The Story of Pure Love: Armando and Martha 

17 08 2017

22yrs Armando Valladares, a young journalist was working at his desk at a newspaper company when soldiers came to ask him to publish a communist propaganda supporting the new government of Fidel Castro.

He refused knowing full well that there would be consequences. He didnt have to wait long. Armed soldier stormed his residence at night and arrested him.

For refusing to support communism, Armando was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was arrested in the middle of the night and transferred to a notorious prison where hundreds of enemies of communism were beaten on a regular basis.

But it was in this prison that Armando received a miracle in the form of a woman he met. She was one of the daughters of fellow prisoner and her name was Martha.

They fell in love when they met, and began to write each other in secret.

Years of communicating together deepened their love for one another.

When the communist tried to force Armando to enroll in a compulsory reeducation program, Armando and his companions again refused.

As a punishment, he spent 8 years in a special solitary confinement, with no windows, and no light coming in, only a small hole for his wastes.

After 10years, the communist tried another technique, promising him freedom if only he could sign a document praising communism.

But instead of signing his name, Armando, took the document and started writing poetry at the back. The guards tried to stop him but he changed tactics, writing with his blood instead on the back of onion skins which he smuggled out to Martha.

As the holocaust survivor, Victor Frank once said, “A man can endure any how a long as he has a why” From then on, nothing the soldiers did could hurt him anymore.

His love for Martha broke down the prisons walls as he wrote poem to her using his own blood, and fresh breeze of love lifted him high, carrying him towards the sun.

Martha fled to the United State, and published the peoms which became a bestseller raising a campaign against what Castro’s government was doing to her beloved.
Amnesty international and other human rights group caught on and pressed the Cuban government for his release.

Terrified of his growling fame the communist tried an old police trick to shatter his unshakable love for Martha.

They told him that Amnesty groups had dropped name from their list of prisoners of war, and that Martha had abandoned him.

He responded in a serene and cheerful way saying, Now I know for certain that my Martha is succeeding in getting me out.”

He was right; a short time later, he was released from the prison where he had spent 22 years, unbroken, defending his own conscience, and the dignity of every man to live in the freedom of theirs.

His 22 years of unbroken resistance to tyranny demonstrated that man is capable of withstanding great evils when he loves and he is loved by another.

On his release from prison, he was finally united with his sweetheart Martha and he was caught on camera showering her with kisses right front and center before the flashing lights and world media. They got married soon after, a crowning perseverance of love.


Article by Chinwuba Iyizoba

The Editor





Super model apologizes for indecent dress and covers up on stage: Cameron Russell

18 10 2014

This video is worth 2o minutes of your time.  

Super Model, Cameron Russel walked up stage, apologizes for the dress she is wearing, covers up on stage and says,”Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I am a model” Please share it with your daughter, sister or friend who is dying to be like the girls on the glossy mag





“I Am In Love With 3 Men,” Drunk Woman Tell Fulton Sheen

10 09 2014

 

The following story was told by Bishop Fulton Sheen:

Beer_Drinking_Woman

“I opened the church door one cold January morning, heavy London fog, and a limp figure fell in, a young woman.

I said, “How did you happen to be here?”

“Where am I, Father?”

“Oh, Father?”

“Yes,” she said, “I used to be a Catholic but not anymore.

“You were drunk.”

“Yes,” she said, “I was drunk.”

“But,” I said, “men drink because they like the stuff, women drink because they don’t like something else. What were you running away from?”

“Three men,” she said. “I was in love with each of them, they were beginning to find it out, and so I got drunk”

“What is your name?”

And pointing to a billboard apposite of the church on the walls of the Cross and Blackwell Jam office, I said, “Is that your picture over there?”

“Yes, I’m the leading lady in that musical comedy.”

I made a cup of coffee for her because she was frozen from the night exposure. She said, “Thanks.”

“No, come back this afternoon and thank me,” I asked.

She said, “I will on one condition. That you do not ask me to go to Confession.”

“Very well,” I said. “I shall not to ask you to do to Confession.”

“I want you to promise me faithfully that you will not ask me to go to Confession,” she said.

“I promise you faithfully that I will not ask you t o go to Confession,” I said.

She came back that afternoon before the matinee and I said, “We have two paintings in this church that are very notable. Would you like to see them?”

As I took her down the side aisle of the church, I pushed her into a confessional. I always keep my promises.

Two years later, I gave her veil as a nun in the Convent of Adoration, where she is to this very hour.

