Category Archives: faith

The Six year Papacy that Saved the Church and Christendom;.The Story of Pope St. Pius V

By Larry Peterson

Battle of Lepanto Wikipedia common.org

October is the month of the Holy Rosary. During the month we might also acknowledge the person known as the  Pope of the Rosary,  Pope St. Pius V.

 

In 1517, Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, posted his 95 Theses on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. Within the Catholic world, a great theological revolt ensued. This revolt spread throughout Europe and it was focused on many of the practices taking place within the church at the time, such as the selling of indulgences, papal authority, and Transubstantiation. This “revolt” is more commonly known as the Protestant Reformation.

 

The Catholic Church did not begin to confront the Reformation seriously until Pope Paul III convened the Council of Trent in the year 1545.   This was to be a mammoth undertaking as virtually all church doctrines had been challenged by the Reformation including the Real Presence and the validity of the sacraments.

 

The Council did not adjourn until 1563, eighteen years after its inception. A period of 46 years had elapsed since the 95-Theses were first posted. But the final pronouncements of the Council had yet to be enacted and sealed as doctrinal law. Three years after the Council adjourned Michael Cardinal Ghislieri was elected to the papacy. He took the name of Pope Pius V.

 

Pope Pius V was a devout priest who found his strength in Christ crucified. He also held a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His first acts as pontiff were to give approval to the changes instituted by the Council of Trent and immediately implement the reforms set forth.

 

Pope Pius V codified the Tridentine Mass (Latin Mass) as the primary Mass for the Roman Church, He authorized a revised breviary and a new Roman Catechism and Missal. He approved the Council’s teachings that Christ is present in both the consecrated bread and the consecrated wine. The Mass was defined as a TRUE sacrifice and he approved doctrinal statements on the sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony. He also affirmed church teachings on Purgatory and indulgences. He would quickly have much more to do. The Turks of the Ottoman Empire were determined to conquer Europe and Rome.

 

Deeply devoted to our Lady,  Pope Pius V, issued a document in 1569 called a Papal Bull . This document was called, Consueverunt Romani Pontifices (On the Rosary) and it set in place the permanent format for the Rosary, the same which is used today. This is the same Rosary that our Lady presented to St. Dominic in 1214.

 

The greatest challenge at the time to the papacy of Pius V and to the Catholic Church was the Ottoman Empire. Pius V understood the intense desire of the Muslim Turks to conquer the entire Mediterranean area. Just as it is today, jihad, had been declared by the Muslim imams and Pope Pius V knew full well this was spiritual war about to be waged.

 

Pope Pius called together the Christian nations of Europe and formed them into what became known as the Holy League. Both Protestants and Catholics from different nations came together under the guidance of Pope Pius V to fight back against the Ottoman Turks. Pope Pius asked all Catholics to pray the Rosary asking for our Lady’s intercession when the battle ensued.

 

And so it was that on October 7, 1571, the Battle of Lepanto, took place.  As the Pope and thousands of his followers prayed the Rosary the Battle of Lepanto began. Under the military leadership of Don Juan of Austria, the Christian fleet won a resounding victory over the more powerful Ottoman Turks. This battle literally saved Christendom and western civilization. Pope Pius V declared that from that day on, the day would be called The Feast Day of Our Lady of Victory. Today it is called The Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary.

 

The papacy of Pope Pius V lasted a mere six years. During his reign, he led the forces of “good against the forces of “evil” literally saving Christianity throughout Europe. He gave all credit to our Blessed Mother and today she bears the title of Our Lady of the Rosary.

 

Pope Pius V also set in place the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which was unchanged for over 400 years (until Vatican II), established the doctrines of Transubstantiation and the Real Presence, restored discipline in seminaries, republished the Roman Breviary and the Roman Missal. He was canonized a saint on May 22, 1712 by Pope Clement XI.  How honored he must be to be called the Pope of the Holy Rosary.

 

Pope St. Pius V please pray for us.

 

Alzheimer’s Keeps Reminding Me Why I Love being Catholic

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

I have written about my wife, Marty’s, Alzheimer’s Disease several times. This is another. It was unplanned and spontaneous, triggered by the unique world she and I have come to share together.

pineterest.com


I was trying to write something but I was stuck in “neutral”. No pencil scratching, no pen sliding, no keyboard clicking. Then Marty came in and stood there just looking at me and not saying anything.  I smiled at her and said, “What’s going on?”

She shakes her head and says, “I really do not feel like going to work tomorrow.” (She has not worked in almost ten years)

I nonchalantly reply, “Okay, then don’t.”

“Larry, please don’t start with me. You know I have bills to pay.”

“Well then, I’ll call in for you. I’ll tell them you are not feeling good.”

She quickly throws a curve at me. I back away, surprised at the sudden diversion. Raising her voice she says, “We had better get a few things straight. I have standards and I am not going to be living in sin. I cannot be living here if we are not married.”

I did not know what that had to do with her ‘job” but I mentally bobbed and weaved and circled around. Quickly I said, “We are married.”

