Today, our Jewish friends celebrate the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people.
Today, our Jewish friends celebrate the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people.
… can demons unite and concentrate their efforts to influence society?
A. The greatest power of the demons lies in tempting us to sin. Since they communicate among themselves, demons certainly work together and concentrate their efforts to influence human society. They do this by collectively devising strategies and by putting them into action in a specific place. While they desire to tempt everyone to sin, they know very well that certain individuals have the ability to influence society as a whole because of their wealth, fame, or power. The communications media are a particularly powerful influence on today’s society. As such, the demons especially target these elites.
In politics, demons are never neutral – they always analyze the situation and focus their energies on those political officials and candidates who will (wittingly or unwittingly) favor their goals. Undoubtedly, in the German election of 1932, the demons understood perfectly that their goals would be better served by tempting the German people to vote for a rather unknown, fringe candidate named Adolph Hitler. Does this mean that Hitler’s rise to power can be attributed solely to demonic forces? No, human choice was involved; but demons were undoubtedly involved, too. Similarly, the Church Fathers, in their writings about Christian persecution by the state, often point out that such persecution is rooted in the instigation of demons on rulers and the population as a whole.
We must always remember that the devil is the Father of Lies, and he seeks to make evil appear good and good appear evil. At the heart of much evil is the rejection of human dignity; the demons want us to forget that we have been created in the image and likeness of God.
There is the famous vision of Pope Leo XIII in which he saw the infernal spirits concentrated on Rome. This vision was the origin of the Prayer to St. Michael, which the Holy Father sent to the world’s bishops in 1886 and asked the entire Church to recite. The work of the angels and the prayers of Christians can impede the plans of darkness. This is why prayer and sacrifice are so important; they are a bulwark against the powers of hell in this world and a source of abundant blessings.
Though we must do battle in this invisible struggle with spiritual powers, we should always remember that in the exercise of our free will we are the authors of our own destiny. The demons can only influence us to the extent that we let them. In the end, we do what we choose and are ultimately responsible for these choices. Not even the concerted effort of millions of demons can force us to do something we really don’t want to do. When tempted, prayer is our greatest weapon, a weapon as powerful as the greatest army or wealth. The demons know the power of prayer and fear it.
For this surely is the point: the Bible is at the heart of our national culture, just as Shakespeare is, perhaps even more so. For centuries it was found in any home where someone could read. The family Bible might be the only book there; often it might sit next to John Bunyan’s allegorical Christian novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress. This makes one thing clear: our historical culture, which has formed the country we have inherited, is a Christian one. Many today may no longer think of themselves as believers. Perhaps a majority of us have abandoned the faith, and yet we have been formed by it. Our ideas of what is right and what is wrong remain essentially Christian, and have been inculcated by the reading of the Bible over generations. We may have come to disregard many of its prohibitions, but whatever is admirable and generous in our morality derives from it, and especially from what Jesus taught, notably in the Sermon on the Mount.
Desert Island Discs is not itself important. It is agreeable easy listening, no more than that. And yet in one way it is significant. It has always been a favourite programme of Middle Britain. If it were to decide that its castaways should no longer be provided with the Bible, this would say something about the BBC’s understanding of the country it exists to serve. It would be tantamount to a rejection of our inherited culture, a rejection of our history, and an acceptance that the National Secular Society is more representative of Britain today than the Churches. Lord Reith, the BBC’s first Director-General who established the ethos of the corporation, would surely be whirling in his grave..
Read the whole piece from the start here.
“If you’re about to throw away an old pair of pantyhose, stop” is not the way most obituaries begin, but, then, according to her family, Mary A. “Pink” Mullaney was no ordinary woman.
The Wisconsite died on Sunday, Sept. 1, at the age of 85, leaving behind six children and 17 grandchildren who adored her so much they crafted an obituary so heartfelt and touching that it has made national headlines.
The obituary’s opening line stems from one of Mullaney’s most well-known maxims: Never throw away old pantyhose.
“Use the old ones for rosary repairs, to tie the gutter, childproof the cabinets, tie up the toilet flapper or hang Christmas ornaments,” reads the obituary, written by seven or eight of Mullaney’s children and grandchildren who gathered together in their hometown of Milwaukee after her death.
