Category Archives: family

Pride~The Common Denominator in All Things Evil

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

“There is a danger that threatens everyone in the church, all of us. The danger of worldliness. It leads us to vanity, arrogance and pride.”
Pope Francis

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The headlines and newscasts are filled with the news of President Obama’s outrage over House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to speak before the United States Congress in March. Apparently a protocol was violated and the Speaker did not inform the White House. 
So why is the President of the United States so angry over this supposedly unprecedented invitation to a foreign leader by the Congress? Who cares, right? WRONG? He was offended. Protocol was the excuse for his anger. The primary cause was “ego”. His ego was sand-blasted into disarray when he was ignored by a person who is NOT the “Big Cheese”. In other words, President Obama’s pride was deflated. Ah yes, that old ‘demon’ pride has once again reared its ignominious and ugly head. He sure knows how to spoil a salad. If protocol was stepped upon it still is no reason to get so angry. But stepping on the pride of someone, anyone, oftentimes yields this result.
Pope Francis’ quote above uses the words, “threatens everyone in the church, all of us”. He is referring to the Pride  that is part of all of us. There is “positive pride” which refers to taking pride in your  work, your appearance, how hard you study, how you treat others etc. Then there is “negative pride” which has been the downfall of so many. This is all about self-gratification and taking care of  your favorite and most revered son/daughter of  worldliness aka secularism, good old “#1”, yourself. This never reaps a fruitful harvest.
This “negative pride” has permeated every nook and cranny of humankind since the days of Adam and Eve. Satan aka Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, used his main weapon to draw Eve into his realm. He used pride to tempt her. Consumed with her inner vanity she was easy pickings for Satan. “Eat the apple (yes, the apple is probably symbolic) and you will be like God.”  
Eve wanted to be like God and her Pride pushed her teeth into that apple and she bit, She turned it over to her man, Adam. Misery loves company and she was probably not feeling very well after that first swallow. Adam bit  into the other half of the apple. VOILA–Original sin and its primary effect, Pride, have been at the forefront of all chaos ever since.  
The untold and undocumented cause of countless cases of pain and suffering caused by Pride over the centuries cover the pages of history. Wars, genocide, torture, scorched-earth policies continue to this very day.  Countless friendships have been permanently severed and how many families have been torn apart?  All because Satan is able to wield his greatest tool, Pride, unchecked and freely. All because so many people willingly grab onto it and refuse to let go.

This incident is fresh in my mind so I would like to share. I was talking to a close friend of mine the other day and he had just finished talking to his younger brother on the phone. The brother told him that Catholics can eat meat on Fridays during Lent. My friend told him he was wrong. They got into an argument and my friend hung up on his brother. He told me he is not calling him back until he apologizes. I reminded him that he was the one who “hung up”. He did not care because his brother started it.

These two had not spoken in almost ten years and finally got back together and now—oh man, are you kidding me? And they will both go to Mass and Communion in their respective cities and pound their breasts and bow their heads and be totally oblivious to the two greatest commandments of Loving God and Loving their Neighbor that they are breaking. 

Ah, the great sin of Pride. We have all seen the results up close and personal within our own worlds. Just like my friend and his brother we may be a prisoner of Pride’s deadly grip on ourselves. Parents estranged from children, siblings estranged from each other, families torn apart. The common denominator is always Pride. But the good news is there is an antidote. It is called Humility. St. Augustine said, “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”

 Here is the link to the Litany of Humility. Truly, this prayer is a powerful weapon. It also takes courage to say it. This is how it begins:
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me. 
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus

                                                          Copyright 2015 Larry Peterson

When Thinking Family Consider That Two Teenagers Set The Standard for Us All

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

From the Book Of Sirach Ch 3: 2-4

For the Lord sets a father in honor over his children;
A mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Those who honor their father atone for sins;
They store up riches who revere their mother.


N.B: In this essay the use of the word PRIDE refers to Negative Pride

The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday following Christmas. If you are among the millions of folks who never pay an iota of attention to this family, maybe you should. Why? Because this is the family that “set the bar” for all families. Comprised of two teenagers, Mary and Joseph and their boy, Jesus, their unconditional love for God and each other cannot be surpassed.  The birth of Jesus is the greatest act of humility imaginable.