Therefore, that cold January morning, another choice had to be made and it was a choice for good. And, this is a choice that each and every one of us is making.
Author
Bishop Fulton Sheen

*God has given us free choice such that our choices make us fit for heaven or hell





“I have seven children from two different men,” Woman tells Pope Francis:

7 09 2014

Pope Francis tells the story of how he met a woman with seven children from two different men. Here is the story in Pope Francis’ own words:

Pope-Francis-Sacrament-of-Baptism

” I met her last year at the Feast of San Cayetano. She’d said: Father, I’m in mortal sin, I have seven children and I’ve never had them baptized. It had happened because she had no money to bring the godparents from a distance, or to pay for the party, because she always had to work.

I suggested we meet, to talk about it. We spoke on the phone, she came to see me, told me that she could never find all the godparents and get them together … In the end I said: let’s do everything with only two godparents, representing the others.

They all came here and after a little catechesis I baptized them in the chapel of the archbishopric.

After the ceremony we had a little refreshment. A coca cola and sandwiches.

She told me: “Father, I can’t believe it, you make me feel important.”

I replied: “But lady, where do I come in?  It’s Jesus who makes you important.”….Pope Francis

Read more of the interview. 





The Little Girl Who Will Give Up Her Pearls: A Story

10 05 2014

The Little Girl Who Will Give Up Her Pearls: A Story

Jenny was a bright-eyed, pretty five-year-old girl. One day when she and her mother were checking out at the grocery store, Jenny saw a plastic pearl necklace priced at $2.50. How she wanted that necklace, and when she asked her mother if she would buy it for her, her mother said, “Well, it is a pretty necklace, but it costs an awful lot of money. I’ll tell you what. I’ll buy you the necklace, and when we get home we can make up a list of chores that you can do to pay for the necklace. And don’t forget that for your birthday Grandma just might give you a whole dollar bill, too. Okay?”
Jenny agreed, and her mother bought the pearl necklace for her. Jenny worked on her chores very hard every day, and sure enough, her grandma gave her a brand new dollar bill for her birthday. Soon Jenny had paid off the pearls. How Jenny loved those pearls. She wore them everywhere-to kindergarten, bed and when she went out with her mother to run errands. The only time she didn’t wear them was in the shower-her mother had told her that they would turn her neck green!
Now Jenny had a very loving daddy. When Jenny went to bed, he would get up from his favorite chair every night and read Jenny her favorite story. One night when he finished the story, he said, “Jenny, do you love me?”
“Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you,” the little girl said.
“Well, then, give me your pearls.”
“Oh! Daddy, not my pearls!” Jenny said. “But you can have Rosie, my favorite doll. Remember her? You gave her to me last year for my birthday. And you can have her tea party outfit, too. Okay?”
“Oh no, darling, that’s okay.” Her father brushed her cheek with a kiss. “Good night, little one.”
A week later, her father once again asked Jenny
after her story, “Do you love me?”
“Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you.”
“Well, then, give me your pearls.”
“Oh, Daddy, not my pearls! But you can have Ribbons, my toy horse. Do you remember her? She’s my favorite. Her hair is so soft, and you can play with it and braid it and everything. You can have Ribbons if you want her, Daddy,” the little girl said to her father.
“No, that’s okay,” her father said and brushed her cheek again with a kiss. “God bless you, little one. Sweet dreams.”
Several days later, when Jenny’s father came in to read her a story, Jenny was sitting on her bed and her lip was trembling. “Here, Daddy,” she said, and held out her hand. She opened it and her beloved pearl necklace was inside. She let it slip into her father’s hand.
With one hand her father held the plastic pearls and with the other he pulled out of his pocket a blue velvet box. Inside of the box were real, genuine, beautiful pearls.
He had them all along. He was waiting for Jenny to give up the cheap stuff so he could give her the real thing.
So it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasure.
Are you holding onto things which Lord wants you to let go of? Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities which you have come so attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes, it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but do believe this one thing…..
Lord will never take away something without giving you something better in its place.





The Slave Girl Who Gave Her Life To The Man Who Bought Her

19 04 2014

The Slave Girl Who Gave Her Life To The Man Who Bought Her

Several hundred years ago a wealthy plantation owner was attracted by the heartbreaking sobs of a slave girl who was about to step up to the auction block to be sold. Moved by an impulse of compassion, he bought her for a very high price and then disappeared into the crowd.
When the auction was over, the clerk came over to the sobbing girl and handed her her bill of sale, telling her who her owner now was. To her astonishment the unknown planter had written the word FREE across the paper that should have delivered her to him. She stood speechless as, one by one, the slaves were claimed by their owners and dragged away. Suddenly she threw herself at the feet of the clerk and exclaimed, “Where is the man who bought me? I must find him. He has set me free. I must serve him as long as I live!”
Christ paid with his blood to ransom you from the slavery of sin on Easter day. What ought You do for Him?