“We wanted it to portray who she was and her love for people and just her funny ways of going about it,” one of her sons, Kevin Mullaney, of Wake Forest, N.C., told ABCNews.com. “She was an extraordinary person in an ordinary way. Survived by so and so and accomplished this and that didn’t capture that.”
Mullaney, a devout Catholic who volunteered in a nursing home and delivered Communion up until age 81, also had kind and gentle rules surrounding the rituals of her faith.
“Let a dog (or two or three) sleep in bed with you. Say the rosary while you walk them. Go to church with a chicken sandwich in your purse. Cry at the consecration, every time. Give the chicken sandwich to your homeless friend after Mass. Go to a nursing home and kiss every person there, and let them have Communion, no matter if they are Catholic. When you learn someone’s name, share the story of their patron saint and when the feast day is, so they can celebrate,” the obituary reads.
“I see her as the hands and feet of Jesus,” said her son, 59. ” What she taught all of us is to love others as Christ loved us.”
Calling them the “many valuable lessons from Pink,” the “extended family of relations and friends from every walk of life and corner of the globe” also offered these nuggets in Mullaney’s obituary:
Invite new friends to Thanksgiving dinner. (“Every Thanksgiving there’d be somebody from Nigeria or somebody from Poland that nobody knew,” son Kevin Mullaney says of this rule.)
Never say mean things about rotten people, instead think of them as “poor souls who we should pray for.”
Put the children who are picky eaters in the laundry chute in the basement, close the door and tell them they are hungry lions in a cage and feed them their veggies through the slats.
Make the car dance by lightly tapping the brakes to the beat of songs on the radio.
Offer rides to people carrying a big load or caught in the rain or the summer heat.
Offer to help anyone struggling to get their kids in a car, into a shopping cart or across a parking lot.
Give to every single charity that asks. Choose to believe the best about what they do with your money, no matter what your children say they discovered online.
Take magazines you’ve already read to your doctors’ waiting rooms for others to enjoy. Do not tear off the mailing label … “because if someone wants to contact me that would be nice.”
Mullaney’s family says its beloved matriarch adhered to the time-old practice of writing letters to “communicate with everybody from every walk of life.”
To end their tribute to Mullaney, her family listed her survivors, “those whose photos she would share with prospective friends in the checkout line, and her children and grandchildren,” and whom she will join in heaven, “her favorite dance and political debate partner, her husband Dr. Gerald L. Mullaney.”
Source (where there is a link to the full obituary too).
What kind of legacy are you leaving?
This is an incredible video:
I attempted to create a person in order to emulate the aging process. The idea was that something is happening but you can’t see it but you can feel it, like aging itself.
Dr Taylor Marshall writes:
Is texting and driving a car sinful? I am certainly guilty of it. In fact, I did it today on the way home from a Saint George campout (the campout was lots of fun by the way. 80 sons and fathers. Holy Mass. Rosaries. Divine Mercy. Photos coming soon).
While I was on the campout, I learned that one of my former students rolled his truck. He survived. He was texting and driving. I know several people who have wrecked while texting. We know its dangerous, but we do it every day. I do it.
Texting and Driving and AT&Ts New Effort
Godin, a master of human behavior, believes that AT&Ts commercial won’t work. Here are his four reasons why:
- The culture of the car as a haven, a roving office, and a place where you do what you like
- The culture of the Marlboro man, no speed limiters in cars, ‘optional’ speed limits on roads
- The culture of connection and our fear of being left out
- The culture of technology, and our bias to permit it first and ask questions later
Godin suggests that phone makers rig mobile devices to notify the person we’re texting that we’re driving. This creates peer-pressure or self-policing. The other option is to require wireless companies to ban texting when the phone is moving more than 20 miles per hour.
But is Texting and Driving Sinful?
So here’s the big question. Does texting and driving constitute a sin? Does it anger God? Drinking and driving is unethical. Gravely sinful. Drugs and driving? Unethical. Driving fast in a school zone. Unethical. Driving fast in a construction area with men at work? Unethical.
Why are these unethical driving practices? They are wrong because you are endangering the lives of other people.
