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Posts tagged ‘Mother Teresa’

In Private Diaries, Pope John Paul Asked: Am I Serving God?.

Image: In Private Diaries, Pope John Paul Asked: Am I Serving God?

Pope John Paul II spent decades constantly questioning whether he was worthy of the role he was called to carry out, according to private diaries published on Wednesday in defiance of his request that they be destroyed.John Paul, who led the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005, will be made a saint in April and remains for many Catholics a towering model of faith and commitment.

The diaries give a glimpse into his interior spiritual life, showing a man who never became complacent despite the grandeur of the papacy and his star status among many Catholics. Instead he agonized about whether he was doing enough to serve God.

Francis: Who Is Pope Francis? Book Reveals the Man
His handwritten notes, published as “John Paul II: I am very much in God’s hands. Personal notes 1962-2003,” are a series of his reflections rather than a daily diary.

Although he played a very active public role in communist-era Poland and as pope, the man born Karol Wojtyla in southern Poland in 1920 rarely referred to public events in these pages.

In one note in 1981, the then Cardinal Wojtyla reflected on a theological discussion with other clerics and asked:

“The word of the Lord. Do I love the word of God? Do I live by it? Do I serve it willingly. Help me, Lord, to live by your word,” he asked. “Do I serve the Holy Spirit that lives in the Church?”

In the same passage, he wrote, alternating between Latin and his native Polish: “A pure, holy and immaculate sacrifice. This is why He demands from his priests that they should be of undivided heart (celibate) and demands priestly purity. Jesus, help me!”



Before his death, John Paul entrusted his diaries to Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, his personal secretary and now a cardinal in the southern city of Krakow, with instructions that they be burned.

In the foreword to the book, Dziwisz said he did not burn them because they hold the key to understanding the pope’s private spiritual life.

“They reveal the other side of the person whom we knew as .. the pastor of the universal Church,” wrote the cardinal, who was both praised and criticised in Polish Catholic circles after announcing the publication of the book last month.

Now available only in Polish, the 638-page book is dominated by deep theological reflections that reveal little of what the pope was otherwise thinking or doing when he wrote them.

The picture that emerges deepens but does not jar with his public image, in contrast to the posthumous diaries of Mother Teresa – who died in 1997 and was beatified by John Paul in 2003 – that revealed her long periods of doubt about God’s existence.

Despite the questioning of his own role, there is no sign in the diaries from 1962 to 2003 that the pope’s belief in God wavered.

The first signs of his questioning appear in comments from 1970 where he wrote: “Can the misfortunes of people close to me, which have happened recently, be seen as a punishment? As a sign? What can it mean?”

He paid close attention to the skills required of a priest. “What language do I use when I speak to people?” he asked in 1974. “Do I proclaim the Gospel with complete conviction?”

In his final years, debilitated by illness, the pope’s entries become sparser and the handwriting less assured.

Francis: Who Is Pope Francis? Book Reveals the Man
The last entry in 2003 referred to the Biblical story of Jonah, who was ordered by God to preach his word but instead runs away.

The pope, who before his final illness travelled tirelessly around the globe preaching the Gospel, wrote in a sloping script in Italian across the bottom of the page: “Jonah, this is the fear of proclaiming the love of God.”

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


10 Ways to Teach Your Children Humility.

Father and Daughter
(Imagery Majestic/Free Digital Photos)

Humility, dictionary definitions say, is marked by modesty, meekness, diffidence and an unassuming attitude. Dictionaries also contrast humility with arrogance and pride.

Yet we live in a culture where pride is celebrated and arrogance is almost a prerequisite to be taken seriously in business, politics and sports. Ideas such as “Nice guys finish last” are touted as “No duh!” truth.

Well, listen up! If we think humility is only for wimps and losers, then we really don’t know what the word means. Humility can only come from those who actually have something about which to be humble. The humble are those who could crow but choose to keep their beaks shut.

Humility is also a close associate of gratitude, and it’s an attribute that simply oozes class. Here are 10 ways to teach humility to your kids and (maybe) ramp it up a bit in your own life:

1. Modeling. Never underestimate the power of teaching through example. Humility must be consistently modeled as a lifestyle, not an on-again, off-again example.

