#MoralStory: Take Your Own Speed

Whoosh! I sailed by person after person on the track. Whoosh – Whoosh – Whoosh!

I am a runner. Well, technically a jogger. I often run at the track near my home. Most on the track walk, therefore my speed, however meager in running terms, is far faster than walking. So it’s whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, as I pass the walkers over and over around the track. My speed and endurance seem amazing to the walkers. Some will come and walk for an hour. I am running when they come and still running when they leave. I have whooshed by them twenty or more times.

I got several lessons in life today on the track.

As I circled the track with my long steady strides passing the walkers like lamp poles, I got to feeling superior. I know you shouldn’t, you don’t have to tell me, but after the constant whooshing past far younger people, it goes to your head.

Then he came. He was short, perhaps five feet three. He didn’t look like much of a runner. I saw him get out of the car and stretch as I whooshed by a couple holding hands. He started running a few feet ahead of me. He was fast. I sped up to keep up. At last, I had someone to pace myself against. After half a lap, I was on his heels but my breath was coming harder and heavier. After the first lap, I was gasping but still on his heels. After a lap and a half, my foot started hurting. I was hurting; I was gasping for breath.Read More »

I Have Decided To Follow Jesus

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I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back.

My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

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#ShortNews: Chinese Catholics fearful of government’s campaign to ‘Sinicize’ religions

Sinicization “is a trap”, a way to “intimidate the Catholic Church”; it has the purpose of “distorting the creed of all religious communities” in China. These are the thoughts of two Chinese Catholics, Peter of Hebei, and Paul of Shaanxi referring to the program wanted by Xi Jinping to assimilate religions to Chinese culture and society, a program that provides for submission to the Communist Party and verification of assimilation by the Patriotic Association (PA), the Party’s long arm over religious communities. The PA and the Council of Bishops have already prepared a five-year plan for the implementation of sinicization. By the end of August, every diocese in China will have to present its plan at a diocesan level.

If the red flag – a symbol of communist power – takes the place of the crucifix in the church; if people have to sing the national anthem before mass; if the priest glorifies the atheist party in his homily; if the police have to register all the faithful who enter the places of worship, who will want to participate anymore in religious activities?

Read full story: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Chinese-Catholics:-Sinicization-is-a-trap-to-block-the-Church-and-distort-the-religions-44721.html

#ShortNews: A decade after brutal anti-Christian violence, Indian prelate discusses Church’s growth

Christians in India are marking the 10th anniversary of the brutal violence that Christians of eastern India’s Odisha state faced in 2008, with a Mass in the state capital, Bhubaneswar, on August 25.

Archbishop John Barwa together with the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) are celebrating the 10th anniversary Mass at St Joseph Convent School of Bhubaneswar on the theme, “Reconciliation, Thanksgiving and Grace”.

Efforts are under way in Cuttack- Bhubaneswar Archdiocese to recognized the martyrdom of those who have been killed because of their Christian faith. Archbishop Barwa said gathering evidence of their martyrdom takes a long time because family members, neighbours and eye witnesses are often reluctant to talk fearing for their future.

Read more here: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2018-08/india-kandhamal-barwa-anniversary-violence-martyrs.html

#ShortNews: Pope Francis writes letter to the entire Church on the abuse scandal

Letter of the Holy Father Francis to the People of God

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike. Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults…”

Read full article: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2018/08/20/180820a.html

Trusting in the light of Christ in an imperfect Church

The institutional Church is not perfect. We know it. The secular media like to point it out whenever they have the opportunity. And many Catholics no longer go to Mass because of it.

Whether it’s the very disturbing scandals of the molestation of children and other abuses by priests, or bullying by parish managers, or the judgmentalism of lay persons whose sharp words condemn, or unpastoral bishops, it’s all scandalous, because it’s all anti-evangelization — it’s not Christ-like.

However, there’s good news in this! The pain of doing something to stop what’s bad, and the embarrassment of facing the need for change, and even the pain of negative media attention, are a cross that leads to resurrection.

The Church — the imperfect representation of Christ — can always be resurrected into a better Servant. It starts with you and me. It includes how well we love abusers in addition to caring for the abused and how well we affirm the holy priests we do have so that they become visible role models. It includes standing up to bullies while finding a way to do it with mercy. It includes silencing judgmentalism while extending a hand of love to the judgmental, while also supporting the judged.

Any form of abuse or unloving response to abuse by a Christian is a grave sin, because it harms the whole Body of Christ as it turns away the unbelievers who are watching. How far should we go to stop this? What are we willing to sacrifice to heal the Body of Christ?Read More »

Saint David of Wales

Saint David, or Dewi Sant, as he is known in the Welsh language, is the patron saint of Wales. He was a Celtic monk, abbot and bishop, who lived in the sixth century. During his life, he was the archbishop of Wales, and he was one of many early saints who helped to spread Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes of western Britain.

Dewi was a very gentle person who lived a frugal life. It is claimed that he ate mostly bread and herbs – probably watercress, which was widely used at the time. Despite this supposedly meagre diet, it is reported that he was tall and physically strong.

Born near Capel Non (Non’s chapel) on the South-West Wales coast near the present city of Saint David, he was from a royal lineage. His father, Sant, was the son of Ceredig, who was prince of Ceredigion, a region in South-West Wales. His mother, Non, was the daughter of a local chieftain. Legend has it that Non was also a niece of King Arthur. Dewi was educated in a monastery called Hen Fynyw, his teacher being Paulinus, a blind monk. Dewi stayed there for some years before going forth with a party of followers on his missionary travels.

Dewi travelled far on his missionary journeys through Wales, where he established several churches. He also travelled to the south and west of England and Cornwall as well as Brittany. It is also possible that he visited Ireland. Two friends of his, Saints Padarn and Teilo, are said to have often accompanied him on his journeys, and they once went together on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to meet the Patriarch.Read More »

#MoralStory: Take The Time To Run Through The Rain

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence.

It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there, under the awning, just inside the door of the Wal-Mart. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

Her little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, ‘Mom let’s run through the rain’.

‘What?’ Mom asked.

‘Let’s run through the rain!’ She repeated.

‘No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,’ Mom replied.

This young child waited a minute and repeated: ‘Mom, let’s run through the rain.’

‘We’ll get soaked if we do,’ Mom said.

‘No, we won’t, Mom. That’s not what you said this morning,’ the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom’s arm.Read More »