The little boy who was killed by a mob

15 07 2013

The story of a boy killed in the street by a mob

In the year 200, Romans persecuted Christians throughout the land. They arrested some, imprisoned and even killed many. Thus Christians hid themselves in the catacombs out of fear. From the catacombs, they usually sent someone to covertly visit the prisons and bring Christian nourishment to those condemned to die. At one point, there was no one to send, so they sent a 12 year old child whose name was Tarcisius.

The child passed swiftly through the city square; gentle, serene and thoughtful. His arms folded closely on his breast, guarding the Holy Eucharist which he was bringing to the condemned prisoner. Christians believe that the Holy Eucharist is the body of Christ”

On the way, Tarcisius met some pagan boys who knew him. They were playing.

“Hi there, Tarcisius! Where are you going? “A big boy asked.
“I am on an errand,” the child replied.

“How quick you go, and how mysterious you seem! Come here and play,” added another rough looking boy.

“Oh no! I have a task I must fulfill.” said the child.

“Indeed! And may we ask what you are holding there? “
“You can not see.” the poor child said, backing away
“Why?” asked the big boy
‘”Is it a secret.” asked another.
“Ah! A mystery? Cried another, excitedly, crowding in.
“Nothing is more amusing. Tell us, then!” said the big boy, eyes gleaming, and his big arm reaching out.

“O! Leave me, please,” pleaded the child again.

But the rough pagan boys blocked his path and said, “Give us your treasures!”
The child shook his head.

The crowd began to surge like a mob.

“What’s here – .’ A treasure. Oh! Where was it found?” cried one
Another shrill voice answered, “It is a Christian boy, who hides upon his breast some foolish toy.”

Like furious lions, the boys roared, “Open your arms!”

Twenty arms stretched forth, threateningly to the frail child, who answered steadfastly, “Never! oh, never!”

They leaped upon him, seized him. Yet they could not unclose his slender arms, clasped firmly on his heart enfolding the Eucharist.

The mob grew, strong and cowardly, struck the child’s head with their fists and felled him to the ground. He lay before them, trampled beneath their feet. He went down under the blows until a soldier came and drove off the mob and rescued the young child.

The child looked up at him, and knew him, for the soldier was a Christian, and the boy smiled. On the red pavement where he lay, his arms still crossed guarding the Eucharist, a trace of blood upon the brow and down the cheek. With his dying voice, in a soft and meek accent, the child said to the Christian these words, “Friend I bear our Lord for the Martyrs in prison.” and died.

His mangled body was carried back to the catacombs. He died yet still his cold hands lay clasped his breast with the Holy Eucharist guarded by a most faithful child. Only the Priest’s hand could avail, at last, to open those boyish hands shut fast in death and take from them the Lord for Whom he died! Tarcisius has long since been crowned and glorified, Boy-martyr.





I Had Rathar Die Than Offend God: Story of St. Agnes

1 07 2013

I had rathar Die than offend God, says a little girl

One day, a little girl whose name was Agnes was coming home from school and a boy met her and asked her for sex. He promised, if she consented, to give her valuable jewels. But Agnes at once rejected the temptation, and told him to go away, for she would never consent to offend her God for anything that the world could give her.

The young man was angry. He later discovered that Agnes was a Christian.This was the year 200 when Christians were considered Criminals in Rome. The young man was determined to make Agnes yield to his wishes, or to accuse her to the pagan judge as belonging to that faith, and so she would be put to death.

When he told her what he intended to do, Agnes boldly answered, ” Never will I consent to offend my God by sin, and joyfully will I suffer the loss of all things rather than lose my soul.”

The young man accused her to the judge, and very soon Agnes was summoned before him. He tried first by kind words, and then by threats, to make her yield to him and renounce her faith, but to no effect. The firmness of the child filled him not only with wonder, but also with great wrath, and he handed her over to be executed.

Then Agnes prayed to God, that now since she had confessed His holy Name, and had kept her soul pure in the midst of evil, and since He had shown forth His great power in her, He would be pleased to take her to Himself in Heaven.

