Whether you are alone or with someone it doesn’t matter, put Love in your heart and embrace the world.
Whether you are alone or with someone it doesn’t matter, put Love in your heart and embrace the world.
Today we gather, we eat, we celebrate, we relax, we eat some more, but many of us miss the Thankful part of the day. We miss what we should be thankful for; and we miss what others are thankful for. Today try to see what you have to be thankful for. Try to see what others are thankful for; like the companionship and warmth of a family gathering; a reprieve from what may be the solitude they live daily. Or simply for a warm meal in a safe environment, things most of us take for granted. Be thankful. In our recognition of our blessings comes peace of heart. Peace of heart makes us content and calm. So,
I leave you with this prayer:
Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us. Amen.
In celebration of Today, the 4th or July, I thought I would share some quotes from the men who sacrificed so much that we could be a free and independent people. Between hot dogs and backyard games, we should all take a moment to reflect on the words and actions of these men everyday but especially on this day.
“The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all others, charity.”
— Benjamin Franklin
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right…and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.”
— John Adams
“The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I Am Not A Virginian, But An American!”
— Patrick Henry
“A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves… and include all men capable of bearing arms.”
— Richard Henry Lee
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”
— Thomas Jefferson
“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good”
— George Washington
Today, of all days, I thought it appropriate to share some of Pope Benedict’s words:(emphasis mine)
“We who have always lived with the Christian concept of God, and have grown accustomed to it, have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real encounter with this God. The example of a saint of our time can to some degree help us understand what it means to have a real encounter with this God for the first time. I am thinking of the African Josephine Bakhita, canonized by Pope John Paul II. She was born around 1869—she herself did not know the precise date—in Darfur in Sudan. At the age of nine, she was kidnapped by slave-traders, beaten till she bled, and sold five times in the slave-markets of Sudan. Eventually she found herself working as a slave for the mother and the wife of a general, and there she was flogged every day till she bled; as a result of this she bore 144 scars throughout her life. Finally, in 1882, she was bought by an Italian merchant for the Italian consul Callisto Legnani, who returned to Italy as the Mahdists advanced. Here, after the terrifying “masters” who had owned her up to that point, Bakhita came to know a totally different kind of “master”—in Venetian dialect, which she was now learning, she used the name “paron” for the living God, the God of Jesus Christ. Up to that time she had known only masters who despised and maltreated her, or at best considered her a useful slave. Now, however, she heard that there is a “paron” above all masters, the Lord of all lords, and that this Lord is good, goodness in person. She came to know that this Lord even knew her, that he had created her—that he actually loved her. She too was loved, and by none other than the supreme “Paron”, before whom all other masters are themselves no more than lowly servants. She was known and loved and she was awaited. What is more, this master had himself accepted the destiny of being flogged and now he was waiting for her “at the Father’s right hand”. Now she had “hope” —no longer simply the modest hope of finding masters who would be less cruel, but the great hope: “I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me—I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good.” Through the knowledge of this hope she was “redeemed”, no longer a slave, but a free child of God. She understood what Paul meant when he reminded the Ephesians that previously they were without hope and without God in the world—without hope because without God. Hence, when she was about to be taken back to Sudan, Bakhita refused; she did not wish to be separated again from her “Paron”. On 9 January 1890, she was baptized and confirmed and received her first Holy Communion from the hands of the Patriarch of Venice. On 8 December 1896, in Verona, she took her vows in the Congregation of the Canossian Sisters and from that time onwards, besides her work in the sacristy and in the porter’s lodge at the convent, she made several journeys round Italy in order to promote the missions: the liberation that she had received through her encounter with the God of Jesus Christ, she felt she had to extend, it had to be handed on to others, to the greatest possible number of people. The hope born in her which had “redeemed” her she could not keep to herself; this hope had to reach many, to reach everybody.
Aside: I love to study history and foreign cultures so the previous passage resonates with me. It leads nicely into the next passage from the same encyclical from Pope Benedict, which ultimately leads us to ask, is being a good person, good enough, I am increasingly of the opinion that it is not; that much more is expected of us in this life.
Again from Pope Benedict’s Encyclical:
How could the idea have developed that Jesus’s message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the “salvation of the soul” as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others? In order to find an answer to this we must take a look at the foundations of the modern age. These appear with particular clarity in the thought of Francis Bacon. That a new era emerged-through the discovery of America and the new technical achievements that had made this development possible-is undeniable. But what is the basis of this new era? It is the new correlation of experiment and method that enables man to arrive at an interpretation of nature in conformity with its laws and thus finally to achieve “the triumph of art over nature” (victoria cursus artis super naturam). The novelty-according to Bacon’s vision-lies in a new correlation between science and praxis. This is also given a theological application: the new correlation between science and praxis would mean that the dominion over creation -given to man by God and lost through original sin-would be reestablished.
Anyone who reads and reflects on these statements attentively will recognize that a disturbing step has been taken: up to that time, the recovery of what man had lost through the expulsion from Paradise was expected from faith in Jesus Christ: herein lay “redemption”. Now, this “redemption”, the restoration of the lost “Paradise” is no longer expected from faith, but from the newly discovered link between science and praxis. It is not that faith is simply denied; rather it is displaced onto another level-that of purely private and other-worldly affairs-and at the same time it becomes somehow irrelevant for the world. This programmatic vision has determined the trajectory of modern times and it also shapes the present-day crisis of faith which is essentially a crisis of Christian hope.
So, I will leave you on this Blessed of Holy Days with these passages to reflect upon. I would further ask, if faith is not individualistic, then which is the true path, which path contains Truth you need?
Have a Happy and Blessed Easter
This day is not all about leprechauns, shamrocks and green beer. This is a day to honor and pray to St. Patrick. He was an influential saint who, 1,500 years ago, brought Christianity to the little country of Ireland. He was born about 385 in the British Isles, was carried off while still very young during a raid on Roman Britain by the Irish and sold as a slave. At the end of six years he contrived to escape to Europe, became a monk and was ordained; he then returned to Ireland to preach the Gospel. During the thirty years that his missionary labors continued he covered the Island with churches and monasteries; in 444 he founded the metropolitan see of Armagh. St. Patrick died in 461. After fifteen centuries he remains for all Irishmen the great bishop whom they venerate as their father in the Faith.
While St. Patrick most likely did not drive out all the snakes in Ireland (there is no record that there were any) he did convert a nation state, I think driving out the snakes might have been easier!
Have a Happy and Blessed St. Patrick’s Day
One hundred and twenty-five years ago today, Miyagi Chojun (Mas Oyama) – sensei was born. It is a good time to remember the shoulders we are standing on, and reflect on your karate.
His style lives on stronger (though more fractured) then I think he could have imagined. His burial site and memorial in Japan is visited often by practitioners.
While I am a Kyokushin practitioner, unlike some I do not revere the man, he was after all just a man. His contribution and accomplishments however I will always hold in high regard.
Celebrate the FIRST National Gun Appreciation Day!
Show your pride to be an American who stands for Liberty and Personal Responsibility Join today here!
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