Deo Gratias

 

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Thanks be to God for the many blessings granted to my family recently. From the lawyer offering to represent me gratis, to support from my friends and family for my business ventures, to the good news that my bank will finance a house for us, I feel very blessed and grateful.

 

 

“I plead with you, never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.” John Paul II

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Christmas – The Feast Day for Atheists

John Paul II wrote that ‘Christmas is the feast day of man.’

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins

There is a young atheist who is following my blog; I’ve been to his blog a few times, and read some interesting comments by him and his readers about why they don’t believe in god/s. The contributors are very intelligent, and the blogger is very encouraging to his peers, as they articulate their beliefs.

Well, they have all been wishing each other ‘Merry Christmas’, which at first, seemed out of place. Christmas is obviously the Christian feast par excellence. Its message is so accessible to people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds, including, it would seem, to atheists.

I was tempted to suggest that it was time for the atheists to make a stand and boycott Christmas. They could ‘fast’ from celebrating the day with their families, and ‘abstain’ from buying and receiving presents. I was going to suggest that they make a sacrifice in the name of their beliefs, as Christians have to do in some way, every day of their lives. For the atheist, Christmas could become a joyful day of rejecting Christianity.

But, reading John Paul put an end to that.

One of the billions of human beings who have been born and will be born on earth…
And at the same time, one, unique and irrepeatable.
If we celebrate the birth of Jesus so solemnly, we do it so as to testify that every human is someone, unique and irrepeatable…

Through Him and through His eyes, man is always unique and irrepeatable; someone eternally thought and eternally preselected; someone called and denominated with his own name…

This is for you, Larry – I am glad you enjoy Christmas. I hope you appreciate it and celebrate it every year, if not every day. And I hope that one day you know that the happiness you feel comes from the God you don’t believe in.

The Interior Advent

There will be two posts today; The Interior Advent is about our relationship with the Lord, and the Business Update will add a little to the story of setting up my online business.

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The Interior Advent.

Pope John Paul II continues to be a source of inspiration, as I read through his book, ‘Prayers and Devotions.’ There is a meditation for every day of the year – some follow the Liturgical year, as these Advent posts show you, others simply study various facets of our lives as Christians, eg work, family, leisure. Today’s meditation picks up a common thread which runs between the Incarnation, the Second Coming, and our own personal lives, causing us to remember that we are both uniquely formed and loved by God, and also part of a worldwide fellowship of God’s beloved.

John Paul begins by quoting St. Bernard:

” ‘In the first coming, the Word was seen on earth and mingled with mankind, when, as He himself affirmed, they saw Him and hated Him. In the last coming, every person shall see the salvation of God, and they shall look on Him Whom they have pierced. But the intermediate coming is occult (hidden), in it only the elect shall see Him within themselves, and their souls are thereby saved.’

This Interior Advent is brought to life through constant meditation on and assimilation of the Word of God.It is rendered fruitful and animated by prayer of adoration and praise of God. It is reinforced by constant reception of the Sacraments, those of Reconciliation and the Eucharist in particular, for they cleanse and enrich us with the grace of Christ, and make us ‘new’ in accordance with Jesus’ pressing call: ‘Be converted.’

“In view of this, every day can and ought become Advent for us Christians. It can and ought become Christmas! For the more we purify our souls, the more we shall make room for God in our hearts, the more Christ will be able to come and be born in us!”

Defending Our Freedoms

“Once, at the beginning of his story, man, male and female, heard the voice of temptation: “You will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad” (Gen 3:5). Man yielded to that temptation. He continues to follow it constantly.”

Advent meditation by JPII in “Prayers in Devotions.”

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The Federal government in Australia is considering a new legislation that has the potential to severely limit the rights of its citizens to freedom of speech and religion.

The proposed ‘Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Act 2012’ states that criticism of the government voiced in the workplace could lead to a lawsuit, if that criticism offends a listener. We are well on the way to being persecuted for speaking only the truth, perhaps even for merely questioning or speculating about some motive or action of our leaders.

An even more worrying aspect of the proposal is that the burden of proof will lie with the accused i.e.we will be guilty until proven innocent – which is the polar opposite of the principal which has underpinned our justice system for over two hundred years – that we are innocent until proven guilty.

A very expensive detention centre was recently built in Tasmania. It was intended to house some of the hundreds of refugee ‘boat people’ who arrive in Australia every year, fleeing from unimaginable suffering in their native countries. Since the Australian government has arranged to send most of these poor people to detention in Malaysia, one wonders if those unused Australian centres will one day house our own citizens, if the jails begin to overflow with people whose only crime has been to speak the truth according to their conscience.

At least no-one can ever take away our freedom to pray against injustice.

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“Against man’s perennial temptation, we must set the Advent of Christ; we must be born of God and incessantly reborn of Him”

(Ibid.)

Words of Wisdom from John Paul II

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This is an extract from an Advent meditation taken from “Prayers and Devotions” by Pope John Paul II and edited by Bishop Peter Canisius Johannes van Lierde:

Saint Joseph of Nazareth was a “just man.” It was said to his credit, “as justice,” that he believed in “the God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence things which do not yet exist.”

That happened at the decisive moment for the history of salvation, when God, the eternal Father, “sent His Son into the world” to accomplish the promise made to Abraham.

It was exactly then that the faith of Joseph of Nazareth was manifested. It showed itself to be up to the measure of the faith of Abraham.

It was manifested even more when “the Word of the Living God became flesh in Mary,” the Spouse of Joseph; by the announcement of the angel, “she was with child through the power of the Holy Spirit.” The faith of St. Joseph was bound to be manifested “before the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God.

Then it was indeed that Joseph of Nazareth underwent the great proof of his faith, just as Abraham had seen his faith tried. And now Joseph, “the just man,” believed in Him who “calls into existence things which do not yet exist.”

In fact, God Himself, through the power of the Holy Spirit, called into existence the humanity which was that proper to the only begotten Son of God, the Father’s Eternal Word, in the womb of the Virgin of Nazareth, Mary, the bride promised to Joseph.

And Joseph of Nazareth believed in God: “Joseph, Son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child.” Joseph took Mary to himself- and That which had been engendered in her.

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