Valuable Things are Covered and Hard To Get By Mohammed Ali

8 04 2014

Valuable Things are Covered and Hard To Get

An incident transpired when Muhammad Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that were quite revealing.
Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:
“When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.
My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to.
Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected.
Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell.
Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.”
He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

From the book: More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons Through His Daughter’s Eyes.





Gossip Kills by Brett & Kate McKay

27 02 2014

Gossip Kills by Brett & Kate McKay

Gossip can hurt both you and the person you choose to talk about in several ways:
If you are someone who talks behind people’s backs, even those who like you will come to mistrust you. When you hear a man slandering someone else when that person is not present, you are forced to wonder what that man says about you, when you are not around.
Gossip is inherently unfair. Men should always seek to be just in their dealings with others. But when you gossip, you sully a person’s name without that person being present and allowed to defend themselves. Your reputation is important to you; show that same respect for the reputation of others by refusing to tear them down when they can’t fight back.
Gossip can ruin people’s reputations. Sometimes even information you are sure at the time is true, turns out to be faulty. Nevertheless, the damage is done and people’s perceptions of a person may be forever altered.
How to Keep Confidences
Determine whether or not a piece of information can be passed on or not. Gossip does not have to be false to be gossip. Gossip can be true, yet still no one’s damn business. If you are not sure if something can be shared or not, ask yourself these questions:
• Is it true?
• Is it kind?
• Is it necessary?
If you can answer yes to all three, then go ahead. If not? Shut you pie hole.
But what if others press you to reveal something secret that you know? I recommend the following as an excellent retort: Draw the information seeker close to you and whisper, “Can you keep a secret?” Your friend will then answer, “Certainly!” At this point put your hand on his shoulder and say, “Well, so can I.” End of conversation.

Most men would never dream of robbing a bank or stealing their friends’ possessions. But many men are far less careful with an equally valuable piece of property: private information. No matter how the information came to you, the sacredness of information in your possession should be closely guarded. You should consider the confidential information given you as money in a trust; you are the guardian, but you are not allowed to spend it. It is rare today to meet a man with whom you can share your private thoughts and know absolutely that that information will never leave the room. Be that man. Be a man of honor. Be a vault.





How Prostitutes Made Me Believe In God By Chris Arnade

19 02 2014

 No Longer An Atheist: Prostitutes And Drug Addicts Made Me Believe In God By Chris Arnade

They prayed whenever they could find 15 minutes. “Preacher Man”, as we called him, would read from the Bible with his tiny round glasses. It was the only book he had ever read. A dozen or so others would listen, silently praying while stroking rosaries, sitting on bare mattresses, crammed into a half-painted dorm room.
I was the outsider, a 16-year-old working on a summer custodial crew for a local college, saving money to pay for my escape from my hometown. The other employees, close to three dozen, were working to feed themselves, to feed their kids, to pay child support, to pay for the basics of life. I was the only white, everyone else was African-American.
Preacher Man tried to get me to join the prayer meetings, asking me almost daily. I declined, preferring to spend those small work breaks with some of the other guys on the crew. We would use the time to snatch a quick drink or maybe smoke a joint.
Preacher Man would question me, “What do you believe in?” I would decline to engage, out of politeness. He pressed me. Finally I broke,
I am an atheist. I don’t believe in a God. I don’t think the world is only 5,000 years old, I don’t think Cain and Abel married their sisters!
Preacher Man’s eyes narrowed. He pointed at me, “You are an APE-IEST. An APE-IEST. You going to lead a life of sin and end in hell.”

Three years later I did escape my town, eventually receiving a PhD in physics, and then working on Wall Street for 20 years. A life devoted to rational thought, a life devoted to numbers and clever arguments.
During that time I counted myself an atheist and nodded in agreement as a wave of atheistic fervor swept out of the scientific community and into the media, led by Richard Dawkins.

I saw some of myself in him: quick with arguments, uneasy with emotions, comfortable with logic, able to look at any ideology or any thought process and expose the inconsistencies. We all picked on the Bible, a tome cobbled together over hundreds of years that provides so many inconsistencies. It is the skinny 85lb (35.6kg) weakling for anyone looking to flex their scientific muscles.
I eventually left my Wall Street job and started working with and photographing homeless addicts in the South Bronx. When I first walked into the Bronx I assumed I would find the same cynicism I had towards faith. If anyone seemed the perfect candidate for atheism it was the addicts who see daily how unfair, unjust, and evil the world can be.
None of them are. Rather they are some of the strongest believers I have met, steeped in a combination of Bible, superstition, and folklore.

