part of experience and along with self knowledge can be a great help in understanding others. The golden rule can only be lived out of a lived experience of inner pain, suffering than makes us understand others.

Books can give us the language to be able to 'name' what it is that we are going through. People who don't learn from others, though whatever means is what leads to becoming self centered and insular, which only adds to the burden. Using the language and metaphors of ones spiritual path will allow for more connections if ones faith traditions is understood thought study and experience. Too many people give up their faith traditions too easily I believe. Any path, if kept too will be difficult, it is better to have deep roots as well as the ability in dealing with 'unknowing'.

For instance studying about depression can help someone going through it......knowledge from books along with personal experience is invaluable.



Source: What we believe


Teachers of learning how to die

This is a good article, especially for those in ministry, but most people get something from reading this article by John Brentsten.

All of the places that ever meant anything to me lie in ruins. My holy places have turned to dust and ashes. Rubble. After all, Jesus did warn me, “Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down” (Matt. 24:2).

You think I am exaggerating? Consider the wreckage of these sacred places:

Continue: http://www.thechrist...ing-how-to-die/


Does Religion Really Have a "Smart-People Problem"?

January 12, 2015

Daniel Dennett, one of the “four horsemen” of contemporary atheism, proposed in 2003 that those who espouse a naturalist, atheist worldview should call themselves “the brights,” thereby distinguishing themselves rather clearly from the dim benighted masses who hold on to supernaturalist convictions. In the wake of Dennett’s suggestion, many atheists have brought forward what they take to be ample evidence that the smartest people in our society do indeed subscribe to anti-theist views. By “smartest” they usually mean practitioners of the physical sciences, and thus they point to surveys that indicate only small percentages of scientists subscribe to religious belief.




Bono Takes a Bold Stand for Jesus Christ

The singer took to U2's website to break down the ABC's of 2014 and included everything from expletives to pop culture icons to Nobel-winning inspirations, adding the Son of God into the mix of it:

"The Christmas story has a crazy good plot with an even crazier premise—the idea goes, if there is a force of love and logic behind the universe, then how amazing would it be if that incomprehensible power chose to express itself as a child born in [expletive] and straw poverty. ...



From: If Christ is real how will you react?

People will do anything to get away from the idea that they are responsible for what they become. Be it saint or monster. Unless something happens to us that causes us pain, in that we experience evil etc., we tend to down play our own role in creating 'evil' in the world. The whole Gospel message is based our need to become more human, more humane, as well to admit the fact that in many ways we are quite helpless when it comes to living out what many seek to do. It is call 'sin', when it is an act freely done, when it is more of a compulsion, it is not free, so not a sin, yet the harm is still done and the hold of evil becomes stronger in the world.

Monsters have to be restrained, so there is hell, which is chosen because people choose not to surrender to what they are actually made for.....a relationship with God, a oneness with our creator, that would be called heaven. Hell is self created, a prison that is a free choice, it is not real in the since that it is true. Heaven would be reality, which would be the reality of God, of our relationship with God and our need for mercy and healing. Which we are then called to show others.....that is how Christ Jesus rules......he becomes one with us in love.

I am not sure how free we are, but I believe that in our choices we move towards ever deeper freedom if we move towards seeing others with compassion and love. So if that is a dictatorship, "it don't rain in the summer time". Life is not a silly game, it is serious, we either allow grace to create us, or we create ourselves, we get what we want.

Hell is isolation, non-love, a loss of humanity, for eternity, how that can be viewed as freedom is beyond me. Eternity is ever new, because we are made for relationship, one that will never end because as finite creatures we have an infinite capacity to change, learn and to grow in love.

We show grace to each other all the time when we forgive, or offer friendship. No one can demand to be forgiven, it can only be offered and accepted, or not. It is not about rule, but union with true reality. Either Jesus is who he said he is or he is not. Either he rose from the dead or he did not......he did, the New Testament was written because of the reality of that event in history.......those who do not believe, well, I am not their judge, only God sees the heart, all of it, that is why mercy is always offered, all will have the chance to see and choose.....like the two disciples who encountered the risen Christ, we will have our Emmaus experience if we are believers, or like the Damascus if we are not like St. Paul. What our heart becomes will respond one way or another, in freedom, not in ignorance etc.