When she had finished her prayer the executioner prepared to pierce her neck with a sword, but the man was so overcome with emotion at the sight of one so beautiful and so young, that at first he could not do this ; but receiving a stern command from his superior, he gave her the fatal blow, and her happy soul went at once to her God in Heaven, whom she had so tenderly loved.

Our soul is that pearl which is beyond all price. Like Agnes we should be willing to suffer all rather than stain it by sin, and the only thought of our lives should be to preserve undefiled that priceless treasure. It is sin alone that can kill the soul.





Jimmy Carter calls for women Priests in the Catholic Church

25 06 2013

Jimmy cater

President Carter seems very concerned about the Catholic doctrine of the male priesthood. Speaking at the Carter Center‘s “Mobilizing Faith for Women” the former President answered some questions about women and religion. Let’s look at his words against the Catholic Church and then I’ll provide three systematic responses:
“And I think the great religions have set the example for that, by ordaining, in effect, that women are not equal to men in the eyes of God. This has been done and still is done by the Catholic Church ever since the third century, when the Catholic Church ordained that a woman cannot be a priest for instance but a man can. A woman can be a nurse or a teacher but she can’t be a priest. This is wrong, I think.
And again, President Carter says: “And then after about the third century when men took over control of the Catholic Church, then they began to ordain that women had to play an inferior position, not be a priest.”
Now I can understand where President Carter is coming from. First, he and his wife are Baptists. As Baptists they do not believe in a sacerdotal doctrine of the priesthood. Unlike the Baptists, the Catholic Church believes that the priesthood is not merely a ministerial function or office. Rather, when a man is ordained a priest, he is configured to Christ in a special way. His soul changes. We call this the indelible seal or character of Holy Orders. This is why there have never been women priests in the Catholic Church – not in the third, second, or first century. Never.

1. Jimmy Carter, Let’s Take a Look at the Mystery of the Transubstantiation

Not only does the priest’s soul undergo a metaphysical change, but the priest loans his own body and voice to Christ when he recites in the Holy Mass “This is my body.” This act transubstantiates bread into the true Body of Christ.

Let’s pause here. This is my body. Human bodies come in two versions: male and female. God designed it this way. Both sexes image God because, as the Church teaches, both sexes are ensouled and rational. See Genesis for details.

However, when the priest says, “This is my body,” he is acting in persona Christi (in the person of Christ). Now then Christ is male. He was circumcised. The body that He offered on the cross was male. For this reason, only men can be priests because the Catholic Church mystically identifies the male Body of Christ with each and every male priest. The sacramental signification requires a man to stand in for the God-Man Jesus Christ at the altar.

2. Jimmy Carter and Clericalism

Secondly, President Carter unknowingly slips into clericalism. Clericalism is the insidious belief that clergy are de facto holier and more important than everyone else. As a Baptist, he likely sees his pastor as a CEO and/or a gifted public speaker. These functions parallel those of secular companies. Hence, to exclude women is, in his mind, sexist.

But the Catholic Church does not see priests as CEOs or primarily as preachers/teachers. Rather, priests are chiefly “fathers.” Their relationship to other people is not transactional, it’s paternal. Only a dad can be a dad. Again, it’s a male thing. The Aramaic word for “father” is Abba meaning “giver of love.”

3. Jimmy Carter, please meet the Blessed Virgin Mary

Here’s the third and final thought:

I’d like to point out that the Catholic Church explicitly teaches that the greatest human person ever created is the Blessed Virgin Mary.

May is not only a woman, she is the Woman. The Catholic Church also teaches that she is higher than all Catholic priests, even higher than the twelve apostles. In fact, she is higher than every single angel.

The priesthood, even the papacy, is not the highest “job” in the Catholic Church. In fact, the Catholic Church features many beautiful female saints in the canon of the Mass. I would even argue that the Catholic Church celebrates femininity more than any other religion and certainly more than any other Christian denomination.

At the end of the day, the Catholic Church teaches that it is holiness and intimacy with Christ that is most important, not being a priest. As a former Episcopal priest, I could go on to be a married Catholic priest. But I chose not to do so. Why? Because I realized that my personal “yes” to God is enough. Nothing more is needed of me.