2. Build them up. This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s important to understand that humility always comes from a position of belief, strength and self-assurance.

3. Encourage and help them to be the very best they can be—no matter what they do. Humility works best when your child has actually achieved something. Help your child achieve with confidence.

4. Make sure they understand where their real value comes from. It’s easier to sidestep pride or arrogance when children understand they are valued simply because they are your child, not because they win the race, have a prettier mom (and a smarter dad!), earn a higher income or score the most points.

5. Never humiliate your kids. Humility cannot be imposed. It’s important not to confuse humiliation, bullying and beating down with an education in humility.

6. Expose your child to the great teachers and their stories. Jesus, Mother Teresa and Eric Liddell are all wonderful role models.  or Jesus, there are lots of great children’s books about Him, as well as about Mother Teresa. Eric Liddell is the man who inspired the movie Chariots of Fire, a great film for your whole family.

7. Teach them to serve.

  • Serve the homeless.
  • Serve the poor.
  • Serve their family.
  • Serve one another.

8. Coach them on how to respond. Kids need to be taught to say “Please” and “Thank you” as much as they need to be taught to brush their teeth and to stay out of the street. So why expect them to know humility without guidance? Here’s an example: “Look, Jr., that’s a great job you did on your science fair project. You deserved to win the prize. Now, this is how you handle it in class tomorrow … let’s practice saying:

  • ‘Thanks!’
  • ‘I like the way my friend, Matt, did his project, too.’
  • ‘I don’t think I could have won without the help of my teacher.’”

You get the idea.

9. Teach them how to apologize. The well-timed and sincere apology is a key component of humility. Sometimes they’re wrong; they need to acknowledge that. Sometimes they over-reach and it’s time to back up. Sometimes they receive unintentional consequences they need to smooth over.

10. Teach them to give thanks. A genuinely grateful heart is a key building block for humility. Gratitude, practiced and eventually owned, enhances humility at every turn. The person saying “Thank you” affects a posture that is unassuming and modest. Try this: Every time someone offers a compliment, simply say, “Thank you.” It’s the kind of response that eventually soaks in, grows roots and blooms humility.


All Pro Dad is Family First’s innovative and unique program for every father. Their aim is to interlock the hearts of the fathers with their children and, as a byproduct, the hearts of the children with their dads., dads in any stage of fatherhood can find helpful resources to aid in their parenting. Resources include daily emails, blogs, Top 10 lists, articles, printable tools, videos and eBooks., fathers can join the highly engaged All Pro Dad social media communities onFacebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

I’ve never forgotten what Mother Teresa said when we prayed together in Rome.

From Mike Evans the founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team

Some years ago I had the opportunity to meet with Mother Teresa in Rome.  I have never forgotten her words as we prayed together: “Lord, if we love you, we must love the Jewish people.  Love is not something we say; it is something we do.”  Today I am asking you to show the love that I know is in your heart for God’s Chosen People in a very important and prophetic way with your support of the Jerusalem Prayer Team.

Most Jewish people believe that Christians were responsible for so much slaughter and death through the centuries.  They know that professing Christians stood by and did nothing while millions were murdered.  What most of them do not know is that there were many true Christians who risked and gave their lives to deliver Jewish people from destruction.  The horrors of the past cannot be undone, but we can tell the rest of the story.  That is why we are building the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.

This story can only be told with your help.  The budget for the 3rd floor is right at $1,000,000.  The first payment of $500,000 must be made by September 1st.  We have less than one month to raise the needed funds so that this great work can stay on schedule to open next fall and tell the story of true Christian love to the Jewish people for generations to come.  Your gift today will be matched dollar for dollar.  That means we need to raise $250,000.  So far 450 friends have given $44,520 which will be doubled.  That means we still need $205,480.


With your gift of any amount, we will send you a “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” print.  Everyone who sees it will immediately know of your love and support and prayers for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.

When you send your gift of $50 or more, we will send you the print and a special Jerusalem Compass.  No matter where you are, this unique compass always points toward Jerusalem!  It’s perfect for anyone whose heart is fixed on the Holy City.

When you send your gift of $100 or more, we will send you the print and the compass, as well as a beautiful glass plate.  Any home or office will be enhanced by this lovely piece that we have designed especially for our friends and partners.

