Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

Overcoming Racism, Reproductive Genocide, and Sexual Perversion with Grace and Goodness

Friday, November 15th, 2013

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“God’s grace and truth must always be at the center of our life. This is common sense.” Rev. Walter Quinn

Today I attended Mass at Priests for Life at our monthly administrative meeting where Father Walter Quinn delivered the homily. I was truly blessed to hear him confirm what had come to me earlier this morning during my daily Bible reading and meditation. In reading Ezekiel 30, I reflected on this passage:

Ezekiel 30:  17 The young men…will die in battle,
    and the women will be taken away as slaves. (NLT)

I was immediately reminded of the ongoing battle to end legal abortion in America and around the world, as well as the increase of human trafficking where our brothers and sisters are being sold into slavery as human commodities traded as objects of sexual depravity, and even in some cases having their lives sacrificed so that their organs and body parts can be bartered.

Then haunting images of the typhoon ravaged Philippines loomed large in my thoughts as Father Quinn reminded us that Jesus is the answer to our problems. There seems to be a blindness, a disconnect in the minds and hearts of the people who don’t understand that disasters of any sort are not natural, but are brought to bear because of human beings failing to treat others as we wish to be treated.

We squabble over racism and ethnic issues, sexual issues, family issues and so many questions without truly seeking the common and natural answer.

There is another scripture that surfaces in my heart as I gain insight, courage and hope from time spent with God and then reflecting on His message from Father Quinn. Where sin abounds, grace abounds that much more:

Romans 5:20 God’s law was given so that all people could see

how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more,

God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. (NLT)

And another; don’t be overcome by evil; overcome evil with good (for God is Good!).

Romans 12: 21 Don’t let evil conquer you;

instead, conquer evil by doing good. (NLTm)

For some reason, during Thanksgiving and Christmas my heart opens wider to include those who might be having a hard time and are suffering while others are enjoying God’s bounty. As my heart opens up to them, the holidays become sweeter. Knowing that I have one gift that I can give to everyone – and that gift is the knowledge of God’s love for them makes hope abound in the midst of despair.

So I invite you to join me during this season of delivering hope and love through prayer and giving. It will make the world brighter and our own burdens lighter.

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Discovering “pockets of happiness” in a “messed up world”

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Babies Dedication

Recently I was invited to officiate at a “baby dedication” for three little children. I thought about Pope Francis saying we have to minister to everyone, not just about abortion and gay marriage, but everything. That day was a reflection of what I call “God’s garden.” There were Catholics, Protestants and Jews there. I also met Latin Americans and Germans and African Americans – all lovely human beings.

Of course we all had human issues that day such as profanity, alcohol, drugs, sexual perversions, abortions, sickness and in my case, struggling not to overeat all the delicious foods was just torture. What was wonderful was that we were able to lay all of our burdens aside for a few hours in what I call “discovering a pocket of happiness in a messed-up world.” It was amazing that in the midst of our human condition, we were able to sing, pray and play together without judgments and condemnation. What a blessing!

During the dedication ceremony, which was held inside the home, with seats of honor for the families, we prayed the “salvation prayer,” served “Holy Communion,” sang “The Lord’s prayer,” and anointed the babies in a ritual including oil, water and earth. Gifts were given to the babies, parents, grandparents, godparents and all of the guests.

The families and friends were an ethnic and spiritual blend, reflective of the world today. There were spirited conversations about Christianity, Buddha and universal truth out in the beautiful garden of the home of our hosts in that Latino township in New Jersey. The meal which included a type of Spanish rice and other delights was served inside and outside of the home, and I loved the beautiful colors and flavors infused in the foods, the china, the décor and the overall atmosphere.

Outside, while early autumn butterflies floated among the fall blossoms, the little children jumped and played in the “Bouncy House” (the type of inflatable playhouse that’s so popular these days). The event took place on the birthday of one of the children, so there was pizza and birthday cake and there was a visit from “Elmo” that had the youngest crying and the older children squealing in delight. Many of the younger adults were all excited over plans to go to a party in Atlantic City later that night. Of course the grandparents were just as excited about having the job of babysitting while the parents had a “night out.”