This was God, the Creator of all that there is, becoming like one of His creations. He could have come in a majestic way, surrounded by armies and servants and glitter and pomp. He chose to come in the simplest way of all, among the animals in a cave. As He began His earthly life His body was wrapped in cloth and then placed on straw. Why would He do this?

 He did this because he loved us unconditionally and wanted us to learn that Pride, the greatest of the deadly sins and the root cause of all the evil in the world,  must be kicked to the curb at all costs. Pride was the reason He came to us. From the first sins of Adam and Eve to the very present, Pride is the villain. Pride is why He had to redeem and save us. Incredibly, he became as HUMBLE as humanly possible to teach us that humility is what conquers Pride. Amazingly, He chose teenagers to set the example for everyone from that very night onward. They showed us that  the love between a man and a woman  will always conquer negative pride if tempered with Humility. For marriage is about loving and sharing and giving of oneself to another–totally. Humility is the virtue that effects that giving.

We know so little about the lives of Joseph and Mary, yet they are an integral part of the Salvation story.  Mary’s acceptance of a pregnancy that might have resulted in her being stoned to death as an adulteress, was another act of monumental humility. Joseph, a good man and a faithful Jew true to the law, accepted a woman who was pregnant as his wife, another act of extreme humility. The Holy Family was the complete and perfect embodiment of Humility. It remains so to this very day .

 Isn’t God  amazing in the way He does things? This is the story of our Salvation and the rebirth of Hope. This Salvation became available to all people for all time and its success was entrusted to a couple of have-not teens whose humility and love of God enabled them to conquer the seemingly impossible. They married against incredible odds and traveled to Bethlehem while Mary was full term, a three to five day journey on the back of a donkey. Joseph walked guiding the donkey. Mary gave birth in a cave  surrounded by smelly animals and filth and then they managed to escape the soldiers of King Herod who were trying to kill their newborn Son. Oh yeah, lest we forget, they also  made it to Egypt, about three hundred miles away. We know the rest of the story.

If you take a moment to ponder all that happened and how it happened and why it happened, it will leave you breathless. And then we remember it was all done for all of us. There was nothing done for themselves, not one thing. We need to get back to “Family” and the Holy Family is the model to build on. We must never forget that within that family it was the husband and father who protected his wife and Son from the evils of the world. The Son humbled Himself  and gave his life for us all.  And the Mom, the most humble of all women ever, crushes the head of the evil serpent with her heel. In so doing she is protecting all of her “children” (which includes you and I) for all eternity. Humility conquers pride. Just look to the Holy Family.

Time to Pause, take a Breath and Give Thanks to HIM.

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The simplicity of the Thanksgiving Holiday captured my spirit decades ago. This is the one day of the year where we, as Americans, just stop everything and take a breath from the year gone by to say THANK YOU to God. We gather with family or friends or maybe even with strangers in a food center who become our new friends, and share the bounty He has so graciously bestowed upon us. All we have to do is “show up”. You do not even  have to bring gifts. Just bring a thankful heart and a smile on your face. It doesn’t get any better than that. I love it.

So I would like to wish anyone who might read this a God filled and beautiful Thanksgiving Day. I am posting two Thanksgiving prayers that fit the occasion.
__________________________________________________________________________

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
by  Walter Rauschenbusch
O God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

 From Living God’s Justice: Reflections and Prayers, compiled by The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors
IN GRATITUDE
Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.


 From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley.

The Synod has Opened: Hello Media!! It is About FAMILY!!

IT  MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The secular media (print & broadcast)  has been salivating over the Synod of Bishops that has officially opened in Rome. They have been pounding the drum about the birth of a NEW church filled with the progressiveness of the “modern, secular world”. They have also completely ignored the reason this Synod has actually been called together. HELLO media, the Synod is about Family.  Stop picking and choosing what you perceive as newsworthy. Do your job. Report the facts. The primary purpose of the Synod is discussing FAMILY.

Have any of you actually read the following. Oh, I guess not. You have been  speculating way before any of this even began. Please, listen to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri. He is the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops and in his opening statements said, “Feeling free to express what is believed or what is doubtful shows what distinguishes a human being from other creatures and makes him  a responsible person before God and man.”

“Consequently, discussion at the Synod is to be open. When differences arise, participants in their various roles are called NOT to stress their own interests or point of view but to seek the TRUTH which is not an abstract concept or the result of philosophical or theological speculation, but the person of Christ, the God-man, man born-in-time, and Son of the Father. ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’ (John 14:6). He is the point of of departure. The first evangelizer is Jesus, who came down to walk among us and came to be known by His word and signs and, finally, with the witness of His life.”