She was stunned. She stared at me and I stared back. A moment passed and she said, “We are?”
“Yes Marty, we have been married for ten years.”

“I suppose you know this for a fact? How can you be sure?”

“We have the papers to prove it.”

 I quickly said an emergency “Hail Mary” asking for help. God knew I was in over my head and immediately sent one of His special people. Maybe it was St. Therese or St. Joseph or maybe St. Martha. I really did not care who it was but just like that I had a “thought”. (These folks do not fool around when sent on a mission).

I had her sit down on the sofa and wait for me. I headed back to my “office” (some may call it a man-cave) and began rifling through the file cabinet in the corner. The top drawer is stuffed with all sorts of “important” papers and I knew that somewhere amongst the mass of unorganized stuff was our marriage license. I started scratching away, peeling papers apart.

I did not keep track of the time but when I looked at the mess of papers I had strewn about it must have been fifteen minutes. Then I hit pay-dirt. I found our marriage license. I was sure this would prove to her once and for all that we were, in fact, married.

I hurried back to the sofa and to the woman who immediately asked if I had just gotten home. “Yes,” I shouted. “And look what I have.”

The Pinellas County Marriage License was too confusing for her to understand. The print was small and even though our names were legible and the paper was emblazoned with the words, “Marriage Record”, it did not convince her. I realized she needed “Catholic” proof. That was why she had used the words “living in sin”. Now we come to why I wrote this in the first place.

I slowly headed back to the file cabinet to put the marriage license away. But I had not noticed when pulling the marriage license out that behind it was the 8 X 11 marriage certificate that the church had given us. It was behind the license the whole time. I could not believe it.

It was not a legal document but it was a BEAUTIFUL CATHOLIC document. It had our names on it. On the left side was a Cross with connected wedding bands connected to it. The church’s name was there and it was signed by the deacon and the pastor. It was also perfect for framing.

I had an 11 x 14 frame that was unused. Ten minutes later I brought it out to her. I had her sit next to me on the sofa. “Are you ready?” I asked.

“For what?”

I held this framed certificate up in front of her. She stared and stared at it and then she looked at me and began to cry. She put her head on my shoulder and cried some more. We have used the Hail Mary and the Rosary to help us over some rough Alzheimer moments. This time the purely Catholic marriage document was the answer to the prayer. It now hangs in the Florida room and she can see it every day anytime she needs to. Damn—I love being Catholic.

                                        ©Copyright Larry Peterson 2017

Executed for Refusing to Say “Yes”*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME 

By Larry Peterson


The pages of Catholic/Christian history are filled with countless names of those who came from virtual anonymity and proceeded to leave an indelible mark in our lives. St. Teresa of Calcutta is a prime example. Many have also reached the eternal heights of spiritual greatness but are not so well known. Meet Franz Jagerstatter.

Blessed Franz Jagerstatter    wikipedia commons

Franz was born in Austria in 1907. His father was killed in World War I and when Franz was around eight years old, his mom married Heinrich Jagerstatter who adopted young Franz, giving him his name. 


Franz received a basic education in the local schools and excelled in reading and writing. He learned religion from his maternal grandmother and would read the Bible and other religious works. He managed to develop a faith which nestled itself securely into his soul. As Franz grew older and wiser his faith grew right along with him.

In 1933, Franz, inherited his adopted father’s farm. He then met Franziska Schwaninger, a deeply religious Catholic woman, and they fell in love. They were married Holy Thursday, 1936, and after the ceremony proceeded on a pilgrimage to Rome. This is also when Franz’s spiritual life became his primary focus in all things.

Now possessing a deeply imbedded faith and love of Jesus, he soon was serving as a sexton at his local parish. He and Franziska would have three daughters and he began to live his life true to his faith and to Jesus Christ. He would no longer deviate from things that were “not right”. Some perceived him as “overly pious”.

He stopped going to taverns because, as a defender of truth, he was always getting into arguments about Nazism and wanted to avoid that. He stopped accepting donations he received as the church sexton and gave the money to the needy even though he and his growing family were poor too. Even though some folks mocked him, he was determined to do “what was right”.

In 1938, German soldiers began moving into Austria. Immediately, they began implementing the Nazification of the once peaceful nation. The “Anschluss”, which was the creation of a German-Austrian State, was put to a vote in Franz’s village and he was the only one in his town to vote “no”. The authorities rejected his vote and claimed the vote was unanimous. However, Franz was now under watch by the Nazis.

It did not matter to Franz. He knew he must do the right thing and remained openly anti-Nazi. He joined the Third Order of St. Francis and began serving as a sacristan at the local parish. He managed to get several exemptions from military service. Time was not to be Franz’s friend.

In 1940, when he was 33, Franz was conscripted into the German army. He finished basic training but managed to stay out of the active service because he qualified for an exemption given to farmers. Back home he began to evaluate the morality of war and even discussed the subject with his bishop. His bishop did not encourage Franz.