The first addict I met was Takeesha. She was standing near the high wall of the Corpus Christi Monastery. We talked for close to an hour before I took her picture. When we finished, I asked her how she wanted to be described. She said without any pause, “As who I am. A prostitute, a mother of six, and a child of God.”
Takeesha was raped by a relative when she was 11. Her mother, herself a prostitute, put Takeesha out on the streets at 13, where she has been for the last 30 years,
It’s sad when it’s your mother, who you trust, and she was out there with me, but you know what kept me through all that? God. Whenever I got into the car, God got into the car with me.

Sonya and Eric, heroin addicts who are homeless, have a picture of the Last Supper that moves with them. It has hung in an abandoned building, it has hung in a sewage-filled basement, and now it leans against the pole in the small space under the interstate where they live.

Sarah, 15 years on the streets, wears a cross around her neck. Always. Michael, 30 years on the streets, carries a rosary in his pocket. Always In any crack house, in the darkest buildings empty of all other furnishings, a worn Bible can be found laying flat amongst needles, caps, lighters, and crack pipes.
Takeesha and the other homeless addicts are brutalized by a system driven by a predatory economic rationalism (a term used recently by J. M. Coetzee in his essay: On Nelson Mandela). They are viewed by the public and seen by almost everyone else as losers. Just “junkie prostitutes” who live in abandoned buildings.

They have their faith because what they believe in doesn’t judge them. Who am I to tell them that what they believe is irrational? Who am I to tell them the one thing that gives them hope and allows them to find some beauty in an awful world is inconsistent? I cannot tell them that there is nothing beyond this physical life. It would be cruel and pointless.
In these last three years, out from behind my computers, I have been reminded that life is not rational and that everyone makes mistakes. Or, in Biblical terms, we are all sinners.
We are all sinners. On the streets the addicts, with their daily battles and proximity to death, have come to understand this viscerally. Many successful people don’t. Their sense of entitlement and emotional distance has numbed their understanding of our fallibility.

Soon I saw my atheism for what it is: an intellectual belief most accessible to those who have done well.
I look back at my 16-year-old self and see Preacher Man and his listeners differently. I look at the fragile women praying and see a mother working a minimum wage custodial job, trying to raise three children alone. Her children’s father off drunk somewhere. I look at the teenager fingering a small cross and see a young woman, abused by a father addicted to whatever, trying to find some moments of peace. I see Preacher Man himself, living in a beat up shack without electricity, desperate to stay clean, desperate to make sense of a world that has given him little.

1
They found hope where they could.
I want to go back to that 16-year-old self and tell him to shut up with the “see how clever I am attitude”. I want to tell him to appreciate how easy he had it, with a path out. A path to riches.

2
I also see Richard Dawkins differently. I see him as a grown up version of that 16-year-old kid, proud of being smart, unable to understand why anyone would believe or think differently from himself. I see a person so removed from humanity and so removed from the ambiguity of life that he finds himself judging those who think differently.
I see someone doing what he claims to hate in others. Preaching from a selfish vantage point.