Okay, one more time (albeit a bit shorter) “—to seek the TRUTH which is not an abstract concept or the result of philosophical or theological speculation, but the person of Christ, the God-man, man born-in-time, and Son of the Father.”

This Synod, called together by an organization that has been around for over 2000 years, will strive to adhere to the truth. It will do all in its power to defend and protect the bride of Christ which is His Church. It will do all in its power to be compassionate and understanding to all people are are hurting because of certain choices they have made and which are even given approval to by some in the Church. You see, the Catholic Church is guided by the Holy Spirit. (Hey, it really is and I do not care if you do not believe me. You simply have to open your hearts and you might understand. It is a Faith thing, okay.) When the bishops of the world conclave like this they call on the Holy Spirit to guide them. He does and as the cliche goes, “He has their backs”.

I think most people have been conditioned to giving the 1960s rave reviews. The decade began seeing John F. Kennedy elected the first Catholic President of the United States. It ended in a gathering of over 400,000 young people in the town of Bethel, NY. (Originally scheduled to be held in Woodstock, NY, the organizers could not get the necessary permits. It became known as “Woodstock” even though it took place over 40 miles south in Bethel.)  Woodstock had no sanitation facilities, no water except for hoses here and there and it poured rain for almost three days leaving most everyone wallowing in mud. Oh yeah, “It was great!!!”

The mid 60s, with the escalation of the war in Viet Nam and the rise of the “hippie” movement saw antiestablishmentism come under attack. Guys burned their draft cards and gals tore off their bras. This seemed to foment the start of the new generation where living together, premarital sex, birth control, and abortion started to become the new morality.  As we entered the 1970s, the family, as we knew it, was under attack and has been under attack ever since.

In his opening statement at the Synod, Cardinal Baldisseri has called for TRUTH. The truth is that the Family is the very nucleus of society. The Family has its beginning when a man and woman commit to each other and then join together as one in the Sacrament of Matrimony. This is how it is in the Catholic Church. Marriage unites God’s creations, a man and a woman. They vow (before God and man) to take each other and join together and remain together no matter what life hands them, until death separates them. Through the Sacrament they are strengthened and fortified to have the ability to confront all that comes their way. Most importantly, they will unite as one flesh and have children thus continuing the life of the family they have started. As the generations pass by this family grows and grows and the process continues expanding the human race as God planned.

It is not always a perfect marriage. We have this thing called Pride that is within us. We also have the Free Will that God has given us and, because He is perfect,will not ever tamper with. The secular world has promoted very successfully the beauty of self-gratification. Sacrificing for another is often times deemed foolish. The old cliche of “taking care of #1” has resonated in millions of minds. It has also been followed. Children, once thought to be the greatest joy that a husband and wife might be gifted with, are now planned and prepared for by having all the perceived material things that are deemed necessary to have before a trying to have children. Same sex couples are preaching the sermon that they have a right to “have” children too, even though this can never be and they must adopt or use an artificial means of having a child. The Church can never sanction these attitudes and these actions. In the Church the FAMILY is united in a Sacramental action and that is  how it is. This is what the media does not understand nor does it try to understand.

Everyone must remember that Marriage is not the key topic of the Synod of Bishops. FAMILY is and marriage begets a new family. The church leaders will do their best to promote a compassionate and understanding approach to divorced and remarried couples, to those who cannot receive Holy Eucharist, to those who decide to simply live together without marriage etc. But the Catholic Church cannot change its core teachings and/or principles to satisfy the mores of the current times.

Everyone should also realize that the church is always ready and willing to accept all people with open arms just as Jesus wants her to. But the individualistic and self-serving attitudes that some want to be accepted will never be. It is not about any of us as individuals. It is all about the Body of Christ which includes all of us in the Family of God. Some will accept that, some will never accept that.

