Category Archives: Jesus Christ

Election 2016—There May Still be Hope

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Pope St. John Paul II said, “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.”

Hillary Clinton’s decades of political experience have allowed her to master the art of parsing the English language to suit the moment. To be fair, she is just one of many skilled politicians who has this uncanny ability to say certain things to please a certain audience and then deny having said those same things to please a different audience. Amazingly, the world seems to excuse it all because, as they say, “That’s politics.”

There is one issue, however, that Mrs. Clinton speaks to where political language is non-existent. That is abortion. Mrs. Clinton is perfectly clear about her position; she not only is in favor of abortion, she believes it is perfectly all right for a woman to have an abortion up to and including the moments right before full term birth. It seems to me that St. JP II’s opinion and Mrs. Clinton’s opinion on the matter are on opposite ends of the Sanctity of Life spectrum.

Secularism’s success is contingent on eliminating God our Creator from the life equation. God has rules; God’s rules say “NO”. A society filled with, foremost, a sense of self-indulgence, cannot have that. This secular society believes that every person should be able to do what they want—“Hey, I’m not bothering you, am I?” 

Secularism’s mantra of self-gratification has been the catalyst that has driven people the world over to reject the sanctity of life, fomenting many folks to embrace the false notion that each of us can decide who lives or dies. Why are there so many people determined to bring St. John Paul II’s words to fruition?  I think the answer is simple enough; “I” and “me” have replaced “you” and “them”. However, I do believe there is still hope.

There are many people who proclaim their catholicity and intend to vote for the Party of Non-Life (those who approve of abortion and euthanasia—Euthanasia is legal in five states, parts of New Mexico and is up for referendum in Colorado ). How folks can be part of a religion and reject what it basically stands for is beyond my understanding. I leave their spirituality up to them. Bottom line—that still leaves a goodly percentage of Catholic/Chrsitians that still embrace the sanctity of God’s individual creations, whatever their age may be including the pre-born.
Psalm 139:13-16 speaks to each one of us as God’s individual creations. “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

Pope St. John Paul II and Child  APPhoto

The unexpected candidate for the presidency, Mr. Donald Trump, has proven to be an enigma to the election process. Honestly, I never knew anything about this man except that he was a very wealthy and successful international builder and entrepreneur. He also hosted a #1 rated TV show called the “Apprentice” which was on for 12 years (I actually never watched it). I had never heard anything “bad” about him and I never had an opinion of him one way or another. Then he ran for President of the United States. 
According to all the political elite and main stream media and many in his own party he is almost akin to a new “Hitler”. He is “evil” personified. Yet,  through that all, he stands before the world and says he will defend life and is pro-life and promises to appoint Supreme Court Justices that will be pro-life. That seems to me to be quite “UnHitlerish”.

As a Catholic man who believes in the Sanctity of Life and honors the fact that his Church defends life I must cast a vote for the person that will also defend that life and also has the power to do something about it. I do not care if that person is obnoxious. I do not care about what they did 10 or 20 or 30 years ago. The color of their hair matters not and if they happen to be the lousiest politician who ever lived, so be it. I, and millions like me, are sickened by the callous disregard for human life especially when this callousness is being disguised as compassionate. It is NOT compassionate. It is bloody, it is destructive and it is fatal.

If we truly believe that we are all God’s individual creations and that Jesus died for all of us, including the elderly and the pre-born, then we have our moral duty before us. Finally, from page seven (7) of the old St. Joseph First Communion Catechism,1963: “God made me out of nothing. He made me because He loves me. —–I belong to God because He made me.”

                                      ©Copyright Larry Peterson 2016

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

Asia Bibi–Wife & Mom; Catholic/Christian and "Blasphemer"; Sentenced to Death for Loving Jesus

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

 Asia Bibi is a Catholic wife,  mother of five and our sister in faith. She will stand before the Supreme Court of Pakistan during the month of October, 2016, and hear the final verdict as to whether or not she should be executed by hanging. You see, Asia has been convicted  of being a “blasphemer”. She has been in prison for the past seven years.

Imagine being this woman. You have been living amidst the filth and squalor of a Pakistani prison. You wonder about your children You miss them so much. You need to hug them, touch them, feel their hair or just squeeze their hands(s). Then a distant memory floats to the forefront of your worn out mind. You remember that day in 2009…was it June..no, maybe August.  You remember being out in the field picking berries. There are other women working alongside you but…there is a difference. They are Muslim and, to them, you are “unclean”. They despise you. You are a Catholic.