If you are able to send a gift of $250 or more, we will send the print and a stunning Torah Scroll.  In addition, your name or the name of someone you wish to honor will be placed on a special Scroll of Honor in the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.

Remember that your gift will be matched dollar for dollar to double the impact of your support today.


Your support of the Jerusalem Prayer Team today allows us to continue our work on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center, to stand up and speak out for Israel, and to meet urgent humanitarian needs among the poor Jewish people living in Israel.  Thank you so much for being part of this vital worldwide prayer movement.

Your ambassador to Jerusalem,

Dr. Michael Evans

Pope Francis Urges Catholics to Shake Up Dioceses.

Image: Pope Francis Urges Catholics to Shake Up Dioceses

RIO DE JANEIROPope Francis has shown the world his rebellious side, urging young Catholics to shake up the church and make a “mess” in their dioceses by going out into the streets to spread the faith.

It’s a message he put into practice by visiting one of Rio’s most violent slums and opening the church’s World Youth Day on a rain-soaked Copacabana Beach.

Francis was elected Pope on a mandate to reform the church, and in four short months he has started doing just that: He has broken long-held Vatican rules on everything from where he lays his head at night to how saints are made.

The Pope has cast off his security detail to get close to his flock, and his first international foray as Pope has shown the faithful appreciate the gesture.

He’s going further Friday, meeting with a small group of young convicts. He’ll also hear confessions from some Catholic youth and then head back to Copacabana beach for a Stations of the Cross procession.

Dubbed the “Slum Pope” for his work with the poor, Francis received a rapturous welcome in the Varginha shantytown on Thursday, part of a slum area of northern Rio so violent it’s known as the Gaza Strip.

The 76-year-old Argentine seemed entirely at home, wading into cheering crowds, kissing people young and old and telling them the Catholic Church is on their side.

“No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world!” Francis told a crowd of thousands who braved a cold rain and stood in a muddy soccer field to welcome him. “No amount of peace-building will be able to last, nor will harmony and happiness be attained in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins or excludes a part of itself.”

It was a message aimed at reversing the decline in the numbers of Catholics in most of Latin America, with many poor worshippers leaving the church for Pentecostal and evangelical congregations. Those churches have taken up a huge presence in favelas, or shantytowns such as Varginha, attracting souls with nuts-and-bolts advice on how to improve their lives.

The Varginha visit was one of the highlights of Francis’ weeklong trip to Brazil, his first as Pope and one seemingly tailor-made for the first pontiff from the Americas.

The surprise, though, came during his encounter with Argentine pilgrims, scheduled at the last minute in yet another sign of how this spontaneous Pope is shaking up the Vatican’s staid and often stuffy protocol.

He told the thousands of youngsters, with an estimated 30,000 Argentines registered, to get out into the streets and spread their faith and make a “mess,” saying a church that doesn’t go out and preach simply becomes a civic or humanitarian group.

“I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses!” he said, speaking off the cuff in his native Spanish. “I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!”

Apparently realizing the radicalness of his message, he apologized in advance to the bishops at home.

Later Thursday, he traveled in his open-sided car through a huge crowd in the pouring rain to a welcoming ceremony on Copacabana beach. It was his first official event with the hundreds of thousands of young people who have flocked to Rio for World Youth Day. Vatican officials estimated the crowd at 1 million.

Cheering pilgrims from 175 nations lined the beachfront drive to catch a glimpse of the pontiff, with many jogging along with the vehicle behind police barricades. The car stopped several times for Francis to kiss babies — and take a long sip of his beloved mate, the traditional Argentine tea served in a gourd with a straw, which was handed up to him by someone in the crowd.

After he arrived at the beach-front stage, though, the crowd along the streets melted away, driven home by the pouring rain that brought out vendors selling the plastic ponchos that have adorned cardinals and pilgrims alike during this unseasonably cold, wet week.

In an indication of the havoc wreaked by four days of steady showers, organizers made an almost unheard-of change in the festival’s agenda, moving the Saturday vigil and climactic Sunday Mass to Copacabana Beach from a rural area 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the city center. The terrain of the area, Guaratiba, had turned into a vast field of mud, making the overnight camping plans of pilgrims untenable.

