Category Archives: Shared Stories

Advent, suffering and the promise of joy

An awesome reflection from Archbishop Chaput, of Philadelphia:

 

Scripture is a love story, the story of God’s love for humanity.  But it’s a real story filled with real people.  It’s not a fairytale.  In Scripture, as in the real world, evil things happen to innocent persons.  The wicked seem to thrive.  Cruelty and suffering are common.

The Psalmist cries out to heaven again and again for justice; Job is crushed by misfortune; Herod murders blameless infants; Jesus is nailed to a cross.  God is good, but we human beings are free, and being free, we help fashion the nature of our world with the choices we make.

This is why evil is frightening, but it’s not incomprehensible.  We know it from intimate experience.  What we never quite expect is for our private sins, multiplied and fermented by millions of lives with the same or similar “little” sins, to somehow feed the kind of evil that walks into a Connecticut school and guns down 26 innocent lives, 20 of them children.

Thirteen years ago, as archbishop of Denver, I helped bury some of the victims of the Columbine High School massacre.  Nothing is more helpless or heart-breaking than to sit with parents who kissed their children goodbye in the morning and will never see them alive again in this world.  The pain of loss is excruciating.  Words of comfort all sound empty.

The victims in the Sandy Hook massacre were even younger and more numerous than those at Columbine, and if such intense sorrow could be measured, the suffering of the Connecticut family members left behind might easily be worse.

With such young lives cut so short, every parental memory of an absent child will be precious — compounded by a hunger for more time and more memories that will never happen.  This is why we need to keep the grieving families so urgently in our hearts and prayers.

People will ask, “How could a loving God allow such wickedness?”  Every life lost in Connecticut was unique, precious and irreplaceable.  But the evil was routine; every human generation is rich with it.  Why does God allow war?  Why does God allow hunger?  Why does God allow the kind of poverty that strips away the dignity of millions of people in countries around the world?

All of these questions sound reasonable, and yet they’re all evasions.  We might as well ask, “Why does God allow us to be free?”  We have the gift of being loved by a Creator who seeks our love in return; and being loved, we will never be coerced by the One who loves us.  God gives us the dignity of freedom – freedom to choose between right and wrong, a path of life or a path of death.

We are not the inevitable products of history or economics or any other determinist equation.  We’re free, and therefore we’re responsible for both the beauty and the suffering we help make.  Why does God allow wickedness?  He allows it because we – or others just like us – choose it.  The only effective antidote to the wickedness around us is to live differently from this moment forward.  We make the future beginning now.

Continue reading here.

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“Perseverance is like the stone cutter”

Shared Story from Luis

Perseverance is like the stone cutter. When he strikes the stone, the 100 first strikes don’t make a dent. But the 101st strike breaks it in two and we see that it wasn’t the 101st strike that destroyed the rock but all the effort combined. If we think logically, we have to reach our goals for they are constant and we aren’t. We keep growing. Dreams are like targets. All we have to do is keep firing, one will hit eventually.

Luis, Thanks for Lighting the Way!

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Psalm 23

THIS CAME TO ME FROM A FRIEND.

The Lord is my Shepherd = That’s Relationship!

I shall not want = That’s Supply!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures = That’s Rest!

He leadeth me beside the still waters = That’s Refreshment!

He restoreth my soul = That’s Healing!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness = That’s Guidance!

For His name sake = That’s Purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
= That’s Testing!

I will fear no evil = That’s Protection!
For Thou art with me = That’s Faithfulness!
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me = That’s Discipline!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine
Enemies = That’s Hope!

Thou annointest my head with oil = That’s Consecration!

My cup runneth over = That’s Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life = That’s Blessing !

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord = That’s Security!

Forever = That’s Eternity!

Face it, the Lord is crazy about you.

Send this to people you are crazy about..

I thought this was pretty special, just like YOU!!!

What is most valuable,

Is not what we have in our lives, but

WHO we have in our lives!

Do not ask the Lord to Guide your Footsteps if you are not
Willing to move your Feet’
Peace.

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Atheist blogger adopts Catholicism

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God Works Marvels In Our Weakness

Saint Paul’s ‘Thorn in the Flesh’ by Apostleship of Prayer
Our difficulties and sufferings are our pathways to God. MJM

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People tell their experience of being transformed by the Risen Christ

Whyimcatholic.com

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Getting ready for Lent

Father Farfaglia, pastor of St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, shares a Lenton Preparation Message, “Getting Ready for Lent.” Make it a great one!

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A Lesson in Faith – True Story

The Charles Blondin Story

The amazing story of Charles Blondin, a famous French tightrope walker, is a wonderful illustration of what true faith is.

Blondin’s greatest fame came on September 14, 1860, when he became the first person to cross a tightrope stretched 11,000 feet (over a quarter of a mile) across the mighty Niagara Falls. People from both Canada and America came from miles away to see this great feat.

He walked across, 160 feet above the falls, several times… each time with a different daring feat – once in a sack, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, and blindfolded. One time he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet in the middle of the rope!

A large crowd gathered and the buzz of excitement ran along both sides of the river bank. The crowd “Oohed and Aahed!” as Blondin carefully walked across – one dangerous step after another – pushing a wheelbarrow holding a sack of potatoes.

Then a one point, he asked for the participation of a volunteer. Upon reaching the other side, the crowd’s applause was louder than the roar of the falls!

Blondin suddenly stopped and addressed his audience: “Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?”

The crowd enthusiastically yelled, “Yes! You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. We believe!”

“Okay,” said Blondin, “Who wants to get into the wheelbarrow.”

As far as the Blondin story goes, no one did at the time!

This unique story illustrates a real life picture of what faith actually is. The crowd watched these daring feats. They said they believed. But… their actions proved they truly did not believe.

Similarly, it is one thing for us to say we believe in God. However, it’s true faith when we believe God and put our faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.

—–

Note: In August of 1859, Blondin’s manager, Harry Colcord, did ride on Blondin’s back across the Falls.

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Pam’s Story -Tim Tebow’s Mom

In a recent email, I read about a woman named Pam, who knows the pain of considering abortion. More than 24 years ago, she and her husband Bob were serving as missionaries to the Philippines and praying for a fifth child. Pam contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite found in contaminated food or drink. She went into a coma and was treated with strong antibiotics before they discovered she was pregnant.

Doctors urged her to abort the baby for her own safety and told her that the medicines had caused irreversible damage to her baby. She refused the abortion and cited her Christian faith as the reason for her hope that her son would be born without the devastating disabilities physicians predicted. Pam said the doctors didn’t think of it as a life, they thought of it as a mass of fetal tissue.

While pregnant, Pam nearly lost their baby four times but refused to consider abortion. She recalled making a pledge to God with her husband: If you will give us a son, we’ll name him Timothy and we’ll make him a preacher.

Pam ultimately spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed and eventually gave birth to a healthy baby boy August 14, 1987. Pam’s youngest son is indeed a preacher. He preaches in prisons, makes hospital visits, and serves with his father’s ministry in the Philippines. He also plays football. Pam’s son is Tim Tebow.

The University of Florida’s star quarterback became the first sophomore in history to win college football’s highest award, the Heisman Trophy. His current role as quarterback of the Denver Broncos has provided an incredible platform for Christian witness. As a result, he is being called The Mile-High Messiah.

Tim’s notoriety and the family’s inspiring story have given Pam numerous opportunities to speak on behalf of women’s centers across the country. Pam Tebow believes that every little baby you save matters. I pray her tribe will increase!

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always!

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Today we celebrate Saint John the Evangelist

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