Why Forgive?

Why Forgive?

 “Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will My heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

The newspaper comic strip For Better or For Worse is car­toonist Lynn Johnston’s take on modern family life as she chronicles the life of the Pattersons.

In a not too recent episode, six-year-old Michael is trying to build an elaborate tower out of his set of blocks. But the blocks keep toppling over . . . again and again and again. In utter frustration, he screams “Stupid, dumb, crummy …” and kicks the pile of blocks across the room. His mother has had enough of his behavior and drags Mi­chael off to bed. “No! Ahh! Don’t wanna go to bed! Waah!!” he protests, but Mom will have none of it. To bed — now!”

As his exhausted Mom is about to turn off the light, Mi­chael, tucked in his bed, asks, “Mom? Aren’t you gonna kiss me goodnight?’ Continue reading

Thinking As God Thinks

 Thinking As God Thinks

You are thinking not as God does but as human beings do.”

Best-selling author Geneen Roth and her husband were among the thousands of investors who lost their life-savings in Bernie Madoff’s $65-billion-Ponzi scheme. As you can imagine, the anger, fear and regret were intense — 30 years of retirement savings thought to be in a “safe” place disap­peared in an instant.

In her new book entitled Lost and Found, Geneen recounts her family’s story and those of friends who were ruined in the Madoff fraud. She writes that the experience led her to a whole new way of thinking about the “irrational, destructive ways” we use money and evaluate wealth.   In losing every­thing, the Roths and their friends “also lost their attachment to what they thought they needed to be happy. Continue reading

Ask Our Lord for Help and Trust

Ask Our Lord for Help and Trust

“Oh man of little faith, why did you doubt?”

In the June, 2017 edition of the Christian Century magazine, in his article entitled The Temporary Gift of Marriage, Craig Barnes writes: It was the pastor’s last marriage prep meeting with Mike and Sue before their wedding. They had completed all the preparation work on the sacramental dimensions and practical issues of their new life together. Now all that was left was to finalize the wedding cer­emony. As they were about to review the proposed liturgy that the pastor had drafted, Mike said, “Before we get into this, I have to say I’m really sacred.”

Seeing his fiancée’s stunned, pained expression, he said quickly, “Oh, I’m not afraid of marrying you, Sue. I’m just terrified of losing you.” Then he looked back at the pastor and explained, “Several years ago, my mother died, and it almost killed me.” Turning back to his fiancée, Mike continued, “What if something happens to you too? I can’t imagine how I would survive.”

The pastor wanted to say something like, Oh, Mike, don’t worry about that. You’re both young and there are so many wonderful years ahead for both of you. But he had buried too many young people to say that. So, as compassionately as possible, he said, “In my experience 100 percent of all marriages eventually come to an end, and you’ll never beat those odds”. Continue reading

Keep Eyes Fixed on the Final Goal

Keep Eyes Fixed on the Final Goal

“Tell no one of this vision, until the son of man is raised from the dead.”

The late Itzhak Perlman was one of the great virtuoso violinists of the 20th century. Stricken with polio as a child, he wore large braces on both legs and maneuvered with the aid of two crutches.

Seeing him take the stage was an inspiring sight: painfully and slowly, but majestically and confidently, he would make his way to his chair. Then he would carefully lower himself into his chair, place his crutches on the floor, unfasten the braces on his legs, and tuck one foot back and extend the other foot forward; he would then bend down and pick up his violin, arrange it un­der his chin, and then nod to the conductor. It was a ritual that his audiences had come to respect and admire.

Continue reading

The Church and The Christian are “the Yeast”

The Church and The Christian are “the Yeast”

“The kingdom of Heaven is like yeast …”

In February of this year, NPR relates this story originating from the Washington Post: The man who walked into Dave Cutlip’s tattoo parlor near Bal­timore was hard to miss. His face bore a gang tattoo. The man sought Cutlip’s help in literally covering up his violent past. “I could see the hurt in his eyes,” Cutlip says.

Dave Cutlip couldn’t help the man — the tattoos were too close to his eyes. But it got him thinking. Many young people get tattoos that they come to regret —a few, like the one-time gang member, can mark them for the rest of their days. Inking over a tattoo can cost hundreds of dollars — and getting one removed by laser is even pricier. So Dave Cutlip and his wife Elizabeth decided they would donate their services to help indi­viduals hide racist and gang-related tattoos. The Cutlip’s put out the word via Facebook: “Sometimes people make bad choices and sometimes people change. We believe there is already enough hate in this world, and we want to make a difference.” Continue reading

A Humble Approach to Adoption

A Humble Approach to Adoption

“… although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned you have revealed them to little ones.”