The news was welcome to John White, a 57-year-old chaperone from the Albany, N.Y., diocese who attended the past five World Youth Days and complained that organization in Rio was lacking.

“I’m super relieved. That place is a mud pit and I was concerned about the kid’s health and that they might catch hypothermia,” he said. “That’s great news. I just wish the organizers would have told us.”

Francis’ visit to the Varginha slum followed in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II, who visited two such favelas during a 1980 trip to Brazil, and Mother Teresa, who visited Varginha itself in 1972. Her Missionaries of Charity order has kept a presence in the shantytown ever since.

Like Mother Teresa, Francis brought his own personal history to the visit: As archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio frequently preached in the poverty-wracked slums of his native city, putting into action his belief that the Catholic Church must go to the farthest peripheries to preach and not sit back and wait for the most marginalized to come to Sunday Mass.

Francis’ open-air car was mobbed on a few occasions as he headed into Varginha’s heavily policed, shack-lined streets, but he never seemed in danger. He was showered with gifts as he walked down one of the slum’s main drags without an umbrella to shield him from the rain.

A well-wisher gave him a paper lei to hang around his neck and he held up another offering — a scarf from his favorite soccer team, Buenos Aires’ San Lorenzo.

“Events like this, with the Pope and all the local media, get everyone so excited,” said Antonieta de Souza Costa, a 56-year-old vendor and resident of Varginha. “I think this visit is going to bring people back to the Catholic Church.”

Addressing Varginha’s residents, Francis acknowledged that young people in particular have a sensitivity toward injustice.

“You are often disappointed by facts that speak of corruption on the part of people who put their own interests before the common good,” Francis told the crowd. “To you and all, I repeat: Never yield to discouragement, do not lose trust, do not allow your hope to be extinguished.”

It was a clear reference to the violent protests that paralyzed parts of the country in recent weeks as Brazilians furious over rampant corruption and inefficiency within the country’s political class took to the streets.

Francis blasted what he said was a “culture of selfishness and individualism” that permeates society today, demanding that those with money and power share their wealth and resources to fight hunger and poverty.

“It is certainly necessary to give bread to the hungry — this is an act of justice. But there is also a deeper hunger, the hunger for a happiness that only God can satisfy,” he said.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Polls: Background Checks Have Higher Approval Rating Than Mother Teresa.

Polls show more people favor universal background checks on gun sales than approve of Mother Teresa, with the issue receiving higher polling numbers than just about anything else.

According to Politico
, numerous polls show that 90 percent of Americans have been supportive background checks for all commercial sales, including gun shows, for some time.
But that impressive number wasn’t enough to change the Senate vote Wednesday on the background check amendment authored by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

The nation’s poll takers say it’s not often that nearly everybody agrees on an issue. In fact, according to Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, only two figures have polled higher than 90 percent favorability since it began surveying public opinion 12 years ago. The two — Jesus Christ and Abraham Lincoln. Mother Teresa, the firm told Politico, came in third at 83 percent.

The respected Pew Research Center also told Politico that there have only been a few areas in which 90 percent of Americans agreed. In 1992, 90 percent of people polled by Pew called for stricter laws and regulations to protect the environment. Pew said it also found 90 percent of people supported statements on the importance of voting, keeping the United States active in world affairs, and on the importance or non-importance of admiring the wealthy.

The Gallup organization also reported that former President George W. Bush had a 90 percent approval rating just after the Sept.11 terrorism attacks. The polling firm also found that the percentage of people who believe in God is consistently at 90 percent.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Should Religious Organizations Pay Taxes? By Comrade Edwin Ekene.

By Comrade Edwin Ekene

Living in a country where any critical observation attracts negative or sometimes shadow chasing responses, a less courageous person may be
cowed from expressing his views when it comes to ecclesiastical matters. But, since Nigeria is a fundamental member of our interconnected world, I will like to share some of the contents of a story I read some years ago with my fellow compatriots.

Actually, it was a debate between Erik Stanley, the head of the Pulpit Initiative for Alliance Defense Fund, a legal alliance of Christian attorneys in the United States, and Rev. Barry W. Lynn, the Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. The title of the debate, which was published in the Los Angeles Times ofSeptember 23, 2008, was, “Why Don’t Churches Pay Taxes?” Since religions are charitable organizations that engaged in beneficial services, the two resource persons invited for the debate both agreed that, churches are tax exempt under the principle that, there is no surer way to destroy the exercise of religion than to tax it.