Asia Bibi & Children  courtesy gatestoneinstitute.org

These other women demanded you fetch them water from a nearby well. You were not their “equals” and did what you were told. You went to the well, filled a jug for the women and brought it back to them. But you made a mistake. You knew you could not drink from the same jug so you found an old tin can and poured water into it for yourself. You remember the momentary relief as the water slid down your throat..

Alas, using the dirty, rusted cup to drink from mattered not. A field hand angrily tells you that you are forbidden to drink the SAME water as a Muslim. You are already considered “unclean” because you are a Catholic/Christian. The other workers hurriedly gathered around you and started cursing you and your religion. Your faith must have been exploding in you because you defended it immediately. You summoned your resolve and remember saying, “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ who died for the sins of mankind. What did your prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?”

The other women exploded with rage. You were beaten and arrested. Under the country’s Sharia Law you are not equal to a Muslim so what you had to say was only considered “half” as important as what they had to say. Trying to defend yourself was an effort in futility. They hold you in a local jail for one year and then you are found guilty of blasphemy. Your sentence is death by hanging. You are shocked and horrified and helpless. Your husband is sickened and your children lost inside themselves. You can do nothing.

You are sent to prison and placed on death row. Five years later the Pakistani Supreme Court upheld the verdict. That was appealed and the hanging was put on hold. It has been announced that sometime during the middle of October, 2016, the High Court of Pakistan will render a FINAL verdict. Asia Bibi, Catholic “blasphemer “, lover and defender of Jesus Christ, will hear whether or not she lives or dies.

I cannot help but feel a deep affinity for Asia Bibi and all those who live under such incredibly hateful conditions.. After all, we are all part of the same spiritual family. They are people just like you and I. They love their spouses and children and their moms and dads. They get the flu and upset stomachs. They get rashes and toothaches and they have wants and desires. They want a nice home that is safe and secure. They would like to have a church they can go to without a fear of being killed or maimed for doing so. They just want to worship the God they love and have some peace in their lives. Yet, they are hated and despised. Why–because they are just like us. They are Catholic/Christian and believe in Jesus Christ.

This morning, I was able to drive over to my church and attend morning Mass. No fuss, no muss, no anxiety existed. No one mocked me. No one cursed me. On the contrary, going to Mass in America is a beautiful experience that is filled with peace and love. After all, we are free Americans allowed to practice our religion unencumbered (so far).

Asia Bibi is just one of thousands of our brothers and sisters in faith whose lives are in jeopardy at this very moment. Just like us, they love Jesus Christ. There is a glaring difference. We Americans  can pour another cup of coffee and say another prayer. Our brothers and sisters in faith, living in the lands of the persecuted,  can be brutally killed for doing the exact same thing.

The winds of secularism are growing stronger and stronger, blowing  against the doors and walls of America’s churches. Behind those doors and walls our religious freedoms are still secure. Venturing outside those walls we find that across America those freedoms are being eroded right before our eyes. We had better be careful. As St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) said, The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.”  

We must fight to stay who we are, inside and out.

 Please pray for our sister, Asia Bibi. She faces a horrible death because she loves Jesus. A different place or a different time, that could be any one of us.

                               Copyright ©Larry Peterson 2016

The Catholic Church—Saying “NO” to a World Screaming “YES”

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

How did the precepts of ethics and morality, based on the Ten Commandments and the “Golden Rule”, become a pariah to so many? How did these principles ever become inverted?  Why have they seemingly been tossed by many into the dumpster of the outdated and irrelevant?
There is one critical aspect that drives this onslaught and I think we do not pay close enough attention to it. Those that are flailing away at our religious heritage and freedoms are not committing these attacks on their own. They have a brilliant, diabolical, hate-consumed leader inspiring them onward.
Their leader’s name is Satan and he is the Master of deceit and deception. Satan’s biggest and most hated enemy after Jesus Christ is the church that Jesus founded, the Catholic Church. Satan’s hatred for the true Church of Christ is unimaginable. That is because it still spits in his evil eye and says NO!