Now texting does not impair the intellect, as do alcohol and drugs. However, texting and driving does impair the sense of sight – a key necessary element of driving. So is it wrong? Should I confess it?
Defining Imprudent Acts: Speed Racer Tattoo Example
I don’t think that I need to go to confession and say, “Father, I texted about 14 times in the last week while driving.” I don’t think it’s a sin per se, but I do think it qualifies as negative behavior or more strictly as an “imprudent act.”
Students often ask me, “Is XYZ a sin.” They are usually asking about tattoos, piercings, smoking cigars, or whatever college kids want to do. I usually suggest that such activities are “imprudent acts,” and not sins properly speaking.
However, if you have a tattoo on your face or a devil on your back, you need to talk to a priest. Not good.
But if you got excited in the 1990s and have a tattoo of Speed Racer on your upper arm, that’s simply an imprudent act. You have a dated Japanese anime character ink-stained into your human flesh. Sorry bro. That was gravely imprudent. Did you incur the wrath of God? I don’t know if I’d go that far, but you lacked prudence. With your Speed Racer anime inkspot, you may never find a wife. Even more, the dudes at the gym are laughing at you behind your back. Nothing says 90s dork than Speed Racer.
[Disclosure: I actually did see a dude with a Speed Racer tattoo at Lollapalooza way back in 1994.]
My opinion, not magisterial pronouncement, is that texting and driving falls under “imprudent acts.”
What I usually try to do is use the iPhone speech to text option. For example:
“Dear Joy, do you want to pick up some Popeyes?”
Unfortunately speech to text turns this into:
“Deer toy do you want me to pick epson drop byes?”
Fortunately, she’s pretty good at deciphering these kind of texts!
However hard I try, I find it impossible to construct anything greater than these three words, ‘Love one another’ —only to the end, and without exceptions: then all is justified and life is illumined, whereas otherwise it is an abomination and a burden.
- Mother Maria of Paris
Reproduced from The Austin Stone:
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
These are simple, powerful, and even poetic words that I’ve said so many times without fully grasping their meanings. On July 15th, my family was given a chance to live them. An ordinary day transformed into an extraordinary test of faith.
While traveling north on I-35, we were suddenly rear ended by an 18-wheeler. We were stopped in traffic when it hit, crumbling our van like an accordion. My wife, Nikki, and I were in the front and our children were in the back, where they bore the brunt of the impact. When the truck hit, I sustained a head injury and lay bleeding in a bed of glass. My wife turned to see our oldest son, Cadyn, slumped over, limp, and lifeless. For a moment, she thought he was gone. By a great miracle of God, he was still alive… but gravely injured.
Nikki pulled our children from their car seats and handed them to strangers outside the van. In the midst of the chaos, she saw that everyone was being tended to long before the ambulance arrived. Cadyn was in critical condition and barely breathing, but Nikki had a peace that surpassed understanding that God was there.
That’s when she noticed the truck driver, Roger.
He was curled up into a fetal position, leaning against the concrete divider, weeping into his cell phone. My wife felt an overwhelming sense of love and compassion for him. It was an accident. She walked over to Roger to embrace him and began to pray. At first he refused, but Nikki insisted and said, “This is what grace is for.” While praying with him, she realized by his words that he was our brother in Christ.
Cadyn was immediately sent to the ICU, where our trial continued. We received news that his brain had sustained shear injury, a type of brain damage that either kills or severely impairs for life. We sat at his bedside, begging for him to open his eyes. In the darkness and overwhelming anxiety, the Lord gave us His strength to believe for a miracle.
It was during that time that Nikki reached out to Roger. He had to know that Cadyn was alive and that he was, indeed, forgiven. As I prayed about this, I felt a love for him as well. God brought to my mind numerous verses of His command to love radically and forgive freely. As our son laid there hooked up to a ventilator, we were not helpless. We could love. The enemy was to have no foothold. After leaving a phone message with the trucking company, we went back to praying and waiting.
Doctors told us that Cadyn would be in the ICU for many weeks with a tracheotomy and a feeding tube, followed by many months in the hospital. They said we would never have the same son again. Even still, we had an unexplainable joy and peace. We were not alone and none of this was a shock to our Savior. He wasn’t finished yet.
