Volume 11 No. 7 OF THE CHURCH OF MAN WITH GOD September 1, 2001 A.D.
HUMAN STEM CELL RESEARCH AND HUMAN RESEARCH PRESIDENT BUSH'S
PERMITTING EXPERIMENTATION USING BODY PARTS OF MURDERED BABIES
IS CONDEMNED From + Paul, S.S.B. To the flock entrusted into my care: 1
The Justice of God Smiles in Mercy on the Sinner who Strives for Holiness, but has no Mercy for
the Sinner Who Seeks Sin 1B
Do Not Confuse Heavenly and Earthly Food, or Rewards; What did our Lord Promise? 1D
Do You Actually Worship God; Is Worship Onerous for You? 1F
Why Those Without Faith Should Pray To Receive It, belief and faith are different, atheist,
changing what God said to meet our desires, the Samaritan Leper, overcoming sin is
Bible History 10
Modern Application of Letter of the Law Versus Spirit, being moral at home and immoral at
work, being aware of your sins can make you beautiful in God's eyes 12
The Magnificent Impossibility Of The Annunciation, Achaz foretold the impossible, God's name
for The Theotokos is "Full Of Grace", God's plans required Mary's Acceptance, she is His first
followers and an active participant in our salvation 13
Deliverance and the Sacraments, prayer for deliverance and holiness, instruct in and promote the
positive, the importance of the Sacraments, the hill of life, traveling to salvation with and without
Tradition of Receiving and Using The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, We are engaged in a holy war and
we, not our General, are losing it due to traitors in the ranks, Pentecost Vespers, Master of Icons
Josef of Blessed Memory, we can communicate with everyone even the "dead" 15
Fathers are an Embarrassment to their Children, prayer of Soufanieh, Damascus, very little
difference between human fathers and the Divine Father, are the most important person in each
one's life 16
Faith - Recognizing and Acting on Miracles and Wondrous Things, Zachary was struck dumb
because he doubted the announced miracle, it is common to doubt even miracles which were
tailor made for the recipient, the miracle of the Eucharist, The Miracle of Damascus
(Soufanieh),acceptance of real miracles 17
Do You Have Faith Or Just Belief?, belief has no fruits but Faith does including Charity and
Hope, Faith creates acts in harmony with it including reception of the Sacraments and Faith in
their reality, belief makes Christ's teachings a philosophy of life while Faith makes Christ's
teachings the Way of Life, Divine Mercy, ridicule of religious expressions and beliefs 18
Prayer and Relationships as Aids in Following The Way, support systems in attaining holiness - other persons and prayer, Banji story, forgiveness makes the hurt go away, receiving and giving forgiveness 19
Paul And Visionary Experience, Most Rev. Augustinus (John A. Corcoran), S.S.B. 33
Financial Reports Year 2000 A.D. 26 - 27
Humor - Signs 1A
Special Prayer Request, Family of Fr. Dcn. Francis X. Grant, S.S.B. 1C
The Martyrdom of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas, (including an indication of Purgatory or perhaps Limbo) 1E
Icons & Art (all B&W sketches) 1,5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, 26, 28, 30,33 Icons
Gay - Lesbian Attacks on Morality Continue at a "Grass Roots" Level, through a New Orleans Recreational Department (NORD) Cross-Dressing Party for Children 20
President George W. Bush's Position On Human Cloning, as opposed to his position on Human Stem Cell Research 28
Remarks by President George W. Bush On Stem Cell Research, 9 August 2001 A.D. 28A
~ HUMAN STEM CELL RESEARCH AND HUMAN RESEARCH ~
PRESIDENT BUSH'S PERMITTING EXPERIMENTATION USING BODY PARTS OF
MURDERED BABIES IS CONDEMNED
From + Paul, S.S.B. To the flock entrusted into my care:
It must be first understood that the great advances which are being made in the scientific study of
the human being have outstripped scientific ethics, because ethics are standards created by man
for guidance of the of men. However, it is imperative that it be understood that these advances
have not outstripped morality, for morality is the standard by which men are bound by God.
Morals have been set and established by God. Ethics change with the tolerance of mankind, but
morals do not change for they are established by the one who never changes, God.
To apply moral standards to human research, and particularly human stem cell research, one must
understand the totality of what is entailed in the research, from gathering that which is to be
studied through the methods of study.
We can best explain, and understand, even the most complex procedures and situations by
making reference to the basic simplicity of morality using simple situations.
If we were to study human hair: we know that humans produce hair, that it is normally produced
in an abundance, and that it can normally be harvested with no ill effects on the one from whom
it is harvested, or on anyone or anything else. We can study human hair, combine it with various
chemicals, observe it and those things with which it reacts, burn it, color it, all with no
determent. We can even use it to fashion and make other things, including cord or rope, and
weave it into cloth, rugs, coats, wigs, and other products, all without moral question, for no harm
is committed therein. Never in the normal course of using human hair in scientific study and
experiment would it be expected that a human would be created, destroyed, or killed, for human
hair is not a human, it is merely something which is part of most humans and which can normally
be removed without harm.
However, were someone's hair to be removed without their permission, then anyone with
knowledge that the hair was so removed would be morally bound to avoid that hair, and any use
which was made of that hair by one knowing its immoral origins would normally be immoral, as
would be the fruits which developed from such knowing use.
There are some parts of a human body which can be removed without long term determent, such
a blood. Thus a person may donate their blood provided neither the blood nor the process of
donation cause harm other than that which can be remedied by the ready, normal, replenishment
of blood by the donor's body itself. However, no one has the moral right to take blood from
someone else without the other's permission. Were a blood recipient to knowingly accept blood
taken from the body of one who did not agree to make the blood available, then the recipient of
the blood would share equally in the grievous sin of the one who stole the blood from its owner.
If the one who's blood was used was killed so that their blood could be used, then the recipient
who knowingly accepted that blood would be guilty of the murder of the individual even though
the recipient did not actually perform the killing. Thus it is that tainted fruit deposits evil within
all who partake of it.
Permission can validly be given by a person for use of their body in scientific study while they
are alive, provided the study does no long term, or irreparable, harm. But were a person to grant
permission for scientific study of their own body where such study were to cause long term or
permanent harm, then such would normally be immoral since a knowing, permanent damage
would be made to that person. This is not to be confused with a damage which a person can
normally sustain without overt harm, such a donation of a kidney where the donor has another,
viable, kidney, which is expected to function normally for the remainder of the donor's life.
However, a person can never morally permit or allow their body to be killed or treated in a
manner which will virtually, surely, result in their own death, for such is suicide, the killing of
one's self, and as such is immoral. (1) Therefore, one can not donate their heart to another, for
such donation would cause the donor's death. (3)
Likewise, one can never morally permit or allow the body of another to be killed or treated in a manner which will virtually, surely, result in the other's death, for such is murder, and as such, is immoral. (2)
We can, and many do, morally, donate our body for scientific research upon our death. We also
can, and many do, morally, donate for scientific research, the body of a family member who has
died, or the body of anyone over whom we have the right to make such a donation. This can be
done without moral problem where death is from natural or accidental causes. This could also be
morally done even where death was caused by intentional killing, by murder, provided the
murder had no connection with the scientific experimentation which followed.
Thus we know that purpose and intent are not all the of determining factors, for procedure must
always be also considered. Truly in scientific matters, as well as in all aspects of life, the ends
can not justify the means, and the means are more important then the ends or object.
Most simply, it is without a doubt immoral to kill someone so that their organs and body parts
can be harvested for transplant. Likewise it is immoral to kill one's self or to allow one's self to
be killed for such purposes.
But is it immoral to accept a transplant of organs from one who has been killed?
If the donor was killed for some reason other than providing body parts for transplant, then,
provided the one killed did not object to his body parts being donated and further provided the
family of the deceased approves (for they have the authority to approve or disapprove such, but
only in compliance with the wishes of he to whom God gave the body), then such donation can
But if the donor were killed for the purpose of having his body parts harvested, then the one who
killed the donor would have committed the sin of murder, and anyone who knowingly received
an organ or other body part from the donor would likewise be guilty of the murder. Here it
possible to split moral hairs within the grievous sin of murder, for one who sought the murder for
the purpose of receiving a transplant would be a full participant in the murder, while one who
knowingly accepted a transplant from the murdered person would be receiving stolen goods
obtained through a murder - which while a severe sin, and mortal to the soul, is not as severe a
mortal sin as the one committed by he who actually participated in the murder. (4) (5)
So, too, is it in matters of experimenting on or with a dead person or that which has been derived
from a dead person.
The concept that they are already dead, and we may as well put their body parts to good use,
holds no sway where death was neither natural nor accidental, for were use of that which was
derived from immorality, here, allowed, then the means would be held as being justified by the
goal sought. Under this principle, were one to kill another so that the killer would have the
benefit of the possessions of the one killed, if possession of such possessions in and of itself were
undeniably good, then the killing would be justified - which obviously is contrary to moral law.
These very same moral principles are evident in criminal and civil law, as applied to unborn
Were a human egg is fertilized by a human sperm and then implanted in a woman, from the
instant of implantation legal effects occur. If the woman were then struck by someone who had
the intention of killing the child, then, even at that early stage of development, the attacker would
be guilty of the crime of killing of the fetus, of fetal homicide. Civilly, the woman would have a
cause of action based in deprivation of life, which is a right of the one killed that is inherited by
Likewise, criminal and civil actions result from an unintentional such killing.
Were the attacker, or anyone else, to take stem cells or anything else from that very tiny child,
then the one who took from the child would be subject to criminal and civil prosecution. If the
unlawful possessor profited from such possession, then he would have to turn over his profits to
those who succeed to the one from whom the material was taken.
With the allowing of stem cell research from fertilized eggs which have been destroyed for the
purpose of obtaining the stem cells, the law of man establishes a difference between a fertilized
egg which is in a petri dish and one which is inside a woman. But one of the crimes which the
law recognizes is the crime of killing a fertilized egg once it is inside a woman. This is illogical
since the crime is that of killing the fetus, and not the crime of depriving the woman of her rights
as regards the fetus - the state can being charges of fetal homicide against the woman's attacker,
but it can not being charges of fetal homicide against one who kills a baby who lives in a petri
dish. This illogic continues to the extent that were that attacker's attempt unsuccessful, the
attacker could still be charged with attempted fetal homicide, and, the woman could abort the
fetus without legal repercussions.
This inconsistency in the law of man does not exist in the law of God.
The law of God is that a human being exists from the instant of conception, and that any
deprivation of that life is immoral murder, it being particularly heinous when that murder is
murder of the most defenseless - babies unborn and born, the elderly, and the infirm.
The ones who seek to have babies created for the purpose of killing them and having stem cells
and other body parts taken from the killed babies for research, are no different from a group of
people who encourage killing sound adults for the purpose of obtaining organ transplants. It
would be immoral to hold the position that: the adults are already dead, so their organs may as
well be put to good use by having them implanted into the ones who encouraged their killing
so-as-to receive transplants. So too is it immoral to hold that the stem cells of babies who have
been killed for the purpose of harvesting their stem cells, should not be wasted by not
experimenting with the stem cells.
If a cure for some dreaded disease were found as a result of use of that which was immorally
obtained, then even that cure could not be used for it would be knowledge tainted with and
grown in sin. To that effect can be related the experiments of the Japanese government during
World War II, using prisoners of war. In several series of related experiments, the Japanese
exposed prisoners of war to extreme cold and cold water immersion. The time it took for death
to take place was carefully noted by the Japanese scientists and charted according to factors
which included height, weight, age, and general physical condition. These experiments also
included attempts to revive the human subjects, with careful notations as to success or lack
thereof correlated to the foregoing factors and water or air temperature and length of time of
exposure. Together with the NAZI, the Japanese also engaged in dissection of living and awake
prisoners of war, and experimentation on their organs, muscles, nerves, and other parts. The
NAZI carried their experiments to the extent of making soap from humans, and lamp shades
from their skin. The notes, as well as the equipment used in these experiments, were seized by
the United States Armed Forces in their various theaters of war. American physicians and
scientists refused to use the notes and experiments results, even though they considered the
research product of immense scientific value. They refused because the ethics of that day
precluded using information which was obtained by such immoral and unethical conduct. (6)
Current ethics probably would encourage use of that material, because ethics are, as afore-stated,
the invention of man.
Those who suffer from disease, injury, or physical condition, and who may profit or benefit from
stem cell research, must be careful in what they advocate.
Research using the intentionally killed is tainted research, as is all which is derived therefrom.
Research using the same material from that which has not been killed, or which has died
naturally or accidentally, and which has been properly obtained, is not tainted.
It is as though a paralyzed person sought a new spinal cord.
If the replacement spinal cord were obtained from one who died of natural or accidental causes,
and the spinal cord were properly donated by the one(s) having the moral ability to so do, then
the paralyzed person can morally seek the transplant. But the paralyzed person acts immorally if
he seeks to have someone killed so that he can receive the dead person's spinal cord.
Those who seek to have stem cell research take place using life created for the purpose of
harvesting stem cells are seeking the murder of babies so that they can benefit. Those who in any
manner willingly assist of facilitate these procedures likewise participate in the murder of babies.
And those who allow such research using that derived from those who have already been killed
for the purpose of providing the research material, likewise approve of the killing and induce
more killing which we know will take place despite the most severe restraints.
There is no middle ground between good and evil.
+ Paul, S.S.B.10 August 2001 A.D.
(1) This is not to be confused with the greater love, where one gives his life for another, such as
the hero who blocks the effect of an explosion with his own body so-as-to save the life of
another. However, were the one who so acts, to act because they wished to die, then their act
would be immoral, for its purpose would be to kill, not to save.
(2) The example of the hero who gives his life in love for his fellow man serves as an excellent
opposite, for were that same person to grab one of his fellows and throw him into the path of the
explosion so-as-to save the life of another, then the one who so acted would be the murderer of
the one who blocked the explosion, and would not be a hero.
(3) This is not to exclude donation of one's own heart upon their own death provided their own
death was in no manner associated with the donation. Thus, one can leave provisions that their
heart will be given to another upon their own death, and if the donor dies from natural or
accidental causes, or even if they are killed and the killing is not related to the donation, then the
donation can be a moral act.
(4) The moral difference is actually non-existent in its effect, for both sin mortally; both are
deprived from the spiritual life giving sustenance of God's Grace; and neither is capable of
becoming one with God.