And so it was that on February 23, 1943, Franz Jagerstatter was called to active duty. He and Franziska now had three daughters, the oldest only six. Franz stood strong and refused to fight for the godless, Third Reich. He declared himself a “conscientious objector” and offered to serve as a paramedic. He was ignored. A priest from his town came to talk him into serving but he refused. He was immediately put in prison.

Against all advice to stop resisting, Franz persisted in his opposition to the Nazis. He was told by his spiritual advisors that he had an obligation to his family to protect his life. He was told that he was required morally to obey the “legitimate” authorities. A friend told him, “Just say yes. You don’t even have to shoot straight. But take the oath.” Franz rejected all arguments. Atheistic Nazism could not be supported. He was determined to do the “right thing”.

Franz wrote, “Everyone tells me, of course, that I should not do what I am doing because of the danger of death. I believe it is better to sacrifice one’s life right away than to place oneself in the grave danger of committing sin and then dying.”

Franz Jagerstatter held fast to his principles. On July 6, 1943, he was tried and sentenced to death. On August 9, 1943, he was executed by guillotine at Brandenburg-Gorden prison. He was 36 years old.
Franz Jagerstatter led an obscure life and his death was no different. But a priest by the name of Father Jochmann spoke to Franz right before his execution. He said later that Franz was the only saint he had ever met.

In 1964 the American sociologist, Gordon Zahn, wrote a book about Franz Jagerstatter  titled, In Solitary Witness.  That was followed by the renowned Trappist,Thomas Merton, writing a chapter about Franz in one his books, Faith & Violence.

Eventually, Franz story weaved its way to the Vatican and came before Pope Benedict XVI. In June of 2007, the Holy Father issued an apostolic exhortation declaring Franz a martyr. On October 27, 2007, Franz Jagerstatter was beatified by Cardinal Jose Martins in Linz, Austria.

 Franz believed that Jesus wanted him to do the “right thing”.  He even gave his life to do it. He is known as the patron of “conscientious objectors”.

Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, please pray for us.
*This article appeared in Aleteia on October 19, 2016

                                        ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights reserved

There is a Crisis of “Fatherless” Children in America; We Should Turn to St. Joseph for Help

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME 

By Larry Peterson

September 8 was the birthday of our heavenly mom, Mary. On her birthday I also always think of Mother Mary’s husband, St. Joseph.  Without him there would be no birthdays to celebrate, either on September 8 or December 25. When God chose Joseph of Nazareth to be the foster-father of His only Son, He certainly knew what He was doing.

I call St. Joseph the “Shadow Saint”. That is because so little is known about him. He never spoke a word that was recorded. He never wrote anything that was saved on parchment.  It does not matter. This young man, a “righteous Jew” true to the law, was confronted with being engaged to a woman pregnant with someone else’s child. The reality was a terrible thing for him to bear.

But Joseph, who was only about 19, was a man of faith and God was with him. The penalty for his betrothed could have been death by stoning. Joseph would have none of that. His Mary would not be harmed. He loved her. So he took her in and married her. The child she carried would be his.

St. Joseph’s example of selflessness is something that needs to be talked about with admiration, respect and pride. It might be used as a guide for so many who have, in this secular driven world, fathered children and then abandoned them. 

There is a crisis of “fatherless” children in America. Next to the disrespect and disregard for unborn life, this could be the most dangerous threat to our society. “Fatherlessness” is an ongoing tragedy that can find its roots planted when Roe vs. Wade was passed in 1973. When the destruction of human life was “legalized” the downward spiral of respect for life followed.


There is a “father factor”  involved in virtually all aspects of American life today. Yes, many homes still have fathers but many children live in homes with absentee fathers and the societal effects are felt all across the spectrum of American life.

Statistics show that in fatherless homes poverty is 4X  higher than average, teen pregnancy increases by a multiple of seven (7), abuse and neglect are much more widespread and drug use is more 

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prevalent. The list goes on and on.


St. Joseph could be used as a shining example for all men to emulate. He was poor, he was chaste and he respected women, especially his teenaged bride.  He was a man of faith and stayed true to the laws of God and man. Foremost in his life was his faith in God. This was his strength. This is what fortified him. This is what is missing in so many lives today.

Joseph of Nazareth is an example of how one should respect the law. We could explain to young people how he had to put his teenaged and pregnant wife on the back of a donkey and then walk over rocky, dusty roads for over 80 miles, a journey that probably took three days. And why did he do this? He did this because he was required to go to Bethlehem for the census. It was the law.

The story of young Joseph, taking his teenaged wife and baby boy, and escaping Bethlehem because King Herod wanted to kill his son, Jesus, would make any young person’s pulse amp up. The poor guy’s child was being hunted by Herod’s soldiers. His wife was recovering from child birth. He had to make it to Egypt. And he did…for his family. This is what a REAL man would do, or at least try to.

Joseph did whatever he had to do to take care of his wife and son. He worked hard to keep a roof over their heads, to feed them, clothe them, and protect them. He did not care about himself. His family came first, no matter what. He would have gladly died for them if necessary. He was a real MAN. His sacrifice and efforts for his wife and son allowed them to survive so that the salvific narrative would be fulfilled. We owe him so much.