Face To Face With One I Saved From Abortion by Adam Cassandra

21 01 2014

Face To Face With One I Saved From Abortion by Adam Cassandra

Standing outside of an abortion clinic is not a pleasant experience. No matter how many friends or family members are there praying and helping to counsel women close by, the thought of innocent lives being ended in the building right behind you is inescapable. Sometimes it can seem like no one is even listening, and the people going into the clinic pass by pretending they don’t notice you. But God is there reaching out to those women who will open their hearts to Him. That’s when a miracle can happen, and a life can be saved.
Such is the experience of Joannes Bucher who came face-to-face with a child saved thanks to his pro-life activism.
While praying and passing out literature in front of an abortion clinic in Vienna, Austria one day, Joannes became distraught when it appeared none of the women he tried to talk to were going to choose life for their babies.
“Their hearts were really frozen, and they didn’t take any information. And I thought, ‘Wow, what’s going on? It’s really a sad world,’” said Joannes, who is Human Life International’s (HLI) regional director of Europe, in a video interview released last week.
The video is a bonus clip from HLI’s new documentary “Central and Eastern Europe: A Return to Life” which airs on EWTN at 10:00pm EST on January 25, the evening of the 40th March for Life in Washington, D.C.
After a somber day of standing in front of Vienna’s abortion mill, Joannes and his team of pro-life counselors decided to go relax at a park that was close by. There he would meet someone who would change his life.
“As we were in the park, this beautiful area behind the Schloss Schönbrunn, we played frisbee,” Joannes said. “It was a beautiful day … we made a circle and shot the frisbee to each other. And suddenly a woman with a stroller came around and passed us … And I said, ‘Hey do you want to play with us?’ And she said yes.”
“And as I walked to her, of course I just mentioned that she had a beautiful baby. And she said, ‘Yes of course. This is all that I have. It’s a miracle. … But don’t we know each other? Aren’t you the guy who gave me the booklet and motivated me not to have the abortion?’ And I was just shocked,” he said.
As the others gathered around to hear the conversation, the woman with her child said to Joannes, “This is Oliver, and he is living because of you.”
“That was really emotional,” Joannes recalled.
Not only did Joannes have an impact on this woman to save little Oliver’s physical life, but she asked that he continue to be involved in his spiritual life as well.
“She said immediately, ‘A lot of people in my family were against me [having this baby]. Are you ready to be the godfather?’ She wanted to baptize him. … And now I’m the godfather,” said Joannes.
With the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade next week, Joannes’ story is an inspirational reminder of the real impact pro-life advocates can have in the fight to protect and defend unborn life. While the media will be working to ignore the hundreds of thousands of people marching through Washington, D.C., it’s clear that public prayer and support for the pro-life cause can help women open their hearts to God and choose life for their babies.





I LOVE YOU! FOR FIVE YEARS?

6 01 2014

  I LOVE YOU!  FOR FIVE YEARS?

1. Marriage is for life
If someone says: “I love you for five years” or “I marry you for five years but later…I have to reconsider it again, I may ask for a divorce…” Who likes to hear these words? We feel that there is something wrong in this approach to marriage and we are right; this would not be a real marriage according to our human nature and dignity. We deserve much more than five years. Our human nature and dignity asks for a decision for life, without putting conditions to love. Unfortunately we realize that a falling out after some years of married life is quite common.

2. Courtship is a very important preparation for marriage.

Marriage is a very serious step. We bind ourselves for a whole lifetime. Therefore, a period of courtship is necessary; a period of time during which a person can get to know sufficiently well his or her lifetime partner, before making the decision to get married.
During the period of courtship, the man and the woman have to help each other. Human love should not be selfish; marriage is a life of dedication and service to the other and one has to be well prepared. During this period, the most important task is to know the dispositions of the other’s soul, the spirit with which he or she will face married life.

Those who are engaged to marry are called to live chastity in continence. We are persons, a marvelous unity of body and soul; to surrender our own body to one’s spouse signifies surrendering our own self to him or her; honest sexual language demands a commitment to lifelong fidelity.

When a person is not yet married, there is as yet no true commitment; there is no marital bond and a free decision to be with the other for life has not yet been made. (Let us be honest!). If he or she has not committed his or her freedom totally, as the other deserves because of his or her dignity as a human person, one have to admit that the possibility of changing his or her mind in the future still exists; therefore the totality of the gift of oneself would be lacking. Pre-marital relations are a lie.

(Perhaps with an example we can understand this better). If before marriage, one of them suffers an accident in which he or she is disfigured, the other one could decide not to marry that person anymore and it would not be an injustice. There was no true commitment of married life yet. But for a married couple, it would be a terrible lack of justice to leave the other. In marriage, the commitments radically changed their status in life. They promised each other to be faithful in any circumstance.

Those commitments of a married person, so radically change his or her life that a period of courtship is really important and necessary to prepare them.

Courtship should be seen as a time of testing, a discovery of mutual respect, an apprenticeship in fidelity and the hope of receiving one another as a true gift from God. They should reserve for marriage, expressions of affection that belong to married love and help each other grow in chastity and love (cfr. Pope John Paul II address on the 6 of Feb. 1993).

3. Consequence of the truth about love and courtship.

Man and woman complete each other but expressions of love cannot be governed by feelings alone. We are humans. If the couple does not act prudently, progressively concupiscence can end up governing the relationship and reducing it simply to sexual attraction, each one becoming an object for satisfying personal desires, lowering the relation to the animal level, contrary to the reality of the human person. We should be governed by our mind, which is above our feelings, ready to give ourselves to the other out of love, not out of selfish feelings. For this reason, prudence has always advised that the length of the engagement before marriage be relatively brief (one or two years seem enough to acquire a deep mutual knowledge). External guarantees of stability, such as provided by age, professional situation, house, cannot be forgotten.

Authentic human love is an instrument of sanctification and those in courtship have the obligation to preserve it from selfishness; they are laying the solid foundations for their future stability and fruitfulness.