(5) The civil and criminal laws of man generally follow the Law of God in situations involving
receipt of stolen goods. One who authorized a murder for the purpose of obtaining the or some
of the possessions of the one killed, is legally guilty of the murder as though he performed it
himself - so too is he, morally. One who knowingly receives stolen goods commits at least the
crime of theft in the form of receiving stolen goods, and is also bound civilly to return the goods
which were stolen - so too is he, morally. One who receives stolen goods without knowing they
are stolen goods, can only unburden himself from the crime of receiving stolen goods by
returning the goods which he has which were stolen - and if the proper owner is dead, then the
recipient must return the stolen goods to those who inherit or advance into the right of ownership
of that which was owned by the one killed - and again, so it is, morally. If the recipient of stolen
goods, who receives stolen goods without knowing they are stolen, refuses to so return the stolen
goods which he retains in his possession or control, then he is at least guilty of the crime of theft
in the form of keeping the stolen goods, and he is also subject to civil liability - again, with full
(6) It should also be noted that Air - Sea Rescue and U. S. Coast Guard rescue operations during
and after World War II provided a base of information which was obtained properly in those
rescues and rescue attempts, and which later made the Japanese and NAZI records of
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A LITTLE HUMOR FROM SIGNS
We need it these days
At a Santa Fe gas station: We will sell gasoline to anyone in a glass container.
In a New York restaurant: Customers who consider our waitresses uncivil ought to see the
On the wall of a Baltimore estate: Trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
--Sisters of Mercy
On a long-established New Mexico dry cleaners: 38 years on the same spot.
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THE JUSTICE OF GOD SMILES IN MERCY ON THE SINNER WHO STRIVES FOR
HOLINESS, BUT HAS NO MERCY FOR THE SINNER WHO SEEKS SIN
The happiness of the just and the evil state of the wicked.
Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence:
But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit, in due season. And his leaf shall not fall off: and all whatsoever he shall do shall prosper.
Not so the wicked, not so: but like the dust, which the wind driveth from the face of the earth.
Therefore the wicked shall not rise again in judgment: nor sinners in the council of the just.
For the Lord knoweth the way of the just: and the way of the wicked shall perish.
It should be self-evident, that the justice of God smiles in mercy on the sinner who strives for
holiness, but has no mercy for the sinner who seeks sin.
The person who strives for holiness will bear holy fruit, for just like a tree which is planted by a
running stream will bear fruit, so too will the stream of Grace nourish those who seek to drink of
the Waters of God. When one is nourished with the Waters of God, one must bear Godly fruit.
True, some of the fruit may be of varying quality, for the nourishment from God is changed into
fruit through the metabolism of the tree. Which is why we sometimes do good and sometimes do
the "not so good".
But if one does not seek and obtain Heavenly nourishment, such a person will be incapable of
producing holy fruit. All such a person will achieve will be as dust before the wind, blowing into
the eyes of those who likewise proceed in the direction of unholiness; and sometimes blinding
even those who do seek Heavenly nourishment.
When we were Baptized we were transplanted from the desert to the banks of the running stream
of Grace which flows from God. Our roots were immersed in the Holy Spirit with our
Chrismation and our first reception of the Sacred Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ
flushed our entire being with Divine Nourishment.
But if we neglect Divine Nourishment, we will soon become spiritually mal-nourished. If we
ignore the insecticide provided by the Sacrament of Holy Confession and Absolution, then the
various parasites which seek to infect us will gradually take hold and make us weak and sick.
Without Sacramental Confession and Absolution, without actually going to a Priest and
confessing our sins and receiving Absolution from the Priest, without these we may become so ill
that we lose the ability to absorb the nourishment provided by the Sacred Body and Blood of our
If we fail to study and seek the guidance provided by the study materials the Church provides,
and the expertise of the Bishops and the Priests who assist them in teaching, our growth will be
haphazard and without direction. We will become weak, and may even attempt to over-reach our
capacities. We can easily be come like a tree which, without proper pruning, seeks to bear too
much fruit for its branches, and so is partially or totally destroyed by the weight of its own fruit
or by the first strong breeze.
Likewise, without proper pruning and training, all the nourishment we receive could go into our
own growth, without our bearing fruit - and we know our Lord cursed such a tree and it withered
and died. Such is the fate of those who seek for themselves. For they grow in their own way, but
their leaves do not keep pace with their branches, and so they die for their leaves are not
numerous enough to receive sufficient light from God.
But the tree which drinks from the Divine Fountain of Grace, nourished with the Body and Blood
of Christ, cleansed from pests and infection by Confession and Absolution, and pruned and
shaped by study under the guidance of the Bishops, who actually are those who have been
appointed by our Lord to teach, such a tree will receive the light from God and grow strong in
Faith, Hope, and Love, and will bear fruit to nourish the entire world.
Ref: Rom. 8:12-17, Luke 16:1-9, Psalm 1
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In your prayers, please remember the family of Fr. Dcn. Francis Grant, S.S.B. (and Father
Francis, as well), which has suffered death and injury in an accident which killed Gracie
Trevigno amd Jimmie Dornan, and left severely injured: Geraldine Grant Dornan (wife of
Jimmie Dornan), Michael Grant, and Cande Trevigno (son of Gracie Trevigno).
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DO NOT CONFUSE HEAVENLY AND EARTHLY FOOD, OR HEAVENLY AND
Did any of those who accepted Earthly food from our Lord, also accept the heavenly food our
Lord gave to them?
There appears to be a gross misunderstanding of what our Lord promised. Christians are not
supposed to seek temporal benefits from being followers of Christ, though if temporal benefits
are received they should not be rejected. The benefits derived from being a Christian are eternal,
not temporal; they last forever and therefore are not part of this temporary world in which we
Imagine Jesus is standing right in front of you, about ten paces away. Behind Him is a mountain
of gold, silver, precious jewels and metals, all housed in a gigantic mansion which is tended to by
a multitude of servants and grounds keepers. The mansion contains everything needed to fulfill
every Earthly need and desire, and anyone who enters into the mansion will instantly be made to
be in perfect health and at the height of physical, emotional, and intellectual perfection, and will
also be accompanied by the most delightful companions.
Then Jesus spreads out His arms tells you, "All this is yours for loving me."
Jesus does this to everyone. Most people think He is talking about the mansion filled with
Earthly delights, but what He is talking about is Himself. He is "All This."
He is the important, permanent Gift. But He is a Gift with requirements for reception. It is those
requirements which we study and conform ourselves so-as-to follow them.
Some mistake conforming ourselves to Christ for something else. They mistake the death of the
old person for something else. They mistake dying to sin with rejection of the temporal world.
They mistakenly believe that eternal happiness means one must live in temporal sorrow, that only
those who are miserable in this life will attain eternal salvation.
They are just as wrong as those who think Jesus promised them a miracle which will effect their
situation in this world.
This world was created by God, as was everything other than God Himself. This world is
therefore good; but it is not the ultimate good. True, those creatures with free will - man and the
angels - can chose to be and do evil, and to use the things of this world for evil purposes, but that
does not change the fact that this world is good. It just means that certain creatures use God's
good creation for evil purposes.
Because this world is good, and because one of man's tasks is to unite all of creation into
harmonious worship of God, and most important, because this world is the place where we are
made ready to participate in union with God in the world to come, we should not reject
participation in this world.
Let us look at this closely.
Again imagine our Lord is standing about ten paces in front of you. It is a warm day, and our
Lord hands you a cool drink. If you reject the drink because it is a thing of the temporal world,
the you have rejected something our Lord has offered to you. It is only when you seek to guzzle
down more of the drink than our Lord has offered to you, that participation in that thing of the
temporal world becomes an evil.
Learn to live properly in this world with the things of this world, but to place your ultimate value
and focus on God who awaits you in the next world. Seek not your treasure in this world, but do
accept the treasures of this world which our Lord gives to you - but only in the measure to which
our Lord gives you worldly treasures; always remembering worldly treasures are to be used to
assist you and others in attaining the permanent Treasure of the world to come.
Ref: Rom. 6:3-11; Mark 8:1-9
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THE MARTYRDOM OF
(With a reference by Saint Perpetua to her predeceased brother, and her seeing him,
probably in Purgatory, and how her prayers released him from Purgatory)
Perpetua and Felicitas suffered martyrdom in the reign of Septimius Severus, about the
year 202 A.D.
THE PASSION OF THE HOLY MARTYRS
PERPETUA AND FELICITAS
CHAP. I. WHEN THE SAINTS WERE APPREHENDED, ST. PERPETUA SUCCESSFULLY
RESISTED HER FATHER'S PLEADING, WAS BAPTIZED WITH THE OTHERS, WAS
THRUST INTO A FILTHY DUNGEON. ANXIOUS ABOUT HER INFANT, BY A VISION
GRANTED TO HER, SHE UNDERSTOOD THAT HER MARTYRDOM WOULD TAKE
PLACE VERY SHORTLY.
1. The young catechumens, Revocatus and his fellow-servant Felicitas, Saturninus and
Secundulus, were apprehended. And among them also was Vivia Perpetua, respectably born,
liberally educated, a married matron, having a father and mother and two brothers, one of whom,
like herself, was a catechumen, and a son an infant at the breast. She herself was about
twenty-two years of age. From this point onward she shall herself narrate the whole course of her
martyrdom, as she left it described by her own hand and with her own mind.
2. "While" says she, "we were still with the persecutors, and my father, for the sake of his
affection for me, was persisting in seeking to turn me away, and to cast me down from the
faith,--'Father,' said I, ' do you see, let us say, this vessel lying here to be a little pitcher, or
something else?' And he said, ' I see it to be so.' And I replied to him, ' Can it be called by any
other name than what it is?' And he said, 'No.' 'Neither can I call myself anything else than what I
am, a Christian.' Then my father, provoked at this saying, threw himself upon me, as if he would
tear my eyes out. But he only distressed me, and went away overcome by the devil's arguments.
Then, in a few days after I had been without my father, I gave thanks to the Lord; and his absence
became a source of consolation to me. In that same interval of a few days we were baptized, and
to me the Spirit prescribed that in the water baptism nothing else was to be sought for bodily
endurance. After a few days we are taken into the dungeon, and I was very much afraid, because I
had never felt such darkness. O terrible day ! O the fierce heat of the shock of the soldiery,
because of the crowds! I was very unusually distressed by my anxiety for my infant. There were
present there Tertius and Pomponius, the blessed deacons who ministered to us, and had arranged
by means of a gratuity that we might be refreshed by being sent out for a few hours into a
pleasanter part of the prison. Then going out of the dungeon, all attended to their own wants. I
suckled my child, which was now enfeebled with hunger. In my anxiety for it, I addressed my
mother and comforted my brother, and commended to their care my son. I was languishing
because I had seen them languishing on my account. Such solicitude I suffered for many days,
and I obtained for my infant to remain in the dungeon with me; and forthwith I grew strong and
was relieved from distress and anxiety about my infant; and the dungeon became to me as it were
a palace, so that I preferred being there to being elsewhere.
3. "Then my brother said to me, 'My dear sister, you are already in a position of great dignity, and
are such that you may ask for a vision, and that it may be made known to you whether this is to
result in a passion or an escape.' And I, who knew that I was privileged to converse with the
Lord, whose kindnesses I had found to be so great, boldly promised him, and said, 'To-morrow I
will tell you.' And I asked, and this was what was shown me. I saw a golden ladder of marvellous
height, reaching up even to heaven, and very narrow, so that persons could only ascend it one by
one; and on the sides of the ladder was fixed every kind of iron weapon. There were there
swords, lances, hooks, daggers; so that if any one went up carelessly, or not looking upwards, he
would be torn to pieces and his flesh would cleave to the iron weapons. And under the ladder
itself was crouching a dragon of wonderful size, who lay in wait for those who ascended, and
frightened them from the ascent. And Saturus went up first, who had subsequently delivered
himself up freely on our account, not having been present at the time that we were taken
prisoners. And he attained the top of the ladder, and turned towards me, and said to me, Perpetua,
I am waiting for you; but be careful that the dragon do not bite you.' And I said, ' In the name of
the Lord Jesus Christ, he shall not hurt me.' And from under the ladder itself, as if in fear of me,
he slowly lifted up his head; and as I trod upon the first step, I trod upon his head. And I went up,
and I saw an immense extent of garden, and in the midst of the garden a white-hatred man sitting
in the dress of a shepherd, of a large stature, milking sheep; and standing around were many
thousand white-robed ones. And he raised his head, and looked upon me, and said to me, ' Thou
an welcome, daughter.' 'And he called me, and from the cheese as he was milking he gave me as
it were a little cake, and I received it with folded hands; and I ate it, and all who stood around
said Amen. And at the sound of their voices I was awakened, still tasting a sweetness which I
cannot describe. And I immediately related this to my brother, and we understood that it was to
be a passion, and we ceased henceforth to have any hope in this world.
CHAP. II. PERPETUA, WHEN BESIEGED BY HER FATHER, COMFORTS HIM. WHEN
LED WITH OTHERS TO THE TRIBUNAL, SHE AVOWS HERSELF A CHRISTIAN, AND
IS CONDEMNED WITH THE REST TO THE WILD BEASTS. SHE PRAYS FOR HER
BROTHER DINOCRATES, WHO WAS DEAD.
1. "After a few days there prevailed a report that we should be heard. And then my father came to
me from the city, worn out with anxiety. He came up to me, that he might cast me down, saying, '
Have pity my daughter, on my grey hairs. Have pity on your father, if I am worthy to be called a
father by you. If with these hands I have brought you up to this flower of your age, if I have
preferred you to all your brothers, do not deliver me up to the scorn of men. Have regard to your
brothers, have regard to your mother and your aunt, have regard to your son, who will not be able
to live after you.Lay aside your courage, and do not bring us all to destruction; for none of us will
speak in freedom if you should suffer anything.' These things said my father in his affection,
kissing my hands, and throwing himself at my feet; and with tears he called me not Daughter, but
Lady. And I grieved over the grey hairs of my father, that he alone of all my family would not
rejoice over my passion. And I comforted him, saying, 'On that scaffold whatever God wills shall
happen. For know that we are not placed in our own power, but in that of God.' And he departed
from me in sorrrow.