His faith, courage, integrity and love of God resonate like the smashing of cymbals and the banging of drums for all of us to listen to. We need to follow his example. We need to celebrate his life. We need to honor his commitment to his responsibilities. We should cherish his devotion to family.

I realize the possibility of teaching about this quiet hero in public schools might be a ‘pipe dream’ but  I would hope Catholic schools would use him as an example for students to look up to and respect as a role model for what a husband and dad should try to be like.
St. Joseph, two thousand years after his death, is still the finest role model for, not only husbands and fathers, but for all men for all time.

                                     ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved

Why Do Some People Hate God? Because God has Rules

It Makes Sense To Me
By Larry Peterson
How did this principle of ethics and morality based on the Ten Commandments  and  Natural Law somehow become a pariah to so many? Why would anyone want to remove the words, “under God”, from the Pledge of Allegiance or the name of God from our coins or government buildings? What has happened in America? How did these principles ever become inverted? God is GOOD, right?  God is LOVE, isn’t HE?
There are many of the self-absorbed who do not agree. They hate God because God has RULES. The primary one is called The Golden Rule
In today’s self-indulged secular world anyone who might suggest that a particular behavior is “immoral” or “sinful” is branded and vilified as intolerant and uncaring. This progressive slander has climbed the “selfish” ladder reaching as far up as to the Pope, the Vicar of Christ on Earth. How pompous and pride-filled this is.
Fall of the Roman Empire

Only the new age secularists would have the audacity to spin a narrative proclaiming their inverted “virtue” is GOOD and the concept of self-denial is SINFUL. This is the work of fools who have allowed themselves to be dragged down into a world of hedonism. (They may want to look into the history of the collapse and Fall of the Roman Empire).

If any of you remember the comic book version of Superman, on occasion, the “Man of Steel” used to get stuck in Bizarro World, a place where everything was backwards. Up was down and hello meant good-bye. Even the planet, Htrae, (Earth backwards), was shaped like a cube. The world was inverted. It is the same with the insanity of inverted secular virtue. I call this new, hedonistic world where self-gratification and self-indulgence are the rule, “Secularo”. The favored rule on Secularo is the “Anchor Rule”. It just drags you down and down.
On Secularo killing is “Good” and if you stand against it you are bad. For instance, take abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and partial-birth abortion. The church says NO! On Secularo the Church is now bad. Fornication and people “hooking up” for one-night stands is heralded as “Good”. The church says NO and is declared intolerant. Same-sex marriage is honored as a sacred right. On Secularo, if people disagree, they are declared homophobes. Many are convicted of “hate” crimes and incarcerated
Eventually, most of these “problems” cease to exist on Secularo. For example, there is no longer an issue concerning  divorced and remarried Catholics who want to receive the Holy Eucharist.Why? Because there is no church. It has been outlawed as un-Secularistic. It has gone underground and attending Mass can result in imprisonment or even execution (see China). Finally, the existence of these things is removed from all Secularo historical references. The following generation has no clue as to their past.
The pre-cursor to Secularo is our very own Earth. Many today consider the church as intolerant and insensitive and out of touch with the modern world, needing to become part of the 21st century. Homosexuals demand to be married in the Church. The Church says NO!  That marriage is between a man and a woman ONLY. Satan screams from his evil world to his followers,’Say YES! YES! YES!” And there are even some clergy within the church who parrot the “YES! YES! YES!” Bottom line, Secularo World is ruled by hate. Satan is Hate
There are other Christian denominations that have succumbed to outside pressures and reworked their “teachings” to accommodate the demands from future Secularo. They have been praised as “progressive” and “in touch” with the needs of the progressive citizens of their time. Their mission was to save souls for Christ  and guide these souls to their Eternal Reward in heaven.  They have failed in this mission joining the ranks of  those marching dow
n the path to perdition.
 But the Catholic Church has not caved into the demands and pressures of pre-Secularo World. Satan HATES this more than any of us can imagine. That is why the Catholic Church is Satan’s immortal enemy.
The Catholic Church still teaches  that there are Seven Deadly Sins. They are pride, greed,  lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth aka laziness. Note the key word in describing these sins is the word “deadly”. The Church teaches that these sins can destroy the soul of anyone who might indulge these human appetites. On Secularo, these seven deadly sins are honored and rewarded. Therefore the Church is the enemy of the state. 

On Secularo the church will be mocked and laughed at for suggesting these actions offend God.  The rationale is simple; the act(s) are acceptable because the individual committing one of these sins is just being human and God made us that way and wants us to be “happy”. It follows that the acts are NOT sinful. See how inverted one can get. If you subscribe to that concept SATAN wins. But never forget that the church also offers forgiveness for falling prey to these sins and redemption is always a contrite, heartbeat away. Satan hates this more than anything.
It is time to start looking hard at the Bible. And we might start by going to St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. Chapter 6: 16-17.
In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield,
To quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit,
which is the word of God.

