New from John Pavlovitz

On Learning To Love Offensively (For Those Weary From The Fight)

Excerpt: 

More and more, I am letting what and who I care deeply about drive and move and fuel me. It allows me simplicity and clarity:

I abhor racism and bigotry, so I strive to see and treat all people equally and individually. 
I detest homophobia and transphobia, so I care for and support my LGBTQ brothers and sisters and their families.
I believe fully in gender equality, so I do my best to advocate for this equality.
I find poverty detestable, so I look for ways to contribute to eliminating it.
I can’t stomach hatred in the name of Jesus, so as a Christian I try daily to reflect Christ’s love as well as I can as often as I can.

[Full Post Here]

If Hopelessness is Trending in Your Head

Excerpt:

The truth is, dear friend: there are far more people in this place working for equality, diversity, love, and justice than opposing them—and it isn’t even close. There are hundreds of millions of people in this world who (just like you) wake up every day trying to be the kind of person the world needs; lavish with compassion, overflowing with generosity, relentless with love. You are, even when you’re not aware of it, surrounded on all sides by like-hearted people who are not okay with the suffering around them either.

[Full Post Here]

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Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe

One of the most heroic acts of the twentieth century reached its conclusion on this day, August 14, 1941. That is when the Franciscan friar, Maximilian Kolbe, lifted up his arm to receive a lethal injection of carbolic acid.

Two weeks earlier, a prisoner had escaped from Auschwitz. The camp’s rule was that if one prisoner escaped, ten died in his place. All day the weak and underfed men from the escaped prisoner’s block were made to stand in the sun without food and water. When the man was not found, a prison guard called out the names of ten men who were to die in his place.

When Sergeant Francis Gajowniczek heard his name called, he cried out, “Have mercy! I have a wife and children.” But mercy was a commodity in short supply in Nazi death camps.

Into the gap stepped Maximilian Kolbe. He moved forward silently. Asked what he wanted, he replied, “I am a Catholic priest from Poland; I would like to take his place, because he has a wife and children.” Hesitating a moment in face of this noble gesture, Commandant Fritsch accepted the replacement. Maximilian and nine others were sent to starve to death.

During those two weeks, Maximilian led the victims in hymns and prayer. When he became too weak to speak aloud, he whispered his prayers. After two weeks, only four of the ten were still alive. Maximilian alone was completely conscious. The guards needed the space for more prisoners and decided to hasten the deaths with lethal doses of carbolic acid. Maximilian was last. Weak though he was, he raised his arm to receive the injection, triumphantly embracing martyrdom. We know some of these details, because the guard who kept the records was so impressed during Maximilian’s two-week ordeal that he logged more detail than was required.

Such martyrs do not just happen by chance. Maximilian was born as Raymond Kolbe. Although a wild boy as a youth, he was moved by the prayers and pleas of his mother. One day when he was twelve, as he prayed before a statue of Mary he saw her in a vision; she offered him two crowns: a white one for purity and red for martyrdom. Told to choose between them, he asked for both. He became a Franciscan friar and took the name Maximilian.

His life was devoted to Mary. He founded an order which used the means of mass communication, including radio and a widely circulated newspaper and magazine, to spread truth. “No one in the world can change Truth,” he said. “What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hecatombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?” Indifference toward the things of God was the deadliest enemy of any soul. He aimed to defeat this.

In prison, he often went without food so others might have more and insisted on being the last in his unit to receive medical treatment. His attitude was expressed in his words, “For Jesus Christ I am prepared to suffer still more.” Pope John Paul II canonized Maximilian in 1982, saying, “He bore witness to Christ and to love.”

[source]
[see also]

Saint Maximilian Kolbe - 1000

August Novena to St. Jude

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Dear Friend of St. Jude,

I invite you to join us in prayer during the Solemn Novena to St. Jude for Healing, August 12th—20th.

As word of Jesus’ healing spread, people came great distances to hear Him speak and with hope of being fortunate enough to possibly feel His touch. Some of the people who came were in need of healing, but many who came were caregivers—concerned family and friends—praying in support of their loved one.

During this special Healing Novena, we will offer petitions to St. Jude to help our family and friends experience the gentle and healing touch of Christ.

Today I have sent you all nine days of prayer in one message. Please save or print this message and return to it each day of the Solemn Novena to St. Jude. You can also view the Novena prayers on our website and send your petitions to the altar of St. Jude.

DAY 1 — Saturday, August 12th

Today we center ourselves in peace as we begin nine days of Solemn Novena prayer. St. Jude listens to our prayers and offers us hope for every intention.

Intention to St. Jude
St. Jude, I pray for all who suffer from illness or an accident, that God heal them and fill them with peace from His love.Prayer to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hope. Please intercede on my behalf.

Make use of that particular privilege given to you to bring hope, comfort, and help where they are needed most. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven as I work with my challenges, particularly (here make your request).

I praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.


DAY 2 — Sunday, August 13th

On this 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we come together in prayer with a special intention to St. Jude.

