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November 13th, 2010

Poem : The Old Paths

The Old Paths

I like the “Old Paths”, when Moms were at home.
Dads were at work. Brothers went into the army.
And sisters got married BEFORE having children!

Crime did not pay; Hard work did;
And people knew the difference.

Moms could cook; Dads would work; Children would behave..

Husbands were loving; Wives were supportive; And children were polite.

Women wore the jewelry; And Men wore the pants.
Women looked like ladies; Men looked like gentlemen; And children looked decent.

People loved the truth, And hated a lie;
They came to church to get IN, Not to get OUT!

Hymns sounded Godly; Sermons sounded helpful;
Rejoicing sounded normal; And crying sounded sincere.

Cursing was wicked; Drinking was evil; and divorce was unthinkable.

The flag was honored; America was beautiful; And God was welcome!

We read the Bible in public; Prayed in school; And preached from house to house
To be called an American was worth dying for;
To be called a Christian was worth living for;
To be called a traitor was a shame!

Sex was a personal word. Homosexual was an unheard of word, And abortion was an illegal word.

Preachers preached because they had a message;
And Christians rejoiced because they had the VICTORY!
Preachers preached from the Bible; Singers sang from the heart;
And sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED!

A new birth meant a new life; Salvation meant a changed life; Following Christ led to eternal life.

Being a preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God;
Being a deacon meant you would serve the Lord;
Being a Christian meant you would live for Jesus;
And being a sinner meant someone was praying for you!

Laws were based on the Bible; Homes read the Bible;
And churches taught the Bible.

Preachers were more interested in new converts, Than new clothes and new cars.
God was worshiped; Christ was exalted; and the Holy Spirit was respected.

Church was where you found Christians on the Lord’s day, rather than in the garden,
on the creek bank, on the golf course, or being entertained somewhere else.

I still like the Old Paths the best ! Jeremiah 6:16

– – – poem “Old Paths” was written by a retired minister who lives in Tennessee.

November 11th, 2010

Mission Of The Catholic Church

Mission of The Catholic Church

What are the greatest needs of the Catholic Church today?

Do not think that our answer is simplistic or superstitious and unreal: one of the greatest needs today is the defense from that evil that we call the devil (Pope Paul VI, November 1972).

Delivering the world from demonic powers has always been the mission of the Catholic Church.

In the ministry of Jesus, exorcism of people who were possessed and tormented by evil spirits was of prime importance. It demonstrated the power that Jesus Christ commanded, as did the other miracles He performed; but more importantly it showed that He had unopposed authority even over the demonic spiritual powers who openly defied the rule of God. With a mere word from Christ, the demons were routed, as in Matthew 9:33, 11:18, 15:22, and 17:18. The ministry of exorcism was critically important in establishing Jesus’ authority as the true Lord of all creation.

“Whoever denies Satan also denies sin, and he who does not believe in demons does not believe the Holy Scriptures” (Pope John Paul II). One of the assaults on the Christian faith has been the denial that the demons exist. This was at first proposed to free men from the fear of “darkness and old night,” and to proclaim that the good God existed unopposed by any demonic power.

‘It is a well-known fact that where religion regresses, superstition progresses.’ A deep aversion for the love of the Sacred Scriptures and Holy Sacraments are the signs of living under the shadow of Satan. They practice abortions, having illegitimate children, witchcraft, Ouija board, tarot cards, crystals, palm reading, numerology, past life regression, psychic powers, channeling divination and séances are everywhere; yoga, zen, reiki, fengshui (vaastu), transcendental meditation, these are “ancient satanic wisdoms.”

In recent years, while the world has strayed far from the Old and New Testaments and its cosmic battle between God and Satan, true demonic activity, which had been largely banished in Christian societies, has been slowly resurfacing. Occult preoccupations and practices are reintroduced under the aegis of the “New Age movement,” and with them an increasing number of cases of demonic possession.

It had become so serious a problem that Pope John Paul II had spoken openly of the problem and of the need to formally train exorcists priests for dioceses around the world. The actual Rite of Exorcism is not very dramatic and will disappoint those who were expecting projectile pea soup, rotating heads, extreme physical manifestations, and verbal duels between the exorcist and the demon. The exorcist reads prayers and Scriptures from the approved ritual in the presence of the possessed.

It is an exercise of the Church’s authority and so it is necessary that the ritual be performed only with the local bishop’s permission, using the precise form prescribed by the Church. Standing on one’s own against Satan is foolhardy and dangerous.

There are some Catholic religious institutions in India and abroad which conduct retreats of various kinds, increase our spiritual knowledge to come closer to Christ; but many of the participants that make these retreats come with traces of occult in them or they are possessed, with the hope of getting free from these evil bondages, they return home worse than before since these centers do not have the Exorcism Ministries. Here the teachings on Precious Blood of Jesus is of utmost importance since “Through His Blood, we gain our freedom the forgiveness of our sins” (Eph. 1:7) “How much more effectively the blood of Christ, who offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit, can purify our inner self from dead actions so that we do our service to the living God” (Heb.9:14).