One thing is for sure. The Synod will seek the TRUTH and we should all, Catholic and non/Catholic alike, appreciate their efforts to do so. In the year 2014 Truth often evades us and is even mocked. Not this time

Meet Little "Christy": She was Murdered by Satan's "Mad Dogs"

WARNING GRAPHIC PHOTOS (RAW) - ISIS begins killing Christians in Mosul, CHILDREN BEHEADED
NO WORDS CAN DESCRIBE THIS

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The picture to the right is beyond description.  It may be the most depraved picture I have ever seen.  Yes, that is a baby, maybe  12 to 14 months old.  Yes, the “mad dogs” who were about to kill her took the photo before doing so.  They wanted to use it to instill fear in others they also hate.  So they posted it wherever they could.  For me the picture is absolutely haunting  because it seems you can actually sense a desperate pleading spread over the innocent face of this beautiful child.

I do not not know her name but, since she was a Christian child,  I have named her Christy.  Satan, using the blackened souls in his possession, had Christy murdered.  The depraved savages doing his heinous bidding  made that choice.  They did not have to but they did.  They embraced Satan and allowed him to turn their souls into nothing more than excrement.  They actually  laughed as they murdered little Christy. Yes, they laughed.  Christy probably was just aching to be held by her mom who had already been killed.  (I wish that I could reach into that photo and yank her little body out of there, give her a bottle, a hug, wrap her in a blanket and bring her to her mom.)  Damn!

We Americans are so blessed to be citizens of the greatest country there ever was.  We are a unique nation, a nation comprised of  people from all other nations.  We are the true “melting pot” and because of our diversity we are connected to each other.  We have many freedoms, freedoms that are based on a Natural Law which is derived from our Judeo-Christian foundation.  Our natural resources are  abundant and our soil is dark and rich and provides food not only for us but for millions around the world.  We are, as President Reagan said, “that shining city on the hill”.  (There are those that think not but, indeed we are.)

Along with that lofty place on the world stage and having been blessed with so many natural resources and freedoms comes a responsibility.  This responsibility is for the less fortunate around the world.   We have an obligation to the persecuted and downtrodden, to the hungry and the poor, to the sick and elderly, to the children and their future—to babies like Christy.  “God shed His Light on Thee and Crown Thy Good with Brotherhood”.  How often have we all sung those words?  How often we have left rivers of our American  blood and priceless American treasure behind while being “brotherly”?  In our own imperfect way we have tried, over and over and over and we should be proud of our efforts.

Through wars and hurricanes and tsunamis and earthquakes and plagues, we Americans have always been ready to help whether it be with food, water, medicine, clothing, money and whatever else, including soldiers, that was needed.  We ALWAYS tried to “Crown His Good with Brotherhood”.  That is because we Americans are connected to each other and that connection goes further than “from sea to shining sea”.  It moves onward across the oceans like giant tentacles reaching out and latching  onto people all over the world.  This included Christy and I guarantee you that somehow we are linked  to that child.

If I sound a bit like a “pollyanna” I do not care.  I know that it seems that our country has lost some of the respect we had and has been diminished in the eyes of some folks around the world.  Some of our own leaders have belittled our greatness.  No matter, God has shed His Light on us even though some are spitting in His benevolent Face.  But nothing has changed. We Americans still have the greatest country with the most plentiful resources and abundant crops. We still have our great freedoms although slowly some have been infringed upon.  Having been blessed with these gifts it follows that we still have the responsibility to be a ‘big brother” to our less fortunate and weaker family members.                    

The “mad dogs” who murdered  baby Christy want to murder each and every one of us too.  As distasteful as it may seem we must always do our best to “Crown His Good with Brotherhood”.  We cannot protect and/or save the world but when vicious barbarians with 7th century brains and 21st century equipment start murdering (in the most brutal ways)  men, women, children and babies and these desperate folks plead for the USA to help them, we must.  That is also part of our Manifest Destiny and we cannot ignore it.  It is time we  showed our muscle, acted like a big-brother and  helped smash those cowards to smithereens, using whatever means are necessary to achieve that end.  If Christy has a brother or sister  they need us NOW.

  

May 1: Honoring Good St. Joseph; Patron Saint of all Workers

St. Joseph, teaching his Son, Jesus, carpentry
from the painting by Georges da La Tour, 1640s

by Larry Peterson

Just a ‘shout-out’ from me to St. Joseph, my favorite saint, on the feast of “St. Joseph the Worker”.  He is an inspiration and magnificent role model , not just for husbands and dads but for all men.  I love this man. 

Today the Catholic world honors all workers, those from yesterday, from today and those not yet here. Fittingly, the man who heads the list is none other than St. Joseph,  foster dad to Jesus Christ and husband to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The day is called the “Feast of St. Joseph the Worker” and honors the quiet carpenter holding him up high as an example for all workers and their families.