Over the centuries it has withstood his evil onslaughts even when they came from within. It also rejects today’s “liberation theology”, the perverse philosophy that suggests “Jesus wants you to be happy so just enjoy yourself.” The fact is, Jesus wants us to be happy with him in heaven. This is the testing grounds where we can earn the “right’ to join Him there—not decidewhat that “right” is.
 The Church has teachings that have been in place for two thousand years. But secularists maintain that the Church has “nerve and audacity” to use the words, SIN and MORALITY.  In today’s self-indulged, secular world it seems anyone who might suggest that a particular behavior is “immoral” or “sinful” is branded and vilified as intolerant, hateful, racist and even uncaring.
 How pompous and pride filled this is. Only the new age secularists would have the audacity to suggest that their inverted “virtue” is GOOD and the concept of self-denial is SINFUL.
My favorite comic book character was, Superman. Occasionally, Superman would get stuck in an alternative universe called “Bizarro World”. It was a place where everything was backwards. Up was down, hello meant good-bye and yes meant no. Even the planet, Htrae, (Earth backwards), was shaped like a cube. It is the same with the folly of inverted secular virtue. I call this world “Secularro”.
On Secularro 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 Secularro the Church is now bad. Fornication and people “hooking up” for one-night stands is heralded as “Good”. The church says NO!  On Secularro the church is told to mind its own business. Divorced and remarried Catholics want to receive the Holy Eucharist. The church, as it always has done, says NO!
On Secularro, the church is deemed intolerant and insensitive and is out of touch with the modern world and needs to get into the 21st century. Homosexuals demand to be married in the Church. The Church says NO!  Marriage is between a man and a woman ONLY. Satan screams from his evil world to his followers, Say “YES! YES! YES!” Holy Mother Church says “NO!” In the alternative universe, the Catholic Church is evil.
On Secularro the inverted unwittingly listen to Satan’s message and pound on the dogmatic doors of the Catholic Church demanding that they be opened to personal wants and desires. Unlike Bizarro World where things are just ‘crazy’ on Secularro, things are mean and vindictive. Secularro 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 Secularro. They have been praised as “progressive” and “in touch” with the needs of the citizens of Secularro. The reality is, they have failed their followers. But the Catholic Church has not caved into the demands and pressures and it never will. Therefore, Satan hates all things Catholic and always will.
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. The church also offers forgiveness for falling prey to these sins. This forgiveness is available 24/7.
On Secularro, the church is mocked and laughed at for suggesting these actions offend God. These acts are acceptable because an individual committing one of these sins is just being human and God made us that way and wants us to be “happy”. So–sin away. Just remember, if you subscribe to that concept the victory in the fight for your soul goes to Satan.
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