                     ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved

"No Santa Claus! Nonsense–Thank God he lives! And he Lives Forever."

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

Every year I put this out because it is proof that Santa Claus is real,  loves children the world over and brings them gifts every Christmas Eve. How can I be so sure he is real? Well, the letter below proves it, even if it was written 118 years ago. It has stood the test of time and is as profound today as it was in 1897. In fact, it might be wise for all of the sophisticated secularists who inhabit the editorial boards of the print and broadcast media to take heed to the words below. They were penned by one of your own, Francis Pharcellus Church, an editorial writer for the New York Sun during a time when there were no radios, airplanes, televisions, and even iPads. In fact, back then, besides talking to each other, people used pencils, pen and paper to communicate with each other. Can you imagine?

Some of you might have seen this before. If you have, enjoy it again. If not, enjoy it now. It is a letter written by eight year old, Virginia O’Hanlon, of West 95th Street in New York City, to the newspaper asking if  Santa Claus was TRUE. Her dad had told her that if the “Sun” said it was true than it must  be so. Enjoy a moment back in time when things were a bit simpler and the innocence of children was loved and respected by most ‘grown-ups’.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Is There A Santa Claus?
From the editorial page of The New York Sun
September 21, 1897
_______________________________________________
Dear Editor—I am eight years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN, it’s so. Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon
115 W. 95th St.
_______________________________________________
Dear Virginia, your friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes Virginia, there isa Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.We should have no enjoyment except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen andunseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and  picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah Virginia, in all this world, there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives! And he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten time ten thousand years from now , he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

photo courtesy  hollywoodreporter.com


    ©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights reserved    

Another Secularist "Triumph": Say Good-Bye to Laura—She says, "Life is Not for ME"

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Her  name is Laura and she is 24 years old. She is a healthy woman who lives in Belgium. She wants to die. Why does she want to die? Because, as she says, “Life, that’s not for me.”

My initial reaction was, “Oh my God, this young woman is severely depressed or on drugs. Whatever  happened to her that would lead her to a feeling of wanting DEATH? She is 24 years old and healthy. She has a whole life ahead of her. This story is all over the print and broadcast media. Why isn’t someone helping her?”

Isn’t there anyone who has offered to give her the necessary counseling, spiritual guidance, or anti-depressants to help her see that her own “life” is not her enemy? Is there no-one who might convince her that  her  life is a  one of a kind precious gift?  Is there no one to prevail upon her that her life  is rarer than the rarest diamond and  more valuable than all the world’s riches combined?  Cannot someone show her that she is the only one in the history of the world who is SHE or will ever be SHE?  Well my friends, Laura lives in Belgium and apparently in that country not too many people give a damn about the value or sanctity of life.

In February of 2014, Belgium approved legalized euthanasia for children . I believe this supposedly sophisticated, civilized, and pompous nation has earned the title The Great Nation of  Self-Annihilators. In Belgium you are witnessing Nihilism in all of its twisted “splendor”. This is encapsulated in the total rejection of the value of life as witnessed in the upcoming assisted suicide of Laura.

 How sad, how disgraceful, how blatantly sinful. Doctors have given Laura the go-ahead to kill herself. They will help her to be “successful”. Why would doctors do this? In Belgium many of them feel that life and death are really not such a big deal in the first place. Laura says that she has been considering  suicide since the age of six. Are you kidding me!  She says that she was ONLY six when she started thinking that she “didn’t want to live at all”. It is hard to even fathom such thoughts bouncing around inside the head of a six year old who has not even reached the age of reason.

Laura has had psychological problems her entire life. In high school she was a “cutter” self-mutilating her arms. Her father had been an abusive drunk and her mother had left when she was a toddler. She grew up with her grandparents who loved her dearly but maybe the trauma of her parents’ behavior was too much for her and drove her into depression. It does not matter. What matters is that this child had problems and no-one gave a damn. She was left to grow with a festering and debilitating sense of “nothingness”. Now they want to help her kill herself. This is Nihilism run amok.

Laura has told doctors that  she needs to kill herself because, as she says, “life, that’s not for me”. They readily agreed and Laura has now set a date for her death injection to be administered in her apartment. The actual date is unknown. She is planning her funeral and writing final words to be read. Doctors and mental health professionals are happily helping her along on her death journey.  I cannot get it out of my head that she is only 24 years old and healthy and doctors are gladly helping her to kill herself simply because she asked them to help her do it. Whatever has  happened to the moral fiber of people around the world?

Secularism has infested the entire world with its self-fulfilling message of false happiness. Belgium, a country that is 75% Catholic, voted 2 to 1 to pass the child-euthanasia law. The bishops in the country begged them not to vote for it. It did not matter. The attitude of many people is: What do God’s representatives know about real life? For that matter, what does God know about real life?  If poor Laura wants to kill herself to be happy, why not. And then they go to church. WHATEVER!