4. Men and women are different.

Men and women are different; in body and emotions.
Men can easily get aroused. Women are not aroused easily to sexual pleasure. Even if a woman loves someone very much, she may stop some kind of advance which is not proper. For men, this is more difficult. She has slower rising of sexual desires. This is a kind of protection for her, part of the plan of the Creator. This difference in behavior corresponds to the way God made man and woman; it is obvious that the consequences of a sexual act in a man are different from that in a woman. Men do not get pregnant. Women can get pregnant. Women get more trapped, so to speak.

Their hearts are also different. A man can separate sex from love. The average young lady does not generally separate love from sex; for her, feelings of romantic love and sexual desires are closely related.
For the man, sexual desires come suddenly; can be intense and not necessarily related with the heart. He does not feel deep emotions of love and tenderness; he wants immediate satisfaction and pleasure. The woman should understand that the biological and psychological conditions of the man are different. ( Cfr. Jimmy Achacoso, Documentation Service, Philippines, July, 1998).

True friendship is impossible if one allows lust in it. Lust disturbs the capacity of clear discernment and calm thinking. The physical attraction should be subordinated to the spiritual level, to mind and reason.

5. Conclusion

Courtship is a time for holiness, a time to pray, a time to cultivate a love in which the spiritual, emotional, affective aspects are well harmonized and open to the consequences of a married life. A time to fall in love not only in a sentimental way, just because of feelings. But to fall in love, using the mind, the heart and the freedom to chose, for life, a person who has the qualities to be one’s husband or one’s wife until death, and who will be the father or the mother of one’s children.

6. A practical approach.
Some suggestions for the period of courtship:

a) Sincerity. To discuss seriously important topics: children, finance, home, in-laws, work, etc.
b) To avoid travelling alone with him or with her.
c) To avoid certain places, late-night meetings.
d) To get to know his or her friends.
e) To get to know his or her workplace.
f) To seek advice from parents and mature persons.
g) To avoid less decent way of wearing clothes.
h) It is good to have serious disagreements that are quickly solved. In married life these will occur as well.
i) Prayer for happy marriage.

Based on a publication about the topic: DOCUMENTATION SERVICE on Courtship, Dating and going steady, Philippines (1998). Special thanks to John Paul II and Jimmy Achacoso. Written and arranged by Jose Pedro Libano M.





Obama Fights Little Nuns: War on Religion by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND

4 01 2014

nun1jpg-065cf5f65d3ed5ae_largeWASHINGTON —The U.S. Department of Justice registered its opposition to a temporary injunction for the Little Sisters of the Poor, after Justice Sonia Sotomayor directed the administration to respond by Jan. 3, 10am Eastern.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order of nuns who care for the elderly and the poor, had petitioned the high court for an 11th-hour reprieve, and, on Dec. 31, Justice Sotomayor granted a temporary stay, while requesting the administration to respond to the petition within three days.
“The solicitor general, on behalf of respondents, respectfully files this memorandum in opposition to the emergency application for an injunction pending appellate review or, in the alternative, a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment and injunction pending resolution,” stated the Justice Department in papers filed with the high court at the Jan. 3 deadline.
The administration’s stance underscored its commitment to upholding one of the most contentious elements of the Affordable Care Act, even when the plaintiff challenging the law was a religious order dedicated to sesrving the needy.
The brief, filed by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., echoed many of the administration’s past objections to an exemption for religious nonprofits and restated the importance of providing contraception and other services free of charge to female employees. It further argued that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply to the Little Sisters’ specific concerns, and it noted that not one court of appeals had ruled on the merits of cases filed by religious nonprofits.
The White House has provided an “accommodation” for religious nonprofits that object to the mandate on moral grounds but are not exempt from compliance with the federal law. Under the accommodation, the government requires objecting religious employers to sign a self-certification form that allows the mandate’s provisions to be implemented by a third-party administrator. The Little Sisters contend that signing the form makes them complicit in the provision of services that violate their deeply held moral and religious beliefs.