2. "Another day, while we were at dinner, we were suddenly taken away to be heard, and we
arrived at the town-hall. At once the rumour spread through the neighbourhood of the public
place, and an immense number of people were gathered together. We mount the platform. The
rest were interrogated, and confessed. Then they came to me, and my father immediately
appeared with my boy, and withdrew me from the step, and said in a supplicating tone, 'Have pity
on your babe.' And Hilarianus the procurator, who had just received the power of life and death
in the place of the proconsul Minucius Timinianus, who was deceased, said, 'Spare the grey hairs
of your father, spare the infancy of your boy, offer sacrifice for the well-being of the emperors.'
And I replied, 'I will not do so.' Hilarianus said, 'Are you a Christian?' And I replied, 'I am a
Christian.' And as my father stood there to cast me down from the faith, he was ordered by
Hilarianus to be thrown down, and was beaten with rods. And my father's misfortune grieved me
as if I myself had been beaten, I so grieved for his wretched old age. The procurator then delivers
judgment on all of us, and condemns us to the wild beasts, and we went down cheerfully to the
dungeon. Then, because my child had been used to receive suck from me, and to stay with me in
the prison, I send Pomponius the deacon to my father to ask for the infant, but my father would
not give it him. And even as God willed it, the child no long desired the breast, nor did my breast
cause me uneasiness, lest I should be tormented by care for my babe and by the pain of my
breasts at once.
3. "After a few days, whilst we were all praying, on a sudden, in the middle of our prayer, there
came to me a word, and I named Dinocrates; and I was amazed that that name had never come
into my mind until then, and I was grieved as I remembered his misfortune. And I felt myself
immediately to be worthy, and to be called on to ask on his behalf. And for him I began earnestly
to make supplication, and to cry with groaning to the Lord. Without delay, on that very night, this
was shown to me in a vision. I saw Dinocrates going out from a gloomy place, where also there
were several others, and he was parched and very thirsty, with a filthy countenance and pallid
colour, and the wound on his face which he had when he died. This Dinocrates had been my
brother after the flesh, seven years of age? who died miserably with disease--his face being so
eaten out with cancer, that his death caused repugnance to all men. For him I had made my
prayer, and between him and me there was a large interval, so that neither of us could approach
to the other. And moreover, in the same place where Dinocrates was, there was a pool full of
water, having its brink higher than was the stature of the boy; and Dinocrates raised himself up as
if to drink. And I was grieved that, although that pool held water, still, on account of the height to
its brink, he could not drink. And I was aroused, and knew that my brother was in suffering. But I
trusted that my prayer would bring help to his suffering; and I prayed for him every day until we
passed over into the prison of the camp, for we were to fight in the camp-show. Then was the
birth-day of Gets Caesar, and I made my prayer for my brother day and night, groaning and
weeping that he might be granted to me.
4. "Then, on the day on which we remained in fetters, this was shown to me. I saw that that place
which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body
well clad, was finding refreshment. And where there had been a wound, I saw a scar; and that
pool which I had before seen, I saw now with its margin lowered even to the boy's navel. And
one drew water from the pool incessantly, and upon its brink was a goblet filled with water; and
Dinocrates drew near and began to drink from it, and the goblet did not fail. And when he was
satisfied, he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I
awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment.
CHAP. III. PERPETUA IS AGAIN TEMPTED BY HER FATHER. HER THIRD VISION,
WHEREIN SHE IS LED AWAY TO STRUGGLE AGAINST AN EGYPTIAN. SHE FIGHTS,
CONQUERS, AND RECEIVES THE REWARD.
1. "Again, after a few days, Pudens, a soldier, an assistant overseer of the prison, who began to
regard us in great esteem, perceiving that the great power of God was in us, admitted many
brethren to see us, that both we and they might be mutually refreshed. And when the day of the
exhibition drew near my father, worn with suffering, came in to me, and began to tear out his
beard, and to throw himself on the earth, and to cast himself down on his face, and to reproach
his years, and to utter such words as might move all creation. I grieved for his unhappy old age.
2. "The day before that on which we were to fight, I saw in a vision that Pomponius the deacon
came hither to the gate of the prison, and knocked vehemently. I went out to him, and opened the
gate for him; and he was clothed in a richly ornamented white robe, and he had on manifold
calliculae. And he said to me, 'Perpetua, we are waiting for you; come!' And he held his hand to
me, and we began to go through rough and winding places. Scarcely at length had we arrived
breathless at the amphitheatre, when he led me into the middle of the arena, and said to me, 'Do
not fear, I am here with you, and I am labouring with you;' and he departed. And I gazed upon an
immense assembly in astonishment. And because I knew that I was given to the wild beasts, I
marvelled that the wild beasts were not let loose upon me. Then there came forth against me a
certain Egyptian, horrible in appearance, with his backers, to fight with me. And there came to
me, as my helpers and encouragers, handsome youths; and I was stripped, and became a man?
Then my helpers began to rub me with oil, as is the custom for contest; and I beheld that
Egyptian on the other hand rolling in the dust. And a certain man came forth, of wondrous height,
so that he even over-topped the top of the amphitheatre; and he wore a loose tunic and a purple
robe between two bands over the middle of the breast; and he had on calliculae of varied form,
made of gold and silver; and he carried a rod, as if he were a trainer of gladiators, and a green
branch upon which were apples of gold. And he called for silence, and said, 'This Egyptian, if he
should overcome this woman, shall kill her with the sword; and if she shall conquer him, she
shall receive this branch.' Then he departed. And we drew near to one another, and began to deal
out blows. He sought to lay hold of my feet, while I struck at his face with my heels; and I was
lifted up in the air, and began thus to thrust at him as if spurning the earth. But when I saw that
there was some delay I joined my hands so as to twine my fingers with one another; and I took
hold upon his head, and he fell on his face, and I trod upon his head? And the people began to
shout, and my backers to exult. And I drew near to the trainer and took the branch; and he kissed
me, and said to me, 'Daughter, peace be with you:' and I began to go gloriously to the
Sanavivarian gate. Then I awoke, and perceived that I was not to fight with beasts, but against the
devil. Still I knew that the victory was awaiting me. This, so far, I have completed several days
before the exhibition; but what passed at the exhibition itself let who will write."
CHAP. IV. SATURUS, IN A VISION, AND PERPETUA BEING CARRIED BY ANGELS
INTO THE GREAT LIGHT, BEHOLD THE MARTYRS. BEING BROUGHT TO THE
THRONE OF GOD, ARE RECEIVED WITH A KISS. THEY RECONCILE OPTATUS THE
BISHOP AND ASPASIUS THE PRESBYTER.
1. Moreover, also, the blessed Saturus related this his vision, which he himself committed to
writing:--" We had suffered," says he, "and we were gone forth from the flesh, and we were
beginning to be borne by four angels into the east; and their hands touched us not. And we
floated not supine, looking upwards, but as if ascending a gentle slope. And being set free, we at
length saw the first boundless light; and I said, 'Perpetua' (for she was at my side), 'this is what
the Lord promised to us; we have received the promise.' And while we are borne by those same
four angels, there appears to us a vast space which was like a pleasure-garden, having rose-trees
and every kind of flower. And the height of the trees was after the measure of a cypress, and their
leaves were falling incessantly. Moreover, there in the pleasure-garden four other angels
appeared, brighter than the previous ones, who, when they saw us, gave us honour, and said to
the rest of the angels, 'Here they are! Here they are!' with admiration. And those four angels who
bore us, being greatly afraid, put us down; and we passed over on foot the space of a furlong in a
broad path. There we found Jocundus and Saturninus and Artaxius, who having suffered the
same persecution were burnt alive; and Quintus, who also himself a martyr had departed in the
prison. And we asked of them where the rest were. And the angels said to us, 'Come first, enter
and greet your Lord.'
2. "And we came near to place, the walls of which were such as if they were built of light; and
before the gate of that place stood four angels, who clothed those who entered with white robes.
And being clothed, we entered and saw the boundless light, and heard the united voice of some
who said without ceasing, Holy! Holy! Holy!' And in the midst of that place we saw as it were a
hoary man sitting, having snow-white hair, and with a youthful countenance; and his feet we saw
not. And on his right hand and on his left were four-and-twenty elders, and behind them a great
many others were standing. We entered with great wonder, and stood before the throne; and the
four angels raised us up, and we kissed Him, and He passed His hand over our face. And the rest
of the elders said to us, 'Let us stand;' and we stood and made peace. And the elders said to us,
and enjoy.' And I said, 'Perpetua, you have what you wish.' And she said to me, 'Thanks be to
God, that joyous as I was in the flesh, I am now more joyous here.'
3. "And we went forth, and saw before the entrance Optatus the bishop at the right hand, and
Aspasius the presbyter, a teacher, at the left hand, separate and sad; and they cast themselves at
our feet, and said to us, 'Restore peace between us, because you have gone forth and have left us
thus.' And we said to them, 'Art not thou our father, and thou our presbyter, that you should cast
yourselves at our feet?" And we prostrated ourselves, and we embraced them; and Perpetua
began to speak with them, and we drew them apart in the pleasure-garden under a rose-tree. And
while we were speaking with them, the angels said unto them, 'Let them alone, that they may
refresh themselves; and if you have any dissensions between you, forgive one another.' And they
drove them away. And they said to Optatus, 'Rebuke thy people, because they assemble to you as
if returning from the circus, and contending about factious matters.' And then it seemed to us as
if they would shut the doors. And in that place we began to recognise many brethren, and
moreover martyrs. We were all nourished with an indescribable odour, which satisfied us. Then, I
CHAP.V. SECUNDULUS DIES IN THE PRISON. FELICITAS IS PREGNANT, BUT WITH
MANY PRAYERS SHE BRINGS FORTH IN THE EIGHTH MONTH WITHOUT
SUFFERING, THE COURAGE OF PERPETUA AND OF SATURUS UNBROKEN.
1. The above were the more eminent visions of the blessed martyrs Saturus and Perpetua
themselves, which they themselves committed to writing. But God called Secundulus, while he
has yet in the prison, by an earlier exit from the world, not without favour, so as to give a respite
to the beasts. Nevertheless, even if his soul did not acknowledge cause for thankfulness,
assuredly his flesh did.
2. But respecting Felicitas (for to her also the Lord's favour approached in the same way), when
she had already gone eight months with child (for she had been pregnant when she was
apprehended), as the day of the exhibition was drawing near, she was in great grief lest on
account of her pregnancy she should be delayed,--because pregnant women are not allowed to be
publicly punished,--and lest she should shed her sacred and guiltless blood among some who had
been wicked subsequently. Moreover, also, her fellow-martyrs were painfully saddened lest they
should leave so excellent a friend, and as it were companion, alone in the path of the same hope.
Therefore, joining together their united cry, they poured forth their prayer to the Lord three days
before the exhibition. Immediately after their prayer her pains came upon her, and when, with the
difficulty natural to an eight months' delivery, in the labour of bringing forth she was sorrowing,
some one of the servants of the Cataractarii said to her, "You who are in such suffering now,
what will you do when you are thrown to the beasts, which you despised when you refused to
sacrifice?" And she replied, "Now it is I that suffer what I suffer; but then there will be another in
me, who will suffer for me, because I also am about to suffer for Him." Thus she brought forth a
little girl, which a certain sister brought up as her daughter.
3. Since then the Holy Spirit permitted, and by permitting willed, that the proceedings of that
exhibition should be committed to writing, although we are unworthy to complete the description
of so great a glory; yet we obey as it were the command of the most blessed Perpetua, nay her
sacred trust, and add one more testimony concerning her constancy and her loftiness of mind.
While they were treated with more severity by the tribune, because, from the intimations of
certain deceitful men, he feared lest thay should be withdrawn from the prison by some sort of
magic incantations, Perpetua answered to his face, and said, "Why do you not at least permit us
to be refreshed, being as we are objectionable to the most noble Caesar, and having to fight on
his birth-day? Or is it not your glory if we are brought forward fatter on that occasion?" The
tribune shuddered and blushed, and commanded that they should be kept with more humanity, so
that permission was given to their brethren and others to go in and be refreshed with them; even
the keeper of the prison trusting them now himself.
4. Moreover, on the day before, when in that last meal, which they call the free meal, they were
partaking as far as they could, not of a free supper, but of an agape; with the same firmness they
were uttering such words as these to the people, denouncing against them the judgment of the
Lord, bearing witness to the felicity of their passion, laughing at the curiosity of the people who
came together; while Saturus said, "To-morrow is not enough for you, for you to behold with
pleasure that which you hate. Friends today, enemies to-morrow. Yet note our faces diligently,
that you may recognise them on that day of judgment." Thus all departed thence astonished, and
from these things many believed.
CHAP. VI. FROM THE PRISON THEY ARE LED FORTH WITH JOY INTO THE
AMPHITHEATRE, ESPECIALLY PERPETUA AND FELICITAS. ALL REFUSE TO PUT ON
PROFANE GARMENTS. THEY ARE SCOURGED, THEY ARE THROWN TO THE WILD
BEASTS. SATURUS TWICE IS UNHURT. PERPETUA AND FELICITAS ARE THROWN
DOWN; THEY ARE CALLED BACK TO THE SANAVlVARIAN GATE. SATURUS
WOUNDED BY A LEOPARD, EXHORTS THE SOLDIER. THEY KISS ONE ANOTHER,
AND ARE SLAIN WITH THE SWORD.