Well now, if you do not have God in your life  and believe that death leads to nothing then you probably find comfort in believing that “nothing” cannot hurt you. It follows that being dead will make you happy. How sad and perverse is this?  But it proves one thing. While the secular world fights to eliminate God from our lives it is God who is desperately needed back in their lives. For with God comes Hope and Love and when a person has that Faith in their lives they are not asking compliant strangers with fancy diplomas to help them die. Especially when they are only 24 and filled with life.
                                           
                                           ©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved

From Persecution.org—The story of "Yohan" by Troy Augustine

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

I usually do not re-post other columns but on this Sunday, June 14, 2015, as we in America celebrate “Flag Day” honoring “Old-Glory”  and all the freedoms she represents, I thought I would share this post from Persecution.Org. It was written by Troy Augustine, Regional Manager for the Africa Edition. 

It tells the story of a man named Yohan who, because he is Christian has been imprisoned, beaten and tortured since 2003 in Eritrea, a small nation in the Horn of Africa bordering the Red Sea. As a Catholic/Christian I know that Yohan is my brother in faith and we are connected through Jesus Christ. If you are Catholic/Christian/Jewish, you too, are connected to Yohan. 

On Flag Day in America we must always reflect on how blessed we are to have religious freedom. This freedom must always be protected and defended no matter what the cost.

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 One Eritrean Christian’s Story of Torture and Triumph by Faith Imprisoned for Christ
Troy Augustine, Regional Manager for Africa
6/12/15 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – For three days, “Yohan’s” joints throbbed as the muscles in his arms and legs had stretched in directions human limbs are not intended to bend. His stomach was empty, except for the scraps that fell from the table of his captors after they had eaten their fill.
Yohan had been tied up like an animal, imprisoned, tortured, and starved for his faith in Christ in Eritrea. He was forced to eat trash mixed with dirty rain water that collected during the three days when prison guards bound him and left him outside, exposed to torrential rains, burning desert sun, and bitter cold nights.
“They take you outside in the hot sun with nothing to make you suffer and leave you out in the cold at night … I was praying and God told me, ‘Don’t be afraid. It will pass. Stand in your faith,'”Yohan told International Christian Concern (ICC).
Yohan had been thrown in jail in 2003 because he was a zealous evangelist. In Eritrea, preaching the gospel is illegal, but that didn’t stop Yohan from constantly testifying about Jesus Christ in the military after he was forcibly conscripted at age 18.
Eritrea’s Atrocious Human Rights Record
Yohan’s story of abuse and survival in Eritrea is not unique. The government rules its country with an iron fist, perpetuating a climate of fear and arbitrarily detaining, imprisoning, torturing, and often executing its opponents. Among the people, the state considers its enemies to be Christians who practice their faith outside of the three legal denominations: Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox.
Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993 and President Isaias Afwerki remains the country’s only head-of-state since then. His administration is paranoid that Ethiopia will recapture Eritrea, so the state suppresses any groups which they feel could become a rebel movement.
“They don’t allow preaching and they don’t al
low religious movements,”
 Yohan said. “They are afraid always if people get together in groups … They know if they gather to make fellowship, they think it will turn into a movement to end their power. They don’t allow very large groups of people to gather for any reason,” he added.
The United Nations (UN) released a scathing report on June 8, detailing the kinds of abuse that Yohan experienced that exist in Eritrea at a scale the document called “systematic, widespread, and gross.” The report suggest that the Eritrean state may be guilty of “crimes against humanity.”
“The religious gatherings of non-authorized denominations are prohibited. Religious materials are confiscated. Adherents are arbitrarily arrested, ill-treated or subjected to torture during their detention, and prisoners are coerced to recant their faith. Many religious followers have been killed or have disappeared,” the report said.
The study compiled more than 700 testimonies from Eritreans who have similar stories to Yohan. Other prisoners like him testified about, “extreme forms of restraint, beatings or rape … intended to inflict severe physical and psychological pain.”
The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also designatedEritrea as a “Country of Particular Concern,” in its 2015 Annual Report, corroborating the kinds of systematic abuses mentioned in the UN report and in Yohan’s story.
The Dreadful Choice Facing Eritrean Christians
In the face of such terror perpetrated by their own government, scores of Eritrean Christians are fleeing the country, headed for Europe or the United States. On June 3, Islamic State (ISIS) militants kidnapped 88 Eritrean Christians in Libya, headed for Tripoli. According to reports, ISIS separated Christians and Muslims and let the Muslims go free.
On June 4, unknown gunmen, suspected to be from the Sudanese Islamist Rashaida tribe,reportedly opened fire on a convoy of between 49 and 70 Eritrean refugees traveling from Wadi Sharifey near Kassala to Shagarab refugee camp, kidnapping 14 Christians. In Sudan, Shagarab refugee camp is commonly known to be a favorite target of Rashaida, who is regularly involved in illegal human trafficking.
This unimaginable choice that Eritrean Christians face highlights the pervasive and understandable terror that permeates the country. The horrifying reality is that many Christians find it more hopeful to risk death by leaving for countries filled with Muslim extremists bent on their extinction, than to remain in their homeland.
“Faced with a seemingly hopeless situation [that] they feel powerless to change, hundreds of thousands of Eritreans are fleeing their country. In desperation, they resort to deadly escape routes through deserts and neighboring war-torn countries and across dangerous seas in search of safety. They risk capture, torture and death at the hands of ruthless human traffickers,” the UN report concluded.
Suffering under the fiercest persecution in Eritrea, Yohan decided the same.
Yohan’s Perseverance and Escape
In jail, Yohan became acquainted with suffering, just like his Savior was. Yohan pointed to God’s grace, which sustained him through the torture and intimidation. He faced regular interrogations where officials tried to coerce him to recant his faith, even at gunpoint. Through all of it, Yohan’s faith was strengthened. Like the Apostle Paul, Yohan was confident, and he was ready to die.
“If we believe in Jesus, and we live for Him, we die for Him. We are ready to die in every situation, in every moment. This is the story of our life. It is daily life,” he said.
Despite continuous beatings and torture, Yohan refused to deny Christ. “I am nothing, but God is Alpha and Omega. I am not afraid of you because someday you are going to die, so I’m not afraid to die from you,” he told his captors.
In 2004, after nearly a year in prison experiencing unspeakable persecution, Yohan made the same decision scores of his fellow Eritrean brothers and sisters are making today. He was determined to escape the country through Sudan. Yohan was provided a military uniform from a friend outside of the prison and disguised himself to escape.
Once he made it outside the gates, he sprinted for the Sudanese border, running for four days. Finally, he reached Sudan where officials interrogated him regarding his identity and then jailed for three days before releasing him. Ironically, Yohan found in Sudan a go
vernment that was more sympathetic to him as a refugee than the way his own government had treated him, even though Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for “crimes against humanity” for perpetrating genocide in Darfur.
From Sudan, Yohan traversed his way through different parts of Africa from Zimbabwe to South Africa, to Egypt, before finally reaching the United States where he lives under asylum. Yohan’s story is one that accentuates the grace of God to persevere His people through the worst of suffering in this world.
Through it all, whether they survive like Yohan, or give their lives standing for Christ, Eritrean brothers and sisters have been counted worthy to suffer the way Jesus did. “We believe in Christ. The way of Christ is to suffer,” Yohan said.
Footnote: Ou

