The Glory of These Forty Days


The glory of these forty days,
We celebrate with song upraised;
For Christ, through Whom all things were made,
Himself has fasted and has prayed.

So Daniel trained a mystic sight,
Delivered from the lion’s might;
And John, the bride groom’s friend, became
The herald of Mesiah’s name.

Then grant us Lord, like them to be,
Full oft in fast and prayer with Thee;
Our spirits strengthen with Thy grace,
And give us joy to see Thy face.

O Father, Son, and Spirit blest,
To Thee be every prayer address’d;
Who art in thee fold name adored,
From age to age the only Lord.

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#ShortNews: Christians in Iraq are ‘scourged, wounded, but still there’

“Without an end to this persecution and violence, there is no future for religious pluralism in Iraq or anywhere else in the Middle East for that matter,” said Iraqi Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil in a speech at Georgetown University on Feb. 15.

After an attack by ISIS displaced more than 125,000 Christians, Warda said that there is a core of the faithful who will not leave their ancestral homeland in the Nineveh plains in Iraq. “And, yet, we are still there, scourged, wounded, yet still there,” he noted.

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#ShortNews: South Korean Catholics fight to keep abortion illegal

The Catholic Church in South Korea has gathered over a million names on a petition to keep the country’s anti-abortion law in place. The CBCK (Committee for Bioethics of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea)  held a special Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul on Feb. 12 and presented the petition of 1,005,000 signatures. It launched the campaign on Dec. 3.

“[This] shows how desperate the church is to fulfill its mission of protecting all forms of life,” said Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, who presided over the Mass.

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#ShortNews: German bishops approve Communion for non-Catholic spouses

Cardinal Reinhard Marx has announced that the German bishops’ conference will publish a pastoral handout for married couples that allows Protestant spouses of Catholics “in individual cases” and “under certain conditions” to receive Holy Communion, provided they “affirm the Catholic faith in the Eucharist”.

According to the press report of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, the handout is primarily aimed at pastoral workers and is to be understood as a tool for pastoral situations, “to consider the concrete situation and come to a responsible decision about the possibility of the non-Catholic partner to receive Communion”.

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The Conversion of Saint Paul (Saul of Tarsus) and Life Story

In his childhood and youth, Saul learned how to “work with [his] own hands” (1 Corinthians 4:12). His trade, tent making, which he continued to practice after his conversion to Christianity, helps to explain important aspects of his apostleship. He could travel with a few leather-working tools and set up shop anywhere. It is doubtful that his family was wealthy or aristocratic, but, since he found it noteworthy that he sometimes worked with his own hands, it may be assumed that he was not a common labourer.

Until about the midpoint of his life, Saul was a member of the Pharisees, a religious party that emerged during the later Second Temple period. What little is known about Paul the Pharisee reflects the character of the Pharisaic movement. Pharisees believed in life after death, which was one of Saul’s deepest convictions. They accepted nonbiblical “traditions” as being about as important as the written Bible; Saul refers to his expertise in “traditions” (Galatians 1:14). Pharisees were very careful students of the Hebrew Bible, and Saul was able to quote extensively from the Greek translation.

By his own account, Saul was the best Jew and the best Pharisee of his generation (Philippians 3:4–6; Galatians 1:13–14), as later he claimed to be the best apostle of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:22–3; 1 Corinthians 15:9–10)—though he attributed his excellence to the grace of God.Read More »