I love priests. I kiss the hand of every priest I meet. I truly love priests because without them there is no Holy Eucharist and no supernatural life in the world. However, as my former spiritual director Father Ron Gillis (who died just last week) taught me, “At the front of most Catholic churches are not side altars dedicated to Peter and Paul, but to Joseph and Mary – a reminder that the priesthood supports the Church and not the other way around.”
That’s a beautiful and simple lesson for all of us.

Dr. Taylor Marshal





Why do I exist?

22 06 2013

why do i exist2

It is not a strange question at all, but a very natural question. Everyone asks it, consciously or unconsciously, though not necessarily in those words.
It is a religious question. It is a question to which all religions claim to have an answer. It is not abstract but as concrete and particular as you are. It’s about your life. Why is my existence in question?
Because you didn’t have to exist. If one little thing had happened differently to any of your ancestors, you would not exist. For instance, if your great-grandfather hadn’t been surprised by the sound of a squirrel dropping a nut on a dry leaf in the park where he was sitting on a bench a hundred years ago, he wouldn’t have turned his head around to see what the noise was, and he wouldn’t have noticed the pretty girl on the bench over there, walked over and struck up a conversation with her, got to know her, and eventually married her–and you are part of the rest of that story.
So is it just luck that you exist? Just chance? Did you just happen, or are you designed? Are you an accident, or are you wanted? Are you just lost on a stage without any lines to speak, just making it all up as you go along, or are you part of a play, a plot, a plan, with an Author’s mind behind it?
You can’t get the answer to that question just from your feelings, because your feelings change from year to year, day to day, even minute to minute. Everyone at times feels lost and meaningless, and everyone at other times feels part of a meaningful story.
It makes all the difference in the world how you ask that question. It amounts to asking whether your life has real meaning or not.
We deeply want our lives to have a real meaning. But where does this real meaning come from? Why is there a real answer to the question “Why do I exist?”
Because God is real, that’s why. Because you were willed into existence by an all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful God. That’s why your life has meaning and purpose. How can we know the true answer to this question, the meaning of our life? What must we know, to know who we are?
The secret of your identity is in the mind of your Creator and Designer. Therefore, to find the meaning of your life, you must know God. To find out who Macbeth is, you must ask Shakespeare. To find out who Gollum is, you must ask Tolkien. To find out who you are, you must ask God.
How do we know God? Through Christ. “No one has ever seen God; the only Son . . . has made him known” (Jn 1:18).
To know yourself adequately, you must know God. And to know God adequately, you must know Christ. Therefore, to know yourself adequately, you must know Christ. Christ reveals not just who God is but also who we are.
When we ask why exist, what do we seek?
We seek our origin, our nature, and our destiny. There are actually three parts to this question: “Where did I come from?” and “What am I?” and “Where am I going?”
There are two radically different possible answers to this three-part question: the no-God answer and the God-answer. We exist either because of mere chance and accident or because of divine design; we exist either because of blind matter below us or because of conscious divine spirit above us.
The three questions (of origin, nature, and destiny) are connected. If our origin is only material, if we came only from mindless matter blindly bumping into more mindless matter and not from the Mind of God designing and creating matter, then our nature is also only matter: we are only apes with bigger brains but no souls. If our parents were big apes, we are only big apes. And then our destiny, our end, is only the destiny of all matter and animal life: death and decay. Period. End of the story. That is the logical consequence of believing that there is no God. Death wins in the end.
But if one’s origin is from above, from God–if we are designed and created by an intelligent Spirit–then our nature can be also spiritual, made in the image of the God who is spirit. God may have used evolution to make our bodies out of previously existing animal species, but souls cannot evolve. God must create each soul afresh.
If that is true–if we exist because of God, if we are real because God is real–then the practical consequences are tremendously important. For then each one of us has intrinsic dignity. That means that we are not mere objects to be used by other objects. We are God’s kids!
And then our destiny (the third connected question) is also spiritual: to live forever with God in Heaven. God is our first beginning and our last end, our ultimate origin and our ultimate destiny.

Prof. Peter Kreeft.





The Inquisitive Little Boy

19 06 2013

The Inquisitive Little Boy

During the great Exhibition in London, a gentle man went his little boy.
The child was astonished at the things he saw, and was anxious to know why they were made. His father answered him , and described the use of the various things as they passed along.