Intention to St. Jude
St. Jude, I pray for those who care for the sick, may God bless their work and give them continued compassion.Prayer to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hope. Please intercede on my behalf.

Make use of that particular privilege given to you to bring hope, comfort, and help where they are needed most. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven as I work with my challenges, particularly (here make your request).

I praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.


DAY 3 — Monday, August 14th

On this third day of Solemn Novena prayer, we join together in the belief that there is power in praying with and for one another’s petitions.

Intention to St. Jude
St. Jude, I pray for the unemployed, that God will give them hope in their search for work.Prayer to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hope. Please intercede on my behalf.

Make use of that particular privilege given to you to bring hope, comfort, and help where they are needed most. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven as I work with my challenges, particularly (here make your request).

I praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.


DAY 4 — Tuesday, August 15th

On this fourth day of Solemn Novena prayer to St. Jude, we come together in prayer with our special intentions to St. Jude.

Intention to St. Jude
St. Jude, I pray for those suffering with addiction, that they will call on God each day to strengthen them as they work to heal.Prayer to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hope. Please intercede on my behalf.

Make use of that particular privilege given to you to bring hope, comfort, and help where they are needed most. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven as I work with my challenges, particularly (here make your request).

I praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.


DAY 5 — Wednesday, August 16th

On this fifth day of Solemn Novena prayer, we remember all of God’s children throughout the world in need of healing as we offer our prayers together.

Intention to St. Jude
St. Jude, I pray for all children and grandchildren, may God keep them safe in His care always.Prayer to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hope. Please intercede on my behalf.

Make use of that particular privilege given to you to bring hope, comfort, and help where they are needed most. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven as I work with my challenges, particularly (here make your request).

I praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.


DAY 6 — Thursday, August 17th

Today we give ourselves over to trust in God as we begin the sixth of nine days of Solemn Novena prayer to St. Jude.

Intention to St. Jude
St. Jude, I pray for all priests and religious, may they receive the grace to guide us in faith.Prayer to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hope. Please intercede on my behalf.

Make use of that particular privilege given to you to bring hope, comfort, and help where they are needed most. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven as I work with my challenges, particularly (here make your request).

I praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.


DAY 7 — Friday, August 18th

Today we begin the seventh of nine days of Solemn Novena prayer by asking St. Jude for his intercession, and then for God to hear our petitions.

Intention to St. Jude
St. Jude, I pray for those suffering from cancer and for their loved ones, that God will watch over them, especially during treatment.Prayer to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hope. Please intercede on my behalf.

Make use of that particular privilege given to you to bring hope, comfort, and help where they are needed most. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven as I work with my challenges, particularly (here make your request).

I praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.


DAY 8 — Saturday, August 19th

On this eighth day of Solemn Novena prayer, we offer our prayers together. Today I recognize how my Novena makes me stronger in faith and grace.

Intention to St. Jude
St. Jude, I pray for families, that God will keep them connected in love and support for each other.Prayer to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hope. Please intercede on my behalf.

Make use of that particular privilege given to you to bring hope, comfort, and help where they are needed most. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven as I work with my challenges, particularly (here make your request).

I praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.


DAY 9 — Sunday, August 20th

Today we mark the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time as we begin the ninth and final day of Solemn Novena prayer with an intention and prayer to St. Jude. We are so grateful for this time to offer our petitions to St. Jude.

Intention to St. Jude
I pray for all those who have died, that they will know God’s peace.Prayer to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hope. Please intercede on my behalf.

Make use of that particular privilege given to you to bring hope, comfort, and help where they are needed most. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven as I work with my challenges, particularly (here make your request).

I praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.

Yours in prayer,


Fr. Mark Brummel, CMF
Director, St. Jude League

This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.

What is the transfiguration?

By Joel Schorn

A mountaintop encounter with Jesus and his apostles holds valuable lessons for all followers of Christ.

All three synoptic gospels tell the story of the transfiguration of Jesus (Matt. 17:1-13; Mark 9:3-13; Luke 9:28-36)—frequently a sign of the importance of an event from Jesus’ life for the early Christian community. Its origin is debated. Some scholars say the transfiguration episode is really an account of Jesus’ resurrection which was moved to a different part of the gospels. Others think it has its roots in an actual visionary event of some kind.

Wherever it came from, the transfiguration is a highly symbolic story. Jesus took his inner circle of apostles—Peter, James, and John—up a mountain, which in the Bible is a place of revelation, so it was clear something important was about to happen.

These three apostles then saw Jesus as part of another important trio, completed with Moses and Elijah, symbols of Israelite tradition. As if that weren’t spectacular enough, the voice of God itself made an appearance, uttering two thundering phrases: “This is my Son” and “Listen to him.”

Unfortunately, none of the apostles’ reactions showed that they understood what had just happened. First of all, they were half-asleep when the whole thing started—not the last time that would happen at a key moment. They were also terrified to the point of talking nonsense about building shelters for the holy figures. Then on the way down they started an off-topic debate about the resurrection and Elijah.