Valentine’s Day is Overshadowed by Pride

 IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
By Larry Peterson
 Valentine’s Day is here.  It is supposed to be all about Love. Yet beyond the heart covered Valentine cards, the flower bouquets and candy and all of that, we must, as unpleasant as it may be, recognize what we truly have going on this Valentine’s Day of 2016.  Yes, make no mistake, Love is under attack this Valentine’s Day and hatred seems to overshadow the Lovein the air.
Love is all about “Giving”, isn’t it? Christ loved us and GAVE His life for us. Now that is some serious “Giving”.  Most followers of Christ do their feeble best to follow His message. But—enter the deadly sin of pride. There is the demon that can grab us in its powerful grip and oftentimes, never let go. The great sin of pride is characterized by all those who seize onto words such as, hurt, libel, disrespect, impolite, mocked, uncivil, rude and the list can go on and on and on.
How sad it is that pride can destroy so much, from family relationships, to friendships, to nations. Whenever our “personhood” is offended by someone else, all that Love can vanish like a puff of smoke in a windstorm.  (Have you seen the “Love” extended by the candidates toward each other in the presidential debates?)
Oh well, it is part of God’s gift of free-will allowing each and every one of us to make choices. Some of us can forgive and “turn the other cheek”. Others—no way.
Today it seems that Pride* has filled the hearts of many to a point where these people, so consumed, now HATE unconditionally.  What many of them hate most is one word and what it means. That word is made up of only two letters. That word is NO. They want no-one dare telling them what to do or how to behave. They have embraced secularism (defined as: a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship). 
Here is their problem:  Judeo/Catholic/Christian has boundaries.  Christianity tells us what God wants us to do and what NOT to do…why, the NERVE of Him!  So, many Secularists (not all) take it to another level in their personal, selfish requests to abolish the influence of institutions that have the temerity to say NO to certain behaviors. They even reject “natural law” for their own personal agendas.
Catholic/Christians are the most persecuted people on earth.  Why is that?  Why is there such hatred by so many toward something that is all about goodness and love?  All Christians (including 1.2 billion Catholics and 800 million Protestants  of varied denominations) follow Jesus Christ. That is 2 billion people or two thousand million people who follow His teachings and His promise of Eternal Life. What is the crux of His teachings? Well now, the bottom line is this, LOVE your NEIGHBOR & FORGIVENESS. Yeah, yeah, I know that many who proclaim to follow Jesus do not even make an attempt to Love their Neighbor or Forgive anyone for anything. How powerful is the sin of pride?
The Prideful  rant against Christmas which is all about “giving”. They rail on about using the name of God in schools and at sports events. They want Crosses at cemeteries taken down from the graves of fallen soldiers. In many cases those who hate Christians kill them. Men, women and children die every day in different parts of the world simply because they are followers of Jesus. How can Love & Forgiveness be things to hate? How powerful is the sin of pride?
Well, nothing has changed since Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago.  He preached Love & Forgiveness so they beat Him, tortured Him and killed Him.  The loving crowds who screamed “Hosanna” on Palm Sunday turned fickle and screamed “Crucify Him” the following Friday.  The list of people murdered for following Jesus over the centuries (including his own apostles) is countless. Being a Catholic and Christian was never supposed to be easy.  Jesus Christ did nothing but Love us, each and every one of us. Look what happened to Him. How powerful is the sin of pride?
So, on this Valentine’s Day, the question to be considered might be this. What is Love? The answer can be found in the Bible in the First Letter of John; Ch 4: 16-17.  “We have come to know and believe in the love God has for us. God IS Love, and whoever remains in Love remains in God and God in Him. 
Sadly,  on February 14, 2016, the war on Love increases in intensity.
*Pride: There are two kinds of pride; negative pride and positive pride. This column             references negative pride aka ‘selfishness’ or ‘meism’. Positive pride is the    good pride we take in working hard to do our best while loving our neighbor.
                    ©Larry Peterson2016 All Rights Reserved

Pride vs the Humility of Pope Francis

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

This is from the Gospel of Luke; Chapter 9: vs 46-50
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 
For the one who who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest.”
This gospel reading is all about the greatest of all the ‘deadly’ sins, Pride. It is also about the greatest of all ‘heavenly’ virtues, Humility. This is a “clash of the titans” of evil vs Good. And Pope Francis, without trying and by just being who God made him to be, wears the mantle of humility without fanfare, showmanship, pretentiousness or anything that might be self-serving in any manner. Yes, he wears that mantle and it is fastened to his shoulders with the clasp of Love. In so doing he continually  shows  the whole world what it means to think of yourself the least among all others.  (Was that a Fiat Hatchback or a Ford Taurus?)
Jorge Mario Bergoglio never asked to be a bishop or a cardinal. He never “lobbied” for these positions or  sought them out in any way. He did not have “super-pacs” at his beckoned call when the vacancy for Pope opened. He simply loved being a priest, working with the poor and homeless and doing his best to follow God’s call so he would make his life pleasing to Him. Make no mistake, God called him to the Papacy. The secular world may mock that concept but that is why they do not understand.  That is why they cannot experience the joy so many millions of faithful are experiencing with his Papacy. If they could only swallow their damn pride a bit and open their hearts to some  humility they may find the elusive peace that evades them.
Pope Francis is filled with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit leads him to stop his motorcade and wade into a crowd of children and hug them and kiss their foreheads. It compels him to embrace the crippled, the disfigured, the mentally challenged, the homeless as well as the “uppity-ups”. He has no qualms about walking into a prison and embracing hard-core murderers, rapists, thieves, and drug dealers. Pope Francis sees the Face of Christ in EVERYONE.
Last September, during his stop in Washington, D.C.,  he visited with  President Obama and then offered  Mass in the National Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. When he finished he made a point of going to the offices of the Little Sisters of the Poor. He had to send a message to the entire world about the solidarity that exists within the Church when it comes to respect for life, ALL life. That message required no words—just action. The Pope gave that message by meeting with the Sisters who take care of the elderly poor, free of charge,  and have been doing so since St. Jeanne Jugan founded the order back in 1841.
Pope Francis  left our country a more contented and inspired nation. He reached out to everyone and many  responded. He represents the Goodness and Love that Jesus Christ brought to us and, despite the horrors of jihad and the emptiness of secularism pervading our lives,  his presence and example make our world  a better place. He is HIS ambassador on earth and  he represents HIM well.   We have all been blessed.
                                      ©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