You see, my dear boy,” said the father to him, ” everything here has been made for a certain purpose. You also were made by God for a certain purpose.”

“For what purpose did God make me, Father?” the boy asked, excited.

“God made you to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world, and be happy with Him in the next, my boy. Keep these words always in your mind,  and try every day to learn something about your Father in Heaven.”





A young girl who weeps for Love

17 06 2013

A young girl that weeps for Love

There was a little girl called Dominina who was often found weeping. People thought she was very unhappy because she wept so much. But she was not shedding tears of sadness but of joy. It was the thought of all the good her Father in Heaven had done for her that made her weep.

” O my God,” she often said in her prayers, “how good you are to me, to even think of me at all!” You made me when You were not obliged to make me. You love me and have given me many blessings. O my God, how good Thou hast been to me !”

One day a man came to her house and met her crying while reading a book and the tears falling from her eye upon the book made the book wet especially at those places where the holy name of God was written.

The man asked her why she wept as she read.

Domnina answered him : I can never hear His name pronounced, or read it in a book, without feeling my whole heart filled with love for Him. He made me, therefore I am His child, and I know He loves me, poor and little though I am, just because I am His child, and I try always to keep this in mind ; and I feel so happy when I think of this, that tears of joy flow from my eyes.”

You also are Gods child, for He made you. Like Donmina, you should try to keep this always before your mind, and thank Him for His goodness in making choice of you to be His own child.