Saint Pope John Paul II on St. Joseph: 

“Let us imitate our model St. Joseph in all
our endeavours especially the raising and upbringing of our families.  St. Joseph did Great Things in the ordinary things of life.  In loving His wife, in loving His Son, and especially loving God and every person who ever lived.  Let us start always in our family to love our neighbor.”   

 “The essence and role of the family are in the final analysis specified by love. Hence the family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church his bride.  Through God’s mysterious design, it was in that family that the Son of God spent long years of a hidden life. It is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families.”

The Catholic Church deeply venerates this Family and proposes it as the model for all families.  The family of today can learn so much from this family.  Why is this so?  Because it was headed by the greatest earthly husband and dad ever, St. Joseph. 

Oh, Saint Joseph, we never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; we dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in our name and kiss his fine head for us and ask him to return the Kiss when we draw our dying breath.
Saint Joseph, Patron of departed souls – pray for us. Amen.

Happy Birthday, Irving Schul–I'm Sorry We Never Met

by Larry Peterson

Isidore (Irving) Schul was born on December 18, 1889.  He died in 1965 in New York City, alone and without family. That is so sad because he had family. Today is his birthday.

I have written many times  about the fact that all of the first Christians were Jewish people. Jesus was a Jew and preached in the temple. His dad, Joseph, was a Jewish man faithful to the law of Moses. His mom, Mary, was a Jewish woman who lived true to the law of Moses. This coming Christmas celebration was made possible by Jews. The apostles were Jewish and the first pope was Jewish.  The words Judeo-Christian are forever linked. They cannot be separated. The Old testament was written by Hebrews. The New Testament was written by Christians who were former Hebrews. So, I write this for a man named Isidore (Irving) Schul, a Hebrew man from Krakow, Austria (today Poland)  who  arrived in America on August 17, 1907. I always knew this man existed but I never knew a thing about him until September of 2012. That is when I learned that Irving Schul was my grandfather. Truly, I am a Judeo-Christian man.

I am a “cradle-Catholic”.  I was baptized Catholic as a baby, I received First Communion as a first grader, Confirmation as a third grader (which made me a ‘spiritual adult’ qualified to be a good little soldier and defend the faith) and spent a total of 12 years in Catholic school. Here is the thing with me. I have been blessed. It all “stuck”. I love my faith.  Today, as a senior citizen, I have come to understand the simplicity of this faith. I have sifted  through the pile of confusing theology and have come to the realization that if you follow Jesus and truly try to  “Love your neighbor” as He taught, everything else will fall in place. We won’t be lying to each other, killing each other, stealing from each other, having ‘affairs’, or even stealing stuff. If you “love your neighbor” you won’t be doing any of that.  And you won’t be passing judgment on others because of their race, creed, politics, or whatever else you might pompously deem offensive to your worldview.(Just think about the possibilities.) This applies to a group that Catholic/Christians have had a hard time accepting over the centuries. I am talking about the Jewish people.

When you are a child your world consists of your home and the people in it. My brothers, sister and I had Mom, Dad and Grandma. We were one big ‘happy’ family living in an apartment in the Bronx. None of us ever thought to ask about a Grandpa. Why would we?  We were young kids and our world  view did not extend very far outside of our apartment building.  Our parents and Grandma died over a period of a few years when we were young. That was when we started asking questions about our family.  One of them was, “What happened to Grandma’s husband, our grandfather?” It was too late. There was no one who could answer the question.

My cousin, Vicki, doing an intense genealogy investigation, finally discovered our grandfather. It is all documented and factual. We have the “paper work”. Her dad, (my uncle) had passed away ten years earlier and never talked about his father.  My mom or dad never mentioned him either. My dad’s parents had passed away. We all knew that. But it was like Mom’s dad had never existed…but he had. Why we never knew of him, why he and my devout catholic grandmother married in 1919, how any of that transpired, none of us will ever know. The ones who knew those answers are all gone and have taken their stories with them. Thank you, Vicki, for doing the work. You found our ‘missing link’. God bless you for that.

 So…I just want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Grandpa Irving and tell him I am sorry we never met. Hopefully, one day we will. Oh yeah, from your Catholic grandson to you, my Jewish grandfather,  Merry Christmas and belated Happy Hanukkah.