One of the personal highlights for me was when I had a moment of reflective joy because some of the parents at the event had contemplated abortion not long ago, and yet there we all were at a baby dedication lifting up our children to God that day. This was the second baby dedication where I was charged to deliver a spiritual blessing. The first was for some of my own grandchildren. This was to my extended community. I was so honored. I thought about how some of my own children chose life over abortion under a time of social pressure. And I was moved to tears seeing all of these precious babies that day.

English Standard Version
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalms 127:3

At the baby dedication, young adult men and women in their late twenties and thirties were referring to each other as “boyfriend and girlfriend.” Yet, they are not boys and girls. This concept of boyfriend and girlfriend is for childish courtships with no sexual interaction. Mind you, there should be no sexual interaction between people who are not united in Holy Matrimony, but that is a topic for another blog. However, I will say this; when we become adults, we should grow out of childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

At the event, one young man introduced himself like this: “I am her man.” He understood that he was no longer a boy and that he was pursuing a woman, not a girl. I actually have occasion to meet people in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and beyond who are trying to be “boyfriend and girlfriend.” That’s something to blog more about later.

All in all it was a lovely and refreshing occasion. There is still much to be done, teaching morals and values for instance. For example, in his sermon “Rediscovering Lost Values” my Uncle M. L. said we are living in a messed up world.

“I think we have to look much deeper… if we are to find the real cause of man’s problems and the real cause of the world’s ills today. If we are to really find it I think we will have to look in the hearts and souls of men. (Lord help him)

“The trouble isn’t so much that we don’t know enough, but it’s as if we aren’t good enough. The trouble isn’t so much that our scientific genius lags behind, but our moral genius lags behind. (Well) The great problem facing modern man is that. That the means by which we live (Help him God) have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live. (That’s right) So we find ourselves caught in a messed-up world. (Well) The problem is with man himself and man’s soul. We haven’t learned how to be just and honest and kind and true and loving. And that is the basis of our problem. The real problem is that through our scientific genius we’ve made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we’ve failed to make of it a brotherhood. (Lord have mercy)” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from Rediscovering Lost Values.

Yes, in his sermon Uncle M. L. encouraged us to return to God. That’s a message I’m blessed to deliver. We spent some quality time with God that day. I’m so glad that this family took time out to pray for the babies and for our families.

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Alveda King On Racism, Reproductive Genocide & Sexual Perversion

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6, 2013

Contact: Leslie Palma
leslie@priestsforlife.org
or 732-757-9078

Dr. Alveda King to Pope, Clergy, World Leaders and Humanity at Large – Erase and Replace: Hate the sin, love the sinner

Atlanta, GA – In the wake of the Martin/Zimmerman tragedy, in the face of the looming human sexuality debate, on the wings of the promised 50th Anniversary Celebration of the historical “March on Washington” and “I Have a Dream” speech by her famous uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Alveda King, Director of African American Outreach, Priests for Life, has a word of encouragement for Pope Francis and all world leaders and humanity at large:

“Yes, we are facing difficult days. Yet there is hope ahead. Have faith and love for every member of the human race. It is time to hate the sin and love the sinner. We can set the example with personal and communal repentance, revival, restoration, rebuilding, recovery and renewal.”

For Alveda King, “it’s all about redemption.” Her uncle once said: “We must discover the power of love, the power – the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way.”

Looking forward his niece calls for “an eraser to set the record straight. Erase the old ways and let our minds be renewed. Replace the word tolerance with the expression of genuine compassion. Override judgment with mercy and Divine Justice.”

Known for her bold platforms on behalf of the unborn and natural life and family, she explains: “Somehow we have forgotten or perhaps never known the purpose for human life on this planet. The Bible warns us of the challenges of uncontrollable lust unleashed by human sexuality gone amuck. Generally people involved in sexual activity springing from fornication, adultery and even same sex liaisons do not experience the lasting fulfillment that monogamous heterosexual couples do. This is why it is written:

“Matthew 19: 4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus asked. “From the beginning ‘God made them male and female… This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined (sexually) to his wife, and the two are united into one… Divorce was not what God had originally intended. 10 Jesus’ disciples then said to him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!”

“Yet in 1 Corinthians 7:8, it is written that it is better to marry than to burn with lust.”

“Again Jesus also goes as far as to speak to those who are either born without a sexual desire for members of the opposite sex; forced into an alternate lifestyle or choose a life without sexual desire for someone of the opposite sex.