1. The day of their victory shone forth, and they proceeded from the prison into the amphitheatre,
as if to an assembly, joyous and of brilliant countenances; if prechance shrinking, it was with joy,
and not with fear. Perpetua followed with placid look, and with step and gait as a matron of
Christ, beloved of God; casting down the luster of her eyes from the gaze of all. Moreover,
Felicitas, rejoicing that she had safely brought forth, so that she might fight with the wild beasts;
from the blood and from the midwife to the gladiator, to wash after childbirth with a second
baptism. And when they were brought to the gate, and were constrained to put on the
clothing--the men, that of the priests of Saturn, and the women, that of those who were
consecrated to Ceres--that noble-minded woman resisted even to the end with constancy. For she
said, "We have come thus far of our own accord, for this reason, that our liberty might not be
restrained. For this reason we have yielded our minds, that we might not do any such thing as
this: we have agreed on this with you." Injustice acknowledged the justice; the tribune yielded to
their being brought as simply as they were. Perpetua sang psalms, already treading under foot the
head of the Egyptian; Revocatus, and Saturninus, and Saturus uttered threatenings against the
gazing people about this martyrdom. When they came within sight of Hilarianus, by gesture and
nod, they began to say to Hilarianus, "Thou judgest us," say they, "but God will judge thee." At
this the people, exasperated, demanded that they should be tormented with scourges as they
passed along the rank of the venatores. And they indeed rejoiced that they should have incurred
any one of their Lord's passions. 2. But He who had said, "Ask, and ye shall receive," gave to
them when they asked, that death which each one had wished for. For when at any time they had
been discoursing among themselves about their wish in respect of their martyrdom, Saturninus
indeed had professed that he wished that he might be thrown to all the beasts; doubtless that he
might wear a more glorious crown. Therefore in the beginning of the exhibition he and
Revocatus made trial of the leopard, and moreover upon the scaffold they were harassed by the
bear. Saturus, however, held nothing in greater abomination than a bear; but he imagined that he
would be put an end to with one bite of a leopard. Therefore, when a wild boar was supplied, it
was the huntsman rather who had supplied that boar who was gored by that same beast, and died
the day after the shows. Saturus only was drawn out; and when he had been bound on the floor
near to a bear, the bear would not come forth from his den. And so Saturus for the second time is
3. Moreover, for the young women the devil prepared a very fierce cow, provided especially for
that purpose contrary to custom, rivalling their sex also in that of the beasts. And so, stripped and
clothed with nets, they were led forth. The populace shuddered as they saw one young woman of
delicate frame, and another with breasts still dropping from her recent childbirth. So, being
recalled, they are unbound. Perpetua is first led in. She was tossed, and fell on her loins; and
when she saw her tunic torn from her side, she drew it over her as a veil for her middle, rather
mindful of her modesty than her suffering. Then she was called for again, and bound up her
dishevelled hair; for it was not becoming for a martyr to suffer with dishevelled hair, lest she
should appear to be mourning in her glory. So she rose up; and when she saw Felicitas crushed,
she approached and gave her her hand, and lifted her up. And both of them stood together; and
the brutality of the populace being appeased, they were recalled to the Sanavivarian gate. Then
Perpetua was received by a certain one who was still a catechumen, Rusticus by name, who kept
close to her; and she, as if aroused from sleep, so deeply had she been in the Spirit and in an
ecstasy, began to look round her, and to say to the amazement of all, "I cannot tell when we are to
be led out to that cow." And when she had heard what had already happened, she did not believe
it until she had perceived certain signs of injury in her body and in her dress, and had recognised
the catechumen. Afterwards causing that catechumen and the brother to approach, she addressed
them, saying, "Stand fast in the faith, and love one another, all of you, and be not offended at my
4. The same Saturus at the other entrance exhorted the soldier Pudens, saying, "Assuredly here I
am, as I have promised and foretold, for up to this moment I have felt no beast. And now believe
with your whole heart. Lo, I am going forth to that beast, and I shall be destroyed with one bite of
the leopard." And immediately at the conclusion of the exhibition he was thrown to the leopard;
and with one bite of his he was bathed with such a quantity of blood, that the people shouted out
to him as he was returning, the testimony of his second baptism, "Saved and washed, saved and
washed." Manifestly he was assuredly saved who had been glorified in such a spectacle. Then to
the soldier Pudens he said, "Farewell, and be mindful of my faith; and let not these things disturb,
but confirm you." And at the same time he asked for a little ring from his finger, and returned it
to him bathed in his wound, leaving to him an inherited token and the memory of his blood. And
then lifeless he is cast down with the rest, to be slaughtered in the usual place. And when the
populace called for them into the midst, that as the sword penetrated into their body they might
make their eyes partners in the murder, they rose up of their own accord, and transferred
themselves whither the people wished; but they first kissed one another, that they might
consummate their martyrdom with the kiss of peace. The rest indeed, immoveable and in silence,
received the sword-thrust; much more Saturus, who also had first ascended the ladder, and first
gave up his spirit, for he also was waiting for Perpetua. But Perpetua, that she might taste some
pain, being pierced between the ribs, cried out loudly, and she herself placed the wavering right
hand of the youthful gladiator to her throat. Possibly such a woman could not have been slain
unless she herself had willed it, because she was feared by the impure spirit.O most brave and
blessed martyrs! O truly called and chosen unto the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ! whom
whoever magnifies, and honours, and adores, assuredly ought to read these examples for the
edification of the Church, not less than the ancient ones, so that new virtues also may testify that
one and the same Holy Spirit is always operating even until now, and God the Father
Omnipotent, and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, whose is the glory and infinite power for ever
and ever. Amen.
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Do You Actually WISH To Worship God
A few Saturday evenings ago there was an Orthodox wedding made during Divine Liturgy, at
which several Roman Catholics were in attendance. One of these was heard to comment to
another, that the Divine Liturgy in which he had just participated, was the best Mass he had been
to in many years, and that it must have surely fulfilled his Sunday obligation to attend Mass
(Roman Catholics may attend a Vigil Mass after dark or thereabouts on Saturdays in fulfillment
of their Sunday Obligation.)
Many of those immediately around him agreed, and they began to discuss how they felt they had
really attended a worship liturgy and offering of the Blessed elements for the first time in a long
time, and then digressed into what they would do with the time freed-up by not having to go to
Mass the next day.
Two matters are immediately gleaned from these brief remarks: First, the Novus Ordo in its
substance and format leave much to be desired, leaving a significant per centage of its worshipers
unfulfilled; Second, because it leaves these participants unfulfilled, they view their Sunday
Obligation as a chore rather than as something in which they joyfully and prayerfully participate.
This attitude of forced acceptance of some form of obligation to attend some form of public
worship has long been a mark of Protestant and Non-Denominational Christians, as well as those
groups which broke off from the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church during the past six or
seven hundred years, and those which broke off from those groups. But in the past, when Roman
Catholics said they had to go to Mass, they did not express this concept as being onerous, but,
rather, as something in which they mentally, emotionally, and spiritually made willing focus, just
as did Orthodox Catholics.
Though Orthodox Catholics, and members of Eastern Rite Churches in communion with the
Roman Catholic Church, seem to mostly maintain the attitude of happy obligation regarding
Sunday and Great Feast (Holy Day of Obligation) Divine Liturgy, there is some in-creeping of
the old Protestant and the new Roman attitude of onerous obligation.
This attitude is morally perverse.
Instead of saying, "Goodie, I don't have to go to Church tomorrow because this Mass takes care
of it," the Roman Catholics in attendance at that wedding should have been saying, "Wow, that
was a good Mass. Isn't this great! And I get to go to Mass and worship God and receive Holy
Communion tomorrow too! I love it when I get to worship God this way, and I am thankful we
have the form of worship where I have to think and pray, and not the form where someone gives
an lecture and we have a sing-along, a floor show, and a pretend miracle session!"
If worshiping God is a chore for you, then there is something wrong with you, and/or what you
are doing, and/or how you are doing it, and/or something.
Need we say more? We think we need not.
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WHY THOSE WITHOUT FAITH SHOULD PRAY TO RECEIVE IT
God always does what He says He will do. That should be a comfort to every human being, but
it is not, for there are many people who wish so hard there were no God that they actually deny
His existence. They do not wish to be held accountable for their thoughts and deeds. Others try
to change what God has said into something more acceptable to themselves, so they can engage
in their favorite sins. These try to convince others that their opinion is the same as the Will of
God, so that they can have numbers on their side when God judges them - but that will be of no
service to them, only an additional condemnation for each soul they lead astray.
These are examples of the difference between belief in God, and Faith in God. Abraham and
Moses not only believed in God, they had Faith in God. Their Faith resulted in Covenant with
and Promise from, God. Virtually everyone else of their times, and particularly the time from
Moses until the coming of Our Lord, had so little Faith that Law had to be given to them for them
to follow if they were to have any chance of receiving the Promise of the Covenant.
And that is how it was with the ten lepers. Only one of them had Faith, the other nine only had
belief. And the one who had faith was, in the eyes of the Jews, a heretic to the Jewish faith for he
was a Samaritan. Yet it was only the Samaritan who, upon realizing he had been made clean,
returned to give thanks to Our Lord. In immediately returning to Our Lord instead of sowing
himself in the Temple, the Samaritan ignored the Law which required he show himself in the
Temple upon being made clean, so that his cleanliness could be certified. He ignored the Law
because he knew only the Law Giver, God Himself, could have made him clean, and he returned
to give thanks to God. His Faith made him recipient of the Promise under the Covenant. The
other nine, all Jews, all knowing the Law and having studied the Covenant and the Promise made
therein, did not understand the Covenant, the Promise, or even the Law, but only blindly
followed its letter without receiving the Spirit under which it was made, for they had no Faith.
We know this is of extreme importance, for it is a living example that salvation is not just for the
Jews, but is for all mankind. It also exemplifies the need to live in accordance with Faith - for
those who did not return to thank Our Lord had belief they were cured, but they had no Faith, and
therefore they had no actions which would be in accordance with Faith.
The Samaritan's actions expressed his Faith, and as a result of this Action in Faith, the Samaritan
attained eternal salvation - he was told by Our Lord that his Faith had saved him and we therefore
know he lead the remainder of his life in accordance with Faith. That does not necessarily mean
he never sinned after that - we have to but look to Saints Peter and Paul to know that even
persons of Faith, sin - but it does mean he took care of resolving his sin problem in the same
manner as those Apostles.
One of the most exhilarating experiences is to overcome sin, even if it is only for a brief period.
As those brief periods connect and become greater, more and more problem areas fall victim to
Faith, and your exuberance and comfort in Our Lord become greater and greater.
Faith also lets you know when you are doing what you are supposed to do, and when you are not.
It must be terrible to have so little Faith, or even no Faith, so that Christ's teachings are perceived
as little more than a philosophy which competes with other philosophies. Such people can only
believe their good deeds will result in only personal satisfaction for having assisted humankind,
with no concept that unselfishly done good deeds are pleasing to God. They may hope (with a
little H) their unselfishly done good deeds may assist them in some eternal manner, but they have
no Faith that such will be, nor do they have the satisfaction of knowing they have pleased God.
So we are blessed beyond our ability to comprehend, for we have been given the gift of Faith.
We know that we please God with our unselfish good deeds, and that we please Him by being
good in response to that very Faith.
Since people who do not have Faith do, daily, see the happiness Faith brings those who have
received and practiced it, it is puzzling why they do not pray to be given the gift of Faith. And,
those who have lost their Faith, know what it was like to have it, so their not praying to regain
Faith is an even more incomprehensible puzzlement. Perhaps they do not pray for Faith, so that
we can pray for Faith for them.
Ref: Gal 3:16-22; Luke 17:11-19
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15. Jesus Stills the Tempest
JESUS on one occasion went to the lake of Genesareth. And great crowds of people followed
Him. Jesus went up into a boat to sit down there; the people remained on the shore. And He
taught them from the ship.
2. When the night had set in, Jesus said to His disciples: "Let us pass over to the other side." So
they sailed across the lake, Jesus being in the ship. But He, wearied and fatigued, began too
3. And behold ! a great storm arose on the sea, and the small vessel was tossed about and covered
with the waves. But Jesus was asleep. And the disciples went to Him, awoke Him and said:
"Lord, save us, or we perish."
4. Jesus arose and said to them: "Why are you fearful, am I not with you?" Then, rising up, He
commanded the wind to cease, and the sea to be still. And behold! there was a great calm. Then
all the men wondered, saying: "Who is this? for even the wind and the sea obey Him."
1. Where did Jesus sit down to teach the people!
2. What did He tell His disciples?
3. What happened then?
4. What did Jesus say and do?
What did the men say?
16. Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand with Five Loaves
ON another occasion Jesus crossed the lake and retired to a desert place. But even there crowds
of people followed Him. Jesus had pity on them, taught them, and healed the sick that were
brought to Him.
2. Now evening had set in, and the apostles said to Jesus "Send away the people that they may go
into the villages around, and buy provisions."
3. Jesus asked: "How many loaves have ye?" Andrew answered: "There is a boy here who has
five loaves and two fishes. But what is this for so many?" Jesus said: "Bring me the loaves and
fishes, and make the people sit down on the grass."
4. And when the people sat down, there were five-thousand men, besides women and children.
Jesus then took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them,
broke the loaves, and gave them to His apostles to distribute among
the people. The fishes were likewise distributed. Now all the people ate and were satisfied.
5. After the multitude had finished eating, Jesus said to His disciples: "Gather the remaining
pieces of bread, lest they be wasted." The disciples gathered the remnants which were left of the
five loaves and of the two fishes. It was enough to fill twelve baskets. The people, seeing this
miracle, exclaimed: "Verily, this is the prophet that is to come into the world."
1. Who followed Jesus to the desert place?
2. What did the apostles say in the evening?
3. What did Jesus ask?
d. How many men were there?
What did Jesus do with the loaves and the fishes
5. Who gathered the remnants?
What did the people exclaim?
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LESSON FIFTH: On our First Parents and the Fall
Q. 233. Who were the first man and woman?
A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.
Q. 234. Are there any persons in the world who are not the descendants of Adam and Eve?
A. There are no persons in the world now, and there never have been any, who are not the
descendants of Adam and Eve, because the whole human race had but one origin.
Q. 235. Do not the differences in color, figure, etc., which we find in distinct races indicate a difference in first parents?
A. The differences in color, figure, etc., which we find in distinct races do not indicate a
difference in first parents, for these differences have been brought about in the lapse of time by
other causes, such as climate, habits, etc.
Q. 236. Were Adam and Eve innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God?
A. Adam and Eve were innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God.
Q. 237. What do we mean by saying Adam and Eve "were innocent" when they came from the hand of God?
A. When we say Adam and Eve "were innocent" when they came from the hand of God we mean
they were in the state of original justice; that is, they were gifted with every virtue and free from
Q. 238. How was Adam's body formed?
A. God formed Adam's body out of the clay of the earth and then breathed into it a living soul.
Q. 239. How was Eve's body formed?
A. Eve's body was formed from a rib taken from Adam's side during a deep sleep which God
caused to come upon him.
Q. 240. Why did God make Eve from one of Adam's ribs?
A. God made Eve from one of Adam's ribs to show the close relationship existing between
husband and wife in their marriage union which God then instituted.
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MODERN APPLICATION OF LETTER OF THE LAW VERSUS SPIRIT
A really good example of spirit of the law versus letter of the law is President Clinton's sexual
escapade with Monica Lewinski. Unfortunately, there is no delicate way of stating this.