A relatively recent January, Parade Magazine article by Rosemary Zibart, entitled Their Faces Spoke to the Heart, states that there are nearly 130,000 children in the United States waiting to be adopted — most of them are the hardest to place: older children, minorities, and brothers and sisters. Many of these kids have known only abuse and neglect all their lives; they’re angry, they’re afraid, and they’ve suffered every kind of physical, emotional and behavioral problem imaginable.

Ten years ago, a social worker in New Mexico came up with a new adoption strategy. Tired of the same static, expressionless snapshots that she would show prospective parents, she asked some professional photographers to shoot portraits of these children that would capture the spirit and personality of each child. The photographers readily volunteered. Families consid­ering adopting were then invited to a special showing of these stunning photographs at a local gallery. Continue reading

Inspiring Joy in Others by Christ

Inspiring Joy in Others by Christ

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”    

For more than fifty of his more than eighty years, Nurney Mason was a barber in the United States House of Representatives. Nurney Ma­son cut hair out of a tiny booth in the basement of the Rayburn Office Building — his little stall saw nearly as much history as the floor of the Capitol itself. And every day, he brought to his job not only his barbering skills, but kindness, optimism and encouragement He would greet everyone — whether powerful Congressman or lowest-level staffer — with a solid handshake and a knowing smile. Mason stayed upbeat, day after day, the vibrations of his clippers surely jarring his wrists over the half century he worked.

He was asked by one of his Congressional customers how he stayed so upbeat and happy all the time.

Nurney Mason replied simply, “I just make (joy) right here. I create joy where I stand.Continue reading

Fear Not!

Fear Not!

“Everyone who acknowledges Me before others, I will acknowledge before My heavenly Father. But whoever denies Me before others, I will deny before My heavenly Father.”

It’s not very often that the Vatican gives approval to a film showing at the cinema, but it happened in 1997 when the Italian movie Life is Beautiful was first released. It’s an unusual film which deals with a sensitive subject, that of the Nazi Holocaust and the deportation of Jews to concentration camps. Although it won an Oscar for best picture, the movie has its critics as well as its admirers.

The film tells the story of a Jewish Italian man named Guido, an attractive clown-like figure who falls in love with Dora, the woman of his dreams. His humorous personality wins her affection and eventually they marry and have a son. The little boy is about six years old when the Nazi persecution takes over. The Germans round up Guido and his son and, because Dora refuses to be left behind, all three are taken to a concentration camp. When they arrive the couple is separated in preparation for hard labor. Any children are killed, but Guido hides his son and persuades him the whole business is a game in which he must co-operate if he wants to win a prize. The scenes unfold with a mixture of comedy and drama, exploring the rich themes of love, of sacrifice, and of courage. Continue reading

An interview with Roger and Louise Nilles.

An interview with Roger and Louise Nilles.

 ProLifeCorner.com  –  Freeport Il.-   Louise and Roger Nilles live in a modest R n L 275xhome in the shadow of a high rise apartment.  Roger and Louise are a loving couple who have worked tirelessly, over the years, to help others in the community.  There selfless love for family and community is well known.  Because of devastating health problems, they are now the ones in need of a helping hand.  Louise has worked for a local health care facility for over 20 years, but recently her hours have been cut.

Since our previous article about Louise and Roger Nilles there have been several steps forward and a few steps back.

The good news is that the much needed downstairs bathroom is almost completed, work has begun on a wheelchair ramp, and to everyone’s delight, Roger has an artificial limb.  He’s on his way to his goal-to dance with Louise again. Continue reading

Pentecost, The Holy Spirit, and Confession

Pentecost, The Holy Spirit, and Confession

“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

A true story told by writer Auburn Sandstrom at The Moth, the acclaimed organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytell­ing:

In 1992, Auburn was 29, the mother of a three-year-old son, trapped in an abusive marriage — and a drug addict. One night she hit bottom. She was curled up on a filthy carpet in a cluttered apartment, in horrible withdrawal from a drug she had been addicted to for several years. In her hand was a little piece of paper. For hours, she kept folding and crumbling it. It was the phone number for a Christian counsellor her mother had given her in one of their rare moments of contact. Finally, the desper­ate young mother punched the numbers on her phone. It rang. A man answered.

Hi, I got this number from my mother. Uh, do you think you could talk to me?,” pleaded Auburn.

Auburn heard some shuffling at the other end of the line. A little radio in the background was snapped off and the man who answered became very present. “Yes, yes, yes. What’s going on?”

For the first time, Auburn poured out her story. She told him that she wasn’t feeling good, that things had gotten pretty bad in her marriage, that she had a drug problem, and that she was real scared. Continue reading