“Matthew 19:11: 11 “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said; “only those whom God helps. 12 Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” (In the original translation the term eunuch includes castration and other limiting factors surrounding heterosexual sexual unions.)

“In error many have misunderstood these sayings to mean that God is in favor of sexual relationships that interrupt His original plan for procreativity. We forget that God doesn’t create sin, sickness and unnatural human circumstances. If someone is born a certain way, say with an infirmity, a misshapen limb, an unnatural sexual desire — that does not mean that God desired for them to be born that way. That’s why John 3:16 is so important.”

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, so that all who believe in Jesus will have eternal life.”

Lamenting over the state of affairs, Alveda says: “Sadly, many have not known of or accepted the precious gift of Jesus and His blood which corrects and eliminates human sin and sadness. Even sadder is that those who have accepted this gift are not willing and humble enough to share this gift with this world, because to share it we must be repentant, transparent and nonjudgmental.”

three headed monster Revised2Alveda insists that “we are dealing with a three headed monster with racism as the first head. Racism is a sin, because it is a deception in that we are not separate races. We are all of one blood.”

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth…” Acts 17:26

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish as fools.” MLK

“The second head of the monster is reproductive genocide. The directive to be fruitful and multiply is a blessing not the curse reflected in the error of artificial and harmful contraceptives and abortion. There are healthy options such as abstinence and natural family planning that do not involve killing women and children.
“The third head is sexual perversion with all of its trappings.

“Somehow we tiptoe around the obvious, never genuinely seeking to separate the sinner from the sin. We can love the one and hate the other.”
“Jude 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
“For me, life is a journey and the Bible is my roadmap,” Alveda continues. “The paths and trails have pitfalls, but as long as the light of the glorious Gospel shines, we can see. We may stumble, but we don’t go over a cliff because God’s love, His Son’s blood and His Holy Spirit all keep us safe.”

Making an urgent appeal for unity, Alveda urges: “Now is the time to erase fear, hatred and strife. Time is short so we must be bold. Change and tolerance are steps along the way, but it will take transformation and compassion to get us across the finish line.

“My parents Rev. A. D. King and Mrs. Naomi King joined Uncle M. L. and the hundreds of thousands in Washington, DC 50 years ago. He had a prayer on his lips and a dream in his heart. As we approach the 50th Anniversary of The March on Washington, I plan to observe August 28th with members of my family, friends and the world while praying in my heart that we will all come away transformed by God’s love.”

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Take Time to Pray: Life Goes On, or Does It?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Tornado-Victims-Oklahoma-05

[Have the Attitude of Christ] Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Philippians 2:1 NLT

My heart goes out to the victims of the recent Oklahoma tragedy. Let us continue to pray for them, and for all who continue to lose lives and property every day in America and across the globe. In the midst of all of the tragedy, one can’t help wondering if there is a connection between what humans term “natural disasters” and something closer to the human heart; are these “signs of the times” occurring more and more frequently in order to turn our attention away from the media spins back to the plight of humanity?

A few days before the tornado, I received a sad call regarding the death of Malcom X’s grandson, Malcom Shabazz. I never met him personally, but was planning to sit down with him and talk with him and encourage him for his prolife stance. My failure to go to such a meeting with him was maybe a case of my thinking that I’d find time one day to speak with Mr. Shabazz because I considered his brave prolife position as bold and courageous. However, time ran out for me, and sadly for Mr. Shabazz. He was killed on a tour outside of the country. I just want to thank him in his earthly absence for having had the courage to stand up against the scourge of abortion.

Later on in the week, I was preparing to accept another opportunity that I almost turned down, because I thought I was “too busy” to take the time. I was invited to do a talk, Purpose: Be Fruitful and Multiply, at a Mother-Daughter brunch in Atlanta. The topic of the meeting was “Matters of the Heart.” The sponsor of the event encouraged me to speak candidly about my own post abortion testimony and to also exhort the listeners to have a change of heart. I remember thinking that day and then later on in the week after the terrible Oklahoma tornado that no matter what happens, those who remain behind after a tragic death have to go on with our lives. And it is important to pray and ask God to help us not miss out on opportunities that might make a difference in someone’s life if we only take the time.