A few days later, Cadyn woke up. This set into motion a recovery process that astonished the doctors and defied scientific explanation. That same day, Roger contacted us and we invited him to see God’s miracle in action. Our son couldn’t talk right away, but he could write. He was coherent enough to understand the situation as my wife and I explained to him what happened. Nikki asked Cadyn if he wanted to forgive Roger. I saw my son think about it for a moment, then give an assertive thumbs up. With construction paper and a crayon, Cadyn wrote: “Roger, I forgive you. Love, Cadyn.”
At that moment, my little 5-year-old son became my greatest hero.
We were blessed to meet Roger and his family that day. Roger said he was framing Cadyn’s note and putting it on his wall. I believe him. It was surreal to embrace the man who almost killed my son, but there was also such joy.
I remember the shocked look on his face when he told us that our forgiveness had rocked his faith to the core and that he could not understand how I, as a father, could forgive him. I told him that Jesus poured out His grace to me from the cross, and the only right response would be for me to pour that same grace out to others. Roger said he didn’t know people followed Christ like this, but we assured him we’re not super Christians. It’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As the saying goes, we’re not perfect, we’re just forgiven.
A Prayer for the People of Syria
Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion, the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope. Hear the cries of the people of Syria; bring healing to those suffering from the violence, and comfort to those mourning the dead. Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors in their care and welcome for refugees. Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms, and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace.
O God of hope and Father of mercy, your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs. Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies. Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria, and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Coca-Cola saw its stock value drop yesterday as the boycott against the soft-drink giant has spread across Spain and into Latin America over statements by its CEO in Spain, Marcos De Quinto.
In what has been labeled a direct attack on Christians, De Quinto, president of Coca-Cola Spain, hurled insults at life and family defense groups in response to a campaign by the religious liberty organization HazteOir.org to fight a controversial Spanish reality show.
During the program “Summer Camp,” a version of “Survivor,” one of the female contestants was made to strip to her underwear and jump into a pool of melted chocolate, while the host invited her fellow contestants to lick the chocolate off of her.
HazteOir.org successfully convinced several companies – including McDonald’s and Burger King – to withdraw their ads from the show. However, Coca-Cola declined to pull its ads, and De Quinto responded to those who objected to the sponsorship by calling them “fanatics” and “intolerant,” and accusing them of launching a “guerrilla-style” attack against Coca-Cola.
“May God spare us from groups like ‘The Guardians of the Faith,’ who want to tell us what TV shows to watch, what books and newspapers to read, what party to vote for,” De Quinto said on Twitter.
He also used the social media site to tell HazteOir.org president, Ignacio Arsuaga, “If having to think like you is the price I have to pay for you to keep drinking Coca-Cola, I prefer you don’t drink it.”
The comments sparked outcry in the Spanish-speaking world, and the Twitter hashtag #BoikotCocacola became a trending topic in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama, as hundreds of Twitter users announced their decision to stop buying the products until De Quinto retracts his statements.
In an article yesterday for the website DailyFinance.com, Wall Street analyst Amanda Alix noted that “Coca-Cola has fallen into the red today, a somewhat surprising follow-up to its performance yesterday.”
Noting the possibility of a widespread boycott, she said that De Quito’s Twitter response will likely “only inflame the anti-Coke sentiment even further.”
Ben Bouckley of BeverageDaily.com said the growth of the boycott against Coca-Cola in the Spanish-speaking world is clearly “bad news for Coca-Cola.”
A Coca-Cola spokesman told Bouckley that “there has been a misunderstanding of Mr. De Quinto’s earlier statements on Twitter. As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, Coca-Cola has a long established reputation of respect for all people – regardless of race, religion or gender.”
However, HazteOir.org president Ignacio Arsuaga said his organization is considering filing a lawsuit over the Twitter comments. De Quinto accused Arsuaga of belonging to a “mafia sect” made up of “criminals” who “hack into websites” and are “outside the law.” Hazteoir.org denied that it has engaged in criminal actions.
Arsuaga told CNA that the group has “been initially told that there are sufficient grounds for suing for slander and libel” and added that HazteOir.org is “still looking over the messages Marcos De Quinto posted on Twitter.”