"Peace on Earth" Humility is the Key and the Christ Child is the Answer

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

Peace on earth? Where is it? Is it in Syria? How about Pakistan? It is not in Sudan or Iraq. It is definitely not hanging out in Afghanistan or Iran. Pakistan?—God help us. How about Russia and Ukraine and Ferguson, Missouri? What does “Peace on Earth” mean? Well my friends, it means exactly what it says: PEACE on EARTH. However, has there ever been Peace on Earth? From the beginning of the human race until today, I think not. We might ask, “and why not?”
The answer is actually simple and straightforward. True Peace on Earth can only come about by the destruction of the great demon, Pride. Yes, Pride destroys Peace. It also destroys love between people, within families, among friends and co-workers. How often does Pride bring forth its seedy companions of wrath and envy? Pride prompts murder and mayhem and wars. It has done so from time immemorial. It is probably the most destructive force on the planet and we all have it within us. How can so many of our species conquer this malignant force while others succumb to its devilish grasp? The answer is some people have what is called Humility.
How do we find our Humility? How can we kick the power of Pride to the curb? The answer came to us in the form of a newborn baby on Christmas and we celebrate that day in one week. Humility exploded on Christmas Day.  God Himself, the Creator of all that we have, including free-will, came to us and lived with us. Hey folks, this act was HUMILITY SUPREME. All we have to do is look into a pile  of straw at a newborn baby.  Therein lies our answer to finding Humility.
This story is so amazing that our simple common sense will tell us it was never fabricated or made up. The most creative writers who ever lived could not have conjured up such a preposterous tale. Imagine, a King being born in a smelly, dirty, animal stall to a simple teenage girl whose husband was a struggling carpenter with no money. Then the couple have to take the baby King and run for their lives because the reigning king, Herod, feared the baby might grow up and overthrow him. His Pride seizes him so he sends his soldiers to kill the baby King. They kill hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent children in their heinous bloodletting yet never find the child they were looking for to begin with. 
As preposterous as this story may seem, more than two thousand years later more than two billion people still believe it. For over two millenium this belief has continued to transform the world. Millions upon millions of us will celebrate this miraculous birth a week from now. How can that be? 