I imagine that we can all agree that no matter what happens, life does go on. There is life after Oklahoma. There is life after Gosnell. At least there is life for the living; prayerfully there is life after death for all of the innocent victims. Surely, there is life after death for everyone, but the question will have to be answered sooner or later. WHERE WILL YOU SPEND ETERNITY?

Malcom Shabazz

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Stop And Smell The Roses

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Roses

The last several days have been absolutely overwhelming. I have to admit that.

And I’ve been talking with colleagues in the natural life and family movement, which includes pro-life, marriage between a man and a woman, good educational choices, stopping the violence in our world, helping people not to be overwhelmed with life, and all of that.

Well, I was meditating and praying and I was having some issues of my own because I’m a mother and a grandmother, and constantly praying for children and grandchildren, wondering how I was going to fund certain projects, and things like that.

And I began to say, “I trust you, Lord. I love you, Lord. I worship you, Lord.” And I said various psalms, inspirational messages, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all those scriptures coming through my heart, “the Lord is my shepherd.”

I peeked out my window as I was praying and the roses were in full bloom. Now they have probably been in full bloom for several days and I was so busy that I did not have time to stop and smell the roses.

One of my little granddaughters just came in from outside and the roses were blowing in the wind and she ran over to smell them and she went, “mmmmm” and I also wrote in my journal for one of my little goddaughters about the roses. And as all of that was happening I remembered the day before I had peeked out at the roses and then I took another peek and there was a deer out in the yard.

So I want to encourage everyone today to seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the things that we desire will be added to us. Delight ourselves in the Lord and he will give us the desires of our heart.

So pray this weekend for justice in the Gosnell case and pray for the soul of the people who are just lost in the confusion who think it’s okay to kill human beings in the womb. All of that but in the midst of everything you’re doing stop and smell the roses.

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Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

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Jesus Christ made seven final statements during his last hours on the cross. These phrases are held dear by followers of Christ because they offer a glimpse into the depth of his suffering to accomplish redemption. Recorded in the Gospels between the time of his crucifixion and his death, they reveal his divinity as well as his humanity. As much as possible, given the approximate sequence of events as portrayed in the Gospels, these seven last words of Jesus are presented here in chronological order.

1) Jesus Speaks to the Father

Luke 23:34
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (NIV)

In the midst of his excruciating suffering, the heart of Jesus was focused on others rather than himself. Here we see the nature of his love—unconditional and divine.

2) Jesus Speaks to the Criminal on the Cross

Luke 23:43
“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (NIV)

One of the criminals who was crucified with Christ, had recognized who Jesus was and expressed faith in him as Savior. Here we see grace poured out through faith, as Jesus assured the dying man of his forgiveness and eternal salvation.

3) Jesus Speaks to Mary and John

John 19:26-27
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (NIV)

Jesus, looking down from the cross, was still filled with the concerns of a son for the earthly needs of his mother. None of his brothers were there to care for her, so he gave this task to the Apostle John. Here we clearly see Christ’s humanity.

4) Jesus Cries Out to the Father

Matthew 27:46 (also Mark 15:34)
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (NKJV)

In the darkest hours of his suffering, Jesus cried out the opening words of Psalm 22. And although much has been suggested regarding the meaning of this phrase, it was quite apparent the agony Christ felt as he expressed separation from God. Here we see the Father turning way from the Son as Jesus bore the full weight of our sin.

5) Jesus is Thirsty

John 19:28
Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures he said, “I am thirsty.” (NLT)

Jesus refused the initial drink of vinegar, gall and myrrh (Matthew 27:34 and Mark 15:23) offered to alleviate his suffering. But here, several hours later, we see Jesus fulfilling the messianic prophecy found in Psalm 69:21.

6) It is Finished

John 19:30
… he said, “It is finished!” (NLT)

Jesus knew he was suffering the crucifixion for a purpose. Earlier he had said in John 10:18 of his life, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (NIV) These three words were packed with meaning, for what was finished here was not only Christ’s earthly life, not only his suffering and dying, not only the payment for sin and the redemption of the world—but the very reason and purpose he came to earth was finished. His final act of obedience was complete. The Scriptures had been fulfilled.

7) Jesus’ Last Words

Luke 23:46
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (NIV)

Here Jesus closes with the words of Psalm 31:5, speaking to the Father. We see his complete trust in the Father. Jesus entered death in the same way he lived each day of his life, offering up his life as the perfect sacrifice and placing himself in God’s hands.

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