President Clinton said he did not have sex with the woman. According to the definition of sexual
intercourse he did not have sexual intercourse, but he did engage in the most extreme of sexual
activities with her. Therefore, according to the letter of the law defining sexual intercourse he
did not have sexual intercourse, but he did have sex with her because their sexual activities were
everything short of intercourse and their activities did result in orgasm. In his twisted mind
Clinton equated sex with sexual intercourse
When we look just to the letter of the law we ignore that upon which what is called "Black Letter
Law" is founded, its spirit, and, more importantly, we preclude the Holy Spirit participating in
our observance of the law. We preclude the Holy Spirit because we are so focused on the "Black
Letter Law" that we ignore the foundation of the "Black Letter Law", and that foundation is
God's Will expressed through the Ten Commandments given to us by God the Father, The Way
taught by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and revelations given to us under the Manifestations
of the Holy Spirit.
There was a man who observed Sunday's most religiously. He spent every weekend with his
family, was devoted to his wife, taught his children not just their school homework but also
schooled them in The Way taught by Our Lord Jesus Christ. He never even thought of cheating
on his wife, gave money to the poor, fought against prostitution by starting and supporting a
school and rehabilitation center for them, set up scholarships for the poor, and voted based on the
qualifications of the candidate.
His main business was a "payday loan company" where people would borrow between fifty and a
few hundred dollars to tide them over until payday. The borrowers would write a check for the
amount of the loan plus interest and date it their next payday. There were two problems with his
business: First, he charged 50 % interest; Second, if the check bounced he would have the
borrower arrested and prosecuted and then sue the borrowed and have all their possessions, even
their house, auctioned off to pay his fees.
Was this man justified in the "Black Letter Law" of either man or God? Was he justified in the
law of man? Was he justified in the Law of God? Was he justified in the spirit of either the law
of man or the Law of God? He was only justified in the "Black Letter Law" of man; to all the
other questions we know the answer is, he was not justified.
Not only was he not justified in his business, he was not justified in his entire life, even though
everything else he did was so good. The reason he was not justified in his non-business life is, he
saw nothing morally wrong with his business practices, and so everything else he did was tainted
because everything else he did was made possible by his business practices.
There was a lady who was a really nice lady, and who was so beautiful that when she just walked
down the street people would turn to look at her. Even women thought she was beautiful. She
found this always made her uncomfortable, so she rarely wore makeup, thinking that with little or
no makeup, she would be somewhat less attractive. It did not work, for she was simply beautiful
no matter what she wore, for her beauty was both within her in her Soul, as well as in her natural,
Like most of us, she had many, major, character flaws, which lead her to commit sins. You may
wonder how she could be beautiful of soul, and yet be a sinner. The answer is simple. She was
well aware of her character flaws, and of her sins, and detested her weaknesses and her sins. She
constantly strove to remove sin from her life, to correct her character flaws, and to become strong
in Christ. Because she acknowledged and understood the difference between the letter of the law
and the Spirit upon which the letter is based, and strove to become one with the Spirit, she was
It is amazing, a wonderment, that the vast majority of people do not think of themselves as
sinners. Yet, there must be some internal, non-acknowledged, perception of their own sinful
state, for no one has declared themselves worthy of casting the first stone. Do not make a
laundry list of your positive and negative characteristics, but do study yourself, so that you know
yourself. At the same time study what God has taught and try to understand the fact that God's
Love is the foundation for His teachings to us, so that you will better know what He wants of us
and the Spirit in which His guidance is cradled. Then, with god's Grace which is His Essence,
you will be able to begin to correct yourself, and eventually become justified.
Ref: 2 Cor 3:4-9; Luke 10:23-37
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THE MAGNIFICENT IMPOSSIBILITY
"Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel." Achaz
foretold an impossibility, a virgin conceiving and giving birth. But that prophecy was fulfilled
upon the one person whom God has named, "Full of Grace", speaking the words, "Behold the
handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word."
The Annunciation to the Blessed Ever Virgin Mary was not just the Annunciation of the
conception of our Lord. It was also the Annunciation to the world of the coming of salvation, of
redemption, and of the teaching of, The Way, of what God desires of us in this world and the
reasons He desires it, that we may be prepared to be united with God for all eternity.
The totally incomprehensible was happening. God was taking on full and complete human
nature, while retain full and complete Divine nature. None of the half-god daydreams of the
fiction writers of the ancient world, as in the Greek fables about Hercules and the various
offspring of humans and fictitious gods, but full and complete human and full and complete God
in one Person.
What was even more incomprehensible was what this unique Person would do. That He would
live and teach all of humankind, and then would be offered as a sacrifice for the sins and
redemption of all mankind.
And all of this depended on the full and complete acceptance and participation of a teenage girl
just beginning womanhood. The fact that she was and is the most holy person ever born of man
is an obvious prerequisite, and those who would demean her stature, those who would demean
and deny her perpetual virginity, those would would demean and deny her being conceived
without sin and not being subject to original sin - of beginning existence in an even more pure
state than Adam and Eve or any of the Angels and maintaining that most holy state throughout
her entire existence; such persons deny the obvious and are fools.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is not just our Lord's mother. She also is His first follower, His first
Disciple, His first Apostle; for in accepting God the Father's request to the the mother of His only
begotten Son, she fully and completely merged her will in acceptance of God's Will. That is
something few few people have done in this life, and something which has never before or since
been done with the perfection with which our mother Mary accomplished it.
In this the Blessed Virgin Mary is the role model for each of us. She is the perpetual example
that a humanbeing can live a life of holiness and still participate in all of lifes' activities.
Did she not go to the wedding at Canna? Did she not go up to Jerusalem for Passover, which
was a social as well as a religious event? Does she not even today participate in the work of her
Son, appearing to ordinary people all over the world and teaching them the Way of her Son?
She therefore is a living example to us, the ordinary people.
For her being the mother of the destruction of Satan's power, and her being a continuing and
active participant in our salvation and an example to us, she is hated by Satan more than he hates
anyone else, perhaps even more than he hates God.
Satan therefore attacks her good name and her honor at every opportunity, and he uses his attacks
on the Blessed Virgin Mary as a a means of inducing mankind to fall into error and sin. He does
this in this manner. If Satan attacks the Blessed Virgin Mary's perpetual virginity, then he
induces a concept that Jesus Himself is less of the Divine and more of the human. If Satan
attacks her Immaculate Conception, then he induces envy of her exalted position. If he is
successful in attacking any mystery surrounding the Blessed Virgin Mary, he induces the concept
that humans can comprehend the mind of God. In all of these ways, and more, any successful
attack by Satan on the Blessed Virgin Mary induces the concept that man is on an equal footing
with God. It induces sin.
Did the Blessed Virgin Mary know that her Son would be killed, and killed in the manner
inwhich He was killed? In all probability, yes, for she was raised in the Temple, and studied
there, was exposed to religious discretions from a very early age, and even the less "studious" the
Jews knew full well what would happen to the Messiah.
So, yes, in all probability she knew this Child which she agreed to bear would not only be the
source of all joy, of eternal salvation, of the redemption of all mankind which accepts that
redemption and fulfills the requirements of that redemption, but also the source of great sorrow
to her in the pain and suffering He would endure.
The Blessed Ever Virgin Mary did not remove herself from participation in life. She participated
in life fully and completely, and continues to this very day, always in the utmost holiness. But
while she is the perfect role model, she also is unique. Those who attempt to become her are
doomed to fail, for there can be and is only one Blessed Virgin Mary. But we do have the ability
to emulate her perfect acceptance of God's Will, and to heed her warnings as being warnings
No wonder then, that Satan wishes to discredit her.
Ref: Isaia 7:10-15; Luke 1:26-38
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DELIVERANCE AND THE SACRAMENTS
From the beginning of the creation of the human race, people have prayed to God, to be delivered
from their enemies, from those who would do them harm. They have prayed that God crush their
enemies, and even prayed that He would cut off their heads. They have prayed that God give to
them the bounties of the earth. And every now and then, people have prayed that God would
guide them in holiness, would reveal His truth to them, would send His Spirit to lead them in
God's own ways.
Then our Lord Jesus Christ finally came in answer to all those prayers. He shocked and
disappointed many who wanted God to literally stomp into the ground before their eyes, their
enemies and anyone they did not like -- for He told everyone to treat all people with kindness,
goodness, forgiveness, and to forego revenge; that revenge is not within the purview of mankind.
Our Lord instructed all of humankind in the ways of holiness. He did not ignore the truth of
anyone's state of grace, nor did He make light of sin. He did, however, always instruct the
positive way that each individual should follow. He told us the good things we should do, and in
the very telling of the good things we should do and be, He gave His disapproval to the sinful
things. Thus, He told the woman caught in adultery, the He would not condemn her, but to go
her way and sin no more.
Our Lord always looked to the positive and promoted the positive. He told us we must eat His
flesh and drink His blood; and that all who keep His word, who follow His instructions, shall not
see death forever. But many of the people did not believe Him.
So, too, do people who say they are His followers, not keep His word; they do not follow Him.
They say they do, but they do not. Not just in sinning do people not follow our Lord, but in
ignoring the Sacraments, the portals to Divine Grace, do they ignore Him.
Imagine you are climbing a hill. You must climb the hill for at its summit is the only source of
food, shelter, and the necessities of life as well as the comforts of life. It is a very steep hill,
strewn with boulders -- some as small as an orange and some larger than a house. The hill is also
covered with frozen ponds and icy surfaces intermixed with soggy sloughs heated from volcanic
vents. The wind is blowing constantly, sometimes from across a desert blowing hot and sandy,
sometimes from the mountains blowing icy cold, and constantly shifting so that one side of you
might be cooking while the other side is freezing. There is a path to the summit. It is well
marked on every map, and all around the hill are signs written in every language, pointing to the
path. There are plenty of guides and people all around the hill who volunteer directions to the
The path is somewhat narrow, but very well maintained. At places the boulders tower over the
path, and at other places there is more openness. The way the path is laid out, it gives great
protection from the scorching and freezing winds, mitigating them to a very tolerable level.
Where there are icy patches, there are warning signs and people to render assistance, and
handrails to assist the traveler, so that one will not fall if they just use the aids provided. The
soggy places are bridged, but a traveler can either use the bridges or slough through the swamps.
It is very possible to attain the top of the hill without using the path. However, it is very difficult
to attain the top of the hill in this manner. One can easily slip, fall, and be severely or
permanently injured, or even killed -- and this is very likely to happen to those who do not use
the path. It also is very possible to not attain the top of the hill even if one uses the path, for one
can leave the path at any time, and thus run the hazards encountered in climbing over the
boulders, or one can even stand still on the path and thus go no where.
The hill is the hill of life, and the top of the hill, the place with the necessities and luxuries of
life, is Heaven, eternal union with God. The path is The Way taught by our Lord, maintained by
His Church, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The attendants are His Priests, and
the handrails, bridges, and sheltering boulders are the Sacraments.
Remember, our Lord Jesus Christ told all that He is I AM, God. He foretold that He would be
tortured and killed by the Jews, and that He would rise on the third day. He was tortured and
killed, and He did rise on the third day. Since He was accurate in His predictions, it seems
reasonable to accept His statement, that He is God.
It also seems to be more reasonable to use the path, and its accompanying Sacraments: more
reasonable to use the Path of Life than to make your own way up the hill.
Ref: Heb 9:11-15; John 8:46-59; Ps: 42:1-2, 142:9-10, 118:17 and 107, 1 Cor 11:24-25
You know you are an Orthodox Christian if before you pray, you say a prayer.
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TRADITION OF RECEIVING AND USING THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We are engaged in a holy war, and we, not our General, are losing it due to traitors in the
In some Orthodox traditions, the eve of Pentecost Vespers and Pentecost's Divine Liturgy are
special days of prayer for one's ancestors, departed family, and friends. Gifts, including sweets,
are given to the Priests in appreciation for his special prayers, candles are burned for those who
have fallen asleep, and occasionally special wine is presented to the Priest for Divine Liturgy.
For the first time in many years, this year we were presented with all these requests and gifts by
visitors to Saint Mary Magdalene.
These, our brothers and sisters, follow religious tradition in their daily lives and religious
practices. They are sure in their faith and in its practice. If worship takes two hours, it takes two
hours. If it took only a half hour, they would not say, "Thank God that is over. Now I can go do
something else." No, they would ask, "What is wrong with Vladikya Paul?"
They do not think consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. They know consistency is the
foundation which allows they to take great leaps into the adventures of the unknown - and their
consistency is in their Charity, their Faith, their Hope, their Tradition.
When their Josef of Blessed Memory, the joyful master of Icons, appeared to their daughter in
dreams in sleep and awake, they did not think this unusual, for was not Blessed Josef their friend,
and did he not worship the True God in the way and manner which God told us all to worship
Him? Why then would his talking to a favorite child be so unusual? Just because he has fallen
asleep in the Lord is no reason for him to disappear, for is he not a member of the Communion of
Saints, and is not his favorite child also a member of the same Communion of Saints?
Being Chrismated, in the West it is called Confirmed, makes one one with the Holy Spirit in a
manner nothing else can. It makes one a soldier in Christ's army. In an army there are but a few
who actually fight the enemy face to face, and there are many more in support of the front line
soldiers. There may be ten support personnel for each front line soldier in an army, but each
support personnel is trained to also be a front line soldier.
So too is it in the Christ's army. In a regular army, only a few are chosen to actually use the more
exotic portion of the arsenal. Even these rarely use these more exotic weapons. Most soldiers
use the ordinary weaponry, and even the they rarely do more than prepare. So too is it in Christ's
army, that only a few are selected to use the more exotic weaponry, and these rarely use them,
while the majority of Christ's soldiers use the ordinary weapons of prayer - and unfortunately
most of Christ's soldiers of today are not very well prepared.
