Feast of St. Luke

St. Luke the Evangelist was a well-educated Greek physician and a native of Antioch in Syria. He was one of the earliest converts to Christianity, believed to have been one of Jesus’ seventy disciples. He was a follower of St. Paul the Apostle and spent most of his life evangelizing with him in Asia Minor up until the time of Paul’s martyrdom in Rome. Luke wrote a canonical account of his apostolic journeys with Paul (the Book of Acts) as well as a biography on the life of Christ (the Gospel of Luke). The two books of Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles were originally a single work. The intimate accounts contained in Luke’s gospel of the early years of Christ’s life (the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation, etc.) lead many scholars to believe that one of the eyewitnesses he interviewed was the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. According to tradition he was also a skilled artist and painted the first icons of Our Lady with the Child Jesus. Several of these icons are still venerated today, the most famous of which hangs in the Church of St. Mary Major in Rome. St. Luke is the patron saint of many trades including artists, painters, doctors, surgeons, and bachelors. His feast day is October 18th.

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VALUES VOTER SUMMIT: WHOSE VALUES?

From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

The Family Research Council (FRC) is hosting its annual Values Voter Summit Oct. 13-15, a rogues’ gallery of the radical right, this year keynoted by President Trump himself.

The FRC is an organization that has relentlessly vilified LGBT people – portraying them as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to children and the nation. Because of its demonizing lies about the LGBT community, it has been named as a hate group by the SPLC.

Like its host, the Values Voters Summit claims it stands for “values.” But whose values?

1. What’s the Values Voter Summit?
2. What can you do?

What’s the Values Voter Summit?

The Values Voter Summit is an annual political conference bringing together some of the most extreme groups on the right, including multiple designated hate groups. It was founded in 2006 and is hosted by the Family Research Council.

Who’s Family Research Council?

The Family Research Council (FRC) is an organization that often makes false and intentionally dehumanizing claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people as the organization battles against same-sex marriage, hate crime laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. To make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society, the FRC employs a number of “policy experts” whose “research” has allowed the FRC to be extremely active politically in shaping public debate. Its research fellows and leaders often testify before Congress and appear in the mainstream media. It also works at the grassroots level, conducting outreach to pastors in an effort to “transform the culture.”

Here’s their statement on “homosexuality:”

Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health the effects. While the origins of same-sex attractions may be complex, there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn. We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools.

Read more about the Family Research Council.

What can you do?

Bigotry is not an American value. You can stand up for equality and speak out against the bigotry displayed by the Family Research Council. Here’s how:

  • Let people know that President Trump is lending the legitimacy of his office to a hate group that relentlessly demonizes LGBT people and works to deny them of their equal rights. Share this message on social media.
  • Expose the Family Research Council’s true values. Download this image and share.
  • Educate yourselfRead our profile on the Family Research Council.
  • Take action against hate in your community. Follow our 10 Ways to Fight Hate guide.

Mark’s take:

This is what Trump’s America looks like. This is what the conservative rights means when they say “Make America Great Again.” This what they mean when they say “Take our country back.” And they do it, in large part, in the name of Jesus Christ.

This is an affront to Christianity. Anyone who has read Jesus’ words knows that He was accepting, welcoming, and loving. He preached to, and associated with, the outcast, the marginalized, the poor, the sick, the sinners.

Jesus commanded us to love one another. He said not one single word about homosexuality. Not. One. Word.

The people that host and attend these events are bigots and haters. And Trump stands arm in arm with them.

#RESIST!

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Sunday, Nov. 5, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).

Join thousands of other churches across the United States and the world in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters. This year, The Voice of the Martyrs announces the release of the IDOP video Solitary Prayer, about VOM founder Richard Wurmbrand. This video features excerpts from the new Tortured for Christ movie, to be released in spring 2018.

 

As we pray for our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters, we must remember Jesus’ call to pray for the persecutors as well. We pray that persecuted Christians will have the grace and love to share the gospel with them and that they will come to know Christ.

Voice of the Martyrs

 

Feast of St. Francis

St. Francis (1181-1226) was born in Assisi, Italy, to a wealthy cloth merchant. He was a spoiled child given to pleasure, fine dress, liberal spending, and worldliness. Handsome and courteous, he was a favorite among the nobility. As a chivalrous young knight he took part in a battle between the Italian city-states and became a prisoner of war in Perugia.

After his release he became seriously ill, and while reflecting on his wanton life he had a profound conversion experience. He gave up his frivolous life, cut off his family ties, and embraced a life of extreme penance and poverty in such a dramatic manner that it caused many to think he had gone mad.

While praying before a crucifix in the church of San Damiano in Assisi he received his call from Christ to rebuild his Church, which had fallen into ruin. St. Francis followed Christ in a radical manner by patterning his new rule of life after the example of the Apostles in the most literal way possible; he dressed himself as a poor peasant, worked odd jobs for food, and went through the countryside preaching repentance, love of Jesus, and peace.