The Girl Who Broke Her Neck: The Story of Joni Eareckson Tada

13 06 2013

As a teenager, Joni loved life. She enjoyed riding horses, loved to swim. One summer in 1967, however, that all changed. While swimming with some friends, Joni dove into a lake not knowing how shallow it really was. She broke her neck, paralyzing her body from the neck down. For the next two years during her rehabilitation Joni struggled. She struggled with life, she struggled with God, and she struggled with her paralysis. Since then, Joni has written fourteen books, has recorded several musical albums, and she’s actively involved as an advocate for disabled people. On this tape you’ll hear how Joni, now an internationally known mouth artist, learned to accept her disability. And Joni will tell you how a personal relationship with God has helped her overcome the obstacles in her life and how you can experience the love of God, despite pain and suffering. Now with her life story, here’s Mrs. Joni Eareckson Tada:
Thanks for the wonderful introduction. Do I really do all those things? My goodness! But I don’t tap dance. One of these days, yes, but not quite.
It hardly seems 26 years ago, that I was lying on a hospital bed in suicidal despair, depressed, discouraged, after the hot July afternoon when I took that dive into shallow water, a dive which resulted in a severe spinal cord injury, which left me paralyzed from the shoulders down, without use of my hands and my legs. Before that time, I didn’t even know what you called people like me. Who are we? The physically challenged, the mobility impaired, the differently abled, handicapped. I knew we weren’t crippled or invalid. But I just didn’t have any contact with people who were hurting or in pain. That spinal cord injury changed all that. There I was lying in the hospital bed in the summer of 1967 desperately trying to make ends meet, desperately trying to turn my right side down emotions, right side up. In my pain and despair, I had begged many of my friends to assist me in suicide. That seems to be a common topic these days and many disabled people that I know even in the nineties have a tough time finding life worth living. I sought to find a final escape, a final solution, through assisted suicide, begging my friends to slit my wrists, dump pills down my throat, anything to end my misery. The source of my depression is understandable. I could not face the prospect of sitting down for the rest of my life without use of my hands, without use of my legs. All my hopes seem dashed. My faith was shipwrecked.
I was sick and tired of pious platitudes that well meaning friends often gave me at my bedside. Patting me on the head, trivializing my plight, with the 16 good biblical reasons as to why all this has happened. I was tired of advice and didn’t want anymore counsel. I was numb emotionally, desperately alone, and so very, very frightened. Most of the questions I asked, in the early days of my paralysis, were questions voiced out of a clenched fist, an emotional release, an outburst of anger. I don’t know how sincere my questions really were. I was just angry. But after many months those clench fists questions became questions of a searching heart. I sincerely and honestly wanted to find answers.
Now I knew, in a vague sort of way, that answers for my questions about my paralysis were probably hidden somewhere between the pages of the Bible, but I had no idea where. I needed a friend who would help me sort through my emotions, who would help bring me out of the social isolation, who would help me deal with the anger. A friend who would point me somewhere, anywhere, in God’s Word to help me find answers. I found a friend, a young man named Steve, who knew absolutely nothing about emptying leg bags or pushing wheel chairs and he had no idea what to call people like me, whether we were physically challenged, differently abled, mobility impaired. Don’t you get tired of all those fancy, schmancy euphonisms?
I remember my friend Steve, just a young teenager, who had a caring, compassionate heart, a love for God, and a halfway decent working knowledge of the Bible. At my bedside, I cornered him one day, and I said to Steve, “I just don’t get it! I trusted God before my accident. I wasn’t a bad person. This possibly couldn’t be a punishment for any sin that I’ve done. At least, I hope not. I don’t get it, Steve? If God is supposed to be all loving and all powerful, then how, what has happened to me, be a demonstration of His love and power? Because, Steve, if He’s all powerful, then surely He should have been powerful enough to stop my accident from happening? If He’s all loving then how in the world can permanent and lifelong paralysis be a part of His loving plan for my life? I just don’t get it! Unless I find some answers, I don’t see how this all loving and all powerful God is worthy of my trust and confidence. Who is in control? Who’s will is this anyway?” I said to him.
My friend Steve took a deep sigh and he was wise enough to discern that my question, again, was not voiced out of clench fist, but out of a searching heart. He knew I sincerely wanted to find an answer. And so he said, “Joni, those are tough questions and theologians have been trying to answer them for hundred of years. I can’t pretend to sit at your bedside and know why and how. I can’t pretend to explain the loving nature of God and how your accident is a demonstration of His power. But when it comes to the question about who is control, and who’s will is this anyway, I think I can show you some answers.” Huh, well! I wanted to see this! So I waited to see what he would say. I thought he might quote to me the sixteen good biblical reasons as to why all this has happened.
I thought surely he might lay out before me the blueprint of my life. I thought for sure he’d give me a lot of advice, a lot of his counsel, but no, Steve didn’t do that. Then he opened up his Bible and he pointed me to the example of Jesus Christ. He told me that in the life of Christ I could find the answers about God’s will. But he went even more specifically, he showed me Christ on the cross and he challenged me with a couple of hard hitting questions himself. Saying, “Joni who’s will do you think the cross was?” Well, I obediently remembered all those good Sunday school lessons I had learned growing up and I easily voiced in response, “God’s will, of course, it’s God’s will. Everybody knows that. But then Steve said, “Joni, think it through, because you better believe that it was the devil who entered the heart of Judas Iscariot who handed over Jesus for a mere 30 pieces of silver. And you got to know that it was Satan who instigated that mob on the streets to clamor for Christ’s crucifixion, and for sure, Joni, it had to be the devil who prodded those Roman soldiers to spit on Jesus and slap Him and mock Him. Even the devil inspired Pontius Pilate to hand down mock justice in order to gain political popularity. How can any of these things be God’s will? Treason, injustice, murder, torture?”
Well, I nodded and agreed. None of it seemed to be God’s will. But what about all those Sunday school lessons I had learned as a little girl? That the cross was God’s plan and purpose for all of mankind? My friend Steve turned to a verse in the Bible which helped answer that question about God’s will. He turned to Acts chapter 4:28 and it says there that these men, that is Pontius Pilate, Judas Iscariot, the mob in the streets, the cruel Roman soldiers, these men did what God’s power and will had decided before hand should happen. In other words, the cross was no mistake.





Forgive a killer ? Impossible!

12 06 2013

Forgive a killer ? Impossible!

Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive. John Gualbert belonged to a rich and noble family. In his boyhood he was brought up in piety, but when he grew up, the attractions of the world deceived him, and he plunged headlong into the life of pleasure it offered him. He even began to think that dissipation and a life of pleasure were privileges that belonged to the position in life in which he was born. It happened that his oldest brother, Hugh, had been killed in a quarrel with a gentleman of that country. John formed the resolution of avenging his death by taking away the life of the man who had slain him.
One Good Friday, as he was coming from the country into Florence, he met his brother s murderer in a narrow defile, from which there was no possibility of escaping. In a moment his sword was in his hand, and, full of anger and the desire of revenge, he rushed forward to plunge it into the breast of his enemy. But the man, without attempting to escape, cast himself at his feet, and, stretching out his arms in the form of a cross, cried out : ” I conjure you by the passion and death of Jesus Christ, Who on the cross forgave His murderers, and prayed for them, do not kill me.”
John, remembering that that very day was the anniversary of Our Saviour s death, at once drew back. He threw away his sword, and, stretching out his hand to his enemy, said to him in a tone of sweetness : ” I will not refuse you what you have asked me in the name of Jesus Christ my Saviour. Not only do I grant you your life, but I also give you my friendship. Pray to God to pardon me.

“This story makes me sick,” some say when they hear this story. Some ask me, “I wonder how you’d feel about forgiving the Gestapo if you were a Pole or a Jew?”

So do I. I wonder very much. Just as when Christianity tells me that I must not deny my religion even to save myself from death by torture, I wonder very much what I should do when it came to the point. I am not trying to tell you in this book what I could do—I can do precious little—I am telling you what Christianity is. I did not invent it. And there, right in the middle of it, I find “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those that sin against us.” There is no slightest suggestion that we are offered forgiveness on any other terms. It is made perfectly dear that if we do not forgive we shall not be forgiven. There are no two ways about it. What are we to do?
It is going to be hard enough, anyway, but I think there are two things we can do to make it easier. When you start mathematics you do not begin with the calculus; you begin with simple addition. In the same way, if we really want (but all depends on really wanting) to learn how to forgive, perhaps we had better start with something easier than the Gestapo. One might start with forgiving one’s husband or wife, or parents or children, or the nearest N.C.O., for something they have done or said in the last week. That will probably keep us busy for the moment. And secondly, we might try to understand exactly what loving your neighbour as yourself means. I have to love him as I love myself. Well, how exactly do I love myself?
Now that I come to think of it, I have not exactly got a feeling of fondness or affection for myself, and 1 do not even always enjoy my own society. So apparently “Love your neighbour” does not mean “feel fond of him” or “find him attractive.” I ought to have seen that before, because, of course, you cannot feel fond of a person by trying. Do 1 think well of myself, think myself a nice chap? Well, I am afraid I sometimes do (and those are, no doubt, my worst moments) but that is not why I love myself. In fact it, is the other way round: my self-love makes me think myself nice, but thinking myself nice is not why I love myself. So loving my enemies does not apparently mean thinking them nice either. That is an enormous relief.
For a good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are really not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are. Go a step further. In my most clear-sighted moments not only do I not think myself a nice man, but I know that I am a very nasty one. I can look at some of the things I have done with horror and loathing. So apparently I am allowed to loathe and hate some of the things my enemies do. Now that I come to think of it, I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man’s actions, but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner.
For a long time I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life—namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.
Consequently, Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery. We ought to hate them. Not one word of what we have said about them needs to be unsaid. But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is anyway possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere, he can be cured and made human again.
The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, “Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,” or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker.
If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything—God and our friends and ourselves included—as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.
Now a step further. Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment—even to death. If one had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy. I always have thought so, ever since I became a Christian, and long before the war, and I still think so now that we are at peace.
It is no good quoting “Thou shalt not kill.” There are two Greek words: the ordinary word to kill and the word to murder. And when Christ quotes that commandment He uses the murder one in all three accounts, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And I am told there is the same distinction in Hebrew. All killing is not murder any more than all sexual intercourse is adultery. When soldiers came to St. John the Baptist asking what to do, he never remotely suggested that they ought to leave the army: nor did Christ when He met a Roman sergeant-major—what they called a centurion. The idea of the knight—the Christian in arms for the defence of a good cause—is one of the great Christian ideas. War is a dreadful thing, and I can respect an honest pacifist, though I think he is entirely mistaken.
What I cannot understand is this sort of semipacifism you get nowadays which gives people the idea that though you have to fight, you ought to do it with a long face and as if you were ashamed of it. It is that feeling that robs lots of magnificent young Christians in the Services of something they have a right to, something which is the natural accompaniment of courage— a kind of gaity and wholeheartedness.
I have often thought to myself how it would have been if, when I served in the first world war, I and some young German had killed each other simultaneously and found ourselves together a moment after death. I cannot imagine that either of us would have felt any resentment or even any embarrassment. I think we might have laughed over it.
I imagine somebody will say, “Well, if one is allowed to condemn the enemy’s acts, and punish him, and kill him, what difference is left between Christian morality and the ordinary view?” All the difference in the world. Remember, we Christians think man lives for ever. Therefore, what really matters is those little marks or twists on the central, inside part of the soul which are going to turn it, in the long run, into a heavenly or a hellish creature. We may kill if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating.
We may punish if necessary, but we must not enjoy it. In other words, something inside us, the feeling of resentment, the feeling that wants to get one’s own back, must be simply killed. I do not mean that anyone can decide this moment that he will never feel it any more. That is not how things happen. I mean that every time it bobs its head up, day after day, year after year, all our lives long, we must hit it on the head.
It is hard work, but the attempt is not impossible. Even while we kill and punish we must try to feel about the enemy as we feel about ourselves— to wish that he were not bad. to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured: in fact, to wish his good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving him: wishing his good, jot feeling fond of him nor saving he is nice when he is not.