We are engaged in a holy war against Satan and his minions, and we are losing it because we are
not prepared, we do not practice with the weapons God has given us, we have traitors in our
ranks who lead us astray from practicing the weapons of holiness, and we allow them to lead us
Those people of simple tradition who visited us yestereve have no concept of giving in to an
employer who wishes them to miss Divine Liturgy on a Sunday or on a Great Feast. They do not
vote for a politician because of what the politician promises he will give them - they actively
support and vote for politicians who espouse moral practices and promise to support God's
morality applied in government and to oppose that which is in opposition to God's laws. They
would not consider someone like Mary Landrieu to be even remotely worthy of consideration for
public office because Mary Landrieu says she opposes abortion but that she will not impose her
opposition to block a woman's right to kill her own unborn child. These simple people want
someone in office who will impose proper moral values and conduct upon the nation. They
know that those who oppose the imposition of good moral values and conduct upon our nation
do not oppose because of some concept of religious freedom, but rather oppose because they
work for Satan and wish to have everyone go to hell.
So these simple people do not seek the flashy aspects of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. They
simply seek, posses, and maintain Charity, Faith, and Hope. They practice with the weaponry of
prayer which they wield with great expertise and force. They maintain Tradition, and find joy in
worshiping and praying to God, even if they are missing something which man has made while
they are participating in that which God has made. They avoid near occasions of sin, from
immoral movies to suggestive and sexually sensual music and lyrics. They know who their
children's friends are, and what their children are doing. They do not seek the earthly good life,
though they do possess some creature comforts and luxuries as well as the necessities - but these
are not their main concern, for they seek God and God's Will without "blowing their own horn".
And they will attain eternal life.
Ref: Acts 2:1-11; John 14:23-31
You know you are an Orthodox Christian if you forget to set your clock forward in the spring and
get to church an Hour late, and it's still not halfway through.
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FATHERS ARE AN EMBARASSMENT TO THEIR CHILDREN
A prayer which Our Lady of Soufanieh has recommended we pray is, "God saves me, Jesus
enlightens me, the Holy Spirit is my light, I am not afraid."
"God saves me." Just like any Father, God wants the best for His children - but let us look at the
first part of that statement, "Just like any father". Some think they did not have a father; others,
that the one they had was not good at the job; still others, that the one they had was just "so so";
and a few, that theirs was OK; and even fewer, that their father was the best ever.
Everyone has a biological male parent, but that does not make one a father. For those who
believe they did not have anything other than a biological father, please understand there was of
necessity, some male in your life who served at least some part of the role of a father, for
otherwise you would be virtually rudderless, and probably would not be here.
Fathers are very much like God in a multitude of ways. They usually are not very much
appreciated by their children, particularly when their children are between the ages of early teens
through mid or late twenties. Your father went to work every day, sheltered, clothed and fed you,
saw to your education the best he could, was there to help you when you did something stupid,
was the one who you called when you were in trouble.
If your parents were divorced, your father sent in child support like clockwork even though you
spurned him, reviled him, called him names, and refused to spend any time with him; and still he
was the one you called upon when you were in trouble. You think your father did not? The vast
majority of divorced fathers do properly pay child support - no matter what the mothers say; but
if yours was one of the few who did not, there still was someone who was a father to you,
otherwise you would be so warped you could not walk thorough the Temple door.
Fathers are an embarrassment to their children. They are out of touch, old fogies, too strict,
establish rules and require they be followed, refuse to buy stupid and useless clothing and
entertainment products for you or to even allow you to have such things, restrain you from
imposing your will on your brothers and sisters, require you show respect for your mother,
punish you for wrongdoing, and wear weird clothing.
They also stay up nights worrying about you, try to guide you, attempt to teach you how to avoid
the errors they made, protect you, and even when you are an adult they require certain proprieties
when you are in their home.
Yes, fathers and God have a lot in common.
Regarding their children, the only difference between God and a human father is that human
fathers have a tendency to do two things which God does not: they occasionally burp and
occasionally flatulate at seemingly inappropriate times.
For some people there is always something more important and more interesting then spending
an occasional few hours with their father. A new computer, a favorite TV show, vacation,
dinner, social occasion or movie, are all more important than their father, and are more important
Fathers are the most important person in each person's life. They are the measure of propriety, of
righteousness, of duty and honor and living up to duty and honor, the protector of the family and
the nation. Fathers are so important that when a child dishonors their father, the child usually
turns their back on their father in shame and attacks their father, not realizing their father will
always love and receive them if they but attempt to be decent.
Fathers love their children without reserve, even though their children rarely realize how much
their fathers love them. Most children know their fathers love them, and the children think they
know how much their fathers love them, but children have no concept of how deeply their fathers
love them for a father's love is beyond being measured. The same father who appears to be so
strict, and so "un-cool", is the same father who focuses his energy on his family and therefore on
his children - the same father who would, even though filled with fear, put his life on the line for
his children. No child can appreciate a father's love until that child becomes a father, and since a
father's love is different from a mother's love, only a male child has the opportunity to finally
comprehend a father's love.
So today, fill your heart with love for the guy who flatulates in public, who could not dress
himself properly if you gave him a weeks pay to spend in the best clothing store, who will never
understand how you feel. You know who he is. He is the guy who rescued you from that
horrible date, who gave you his lunch money so you could spend it on a good time, who changed
your diapers, stayed up with you when you were little, sick, and scared, tried his best to instill
good values in you and to provide you with the best he could on what he earned, and who loves
you without reserve even though you have broken his heart.
Ref: 1John 3:13-18; Luke 14:16-24
You know you are an Orthodox Christian if you save toenail clippings in hopes of ... well ... you
know ... glorification.
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Faith - Recognizing and Acting on Miracles and Wondrous Things
We must remember that Zachary had been struck dumb, and had not spoken since the Angel
Gabriel announced to him the coming conception of Saint John. He was struck dumb because he
doubted Saint Gabriel's message, which was from God, yet as soon as he complied with God's
request his world and all the world about him was set to rights. The whole of his world knew it
had witnessed a wondrous occurrence and wondered what it meant; wondered and hoped it
foretold of the immanence of the Messiah, for all knew the time was ripe, and Zachary was a
Saint John truly was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb, for he leapt with joy in
Elizabeth's womb at the coming of the Blessed Ever Virgin Mary who had been overshadowed
by the Holy Spirit and was bearing our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When he leapt it was with
joy at being in the presence of God, and at being just then released from the absence of God.
What is truly amazing is how often people doubt a message from God, or a miracle, whether it be
presented in a common manner, or in an extraordinary manner.
Zachary doubted Saint Gabriel's message, even though he knew Saint Gabriel is an angel. So too
do people doubt both God's teaching of the necessities for salvation, and of the great gifts He
gives to us every day. It would do no good for our Lord to physically appear, personally work a
few miracles to prove He really is God, then repeat His teachings and inform individuals of the
special gifts He has made for them. It would do absolutely no good, for those who wish to ignore
or selectively apply His teachings would continue to so do, and those who doubt He really has
prepared gifts for them would continue to doubt.
They would continue to doubt because their faith is not strong, or even worse, because what they
believe is faith is not true faith, but rather is an irregular form of faith or even a faith in
something false - something made up by some preacher.
"Oh no." you say, "That may be true about others, but it is not true about me." Are you more
holy than Zachary, the father of Saint John the Baptist, Forerunner of Christ? Are you?! I doubt
anyone alive would claim to be more holy than Saint Zachary, yet Saint Zachary doubted the
Angel, the Messenger from God, Saint Gabriel who appeared in the full of his glory, gentle and
fearsome, exuding the strength of all of creation, blazing with the holy manifestations of God the
If a really holy man doubts a message from God delivered by an angel appearing in the fullness
of the angelic ability to bear God's Glory, it is obvious the more ordinary messages and miracles
are even more often ignored and doubted by ordinary people like you and me.
Communism and the Berlin Wall did not fall because Atheistic Capitalism is a better system than
Atheistic Communism. They fell because God answered the prayers and and honored the holy
sufferings of millions of people over many decades.
You were not killed, or injured beyond repair, in that accident, not out of good fortune, but
because God allowed your Guardian Angel to intervene in the coporial world.
Your mode of transportation did not explode from the fuel leak no one knows existed, and
remains unknown to this day, because God has intervened.
You will receive the Body and Blood of Christ, of God, in Holy Communion, in the Sacred
Elements, and will only fleetingly be aware of something slightly different in you - yet if you
became increasingly aware of the incredibly beautiful reality of eating His flesh and drinking His
Blood, you would begin to understand the length and breath and height and depth.
Again, it is a matter of faith.
Today, and since 1982 A.D., there has been a young lady in Damascus, Syria, in the part known
as Soufanieh, near the house of Annias, where Saint Paul was converted; and Our Lord Jesus
Christ, and the Blessed Ever Virgin Mary have appeared to her on innumerable occasions. Olive
oil comes from her hand and face when she prays. She regularly receives not just the stigmata,
but also the wounds from the Crown of Thorns of our Lord. All of this is very well documented.
All of this is confirmed by all of the Bishops, Roman and Orthodox, in Damascus. She has even
visited the United States of America where the phenomena of the olive oil coming from her
hands and face hands been filmed. Yet she and the messages she bears from our Lord, and from
God the Father, and from the Theotokos, go ignored by the majority of Patriarchs, Popes,
Bishops, Priest, Religious, and Laity.
When God gives you a gift, a miracle, accept it and thank Him for it. Have real faith - and live
and do what He indicates, repeat: live and do what He indicates. Become holier, and therefore
happier, than Zachary, by believing, accepting, doing, and living.
Ref: Isaia 49:1-3, 6-7; Luke 1:57-68
You know you are an Orthodox Christian if you bow reflexively before hirsute men in black
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DO YOU HAVE FAITH OR JUST BELIEF?
It is a good idea to believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is God, for He is, but that belief is not
Faith, it is just belief. Faith has as one of its fruits, Charity, and Charity though it is a fruit of
Faith, is the root and the foundation of Faith. Obviously there are many who believe our Lord is
God, who also lack Charity, and therefore do not have Faith.
The Divine Mercy which pours from the Sacred Heart of our Lord, presents the gifts of Faith,
Hope, and Charity to every person, but the proof of acceptance of these merciful gifts is in the
fruits which naturally occur because one has accepted and nourished the gift of Faith. One who
has accepted Faith, and who has Faith, has actions, thoughts, and desires which are in harmony
with Faith - note this is not actions, thoughts, and desires which are in harmony with belief, for
any and all actions, thoughts, and desires can be and are in harmony with belief.
One who has Faith desires to think, to act, and to live, in accordance with The Way taught by our
Lord, and such an individual pursues this life. A person may fail, even miserably, to act, live,
and even think in accordance with what Jesus Christ has taught, and may even have desires
which are contrary to what our Lord has instructed, but even with and even in these failures, a
person with Faith will have the fruits of Faith. And those fruits will be the ongoing and
continuing desire to live and be what our Lord wants, with acts and thoughts in conformity with
that desire even though there are ongoing and continuing moral failures.
Those nominal Christian "religions" which do not have the Sacraments, and especially which do
not have the Sacred Eucharist, are a source of continuing amazement to those who are members
of that one true Christian Religion which does have the Sacraments, and particularly the Sacred
Bread and Wine from Heaven. They read basically the same Bible that those in the true Church
read, yet their possession of only belief and their lack of true, real, Faith, blinds them to the
wonderful gifts which forever emanate from our Blessed Lord, and blinds them to the necessity
for actions and lives which are in accordance with The Way. Thus their lack of Faith blocks their
acceptance of the true changing of bread and wine into the very real Body and Blood of our Lord.
They believe it is only a symbolic commemoration of the Last Supper, and fail to recognize it is
the actual Sacrifice of Calvary, which are two different things.
They also fail to comprehend that living a life filled with sin, that focusing and wanting to
commit certain sins as an integral part of their lives and to not fight against those sins, is contrary
to Faith, but is totally in conformity with belief. Their acceptance of, desire for, and pursuit of
the commission of sin, precludes their having Faith. They only believe, they do not have Faith.
For such as these, Christ's teachings are a philosophy of life, and not The Way of Life.
This does not mean that one who is a sinner, even one who is a constant sinner, does not have
Faith. A constant sinner who desires not to sin, who struggles against sin even though he fails in
his struggles against sin, can and probably does have Faith especially if he is struggling against
sin. The determinative factor is the individual's pursuit of actions, thoughts, and desires which
are in harmony with Faith, which are in harmony with The Way taught by our Lord.
We can think of the Divine Mercy which is founded in our Lord's Love for us as being like a
gentle rain which constantly falls on everyone. Those who see this rain of Love for what it
actually is, are soothed by its gentleness, and constantly cleansed by its healing purity. Others
fail to see it for what it is, and just get wet, or knowing it for what it is, still seek to avoid it for to
accept this spiritual healing would require rejection of some favorite sin. Still others seek to
shelter themselves from the healing rain of Love from our Lord's Sacred Heart - even to the point
of ridiculing the concept of His Sacred Heart.
These lives without true Faith result in fearsome and horrible conditions, choices, and life styles
which the Faithless chose to live.
A life with the Blessed Body and Blood from Heaven is still a life fraught with spiritual dangers.
A life with belief and no Faith is a horrible concept, yet it is the life which innumerable
We must therefore be living examples of true Faith, with the fruits of Faith, in our individual
lives, in our married life, at home, work, and in every aspect of our existence. We must teach our
children the tenants of our Faith through formal religious instruction at home as well as through
our religious institutions. And we must constantly learn more and more about our Faith, and
about God, for our own sakes and for the sake of those in our lives.
Ref: Ephe 3:8-19; Luke 22:15-20
You know you are an Orthodox Christian if your children think of monasteries as vacation
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PRAYER AND RELATIONSHIPS AS AIDS IN FOLLOWING THE WAY
When we read the lives of most of those who the Church has declared to be saints we find most
of them had support systems, sometimes the spiritual and temporal support system of a
monastery or convent, or the temporal support of a family for at least the necessities of life. Even
Saint Herman of Alaska, who lived as a hermit, and the Roman Catholic Saint Frances of Assissi,
received support at least in the necessities requisite to sustain physical life.
The few who have been declared saints who lived in the regular world, usually also had some
support system, such as Saint Helena, who certainly had no financial worries.
It is rare for a normal, ordinary person to be declared a saint, unless they receive sainthood
through martyrdom. But we know that the vast majority of saints are just the normal, ordinary
type of person.
And it is to us, the normal, ordinary person, that both our Lord and Saint Peter give the
instruction of forgiveness - that we, the ordinary people, forgive those who harm us.
Of course, living The Way our Lord taught us involves much more than forgiving those who
trespass against us, but forgiving those who harm us provides us with such a classic example of
Charity that it behoves us to learn from it.