‘Permission Slip’ for Abortion Drugs and Contraceptives
“The government demands that the Little Sisters of the Poor sign a permission slip for abortion drugs and contraceptives or pay millions in fines. The sisters believe that doing that violates their faith and that they shouldn’t be forced to divert funds from the elderly poor they serve to the IRS,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead counsel for the Little Sisters, in a statement released after the Justice Department filed its brief opposing a temporary injunction.
The Obama administration has defended its “accommodation” as a reasonable solution for religious nonprofits that oppose the mandate on moral grounds, arguing that nothing more is required than for the Little Sisters and other plaintiffs to sign a self-certification form.
But Rienzi said that the government’s insistence that plaintiffs sign the form suggested that the action was important.
“The government now asks the Supreme Court to believe that the very thing it is forcing the nuns to do — signing the permission slips — is a meaningless act. But why on earth would the government be fighting the Little Sisters all the way to the Supreme Court if it did not think its own form had any effect?” Rienzi said.
“If the administration believed its contraceptive mandate was valid, it would join the Little Sisters’ request for Supreme Court review because the government has lost almost all of the cases in the lower courts. Instead, its brief today is devoted to trying to keep the court out of the issue, which would leave hundreds of religious organizations subject to massive fines for following their religion.”
For-profit and nonprofit employers have filed a total of 91 legal challenges against the HHS mandate. The U.S. bishops have pressed for a broad exemption that would shield all employers who object to the mandate on moral grounds.
The Becket Fund is representing a number of for-profit and nonprofit plaintiffs that have filed legal challenges to the mandate, including the Eternal Word Television Network. The Register is a service of EWTN.
The Becket Fund also represents Hobby Lobby, a large craft-store chain, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral argument for this case in March, with a decision expected by late June.

Government’s Arguments
In the brief filed with the high court today, the Justice Department was intent on explaining why the legal issues in the Hobby Lobby case were different from the lawsuit filed by the Little Sisters, with the apparent goal of discouraging the justices from taking up this case or granting a temporary injunction for all religious nonprofits that will face massive financial penalties if they do not comply with the mandate.
“Applicants are not … situated like the for-profit corporations that brought suit in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius. … The employer-applicants here are eligible for religious accommodations set out in the regulations that exempt them from any requirement ‘to contract, arrange, pay or refer for contraceptive coverage,’” stated the brief.
The Justice Department’s brief further noted that the religious order was covered under a “church plan,” which meant that it was “exempt from regulation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).”
While ERISA is responsible for enforcement of the mandate, church plans are specifically excluded from its enforcement authority.
Since the church plans would not be subject to enforcement, the government argued, the religious freedom of organizations holding such plans was not under threat.
The administration offered the same argument in papers filed in a Brooklyn court, where the Archdiocese of New York and four New York-area Catholic nonprofits sought relief from the mandate.
In that case, Judge Brian Cogan provided two Catholic schools and two healthcare services with a permanent injunction. He said the legal challenge had merit, despite the fact that the church plans were actually shielded from ERISA’s enforcement authority.
According to Cogan, “Plaintiffs allege that their religion forbids them from completing this self-certification, because, to them, authorizing others to provide services that plaintiffs themselves cannot is tantamount to an endorsement or facilitation of such services. Therefore, regardless of the effect on plaintiffs’ TPAs [third-party administrator], the regulations still require plaintiffs to take actions they believe are contrary to their religion.”

Other Concerns
In its brief filed with the high court today, however, the Justice Department acknowledged the plaintiffs’ fears that the self-certification form could be used in the future to authorize enforcement of the mandate. Such enforcement could be put in effect, stated the Justice Department, “if Congress were to amend the Affordable Care Act … to grant the government ‘some authority outside of ERISA to enforce’ the contraceptive-coverage provision or if the departments ‘promulgate new regulations that apply to church for the courts.’”
While dismissing the plaintiffs’ concerns as irrelevant in the short term, the government’s brief noted, “if relevant new regulations were issued, applicants could renew their request for injunctive relief in light of the changed circumstances.”
During a Jan. 3 conference call with the press, Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel with the Becket Fund, also noted another reason for the Little Sisters’ concern about signing the self-certification form. The Little Sisters had also contracted with another third-party administrator, Express Script, Inc. (ESI), a prescription drug provider, which is not a “church plan.”
During a Jan. 3 interview with the Register, Daniel Blomberg, a lawyer with the Becket Fund, told the Register: “ESI provides pharmaceutical drugs, such as Plan B and ella, and they have made no such guarantees [that they will not provide it to patients covered under their plans] and have no religious objection to providing it.”
The self-certification form “authorizes whomever receives it that they have permission to provide the drugs, and it is the means of reimbursement for ESI. Until Express Script receives that form, they will not get paid for the cost of the drugs,” added Bloomberg, who noted that the government accomodation provides incentives for third-party administrators to offer such provisions when religious employers refuse to do it directly.
He noted that, in papers filed with a lower court, the government had dismissed the Little Sisters’ fears about signing the form as an “invisible dragon.” In fact, said Bloomberg, the LIttle Sisters had every reason to avoid signing a document that would trigger such provisions. And he noted that when criminal conspiracy charges are filed, those who “give material aid and assist someone to do wrong” are also held accountable.