We are witnessing the fulfillment of the words in the Sacred Scriptures concerning King Ahaziah. While he was gravely ill, he sent messengers to consult Beelzeebul (prince of demons), God of Ekron, to find out his future. The great prophet Elijah of action and not diction intercepted these messengers and asked them, “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Beelzebul?” (2 Kings 1;1-4).

The traditional prayers for exorcism were in Latin. A new Rite of Exorcism was developed after Vatican II and has undergone several revisions. The new rite can be performed in the vernacular and has several alternative parts. At the present time, exorcists in Italy have been using both the old and the new rites, judging for themselves which one would be most appropriate in particular cases. It is interesting to note that in certain circumstances the Blessed Virgin Mary must be called on to intercede. The demons respond to her name with fear and loathing.

Demonic possession is still a major front in the war for souls between God and Satan. The Rite is thoroughly orthodox and conforms to Catholic teaching. It is both interesting and informative, and it stands to help people understand the very real demonic problems in our world as the Catholic Church understands them.

The devil never ceases his activity, while the Lord’s servants sleep, as the parable of the wheat and the darnel tells us. Everyone knows that the priestly ministry includes risks and discomforts for the priest, even when he does not exorcise. St. Peter would say, “Rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed” (1 Pet. 4;13). The welfare of souls is worthy of every sacrifice.

Delivering the world from demonic powers has always been the mission of the Catholic Church – a mission never more important than today.

– – – written by Captain Mervin John Lobo

November 6th, 2010

Children Are God’s Gift

Children Are God’s Gift

After completing the work of creation, God, the Father blessed the first couple entrusting them with a special task, saying: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it…” (Gen. 1:28). The Psalmist, who grasped the content and message of this great invitation, sang beautifully filled with the Spirit of the Lord: “Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate” (Ps. 127:3-6). A few decades have passed after the spine of the theory of population explosion propagated by the proponents of demography was deplorably broken.

We can see couples who hail from two contrary poles: the first group is those who are devoutly and prayerfully waiting to get a child. They go about in fast, penance and alms-giving from one retreat centre to another, from one charismatic convention to another, from one guru to another, with much hope and longing! Contrary to this is the second category. We can see them line up in front of abortion clinics, government hospitals and even at the door of quacks and primitive doctors! They have not accepted their child as a gift from God, though they got it sometimes as the outcome of their own loose life!

Not long ago we have read a report about tourist countries where the flesh of aborted children is cooked to fill the stomach of those human cannibals who go to tourist resorts and five star hotels! It is not an amazing thing. Centuries before God Himself warned mankind concerning this sort of atrocities: “You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters” (Lev. 26:29). “The hands of compassionate women have boiled their own children; they became their food in the destruction of my people” (Lam. 4:10).

Prior to conception the parents should conceive the children in their hearts! That is why the Lord said to Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5). The children, who were given birth in the hearts of their parents before they were really conceived in the wombs, will leap like John the Baptist from the mother’s womb filled with the Holy Spirit! In the life of such mothers also great divine interventions will take place as happened to Mary and Elizabeth! They shall be a blessing. The couple who place their hands every day on the womb during the pregnancy to pray that the child be filled with the Holy Spirit is an excellent example for all couples.

Children have access to the presence of God all the time. The Gospels portray Christ who rebukes the disciples who chased the children who came to him. Our Lord categorically declares that those who do not become like innocent children will not enter the Kingdom of God. To give birth to children and bring them up is a responsible and demanding task. All are called for that. The grace of God is sufficient for success in this great mission. Each child is an indispensable link in the chain of generations. In each child a generation is concealed. That is why God said to Abraham: “I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Gen.12:2). To kill a child is equal to kill a generation or a people! Each child is a link of generations that will incessantly continue until the end of the world. Let this link be not broken, let us not break it.

Children may ask us unanswerable questions, they may criticize us, and they may trouble us. Allow them to grow in their own way. The boy Jesus also troubled the scholars and teachers in the Temple of Jerusalem! At times, the birth of some infant takes away the peace and sleep from parents and others. When Herod heard about the birth of child Jesus he became restless and sleepless. That is why he brutally killed around two hundred infants. Today a similar killing is taking place; only the difference is that today they are killed in the womb.

Like Mother Mary, we should be able to see a savior in every child. Once, a devotee complained to God: “Why are you not giving us a doctor who can give medicine for Aids and cancer?” God replied: “I have sent two men into the world with the proper cure. But their parents did not allow them to see the light”. No child is born accidentally. Children are born with a mission and a task to be accomplished. Those who hinder this, in effect, act against the Divine plan. Sinners who repent should bear the fruits of conversion.

After the first fratricide in human history, God said to the murderer, Cain: “What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!”(Gen. 4:10). On another occasion He said: “And be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). But still the merciful Lord gives us a string of hope, saying: “Have you sinned my child? Do so no more, but ask forgiveness for your past sins” (Sir. 21:1). “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (Ps. 103:10). There is no dirt that cannot be cleansed by a bath in Christ’s blood. There is no wound that cannot be healed with the anointing of His blood.

Let us walk towards Him to be anointed with His blood which is the only antidote for all our infirmities and maladies! Let us resolve to side with the unborn innocent children. Let us pray for them. Let us intercede for them so that the Lord of life may save us from the clutches of this culture of death.

– – – written by Bro. Vineesh Joseph

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