So we'll tell you a Banji Story about forgiveness. Banji had purchased a "thig-a-ma-gig" and a
"how-you-call-em" for use around the house. They cost three or four weeks income, so Banji had
to save up to purchase the "thig-a-ma-gig" and the "how-you-call-em". Right after Banji
purchased them, someone trespassed on Banji's property, and took the "thig-a-ma-gig" and the
Well, Banji was so mad if the thief had been within arm's reach the thief might have met our
Lord rather unexpectedly. Banji intellectually forced forgiveness of the thief, and eventually
attained emotional forgiveness, though disgust and perhaps a form of anger remained within
Banji for several months. Banji really needed the "thig-a-ma-gig" and the "how-you-call-em",
and planned to purchase at least the "thig-a-ma-gig" as soon as possible, for the "thig-a-ma-gig"
was a necessity, but even after a year Banji had been unable to save enough money to purchase
Then, one evening, over a year after the theft, when Banji returned home, both the
"thig-a-ma-gig" and the "how-you-call-em" were inside Banji's fence; the thief had tossed them
into the bushes. they had not been misplaced by Banji, for Banji had been through that spot
many times. The "thig-a-ma-gig" and the "how-you-call-em" had been returned.
Banji was relieved and happy at their return, but Banji was also angry over having been deprived
of their use for over a year. So Banji intellectually forgave the thief, and thanked God for the
return of the "thig-a-ma-gig" and the "how-you-call-em", but emotionally Banji's anger towards
the thief had returned and was so difficult to keep from flaring up. All the work that had been
neglected because of the theft of the "thig-a-ma-gig" could now be done, but there was extensive
damage because the "thig-a-ma-gig" had not been available to take care of things, so Banji had
anger and that anger made sleep fitful for Banji that evening.
The next morning when Banji was praying morning prayers, the anger had subsided, and the
Banji prayed the Lord's Prayer, the Our Father. And at the phrase, "forgive us our trespasses as
we forgive those who trespass against us," Banji found forgiveness for the thief, and the anger
Banji had no spouse, no religious community, no immediate family, and so Banji had no one to
whom the joy of the return of the "thig-a-ma-gig" and the "how-you-call-em" could be expressed,
and consequently no one to whom Banji's awakened anger towards the thief could be expressed.
It was Banji's prayer life which led Banji to forgiving the thief.
And this is how the ordinary person follows The Way. This the main means we ordinary people
have of attaining sanctification. What are these ways? Through the members of our families,
especially through our spouse, and through having a regular prayer life. For those of us who do
not have a member of the Church living in the same house with us, our only spiritual support is
Had Banji been married, Banji would have verbally expressed the anger towards the thief, and
Banji's spouse would have told Banji, "our Lord said, 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us.' " A spouse would have reminded Banji of our Lord's instruction,
"Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother, and then
coming thou shalt offer thy gift." But, without a spouse, it was Banji's prayer life which saved
him from the sin of anger in this instance.
So, those who have families, support each other to sanctification; and always maintain a good
prayer life - you will need it.
Ref: 1 Peter 3:8-15; Mat 5:20-24
You know you are an Orthodox Christian if you can immediately come up with the date 13 days
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GAY - LESBIAN ATTACKS ON MORALITY CONTINUE AT A "GRASS ROOTS"
through a New Orleans Recreational Department (NORD) CROSS-DRESSING PARTY
The New Orleans Recreational Department (NORD) had scheduled a CROSS-DRESSING
PARTY for 22 June 2001 A.D., whereat the children of the City of New Orleans would attend,
dressed as a person of the gender opposite to that of their birth. Boys would dress as girls, and
girls as boys.
Forced to cancel the activity by parent protests, a NORD spokesman said the event was being
cancelled because NORD wishes the children to feel comfortable with the activities sponsored by
NORD. In actuality, it was cancelled because at long last, parents raised vehement objections to
the attempts to turn their children into homosexuals and lesbians - at least they objected on this
The possible reasons why NORD, an agency of the government of the City of New Orleans,
attempted to have the youth of the City of New Orleans dress and act in a manner appropriate for
the opposite gender, are two: (1) Stupidity; (2) A blatant attempt to promote the homosexual
agenda of corruption of the morals of the youth of the world by acceptance of sexual activities
which deviate from the standards set by God in the Biblical texts of Moses.
Unfortunately, both reasons are applicable. NORD was stupid for promoting something which is
so overtly against God's instructions, particularly this activity which would cause harm to God's
most loved ones, children, by exposing them to and promoting gender confusion in those of
tender years. If this cross-dressing party had been allowed to take place, that would have opened
the door to additional activities designed to confuse children's sense of sexual identity, thereby
furthering the potential for recruiting additional participants in sexual promiscuity and sexual
Could it also be that those who wish to select their next victims of sexual abuse from the youth of
society, sought to use this occasion as a means of gathering a large number of candidates for
sexual abuse in one place? Of course it could be; and it probably was.
It can only be hoped this will awaken the adults of the world to the dangers the proponents of
same gender sex present to all of mankind. Not only do the militant homosexuals and lesbians
attack morality, they also attack the foundation of society and civilization, the family based in
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HOLY INNOCENTS ORTHODOX CHURCH - INCOME AND EXPENSE SUMMARY
1 January 2000 A.D.
31 December 2000 A.D.
At Church 1,596.00
From Candles 155.20
From L Clnts 1.00
In Kind Offset
In Expense Col. 560.00
In Mail 500.00
Mass Cards Booklets Etc 70.00
Total Donations Received 2,882.20
Checking Account 6.93
Total Interest 6.93
Mtg 3128 Wm Tell 183.03
Total Misc/Other 183.03
Income - Unassigned 0.00
Total Income 3,072.16
Basilian Fathers (BF SB SSB)
Office Supplies 74.25
Total Basilian Fathers
(BF SB SSB) 74.25
Liturgical Supplies -
Liturgical Supplies -
Total Chapel Expenses 790.89
Operations St. MM 371.15
Total Donations To 371.15
Hwdre Pd Fm regular
Software Pd fm regular
Telephone Pd Fm
regular funds 49.31
Total HIOC BBS 278.11
Offset in kind donation 560.00
Paid from money dep/held for
St. Mary Madgalene,
Total Paid from money dep/held
Maint. bulbs misc. etc
& Repairs 244.40
Total Rectory Expenses 819.62
Transfer Donations recd
for SSB to SSB 20.00
Total Transfer Donations
Total Expenses 4,563.37
Income less Expenses (1,491.21)
St. Mary Madgalene - INCOME AND EXPENSE SUMMARY
1 January 2000 A.D.
31 December 2000 A.D.
Recd In Kind 2,727.14
Total Donations 2,727.14
Total Income 2,727.14
Donations Recd In Kind (100.00)
Building Fire Storm
Total Insurance 526.00
Total Utilities 1,347.89
Expense - Unassigned 100.00
Total Expenses 2,727.14
Income less Expenses 0.00
SSB Ledger - INCOME AND EXPENSE SUMMARY
1 January 2000 A.D.
31 December 2000 A.D.
3128 William Tel 3,867.87
Mass Cards 80.00
Paid in Kind 51.26
Total Donations 4,105.13
Check Account 4.96
Total Interest 4.96
Total Income 4,110.09
Service Charge 12.30
Total Bank Charges 12.30
Paid in Kind 35.00
Software Hardware 141.36
BBS InterNet -
Total BBS InterNet 741.26
St. Mary Magdalene 2,022.38
Total Donation to 2,022.38
Mass Cards 88.64
Teaching Related 559.33
Total Publications 849.22
Reference Material 25.02
Office Supplies 162.21
Public functions 35.11
Total SSB Operations 197.32
Total Expenses 3,847.50
Income less Expenses 262.59
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PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH'S POSITION ON HUMAN CLONING
(As Opposed to His Position On Human Stem Cell Research)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
July 30, 2001
H.R. 2505 - Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001(Rep. Weldon (R) FL and five cosponsors)
The Administration supports a ban on the cloning of human beings by somatic cell nuclear
transfer. The Administration unequivocally is opposed to the cloning of human beings either for
reproduction or for research. The moral and ethical issues posed by human cloning are profound
and cannot be ignored in the quest for scientific discovery.
At the same time, the Administration strongly approves of the development of cell and
tissue-based therapies based on research involving the use of nuclear transfer or other cloning
techniques to produce molecules, DNA, cells other than human embryos, tissues, organs, plants,
or animals other than humans. To date, these scientific methods have enabled researchers to
develop innovative drugs to treat research, such as breast cancer, or aid in treatment techniques
for injury, such as cloning skin cells for skin grafts.
H.R. 2505, which prohibits human cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer for any purpose, is
consistent with the Administration's position. Although some technical issues may warrant
further review, the Administration strongly supports the bill's overall intent and would welcome
its passage by the House.
The Administration is strongly opposed to any legislation that would prohibit human cloning for
reproductive purposes but permit the creation of cloned embryos for research. Thus, the
Administration would strongly oppose any substitute amendment that is similar or identical to
the language of H.R. 2608, which would permit human embryos to be created and developed
solely for research purposes.
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REMARKS BY PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH ON STEM CELL RESEARCH
The Bush Ranch, Crawford, Texas
8:01 P.M. CDT 9 August 2001 A.D.
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. I appreciate you giving me a few minutes of your time tonight so I can discuss with you a complex and difficult issue, an issue that is one of the most profound of our time.
The issue of research involving stem cells derived from human embryos is increasingly the subject of a national debate and dinner table discussions. The issue is confronted every day in laboratories as scientists ponder the ethical ramifications of their work. It is agonized over by parents and many couples as they try to have children, or to save children already born.
The issue is debated within the church, with people of different faiths, even many of the same faith coming to different conclusions. Many people are finding that the more they know about stem cell research, the less certain they are about the right ethical and moral conclusions.
My administration must decide whether to allow federal funds, your tax dollars, to be used for scientific research on stem cells derived from human embryos. A large number of these embryos already exist. They are the product of a process called in vitro fertilization, which helps so many couples conceive children. When doctors match sperm and egg to create life outside the womb, they usually produce more embryos than are planted in the mother. Once a couple successfully has children, or if they are unsuccessful, the additional embryos remain frozen in laboratories.
Some will not survive during long storage; others are destroyed. A number have been donated to science and used to create privately funded stem cell lines. And a few have been implanted in an adoptive mother and born, and are today healthy children.
Based on preliminary work that has been privately funded, scientists believe further research using stem cells offers great promise that could help improve the lives of those who suffer from many terrible diseases -- from juvenile diabetes to Alzheimer's, from Parkinson's to spinal cord injuries. And while scientists admit they are not yet certain, they believe stem cells derived from embryos have unique potential.
You should also know that stem cells can be derived from sources other than embryos -- from adult cells, from umbilical cords that are discarded after babies are born, from human placenta. And many scientists feel research on these type of stem cells is also promising. Many patients suffering from a range of diseases are already being helped with treatments developed from adult stem cells.
However, most scientists, at least today, believe that research on embryonic stem cells offer the most promise because these cells have the potential to develop in all of the tissues in the body.
Scientists further believe that rapid progress in this research will come only with federal funds. Federal dollars help attract the best and brightest scientists. They ensure new discoveries are widely shared at the largest number of research facilities and that the research is directed toward the greatest public good.
The United States has a long and proud record of leading the world toward advances in science and medicine that improve human life. And the United States has a long and proud record of upholding the highest standards of ethics as we expand the limits of science and knowledge. Research on embryonic stem cells raises profound ethical questions, because extracting the stem cell destroys the embryo, and thus destroys its potential for life. Like a snowflake, each of these embryos is unique, with the unique genetic potential of an individual human being.
As I thought through this issue, I kept returning to two fundamental questions: First, are these frozen embryos human life, and therefore, something precious to be protected? And second, if they're going to be destroyed anyway, shouldn't they be used for a greater good, for research that has the potential to save and improve other lives?
I've asked those questions and others of scientists, scholars, bioethicists, religious leaders, doctors, researchers, members of Congress, my Cabinet, and my friends. I have read heartfelt letters from many Americans. I have given this issue a great deal of thought, prayer and considerable reflection. And I have found widespread disagreement.
On the first issue, are these embryos human life -- well, one researcher told me he believes this five-day-old cluster of cells is not an embryo, not yet an individual, but a pre-embryo. He argued that it has the potential for life, but it is not a life because it cannot develop on its own.
An ethicist dismissed that as a callous attempt at rationalization. Make no mistake, he told me, that cluster of cells is the same way you and I, and all the rest of us, started our lives. One goes with a heavy heart if we use these, he said, because we are dealing with the seeds of the next generation.
And to the other crucial question, if these are going to be destroyed anyway, why not use them for good purpose -- I also found different answers. Many argue these embryos are byproducts of a process that helps create life, and we should allow couples to donate them to science so they can be used for good purpose instead of wasting their potential. Others will argue there's no such thing as excess life, and the fact that a living being is going to die does not justify experimenting on it or exploiting it as a natural resource.
At its core, this issue forces us to confront fundamental questions about the beginnings of life and the ends of science. It lies at a difficult moral intersection, juxtaposing the need to protect life in all its phases with the prospect of saving and improving life in all its stages.
As the discoveries of modern science create tremendous hope, they also lay vast ethical mine fields. As the genius of science extends the horizons of what we can do, we increasingly confront complex questions about what we should do. We have arrived at that brave new world that seemed so distant in 1932, when Aldous Huxley wrote about human beings created in test tubes in what he called a "hatchery."
In recent weeks, we learned that scientists have created human embryos in test tubes solely to experiment on them. This is deeply troubling, and a warning sign that should prompt all of us to think through these issues very carefully.
Embryonic stem cell research is at the leading edge of a series of moral hazards. The initial stem cell researcher was at first reluctant to begin his research, fearing it might be used for human cloning. Scientists have already cloned a sheep. Researchers are telling us the next step could be to clone human beings to create individual designer stem cells, essentially to grow another you, to be available in case you need another heart or lung or liver.
I strongly oppose human cloning, as do most Americans. We recoil at the idea of growing human beings for spare body parts, or creating life for our convenience. And while we must devote enormous energy to conquering disease, it is equally important that we pay attention to the moral concerns raised by the new frontier of human embryo stem cell research. Even the most noble ends do not justify any means.