I admit that this means loving people who have nothing lovable about them. But then, has oneself anything lovable about it? You love it simply because it is yourself, God intends us to love all selves in the same way and for the same reason: but He has given us the sum ready worked out on our own case to show us how it works.
We have then to go on and apply the rule to all the other selves. Perhaps it makes it easier if we remember that that is how He loves us. Not for any nice, attractive qualities we think we have, but just because we are the things called selves. For really there is nothing else in us to love: creatures like us who actually find hatred such a pleasure that to give it up is like giving up beer or tobacco. …C.S Lewis





Why does God make me suffer? by C.S Lewis

17 05 2013

2Why does God make us suffer? I am sure you have asked yourself this question sometimes. Well,  A man tames a dog primarily that he may love it, not that it may love him, and that it may serve him, not that he may serve it. Yet at the same time, the dog’s interests are not sacrificed to the man’s. The one end (that he may love it) cannot be fully attained unless it also, in its fashion, loves him, nor can it serve him unless he, in a different fashion, serves it. Thus, man interferes with the dog and makes it more lovable than it was in mere nature. In its state of nature it has a smell, and habits which frustrate man’s love: he washes it, house-trains it, teaches it not to steal; and is so enabled to love it completely. To the dog, the whole proceeding would seem, if it were a theologian, to cast grave doubts on the “goodness” of man: but the full-grown and full-trained dog, larger, healthier, and longer-lived than the wild dog, and admitted, as it were by Grace, to a whole world of affections, loyalties, interests, and comforts entirely beyond its animal destiny, would have no such doubts. It will be noted that the man (I am speaking throughout of the good man) takes all these pains with the dog, and gives all these pains to the dog, only because it is an animal high in the scale ­because it is so nearly lovable that it is worth his while to make it fully lovable. He does not house-train the earwig or give baths to centipedes.

Now, the distance between us and God (who is infinite) is more than the distance between man and dog. We may wish, indeed, that we were of so little account to God that He left us alone to follow our natural impulses – that He would give over trying to train us into something so unlike our natural selves: but once again, we are asking not for more Love, but for less. …

The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word “love”, and look on things as if man were the centre of them. Man is not the centre. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake. “Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the Divine love may rest “well pleased”. To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled, by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable. We cannot even wish, in our better moments, that He could reconcile Himself to our present impurities -no more than the beggar maid could wish that King Cophetua should be content with her rags and dirt, or a dog, once having learned to love man, could wish that man were such as to tolerate in his house the snapping, verminous, polluting creature of the wild pack. What we would here and now call our “happiness” is not the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy. (This story is adapted from the book, the “Problem of pain” by C.S Lewis)








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