#ShortNews: Martyrdom remains common today, Pope reminds audience

“…The Apostles create seven deacons, and among the seven “deacons”, Stephen and Philip in distinguish themselves in particular. Stephen evangelizes with strength and parrhesia, but his word encounters the most obstinate resistance. As they find no other way of making him desist, what do his adversaries do?

…Stephen is condemned to death, condemned to stoning. But he manifests the true “fabric” of the disciple of Christ. He does not seek loopholes, he does not appeal to people who can save him, but rather places his life back into the hands of the Lord, and Stephen’s prayer is beautiful at that moment: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7: 59) – and he dies as a son of God, forgiving: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7: 60).

These words of Stephen teach us that it is not beautiful speeches that reveal our identity as children of God, but rather that the abandonment of one’s life in the hands of the Father and forgiveness for those who offend us make us see the quality of our faith.

Today there are more martyrs than at the beginning of the Church’s life, and martyrs are everywhere. Today’s Church is rich in martyrs, it is irrigated by their blood which is “the seed of new Christians” (Tertullian, Apologetic, 50,13) and ensures growth and fruitfulness for the People of God. The martyrs are not “holy men”, but men and women in flesh and blood who – as the Revelation says – “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7: 14). They are the true winners.

Let us also ask the Lord that, looking at the martyrs of yesterday and today, we can learn to live a full life, welcoming the martyrdom of daily fidelity to the Gospel and conformation to Christ.”

Full version; The General Audience concluded with the recitation of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

#ShortNews: More than 200 cases of violence against Christians in India in 2019

There are over 200 episodes of violence against Christians reported in India in 2019: this is the data sent to Agenzia Fides by the NGO “Alliance Defending Freedom” (ADF) based in New Delhi. In a report by the organization, 218 incidents of various kinds occurred in 243 days in 2019. Of these, 159 were episodes of mass violence, about 27 such incidents every month, claimed ADF-India,

The incidents were reported to the United Christian Forum (UCF) toll-free number, notes ADF-India, which is committed to providing free legal assistance to the victims.

The note sent to Fides states: “The modus operandi followed in the 159 cases of mass violence is the same. A crowd accompanied by the police arrives to disturb a prayer celebration, shouts slogans and hits members of the assembly of the faithful, including women and children. Then the Pastors who lead the liturgy are arrested or detained by the police with the false accusation of forced conversions”, says A.C.

Source: http://www.fides.org/en/news/66669-ASIA_INDIA_More_than_200_cases_of_violence_against_Christians_in_India_in_2019

#ShortNews: Chinese churches ordered to celebrate Communist regime’s anniversary

The State Patriotic Association of Catholics has ordered the dioceses to hold ceremonies to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. All the official churches are asked to sing the national anthem, to practice the flag raising ceremony, to pray for the homeland. All these activities must be documented and sent to the headquarters of the National Patriotic Association. Yesterday in many parishes the mass began with the singing of the national anthem.

Even the official Protestant churches have artistic events and performances inspired by patriotism and communism. In these circumstances it is also important to celebrate sinicization. All these events are usually attended by members of the United Front, which oversees religion activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.

All the religious groups present in the country recognized by the government, including the Islamic Association of China and the Buddhist one, have put together events related to the 70 years of the People’s Republic of China. At the same time, police surveillance of house churches (unofficial) and their members has been stepped up.

Source: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Official-churches-and-religions-celebrate-the-70th-anniversary-of-the-Chinese-communist-regime-(Video)-48071.html

9 Steps to Dealing With Negativity

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

You may be in daily interaction with negative people, be they friends, family members, a romantic partner or colleague. You love them, you care about them, you can’t just cut them out of your life, but they are negative and their negativity is eating away at you. What can you do?

The best way of dealing with life’s challenges is to take a good look at ourselves and take responsibility for what we think, feel and do. Never give your power away by blaming others for what you have or don’t have, what you feel or don’t feel. Once you do so, you’ll become a victim of circumstance, and instead of using your time and energy to beat life’s challenges, you’ll sink to a dark and miserable place.

Here are 9 smart, positive and effective ways of dealing with the negativity of the people close to you:

 

  1. Give up the need to complain.

Make sure you are taking responsibility for your feelings and mood. Don’t go complaining that other people’s negativity is affecting you because it will only create more negativity. Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings and see what you can do to make yourselves feel better and change the existing situation. “Whoever has limited knowledge of human nature and seeks happiness by changing everything but his own attitude, will waste his life in futile efforts.” ~Samuel Johnson.

  1. Similarity Attracts

Good brings about good, bad brings about bad, and if we want to or not, we pull into our lives events, situations and people that reflect our internal state. Ask yourselves: “How am I feeling? Am I happy, excited, thankful and calm? Or am I anxious, frustrated and judgmental?” You may find that you yourselves radiate misery to the environment and that part of the negative energy surrounding you is in fact a reflection of yourselves.

  1. Don’t believe everything you think.

Read More »

Saint John Gualbert (Giovanni Gualberto)

Born in Florence, Italy, around the year 993, Giovanni Gualberto was born into a noble family, and led a predictably frivolous life as a youth, being concerned only with the pursuit of vain amusements and romantic intrigues.

However, when he was still a young man, his elder brother Ugo was murdered, and Giovanni  was so overtaken with grief that he vowed to avenge him. His only desire was to find the murderer and kill him.

One day – it was Good Friday – as he was riding through the town, Giovanni  spotted his brother’s murderer and drew his sword to kill him. The man fell to his knees and begged for mercy.  At this instant Giovanni had a vision of Christ on the Cross, and powerfully moved by the example of the love of Christ who forgave His enemies, and he did the same.

Giovanni  entered the Benedictine church at San Miniato al Monte to pray and the figure on the crucifix is said to have bowed its head to him in recognition of his generous and merciful act. Giovanni  begged pardon of his sins and that week cut off his hair and began to wear an old habit that he had borrowed. This tale forms the subject of Burne-Jones’s picture “The Merciful Knight” and Shorthouse adapted this in “John Inglesant”.Read More »

#MoralStory: Pecans In The Cemetery

On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big, old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence.

One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts. “One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me,” said one boy. Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard,”One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.” He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along. “Come here quick,” said the boy, “you won’t believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls.”

The man said, “Beat it kid, can’t you see it’s hard for me to walk.” When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled to the cemetery. Standing by the fence they heard, “One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me…” The old man whispered, “Boy, you’ve been tellin’ the truth.  Let’s see if we can see the Lord.” Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord.

At last they heard, “One for you, one for me. That’s all. Now let’s go get those nuts by the fence and we’ll be done.”

They say the old man made it back to town a full 5 minutes ahead of the boy on the bike.