My position on these issues is shaped by deeply held beliefs. I'm a strong supporter of science and technology, and believe they have the potential for incredible good -- to improve lives, to save life, to conquer disease. Research offers hope that millions of our loved ones may be cured of a disease and rid of their suffering. I have friends whose children suffer from juvenile diabetes. Nancy Reagan has written me about President Reagan's struggle with Alzheimer's. My own family has confronted the tragedy of childhood leukemia. And, like all Americans, I have great hope for cures.
I also believe human life is a sacred gift from our Creator. I worry about a culture that devalues life, and believe as your President I have an important obligation to foster and encourage respect for life in America and throughout the world. And while we're all hopeful about the potential of this research, no one can be certain that the science will live up to the hope it has generated.
Eight years ago, scientists believed fetal tissue research offered great hope for cures and treatments -- yet, the progress to date has not lived up to its initial expectations. Embryonic stem cell research offers both great promise and great peril. So I have decided we must proceed with great care.
As a result of private research, more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist. They were created from embryos that have already been destroyed, and they have the ability to regenerate themselves indefinitely, creating ongoing opportunities for research. I have concluded that we should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing stem cell lines, where the life and death decision has already been made.
Leading scientists tell me research on these 60 lines has great promise that could lead to breakthrough therapies and cures. This allows us to explore the promise and potential of stem cell research without crossing a fundamental moral line, by providing taxpayer funding that would sanction or encourage further destruction of human embryos that have at least the potential for life.
I also believe that great scientific progress can be made through aggressive federal funding of research on umbilical cord placenta, adult and animal stem cells which do not involve the same moral dilemma. This year, your government will spend $250 million on this important research.
I will also name a President's council to monitor stem cell research, to recommend appropriate guidelines and regulations, and to consider all of the medical and ethical ramifications of biomedical innovation. This council will consist of leading scientists, doctors, ethicists, lawyers, theologians and others, and will be chaired by Dr. Leon Kass, a leading biomedical ethicist from the University of Chicago.
This council will keep us apprised of new developments and give our nation a forum to continue to discuss and evaluate these important issues. As we go forward, I hope we will always be guided by both intellect and heart, by both our capabilities and our conscience.
I have made this decision with great care, and I pray it is the right one.
Thank you for listening. Good night, and God bless America.
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Paul and Visionary Experience
Most Reverend Augustinus (John A. Corcoran), S.S.B.
In Paul's life the primary events were his conversion and his mission. Through these, Paul
attained his real greatness as they constituted the beginning of his thought and work. We must,
therefore, attempt to understand something of their real nature.
We know that Paul experienced a religious transformation on the road from Jerusalem to
Damascus. Some regard this experience as a natural phenomenon, whereas others believe that it
was in the order of the supernatural. Sceptics explain the phenomenon by alleging that Paul
passed through some crisis of either a moral or an intellectual nature1 for in opposing Jesus, the
Messiah, Paul could have been inwardly defeated by his own conscience. Religionists have
refused to give the problem recognition on the psychological level. Paul had been influenced by
Hellenism, the pre-Christian Jewish sects, the traditions of the Hellenistic Christian communities,
and by Jewish piety. Finally, Psychiatrists have sought to explain in their own terms the reasons
for and the form assumed by what they claimed to be a bursting forth of Paul's subconscious into
the conscious mind. To the believer, on the other hand, Paul's conversion has its explanation in
a direct intervention on the part of the glorified Christ. Thus, the persecutor became a believer
and an apostle by means of a vision, whose nature and importance are to be measured by
reference to the accounts in Acts and to the Epistles.
Until about sixty years ago, apologetic concerns had very much captured the attention of the
critics. The sceptics felt bound to deny any value to Paul's autobiographical passages and to
Luke's testimony. Scholars immersed in the faith had entrenched themselves behind the
defensive stance of apologetics. Consequently, few authors who claimed to be critical, were in
fact without bias in their scholarly endeavors. But in-the late 1940s, the question was being
asked1 why supposedly independent researchers were subjecting authentic texts to such ruthless
treatment. In reply, E. Stauffer wrote: "Because any trace of transcendence which
overshadowed the happening on the way to Damascus must be eliminated."
In the Acts of the Apostles there are three accounts of Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1-19; 22:6-16;
26:12-18-), Various reasons have been given for this repetition, A,-Wikenhauser published his
study of the accounts in 1952, lie draws attention to two points. Firstly, Paul's seeing and
hearing was paralleled in the fact that the men who travelled with him did not see and did not
hear. Secondly, he points out the fall to the ground. These two items, Wikenhauser asserts,
appear in the descriptions of Paul's vision as presented in Biblical, Jewish, Greek, and Christian
contexts. In J. Munck's analysis, the author concludes that Luke received much of his material
from Paul himself, Munck also claimed that the event which took place on the way to Damascus,
had no psychological preconditioning. Further, he placed Paul's experience within the sphere of
ecstatic phenomena, Consider1 for example, "speaking in tongues" (I Cor, 14:6) or being "caught
up to the third heaven" (2 Cor. 12:2). The foregoing is an indication of the directions taken by
much of the research into Paul. It must be stressed, however1 that when trying to grasp some
small understanding of Paul's visionary experience, material sources must always be questioned
as "witnesses" and not as "defendants,"
Some authors seemed determined from the beginning to discover factors influential in setting the
stage for Paul's conversion. At times, such factors pointed to a supposed interior crisis. For
example, M. Goguel wrote: "The vision was the externalization of a conviction which had
sunken deep roots into Paul's soul. Hence, the gradual growth of this certitude constituted the
whole problem of the apparition of Christ and the conversion of Paul." What are we to think of
this interior crisis? Authors who attempted to analyze it, did so on the basis of their own personal
suggestions. To each one, the crisis appeared to be but psychological fiction with one basic
claim, namely, that there must be a natural explanation. Therefore, the crisis was considered to
have been psychologically preconditioned.
It is sometimes argued that Paul suffered an inner restlessness. This can be seen from chapter
seven of his letter to the Romans. In similar fashion9 there was an argument based on the
Christian influences from which Paul could not have freed himself. The journey across the
desert was seen as giving him the opportunity to question the value or legitimacy of his actions.
Paul had experienced the shock of revelation" which1 for him, could have been nothing less than
total, complete, and decisive.
The Christian element in the preconditioning of Paul's conversion was stressed particularly by J.
Weiss. He denied that a vision of Jesus could have occurred without a previous acquaintance
with Jesus, Paul, therefore, must have known Jesus, and we must understand 2 Corinthians, 5:16
in this sense.
Finally, it was argued in some circles that the Judaism of Paul could have prepared him for his
Vision. Paul believed in the resurrection of the dead, and the ancient accounts bf the seeing and
the hearing of the prophets could have paved the way for a new interpretation of the visual
and-aural experiences of the glorified Jesus.
There were also opinions of Paul's- conversion which did not throw any new or original light on
the subject. They were simply repetitions of what had already been claimed. Without denying
the supernatural nature of the vision, these views understood Paul to have undergone some kind
of prior psychological conditioning. Remaining studies fall into two categories, namely, those
that were of the opinion that the accounts of Paul's experiences must be explained in the light of
Jewish and Hellenistic parallels, apart from any attempt to consider facts: secondly, there were
those that did not find in the text, any crisis of conscience prior to the event at Damascus - the
inadequacy of the Law or the after-effects of Christian occurrences on Paul notwithstanding. In a
word, the latter did not believe that Paul had been psychologically preconditioned.
If we look at Paul and Luke, it is difficult to label Paul's experience as a psychological fact.
Rather, we see it as a vision, prompted by an act of God, in which Paul saw and heard the risen
Christ. It is, however, taking a further step to immediately attribute vision to God's direct
-intervention. In Paul's case, it has been suggested that this visionary state was due to mental
hypertension --a state in which what is normally imperceptible presents itself to the mind. Also,
did not Paul's health predispose him ~o such a visionary state? Perhaps, the extreme in views
was that of J. Klausner who suggested recourse to hysteria or epilepsy as the key to explain Paul's
When we speak of the direct intervention of God - just referred to above - we are dealing with a
mysticism which is the sum total of those supernatural experiences accorded by God to certain
beneficiaries. To Paul, God is the author of the Law, which is the manifestation of his love and
of his wisdom. Prior to the happening at Damascus, Saul was completely dedicated to the Law.
Furthermore9 he was a man of prayer. Lastly, Saul's messianic ideal consisted in the expectation
of a glorious Messiah.. So for him, it was a religious duty to persecute the Christians, because
the one who had died on the Cross could not have been the true Messiah. Hence, it was not a
man with a tormented mind and soul who made his way in a determined fashion- towards
Damascus, but one who was a fanatic concerning the things of God, of his people, and of his
Law. Paul was always ready to deliver himself up entirely to the Divine Will.
What were the obvious signs of Paul's conversion? There was "a~ light from heaven" which
caused Paul's blindness and there was "a voice." It was St. Augustine who remarked that since
Paul had been blinded- by the light, he could have seen Christ -only as a mental picture.
Likewise, was not the-voice Paul heard., heard by him internally? In his Epistle to the
Galat-lans, chapter 1:15-16, Paul speaks of revelation that is "to me" (Greek translates "in me").
W. G. Kuminel is quick to claim that there is no trace here of a psychological experience.
Similarly, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15:8, Paul numbered himself among
those to whom the risen Christ appeared. But this does not necessarily imply an exterior vision.
With regard to Paul1 then, we must --examine the nature of interior revelation.
Interior revelation does not signify that the phenomenon is entirely subjective. Christian
mysticism considers three kinds of visions, namely, corporal, imaginative, and the purely
spiritual. In the case of the purely spiritual vision, the subject is conscious of the presence of God
or of Christ in his soul and receives some communication in which the senses and the
imagination play no part. It is in this category of experience that we place Paul's vision. Only in
terms of such a totally profound vision can there be an explanation for the change in the life,
thought, and action of Paul.
The experience on the road to Damascus was an interior -phenomenon. It was also a new
creation. Spiritual things are no less real than material things. The facts of Paul's case defy all
materialistic analysis. How can we explain the change that did transpire in Paul's life? We
cannot ascribe it simply to imagination9 for a defective imagination never engendered a spiritual
recuperation." Neither was Paul afflicted with a morbid fanaticism. He was wholly a man of
action. As for the possibility of -Paul purporting a lie, his whole life refutes even the
entertainment of- such a -suggestion.
We are now faced with another major question: In his Damascus vision, did Paul perceive any
mission whatsoever to the Apostolate? This is a matter about which there has been great-debate.
Paul had been entirely dedicated to Judaism, As a Christian, he felt that it was imperative that he
devote himself to Christ as dedicatedly as he had opposed him earlier in life. At the moment or
his conversion, Paul had no clear conception of his future as Apostle to the Gentiles - we know,
however, that he was delegated by the Church at a later time, to carry out his mission, Paul's
understanding of salvation was radically changed by the fact that -he had seen the risen Christ.
Hence, his favor for the Law was transformed into zeal for Christ, as we learn from the letter to
the Romans, chapter 10:4, Now he was completely at the disposal of Christ, although his
temperament had not changed in any way.
When Paul first encountered Christ, he became his servant. It was later that Paul became his
witness and Apostle. On the other hand, he never 'betrayed an awareness of ecclesial or
authoritative intermediation." He remained faithful to his race and to his early conception of
Israel's status (Romans 9.11), but at the same time, Paul became aware of new factors, Jesus was
the Christ, and had been raised from the dead by God, his Father, Paul thus realized that religion
was for the good of all and that salvation- was for all since it was no longer made consequent to
the faithful observance of the Law (2 Corinthians, 5:1?), This message was to be carried to the
Gentiles as well as to the Jews.
When we study Paul and the nature of his visionary experience, after having waded through
tomes expounding on all varying and possible interpretations, we are still faced with is vision of
the risen Christ, not a myth, but a reality. We are still involved not "with an aggregate of people
who believed", but with the very soul of the Church, which is the extension of the risen Christ
through the action of the HolySpirit, Paul himself had relatively little to say about his conversion
and his vocation. When he does mention them, it is with a definite reserve. But, perhaps, we
would not react negatively to this fact1 Paul was fired up with conviction and concern for the
gospel. This is also revealed in the manner in which he speaks of his conversion. For him there
was only one matter of importance, -namely, the gospel he was given to preach.
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The direct connection to computer which functions as the message, file, and communications center for The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil, is:
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Rev. Fr. Dcn. Peter Angasan
P.O. Box 70123
South Naknek, Alaska 99670-0123
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DIVINE LITURGY "MASS" CARDS
Commonly called "Mass Cards", these 4 1/4" by 5 1/2 " (folded) Icon cards feature the above
Icons, and open to reveal prayer intentions for the living and for those who have Fallen
Asleep in The Lord.
ICON # 4 ICON # 7 ICON # 11 ICON # 19 ICON # 26 SOUFANIEH
For those who have Fallen Asleep in The Lord, Icon # 19 graces the cover, with the following text (reduced here to fit in this column) inside:
General Intentions For the Living, for weddings, illnesses, general need, and for the sake of prayer itself, etc., cards, have Icons nos. 4, 7, 11, and 26, and a photograph of the Icon of Our Lady of Soufanieh showing the olive oil dripping from the bottom of the Icon's frame, are available on the covers. All the Icons are full color printed cards, except Our Lady of Soufanieh, which is a color photograph.
The text on the inside of the cards for the living is given above, again reduced here to fit inside the column.
These cards are very beautiful, light gray or bamboo in color, but they are only a product - something to induce you to make a donation which we use to support the various works we provide, including publication of REUNION.
To have a person included in our prayers and at Divine Liturgy, send us a note, or fill out the form in the right column of this page and send it to us. There is no fee for the prayers and Masses, that would be Simony. These cards are also available without prayer intentions, and can be used for regular note or religiously oriented note stationery.
Consider obtaining a small supply, and send the prayer request slip which accompanies the cards when you actually use the card.
Like Monasteries which obtain donations for their Icons, or sell Icons and other items, the donations we receive from these cards are of great use to us. Your help is always appreciated.
If you wish someone to be included in our payer and Divine Liturgy intentions, please just fill in the form below and send it to us - but do not send any money. Prayers are free, the cards cost money.
ITEM QUANTITY REQUESTED TOTAL
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Soufanieh _________ $3.00 $____________
Icon Stationery Cards: (same as Mass cards but without inside inscription, packs of 10
cards and 11 envelopes)
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Icon #7 _________ $15.00 $____________
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