Pope Francis: Pride, Humility and the Gospel of the Day After

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Pope Francis has gone back to Rome. Sigh–I miss him. I live in central Florida so the closest he ever got to  me was probably about 330 miles away and that was in a foreign country, Cuba. The closest I got to him in the United States was when he traveled to Washington, D.C. which is over 900 miles away. No matter, I do miss him. His gentle, kind and loving face was all over the TV screen since last Tuesday. I have been among his captive audience. It was so uplifting and refreshing watching this apostle of Christ and descendant of St. Peter do his thing and, on TV no less, for all the world to see.. Yes, I miss him.

The Pope left last night at about 8 p.m. At 8 a.m this morning I was at morning Mass. The gospel reading for the day blew me away. This reading was not in place to reflect his visit but it did. The  reading was scheduled for today and put in place on the universal church calendar several years ago. So, it is pure coincidence this gospel reading and his visit overlapped. If not, it was inspired from above. (That one works for me).

This is from the Gospel of Luke; Chapter 9: vs 46-50
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 
For the one who who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest.”

This gospel reading is all about the greatest of all the ‘deadly’ sins, Pride. It is also about the greatest of all ‘heavenly’ virtues, Humility. This is a “clash of the titans” of evil vs Good. And Pope Francis, without trying and by just being who God made him to be, wore the mantle of humility without fanfare, showmanship, pretentiousness or anything that might be self-serving in any manner. Yes, he wore that mantle and it was fastened to his shoulders with the clasp of Love. In so doing he showed  the whole world what it means to think of yourself last before all others.  (Was that a Fiat Hatchback?)

Jorge Mario Bergoglio never asked to be a bishop or a cardinal. He never “lobbied” for these positions or  sought them out in any way. He did not have “super-pacs” at his beckoned call when the vacancy for Pope opened. He simply loved being a priest, working with the poor and homeless and doing his best to follow God’s call so he would make his life pleasing to Him. Make no mistake, God called him to the papacy. The secular world would mock that concept but that is why they cannot experience the joy so many millions of faithful experienced in America over the past week. If they could only swallow their damn pride a bit and open their hearts they may find the elusive peace that evades them.

Pope Francis is filled with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit leads him to stop his motorcade and wade into a crowd of children and hug them and kiss their foreheads. It compels him to embrace the crippled, the disfigured, the mentally challenged, the homeless as well as the “uppity-ups”. He has no qualms about walking into a prison and embracing hard-core murderers, rapists, thieves, and drug dealers.

After seeing President Obama and offering Mass during his stop in Washington, D.C. he made a point of going to the offices of the Little Sisters of the Poor. He had to send a message to the entire world about the solidarity that exists within the Church when it comes to respect for life, ALL life. That message required no words—just action. The Pope gave that message by meeting with the Sisters who take care of the elderly poor, free of charge and have been doing so since St. Jeanne Jugan founded the order back in 1841 .

Pope Francis has left our country. He has left it a more contented and inspired nation. He has reached out to everyone and many have responded. He represents the Goodness and Love that Jesus Christ brought to us. He is His ambassador on earth. He did his work well. If this had been a baseball game it would have been called “Perfect”. But now it is over and the Prideful will resurface.

Thanks for the grace, inspiration, love and memories Holy Father. We have to get you back here more often.

                                    ©2015 Larry Peterson All Rights Reserved


The "Shameful Silence"—It Honors Evil

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson                                                         

“Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”   Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran theologian in Germany during the reign of Adolf Hitler.  His book, “The Cost of Discipleship”, has become a classic.  Focusing on the “Sermon on the Mount”, the book more or less spelled out what Bonhoeffer thought was the true way to follow Christ.  In addition to his theological writings and teaching, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a staunch, anti Nazi dissident.  He spoke out vigorously against Hitler’s euthanasia and genocidal persecution of the Jews and, in so doing, became a hated enemy of the Third Reich. As such, he was arrested in April, 1943. Accused of the ambiguous crime of “plotting against the Nazis”, he was hanged on April 9, 1945.
                                                                
Moving ahead to the year 2014: The following is a statement from His Grace, Bishop Suriel of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Diocese of  Melbourne from one year ago:
“The world watches in silence as the last Christians are expelled from Mosul, Iraq, in one of the most merciless and barbaric acts of genocide we have seen in the 21st  Century.”

