Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What’s Caught My Eye…

Why don’t we encourage sufferers to aim for joy? Perhaps we think of suffering and joy as a two-step process, as if what we see in Psalm 126:5-6—We go out weeping and return with shouts of joy—is the only pattern. This view sees suffering and joy as fundamentally incompatible and unable to be experienced simultaneously. But that can’t be true. Scripture indicates that life in the age of the Spirit will have the hardest suffering and the greatest joy—and both can be experienced at the same time. The Apostle Paul illustrated this as one of the many of the implications of the gospel: “in all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy” (2 Cor. 7:4).

This means that even when we are in pain, we can go in search of joy with the expectation that it will, indeed, find and surprise us. Think about the end of war and enemies defeated (1 Chron. 16:33, Ps. 27:6), water in the desert (Is. 35:6), how the Lord delights in the welfare of his servants (Ps. 35:27), how the Lord comforts his people (Is. 49:13), how the Father, Son and Spirit take joy in each other and, through Jesus, we are brought into that joy (John 15:11). Think about how forgiveness of sins has secured for us all the promises of God, which are summarized in his unceasing presence with us. This presence, and the future glory of seeing him face-to-face, is to be at the very center of our joy.

But in this search we still have a problem. The prevailing treatment and dominant metaphor today for alleviating pain is medication. We take a pill and wait for it to be effective. We give the treatment limited time to show its worth before we move on to a new prescription. Joy does not follow this pattern. It does not come quickly. In fact, if we expect quick results, we are not actually seeking joy and it will never come. Joy does counterbalance pain, but that is a side effect of joy rather than its goal.

Read the whole thing here: The Hard Pairing of Suffering and Joy.

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Saturday, September 07, 2013

An Open Letter from His Eminence Metropolitan Philip to President Obama

Metropolitan Phillip

Metropolitan Phillip

Metropolitan Philip is the leader of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese.

September 6, 2013

President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

We write to you with a heavy heart having heard the recent news of the attack on the ancient Christian city of Maaloula, Syria by the rebel forces. This city houses one of the oldest and most important monasteries, the Monastery of St. Thekla, which is considered a holy place by both Christians and Muslims.

This attack by the rebel forces, who are supported by the U.S. government, is an unspeakable act of terror, and speaks volumes to the viciousness of those rebel forces who seek to overthrow the Syrian government. Apparently there is nothing that is sacred to these people, and it is very disturbing that these same people are being supported by our government.

Mr. President, we appeal to your humanity, and compassion for people to halt consideration of any U.S military action against the Syrian government. This would be a deadly and costly action, and nothing can be gained by it. If indeed chemical weapons have been used (and this is still to be determined by the UN inspectors who recently returned from Syria), there is no compelling evidence which points to the use of these weapons by the Syrian government. On the contrary, there is some compelling evidence that the rebel forces had both the means and the will to launch such a heinous attack against innocent people, Christians and Muslims alike, who are all the children of God.

May our Lord and God guide you to find a peaceful solution which relies on negotiation and not bombs.


+Metropolitan PHILIP Saliba

Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

h/t: AOI.

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Friday, September 06, 2013

Just Saying’…

International Buy a Priest a Beer Day! (Source)


St. Hopswald of Aleyard, the first man to take his priest our for a beer.

Did you know that this coming Monday, September 9, is International Buy a Priest a Beer Day? On this festive day, faithful Catholics all over the world take their priests out for a beer and get to know them better. It’s a beautiful Catholic tradition that goes back to the time of St. Hopswald of Aleyard, the first man to take his priest out for a beer.

Okay, if you’re getting suspicious by now, there’s a good reason. Buy a Priest a Beer Day is not a real holiday. But I would argue that it should be!

Believe it or not, priests are real people, and they enjoy socializing over good food and drink as much as anyone. They also have a thankless and difficult job, a job that we couldn’t get to heaven without. Priests are the lifeblood of the Church, and they deserve some appreciation.

So with that in mind, I would challenge you to do something concrete to show appreciation to your priest in the month ahead. Yes, it could be taking him out for a beer, or it could be inviting him over to share dinner with your family. Be creative if you want, but give back to your priest somehow, and let him know that his ministry is making a difference.

Of course, your priest may be insanely busy and unable to schedule a time for a lengthier visit. That’s okay. You could offer a rosary or a holy hour for him and his intentions (or better yet, more than one), and let him know that you are regularly praying for him. At the very least, express to him your gratitude, in person or via a note, for his faithful ministry and his answering God’s call to the priesthood.

I fully expect there to be a lot of happy, encouraged priests by the end of the month. If you want to participate, leave a comment saying, “I’m in!” Ready, set, go.

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Thursday, September 05, 2013

10 Perils of Prosperity

Fan though I am of the free market and economic development, it’s still important to remember we live in a fallen world. Here’s some good reminders of that from John Teevan on Acton PowerBlog. Take a look.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

So Why is Sustained Prosperity a Peril? Nearly everyone on earth prefers a life free from poverty and from the need to focus on survival. Call it liberty or call it comfort, everyone prefers this life. Now nearly 2b people enjoy that level of living thanks to the growth of economic freedom. But there are problems.

  1. People think that nothing can go permanently wrong.

    Money cures everything and there is plenty of it and always will be. Period.

  2. People think that all moral issues are irrelevant.

    Ask Miley Cyrus…the latest casualty who is also a Disney role model: see #9.

  3. People think that they can afford anything and suddenly want everything.

    So the richest people on earth fuel their lives with even more debt financed stuff.

  4. People are dissatisfied with life and find it boring. They are also ungrateful.

    Mental illness, substance abuse, and suicide are ever increasing.

  5. People think that all who lived before their era were deficient or foolish.

    In olden days people had to work hard, be moral, and watch out…what idiots!

  6. People think that it is not necessary to learn, work, or stick to it to have a comfortable life.

    If I get a job I like, fine, otherwise I’ll just move back home with my folks. Big deal.

  7. Governments believe the economy can be taxed to pay for any government program.

    If the rich just paid their fair share we’d all have comfortable incomes; spread it around.

  8. People forget what a life of discomfort was like and are ‘spoiled’.

    OK, I broke the blender, but the jerks at Walmart wouldn’t take it back.

  9. People adopt a new value system that is narcissistic and worships the self.

    How can I go to work today? It’s my birthday. All drama–all the time, for many.

  10. Governments believe that the welfare state is the only compassionate use of such prosperity.

    Even a single dollar of reduction of social security will leave grandma out in the cold.

We must be very careful of prosperity. It has a way of deluding us into thinking that we can afford anything and that we can absorb any shock. For seven decades this has been true. But now we have changed our thinking and our planning and our savings as we ignore the possibility of real economic disaster: Beware.

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