It is due to that great intangible we call FAITH. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it and you cannot smell it. However, if you open yourself up to it, it can grab you in a life-long embrace that might take your breath away. Faith in God and all He has done is the greatest of all the gifts we will ever receive. It spawns kindness, and temperance and patience. And Faith breeds Humility. Humility will lead to love, true love of others, not ourselves. This is fact.
Peace without love is an illusion. It cannot exist. It can never come from our own agenda. That is because the deadly toxin, Pride, is inside us and Satan prowls the world dripping his venom into our hearts using Pride as the gateway “drug”. Many of us reject his “empty promises”. Many do not and their egos are commandeered so easily that they sometimes explode with hatred. 
This hatred is quite visible throughout the world today. Christianity is actually on the verge of being wiped out of the Middle East as Christians are being killed and tortured every day simply because they believe in this baby and who He grew up to be. The Good News is we have been given the antidote. It is Humility.
Our greatest of all gifts, FAITH, allows us to believe that God, the Creator of all that is, shared Himself with us through  His Son. To accomplish this He  humbled Himself in the most profound act of selflessness that was and will ever be. This was God become man for us. He came as a helpless, innocent newborn, barely able to grasp the finger of his Mom. He allowed himself to be born surrounded by the squalor and filth of a stable. Poor shepherds from the hillside were His first visitors. Humility lay in a pile of straw and looked up into the beautiful face of His weary Mom.
A few small pot fires provided enough light for the man of the family, Joseph, to see the two people that he had to care for and protect. No bells were ringing, no trumpets were blaring and no cymbals were smashing. The deafening quiet made this the greatest of Silent Nights.  Thirty-three years later, booming thunder would echo His death and three days after that brilliant sunshine would announce our redemption. It is the most beautiful of all truths.
FAITH is a gift that many people have seen fit to grab onto. They have responded to God’s graces and listened. They have grabbed the ‘brass ring’. There are many more who cannot escape the all-consuming Pride that keeps telling them they are so much smarter than all those ‘believers’. 

How sad this is because this Pride is Satan’s portal that will allow him to take them on a road that leads to complete misery dominated by an all-consuming hatred of anything that is Good. If only they would reach out and allow that little hand to squeeze their finger, just for a moment. It will not hurt one bit and they might find out that respecting and honoring Humility can do a person wonders. It could even lead to Peace on Earth.
During this Christmas Season let us all consider asking  for an extra dose of Humility and then pray for Peace on Earth and that Good Will be in ALL people, everywhere. 
                    &nbs
p;                         
                                   Copyright Larry Peterson 2014 

I Love Christmas and I Will be Praying for all the "Grinches" trying to Ruin It

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

I love Christmas and the entire season that surrounds it. Christmas is about faith and love and goodness and sharing and giving and all of those things that fill the hearts of the vast majority of people around the world with a renewed spirit that can shine through even the darkest moments we may have experienced during the preceding year. Yes, I love Christmas.

Christmas is so much more than a ‘certain day’ each year. It is an actual state of mind. It becomes part of whom many of us still are….Children at heart. And we become children again through our own children and even our grandchildren. We can love the anxiety and pressure and the cookies and candy and putting up the tree and neighborhood decorations the same as the little ones.  I  anxiously looked forward to Santa’s arrival when I was a child and still looked forward to his arrival as the one who dressed up in a Santa suit and crept into my own house at midnight. Now my sons do that and I can hear about his arrival the next morning from the wide eyed grandkids who actually witnessed Santa disappear from their house after leaving presents under the tree. Yes, I love Christmas.

Most importantly, Christmas is about Salvation. The story is so beautiful and profound. A simple carpenter, obeying the law, must take his full-term, pregnant teenage wife, on an 80-mile journey to the town of his ancestry for the census. Riding on the back of a mule she somehow manages to make the trip and God only knows (and HE does) how this could be possible. Not knowing anyone, they cannot find a place to stay and the baby is about to be born. Effectively homeless and in a strange town they wind up in a stable and mom gives birth to her child surrounded by smelly animals and old straw. Can you imagine?

This helpless infant is the Son of God, sent by His Father, and His birth among the lowest of the low shows us all the greatest act of humility ever enacted by anyone, before, then, or ever after. This baby will grow up and they will torture and kill Him when He is 33 years old. Why? Because He preaches forgiveness and kindness and that we should “love our neighbor” and “turn the other cheek”. This made Him a threat to those in power. They just had to get rid of Him. Today, 2000 years later, over 2.6 billion people are following  Him. I guess killing Jesus did not bring the desired results. Yes, I love Christmas.

Today we still have those who want desperately to kill Jesus. From the maniacal Islamists around the world who are doing their best to physically murder Christians wherever they can find them to  the atheists, agnostics, pagans, heathens, satanists and their ilk who HATE everything about Christianity and Christmas. (Okay, okay, maybe not ALL of them hate Christmas but we never hear from them.)

To all of you who want to ruin this day, I ask, “Why?” You are also removing the love and goodness that is associated with it. So, shame on you. You know what, you are all just “plain old mean”. You are the true “grinches” in the world. You are an embarrassment to all the tender hearts filled with kindness and generosity during this time of the year.

I wish to say to all you “grinches” that I will say a prayer for all of you this Christmas. I will pray that you might catch a glimpse of that star that shines so bright. Maybe a droplet of its light will find a way into into your heart. If you happen to catch a glimpse of this light please, do not turn away. You will have chosen to ignore a beautiful Christmas moment. This moment could be the greatest gift you ever receive. What do you have to lose? So keep your eyes and hearts open and MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and may God bless us, ALL of us. And yes, I do love Christmas.