We are absolutely fascinating creatures, we humans are.  Many of our species can be so kind and compassionate, loving and gentle, sweet and understanding.  Many people will save a tiny bird with an injured wing or a cat stuck up in a tree. There is a world-wide outrage going on directed at a dentist who killed a lion. There are  so many people who  will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and give drink to the thirsty. One thing about the animal kingdom: the different species are predictable. One thing about we human beings: we are not. 
 You flip the coin and you have many of the very same species who are filled with a self-gratification which culminates in a hate and disdain for others of their own kind.  These include those who will torture and kill their fellow humans because they HATE their:  religion, skin color, birthplace,  political beliefs or whatever other self-serving, hate-filled reason a murderer may come up with.  Many kill and torture saying they were “only following orders” and had no choice. Others kill because of pride fueled by envy and greed. 

Planned Parenthood, a non-profit, government funded organization, employs people who  perform over 320,000 abortions a year on babies of ALL sizes. They even sell their body parts for profit and say “it is LEGAL”. Barely a word is said by many folks who are part of the main stream media (print & broadcast). The leading Democratic candidate for President of the U.S. says that those reports are “disturbing”. Are you kidding me! Disturbing! How about heinous, hateful and/or murderous.  So I ask why? Why the “Shameful Silence” from so many?
 Why are we, all of the same species, so different in our hearts?  How can some of us kill and others forgive them for doing so?   Why do some of us willingly and joyfully give of ourselves for people we may not even know?  Why do some of us  hate others they may not even know?  Why are there those who love their fellow human being unconditionally?  And why the “Shameful Silence” from so many? The answer has to be because of the very existence  of  “Good vs Evil” that is always trying to invade our very souls. Many people fight back and conquer the invader. Many others give in and welcome him and embrace his twisted deception. 

What is “Good vs Evil”?  I can tell you what it is and I do not care if you disagree. It  is the war waged by Satan and those that follow him against the God of Love that created him and all of his followers.  If you take a breath and look at the world of today and then glance back at yesterday and the centuries before, what has changed in the hearts of man? Apparently, not very much. Love and Hatred have danced “toe to toe” since Cain slew his brother Abel.  Why did that happen? Pride and envy. What drives the evil of today? Pride and envy.

God is real and Satan is real. God is the Creator of the Universe and the Master of Goodness and Love.  His most beautiful creation, Satan (aka Lucifer) thought he was greater than God and turned against Him. He was cast from God’s presenc
e by those angels that stayed true to their Creator. Filled with an unimaginable hatred for all that is good, Satan and his minions prowl the earth fomenting
 lies and deception to all who will listen. He and his fallen angels have used their cunning to gain entrance into the hearts of those who, before all else, love themselves. These are the easy prey for the king of deceit. And, there is a gaggle of easy prey available, especially in today’s secularly charged world dominated by ‘meism’. 
Mosul,  the very cradle of Christianity, can trace the followers of Jesus back to the first century.  As of today it seems that the entire Christian population of Mosul has been purged from this ancient and historic city.  Murder, including the beheadings of civilians and the wanton murder of women and children, has virtually eradicated the city’s Christians.  And what did we see and hear from the print and broadcast media a year ago?  We heard the sound of almost nothing. What do we hear today about the atrocities of killing pre-born babies and selling their body parts under the guise of “savings lives”?  We hear the sound of almost nothing. A “Shameful  Silence” from many seems to reverberate throughout world when persecution is running rampant.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”  He was hanged by the Nazis for his “crimes” over 70 years ago.  What has changed? The press was quiet then as the Nazis purged the world of the “hated Jew”.  Most of the main stream media (print and broadcast) has been quiet as theIslamists purge the world of the “hated Christian”.  There are many people in the United States of America, who go to work every day and kill living babies in utero and sell their body parts and have no problem whatsoever doing it because, as the Nazi workers said so many years ago, “it was legal”. 

Josef Goebbels was the propaganda minister for Adolf Hitler and made sure the press and broadcast media kept news of the Nazi Final Solution quiet. There existed a Shameful Silence. That Shameful Silence among  many is apparently alive and well in 2015, right here in the USA. Nothing has changed, nothing at all. 

                                               ©2015 Larry Peterson 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.

___________________________________________

 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