Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions.
Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever.
Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top.
When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying.
So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed. Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended. But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off unto his joyous new life!
“All wonders you seek are within yourself.” ~ Sir Thomas Browne
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise
“We recalled the message of fraternity launched by Pope Francis and stressed the need for peace in the world. We have committed ourselves together, Christians and Muslims, to continue the mission of peace, harmony and solidarity in order to make Pakistan a better place to live in. I hope this gathering and this pilgrimage will serve to promote genuine peace between Pakistan and India”. This is what Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw told Agenzia Fides at the conclusion of a gathering and an inter-religious march for the peace that has reached in recent days Kasur, on the border between India and Pakistan, to the village of Ganda Singh, right on the border, where there was a solemn prayer ceremony for peace.
A celebration of prayer took place at the Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Lahore, and there the religious leaders present planted an olive tree in the garden, as a symbol of peace. The procession, entitled “Together for Peace”, held on 11 February, was attended by faithful Christians and Muslims who welcomed the initiative.
Four years have passed since the Islamic State group’s fighters were run out of Kobani, a strategic city on the Syrian-Turkish border, but the militants’ violent and extreme interpretation of Islam has left some questioning their faith. A new church is attracting converts. It is the first local Christian place of worship for decades.
“If ISIS represents Islam, I don’t want to be a Muslim anymore,” Farhad Jasim, 23, who attends the Church of the Brethren, told NBC News. “Their God is not my God.”
“Most of the brothers here converted or come to church as a result of what ISIS did to them and to their families,” he added. “No one is forced to convert. Our weapon is the prayer, the spreading of spirit of love, brotherhood and tolerance.”
In a new interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Cardinal Gerhard Müller stated that Pope Francis allows himself to be “dependent” upon his counselors who have “base motives.” He also said that when he was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), he had “the statistically perfect overview” over the clerical sex abuse cases, pointing out that “far more than 80% of the victims of sexual abuse under 18 were young men in puberty or post-puberty.” Furthermore, Cardinal Müller responded to the recent harsh criticism coming from Cardinal Walter Kasper over his Manifesto of Faith, calling the criticism a “commissioned work.”
Further commenting on the Pope, Müller added: “Unfortunately, he is surrounded by people who have little understanding of theology and of the Church’s social teaching, but who do not wish to abandon the century-old mentality of a courtier.”
In Gospel reading (Luke 1:26-38; Luke 1:39-4), we see Elizabeth and her unborn son, John, joyfully reacting to the nearness of the unborn Christ. Since Jesus wasn’t visibly saving the world yet, how could this happen?
We can safely guess that Elizabeth was already feeling joyful, since after many infertile years she had become pregnant and, increasing her joy, she knew that she carried a son who was destined to be very special for the kingdom of God. And I’m sure she was happy to see her delightful relative, Mary.
Yet, surely Elizabeth’s joy was tested by the difficulties of being pregnant at an old age and even the normal problems of everyday life. How come she didn’t greet Mary with complaints about the extra weight that was making her back ache or about her husband’s sin that had struck him dumb?
The scripture doesn’t say that Elizabeth was filled with “joy” but that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Her joy, which was evidenced in the greeting she gave to Mary, was a fruit of the Spirit, nourished by faith.
How much joy do you have? If the answer is “not enough”, why? You have the presence of God’s Spirit within you. How much faith in the Holy Spirit’s love do you really have?Read More »