Next Step Is Unclear
It is not yet clear what steps the high court will take now. Rassbach said during the press call that the Little Sisters’ lawyers would file a reply with the court, but he could not provide a timeline for when Sotomayor, or the entire court, might respond.
Douglas Laycock, an expert on religious-freedom issues at the University of Virginia Law School, told the Register, “A stay for three days after hearing from only one side tells you that she takes the issue seriously, but it doesn’t tell you what the whole court will do after they hear from both sides.”
Joan Frawley Desmond is the Register’s senior editor.

Courtesy of NCR





We Wish You A Merry Christmas ! May God Bless You

22 12 2013

 We Wish You A Merry Christmas ! May God Bless You

The various enemies of Christmas have managed to remove from the public gaze most of its once common external signs. We see few mangers. Everything Christian is swept out or sanitized. What Christmas is finds itself removed. One might argue that things like the Christmas tree itself, the Yule log, or even sentimentalized snow are, in fact, steps to remove any specific Christmas meaning.

Christmas has become a “winter festival,” whatever that is. “Dreaming of a White Christmas” shifted attention from the feast to its atmosphere. “Adeste fideles” and “Silent Night” we still hear, of course. We try to be “joyful and triumphant,” as if the event of Christmas had nothing to do with what causes the joy. We are to be festive without a reason. The increasing emptiness of the feast gnaws at our souls.

Christmas is now a feast without a cause. Folks do not, however, want to give up the days off, the presents, the good feelings, the “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” So they are kept without the religious mood that caused them to come about in the first place. We have gone through this elimination of the Christmas theme before. But what interests me is why Christmas in particular, by all odds the most popular of Christian feasts, has found itself under such attack? We cannot even have symbolic signs of its significance or meaning. Why is Christmas feared? Why is it dangerous?

One reason is, supposedly, that it “offends” the sensitivities of those of other religious persuasions. They have delicate consciences. The older notion of “I will tolerate your quirks if you tolerate mine” is not present here. Christmas is what offends. Why is this?

Chesterton’s poem, “The Wise Men,” reads: “Step softly, under snow and rain, / To find the place where men can pray; / The way is all so very plain / That we may lose the way.” Christmas is feared because it is true. If true, it is dangerous. We cannot just ignore it, much as we try. “So very simple is the road, / That we may stray from it. / … And the whole heaven shouts and shakes, / For God Himself is born again….” We may stray from the road.

How odd to have a plain road on which we can lose our way. This not-wanting-to-know about “God Himself” born again is a voluntary act. We do not want to be reminded of the manger. We do not want to see those who actually rejoice in the Christmas Mass, in the family unity about the Holy Family.

We have instead warm colors, winter fests, animals, snow, presents. We do not have the manger, the angels singing on high. And the Word made flesh to dwell amongst us? This we do not want to reckon with.

          No fear here: “The Nativity with God the Father and the Holy Ghost” 
        (Giovanni Battista Pittoni, c. 1740)

If Christmas is just a myth, we can let it alone. But what if it is a history, an event, an account of what happened in the time of Caesar Augustus, “when the whole world was at peace?” We do everything possible to prevent ourselves from considering the implications of this fact.

Christopher Dawson once remarked that, on the morning after the Nativity, the leading papers of Jerusalem, Rome, or Athens – had there been such – would not have announced it. It was not important. From the beginning, the Nativity was only known by a few. It is an event that is “too good to be true.” But that is precisely what it is not. It is true. Its good is something we should know and want to know. Indeed, within the Christian corpus is the sometimes upsetting mandate to make this event and its consequences known to “all nations.” Even if they do not want to hear of it? It seems so.

The fear of Christmas is something even more basic, or perhaps more sinister. Why is that? It is one thing simply not to know something because we have never encountered it or thought about it. It is another thing when, having heard of it, we refuse to allow it to be known. We organize our polity in such a way that every obstacle is put in the way of knowing it.

We are not yet like the countries which seek to prevent private expressions or celebration of Christmas. But with developments such as our increasing denial that marriage is of a man and a woman, we belong to the same mentality. We have taken the first step, and perhaps more than the first.

Christmas is a dangerous feast. We fear it. We do not allow ourselves to consider it. Yet, somehow, we still envy those who know this feast of domesticity. “Unto us a Child is born.” “What Child is this?” If this Child is indeed “Christ the Lord,” what happens to us who make every effort to prevent its truth from being known?..Robert Royal

 

 

 








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