His religious enthusiasm attracted followers, and with these he founded the Order of Friars Minor and the Poor Clares. His Order was approved by the Holy See in 1210 and it grew rapidly. Two years before his death he became the first known saint to receive the stigmata. His holiness was so widely attested that two years after his death the Church proclaimed him a saint.

St. Francis of Assisi is the patron of peace, ecology, the environment, animals, Italy, merchants, and families. His feast day is October 4th.

[source – morning offering 10-4-17]

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Devotion to Saint Francis of Assisi

O beloved Saint Francis, gentle and poor, your obedience to God and your simple, deep love for all God’s creatures led you to the heights of heavenly perfection and turned many hearts to follow God’s will. Now, in our day, pray also for us, in our ministry to the many who come here searching for peace and intercede for us as we come before the Lord with our special requests.

[Mention your special intention.]

O blessed Saint of God, from your throne among the hosts of heaven present our petitions before our faithful Lord. May your prayers on our behalf be heard and may God grant us the grace to lead good and faithful lives. Amen.

Saint Francis of Assisi,
Pray for us. Amen.

 

Saint Francis’s Prayer Before the Crucifix

Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me
true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out
Your holy and true command. Amen.

 

The Peace Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

 

Saint Francis’s Vocation Prayer

Most High, Glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of our minds.
Give us a right faith, a firm hope and a perfect charity,
so that we may always and in all things act according to Your Holy Will. Amen.

[prayers source – national shrine of st francis]

Help Send More Bibles

Last month we received an exciting report from our partners on the Korean Peninsula: “We’ve exceeded our goal!”

Voice of the Martyrs

As the year began, our goal for this project was to deliver 37,500 Bibles into North Korea. The Bibles are attached to weather balloons and launched from neighboring countries when wind conditions are right to carry them into North Korea. GPS technology helps us verify where the balloons and their life-giving cargo land.

Last summer it seemed that we might not reach our goal because weather conditions had not been favorable for the balloon launches. We posted a note on social media asking people to pray for better conditions, and God answered our prayers. Instead of falling short of the goal, our partners exceeded the goal, delivering 39,970 Bibles.

Please pray for the North Koreans who find these Bibles. Pray that God will open their eyes to the truth of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, and protect them from being discovered and arrested.

This North Korea project was just a small piece of VOM’s overall strategy to deliver more than 1 million Bibles in 2017. More than two-thirds of the Bibles are already funded by people like you who are willing to give sacrificially to ensure that God’s Word reaches those in hostile and restricted nations.

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In addition to covert operations like the one in North Korea, VOM also provides Bibles in countries where we can distribute through local churches and other Christian groups. Children’s Bibles are an important part of these distributions as we help prepare the next generation to stand strong under persecution.

We invite you to join us in this vital work by contributing to our Bible-distribution efforts today.

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Feast of the Guardian Angels

October 2nd is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. Although Guardian Angels have been venerated since the early days of the Church, it wasn’t until the 17th century that Pope Clement X extended their feast day to the Universal Church. Although not a dogmatic article of the faith, it is a firmly established Catholic belief that each individual human being has their own Guardian Angel assigned to them by God to watch over their soul, help them avoid sin and temptation, and lead them to heaven, taken in part from Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” The Church thanks God for our heavenly helpers, the Guardian Angels, who minister to us in our need and guide us on the path of salvation.

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Read: All About Angels from the Knights of Columbus

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STS. COSMAS & DAMIAN

I am new to the Catholic faith. I began attending mass in 2011, and was confirmed in 2015. The Church’s history is a big study, and her traditions date back over 2000 years. I’m still learning (we all should be).

In the Roman Canon, many saints are mentioned by name. Today, September 26th, is the Feast Day for two of them: Saints Cosmas and Damien. I never knew anything about them until I read a short bio included in my Morning Offering email.


STS. COSMAS & DAMIAN

Sts. Cosmas and Damian (d. 287 A.D.) were twin brothers born in Arabia. They both became skilled physicians who practiced in Asia Minor. They took no money for their medical services, for which they were well-respected. Because of their charity they drew many to the Catholic faith. During the Christian persecution under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, Cosmas and Damian were targeted, arrested, and tortured. After being miraculously preserved from injury throughout their cruel tortures, holding firm in their faith to the end, they were finally killed by beheading. They were martyred together with their three brothers. Their remains were buried in Syria and many miracles were attributed to them. In gratitude for the healing he received through the intercession of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, Roman Emperor Justinian I (6th c.) restored a church dedicated to their honor in Constantinople, which became a place of pilgrimage. Sts. Cosmas and Damian are regarded as the patron saints of physicians, surgeons, and pharmacists. They are mentioned by name in the Roman Canon of the Mass, and share a feast day on September 26th.


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