Source: If Christ is real how will you react?


Christians Now Outnumber Communists in China

Though the Chinese Communist Party is the largest explicitly atheist organization in the world, with 85 million official members, it is now overshadowed by an estimated 100 million Christians in China. It is no wonder Beijing is nervous and authorities are cracking down on Christian groups.

continue: http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2014/12/29/christians-now-outnumber-communists-in-china/


Beyond goodbye

Some people not only share their life but their moment of death with loved ones. Are these 'shared-death experiences' real or a mirage ?

William Peters was working as a volunteer in a hospice when he had a strange encounter with a dying man that changed his life.

The man’s name was Ron, and he was a former Merchant Marine who was afflicted with stomach cancer. Peters says he would spend up to three hours a day at Ron’s bedside, talking to and reading adventure stories to him because few family or friends visited.

When Peters plopped by Ron’s beside around lunch one day, the frail man was semi-conscious. Peters read passages from Jack London’s “Call of the Wild” as the frail man struggled to hang on. What happened next, Peters says, was inexplicable.

Continue: http://www.cnn.com/i...s/shared-death/


How the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception Was Defined

Divinely revealed truths do not change.

But sometimes it takes a while to figure out what those truths are.

It took the Church hundreds of years before it finally settled the question of who exactly Jesus Christ was in the most basic terms of the question—God? Man? One person or two? (The Council of Chalcedon, in 451, hashed out what has been the Church’s final answer.) It also took hundreds of years before the Church affirmed, in a dogmatic definition, the divinity of the Holy Spirit (Council of Constantinople, 381).

Then there is the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. That took nearly two millennia. Or, 1854 years after the birth of Christ to be exact.

continue: http://catholicexcha..._eid=00ce6aaf80


Reaching the Wounded

The Thin Line Between Mercy & Heresy Reaching the Wounded

WE have watched a rapid cultural and sexual revolution that in five short decades has decimated the family as divorce, abortion, redefinition of marriage, euthanasia, pornography, adultery, and many other ills have become not only acceptable, but deemed a social “good” or “right.” However, an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, drug use, alcohol abuse, suicide, and ever multiplying psychoses tell a different story: we are a generation that is bleeding profusely from the effects of sin.

Continue: http://www.markmalle...heresy-part-ii/


Sins of Ignorance and Sins of the Fle

Sins of Ignorance and Sins of the Flesh

Editor’s note: It is our great pleasure to welcome Father Brian Mullady OP to our writing team. He is a professor, preacher and retreat master, who has authored three books, and is the Theological Consultant to the Institute on Religious Life. Please welcome him warmly and make him feel at home!

It is a moral truth that “if we don’t know something is wrong, it may remain a moral evil, but we cannot be held accountable for sin. The very fact that we do what we know to be wrong is what makes it a sin.” This is because the three requirements for a mortal sin which are stated well in the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1857: “For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.” The requirement of full knowledge is a serious one. But many people ask if this is not akin to saying the ignorance is bliss and not knowing the law of God is a good thing.


Saints Are Still Being Made: Meet Chiara Corbella

A few months ago I received an email from a friend of mine who had recently encountered the life of an extraordinary woman while in Rome. I was so moved by the story I shared it last week with the women at SEEK 2013 and now want to share it with you. It’s the story of a life often seen as full of folly and tragedy. But if you understand the Christian life and if you can see the joy that can come from suffering, you can recognize that it is anything but sad. You can see that Chiara’s life is a reason for rejoicing, a reason for hope.

Continue: http://dougeaton.wor...hiara-corbella/


Christ: Judgment and Mercy

Christ: Judgment and Mercy

Most icons are inviting. But the Christ Pantocrator icon, especially the oldest known version, the one found at St. Catherine’s monastery in Egypt, gives one pause. The icon depicts Christ with two quite different facial expressions juxtaposed together. As one gazes at the right, Christ’s eye is blackened and enlarged, almost engorged it seems in anger. The eyebrow above it is arched, the chin and mouth below it drawn tight.

The other side is a different story. The features are softer, there’s a note of sadness in the eye.

Continue: http://catholicexchange.com/christ-judgment-mercy