Friday, April 29, 2011

Spirit of Debate

Something to Ponder

During our two week trek across the US in our motor home returning to Southern Ontario, we saw and enjoyed many things.  There is one memorable afternoon and evening for me that sticks out.

In the middle of our journey, we were in a Mississippi suburb of Memphis TN.  Interestingly, we camped in an Arkansas suburb of Memphis, along the might Mississippi River the previous night, and went to Olive Branch Mississippi to visit with friends of one of our daughters.  This couple, who are devout Baptist Christians are about our ages, and have a son, who is 48 years of age, and is back living with them. 

Tommy suffers from bi-polar disorder and is heavily medicated to keep the symptoms in check.  As such, he is only alert for a few hours each day, and at that somewhat drags himself around, due to the effects of the medication.  But, for about three hours, we spoke about Our Lord Jesus Christ and about the challenges and joys each of us faces in our daily lives with our own disabilities.

As a born again Baptist, Tommy, and his father who joined us for some time in our discussions, he/they have many misconceptions about the Catholic Church.  However, I have never been asked about my faith in such a respectful manner from a Protestant believer.  I hope that my responses to them were as respectful as their sincere questions were to me.

We shared faith, and knew that we departed as brothers in the Lord.

But, during our discussions, there was a moment when I felt a little on edge, and that maybe I had to defend the Catholic Church.  The moment passed because of something that Tommy said that struck me right between the eyes. 

Tommy spoke about a Spirit of Debate that exists in Christianity, and that is very divisive.  He spoke of this spirit that makes those who are discussing faith matters need to be right.  Hence, rather than just listening to the other, we are formulating our next response to prove our point. 

I have pondered what Tommy said, and believe it to be profound wisdom, and one of the serious lessons that Our Dear Lord wanted to show me during Lent.

I confess that I have engaged in debate over religious matters mainly in commenting on other Catholic or Christian blogs.  I also confess that there was never any real peace to these debates, and very little if any good fruit from it.

Just prior to Lent and during Lent, I felt compelled to not write blog postings, and in fact on the occasions when I attempted to do so, had mental blocks in the middle of trying to compose my thoughts.  I, frankly, do not know what or if I will be posting in the future at this moment in time, but feel the import of not pushing, but waiting on the Lord for wisdom and guidance.

I am grateful for the time that I spent with Tommy, and I am grateful that he shared wisdom that he has garnered in his life journey with me.

It is so easy to debate points of belief over the Internet, with no interpersonal human interaction involved, but to what end?  I knew I was right to begin with. The other party knew that he/she was right to begin with.  We write our proofs, defend our beliefs, criticize the other's position, and go away miserable. 

What's the point?  What is the point?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Praying the Rosary for Our Troubled World

We have proven incapable of fixing the problems of our world

I received the following in my email inbox this morning and believe it is important to share with people of goodwill thoughout the world.  It is a simple request founded on the principle of looking beyond our own selves to the author of our salvation for the help we need from Him to bring about peace in our world and a return to moral values.

Here is the email:
Hi Everyone,

Imagine what might happen if every Catholic in the world would pray a Rosary on the same day! We have an example in October of 1573, when Europe was saved from the invasion of the mighty Turkish fleet, by the praying of the Rosary by all Christians!

So, on Good Friday, let us all pray a Rosary for peace in the world and the return of moral values into our communities. If possible, please pray your Rosary between 12 noon and 3:00 pm.

Also, please e-mail this message to every Catholic on your address list, and ask them to pass it along to every Catholic on their lists. Let's unite in praying one of the most powerful prayers in existence, for these intentions, on one of the holiest days in our Church year.

God bless all,

"I shall pass this way but ONCE.
Any Goodness I can DO; Any Kindness I can SHOW
Let me do it NOW. For I shall Never Pass this way,.. AGAIN
There is a slight bit of confusion on the date of the invasion of the Turkish Muslim fleet of Europe.  That battle occurred at Lepanto, off western Greece on October 7, 1571.  On October 7, 1571 Pope St. Pius V prayed the Rosary with many faithful in Rome from dawn to dusk.  On that day, as documented here, the winds miraculously changed to assist the Christian forces against a superior Muslim invading force, suffering minimal casualties for such a significant battle.

From that same article is this quote:
"Following the great Christian victory at Lepanto, Pope St. Pius V declared that henceforth a commemoration of the Rosary would be a part of the Vatican's Mass on every October 7. His successor, Pope Gregory XIII, went further. In 1573 he established the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary--to be celebrated at all Churches which had specific altars dedicated to the Rosary."
If you read further, you will note that the Rosary was instrumental in further protection of Europe from Muslim invasion.

But today
"our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

The enemy has infiltrated every structure, political and corporate in our world, has laid waste family after family, has brought sickness and disease into our bodies, and has stolen the faith (at least temporarily) of loved ones and family members around the world.  Morals have disappeared in a moral relativist maelstrom in our society, and up is down and down, up.

As the nations of the world have turned away from prayer to try and fix these challenges and problems by our own merits, we have learned that we are no closer to resolution, and have lost our way.

So, here is a simple opportunity to place trust where it belongs, in the hands of He who died on the Cross to save us, Jesus Christ.  When the Church has turned to Him in prayer, He has answered.  When we have turned our backs on Him, He has allowed us to operate in our free will, and to wander about almost aimlessly.

So, on Good Friday, when we celebrate the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, could we set aside a short span of time, preferably between noon and 3 pm in your local time, to join others in the world praying the Rosary for peace in our World, and a return to moral values?

What have we got to lose?  More than that, what have we got to gain?