What the apostles didn’t grasp right away was the significance of the fact that Moses and Elijah were “talking with” Jesus. This sacred conversation identified Jesus with the law and the prophets. It showed how Jesus had the same authority as these two pillars of Israel’s tradition and how that authority came from the same God. To leave no doubt, God’s voice drove home the point with words heard at an earlier affirmation of Jesus’ status, his baptism: “This is my son, the beloved” (Matt. 3:17).

What the apostles also didn’t get at first was that they couldn’t stay on the mountain. One can sympathize with their desire for such a wondrous break from the difficult path of discipleship. Down the mountain and back to that task, however, they had to go.

The Gospel of Luke adds a delicious detail: Moses and Elijah had been speaking with Jesus “of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” His exodus? That loaded word points back to the sometimes arduous journey of following Jesus, and that’s what the transfiguration is about. It’s wonderful to find inspiration in a shining vision of Jesus, but the message to the church then and now is that witnessing glory is one thing, following is another. After the vision is over, you look up and see, as the apostles did, “Jesus only,” and you realize that, to get to the further glory of eternal life, you have to follow him to the cross.

[Original Article]


The Transfiguration of Jesus

The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 17

1 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 

2 And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.

3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

6 When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.

But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”

And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.


This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.


transfiguration

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?

“A Quinnipiac University National Poll released on Thursday found that 68 percent of American voters believe transgender individuals should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces. 55 percent of voters in military households support trans service, as do 72 percent of independent voters. 60 percent of Republicans oppose trans service, but ‘every other party, gender, education, age or racial group’ backs it by a margin of 22 percent or more, according to the poll.” [Source]

It just boggles my imagination. It really does. The GOP has become a body of well meaning, but closed minded people eager to preserve “Family Values” or Judaeo Christian tradition, or “Religious Liberty”. But it’s discrimination, it’s hate, it’s judgmental, and it’s just plain wrong.

Conservatives are missing the point. Transgenders in the military, gay marriage, cakes and flowers for gay weddings – these things are not about morals and religion and Jesus. These things are about denying something from one group while providing them to others. That is the very definition of discrimination.

discrimination
noun
1. an act or instance of discriminating, or of making a distinction.
2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.

If you really want to base law on Christian principles, then remember that Jesus said the 1st law is to love God, and the 2nd law is love your neighbor:

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Does not loving your neighbor preclude discriminating against him?

Well, doesn’t it?

In a Heartbeat

Published [on Youtube] on Jul 31, 2017
“In a Heartbeat” – Animated Short Film by Beth David and Esteban Bravo

A closeted boy runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams.

From the LA Times:

Hang onto your heartstrings, because they’re about to get tugged.

“In a Heartbeat” — the four-minute passion project from computer animation students Esteban Bravo and Beth David — had its cyberspace debut on Monday. And the Internet is crushing. Hard.

The animated short film, which has already amassed 6.4 million views (and counting) on YouTube alone, shares the sweet story of love at first sight. The narrative centers on Sherwin, a closeted young boy who, per the film’s plot description, “runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams.” The short chronicles the frenzied emotional roller coaster that erupts in the aftermath of his runaway heart.

In an interview with NBC News, Bravo and David cited their own experiences as the film’s primary inspiration, adding that “In a Heartbeat” is the kind of film they wished they had seen growing up.

“The original pitch was a story between a boy and a girl,” David said. “But it wasn’t until we made it about a same-gender crush that the idea really started to take form and resonate with Esteban and I. We realized that we had something that could potentially be really special to us.”

The film has resonated with other people too. Teaming up to create a joint senior thesis in November, Bravo and David launched a Kickstarter campaign that aimed to raise $3,000 for the film’s production. They surpassed their fundraising goal by a long shot, reeling in more than $14,000.

“With [‘In a Heartbeat’], we wanted to challenge the preconceived notion that LGBTQ content is not appropriate or suitable for younger audiences,” Bravo told NBC News. “It’s an innocent and lighthearted story about a boy and his crush that we hope will resonate with younger people regardless of their background.”

“We tried to tell this story from a genuine place,” David added, “and be as emotionally honest as we could about how especially layered this experience is for LGBTQ kids.”

Jim Bakker is selling WHAT?

Jim Bakker is wackier than I thought. Bakker claims that God has been talking to him. (Hey, God does talk to people, you know, so that’s not crazy in and of itself.) God has told Bakker that he should sell people buckets of survival food to prepare for the end times. You gotta see this to believe it:

Source: RightWingWatch.org

Go to Youtube and search for Jim Bakker. You will be astonished. Who are the people that believe this man? Well, they are among the 62,984,825 people that elected Donald Trump. They are not to be dismissed lightly. There is an awful lot of them. We must become more vocal, more active, and more involved if we are to retake our government from these delusional and dangerous people.