Erik Stanley, been a proponent of an unconditional tax exemption for the church said: “The 1954 Federal Johnson Amendment prohibits a pastor
from talking about candidates from the pulpit in light of scripture. Thus, based on what a pastor says about an election from the pulpit, the tax code allows the government to tax a church”. But, Mr. Stanley went further to state that, conditioning tax exemption for churches on refraining from speaking about certain things is just as dangerous as taxing the churches outright… The conditions allow the state, through its discretion and power to punish disfavoured views and reward favoured ones. While countering Stanley’s assertions, his opponent in the debate, Rev. Barry Lynn, said, “Sometimes when a camel sticks his nose in the tent, the camel smells unpleasant things… I see no evidence that restricting the ability of a pastor to convert his church in to a political action committee is intended to cause or has caused the destruction of religious enterprise.” “When any group accepts a tax exemption, it agrees to play by certain rules and accepts a certain degree of oversight.” Can we give thoughts to the above debate here in Nigeria?

However, I believe that our destinies were never determined before we were born, and that God Almighty has given us the free will to
determine and shape our destinies, making man the direct recipient of his thoughts, words and actions. But, since nature still has some percentage of influence on man, some persons are more privileged and well positioned than others, and that is why some individuals are still living in poverty. Poverty according to Wikipedia is an economic condition of lacking both money and basic necessities needed to successfully live. Such necessities includes; food, water, education health care and shelter. According to reports, over 112 million of Nigeria’s populations of 167 million people are living in relative poverty, while the number of those in abject poverty is, 99.248 million. In 2008, the numbers of private jets in Nigeria were 20.

But, between 2008 and 2012, the number of private jet owners have moved from 20 to 150, making Nigeria, the second largest market for private jets in the world after China. This boom in the acquisition and ownership of private jets in the country is manifesting its effects on businesses that engage in aircraft charter operation. The increase in private jet ownership is now sending people whose means of livelihood is aircraft charter operation out of business. A critical look at the new crave for private jets especially among the spiritual leaders, one will be left wondering if the likes of the humanitarian nun of Calcutta, called Mother Teresa, who became famous for humbly ministering to lepers, the homeless and the poor in the slums of Calcutta is still in our midst today!

Similarly, while I believe that, too-much gap between the rich and the poor undermines democratic solidarity in the political circles, the faith based community at whose desk lies the immediate challenge of being the voice for the voiceless, the eyes of the blind and the hope of the poor, should not compete for ostentatious recognition in the society where many doubts the possibility of living for another day, not because of Boko Haram nor MEND, but it is simply because of abject poverty. Hence, we should try to answer a very simple philosophical question of what is man? And what is the essence of human existence? If we are able to answer the above questions, I think we should know that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions, and thus, in the words of Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister : “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”.

Comrade Edwin Ekene is the National President of Young Nigerians for Change.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do no necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters 

Christian Communities of Israel: Jerusalem.

Christians are represented in the Israeli Government via the Ministry’s Department for Christian Communities.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  the Christian Communities is responsible for addressing the needs and concerns of the Christian communities to the Israeli Government.

The Israel Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, established in 2004, seeks to imporve the relationship between Christians and Jews.

This body works to open formal anddirect communication between the Jewish people and Christian leaders worldwide.

The Christian Allies Caucus provides assistance in obtaining visa for the Christian community, educates Israelis about Christianity, promotes Christian tourism to Israel, and seeks to strengthen the status of women worldwide on the basis of Judeo-Christin values.

As of 2006, there were 148,000 Christians living in Israel, constituting 2.1% of the total population, and representing an increase of 400 percent since 1948.

Israel is the only country in theMiddle East where the Christian community has actually grown.

Of these approximately 80,000 are Catholic and are divided among several denominations including the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Maronite Chruch, the Greek Milkite Catholic Church, the Syrian Catholic Church.

The largest of these is the Mikite community, most of whom live in the Galilee total 50,000,and  the Latin Patriarchate which comprises 20,000 people most ofwhom live in East Jerusalem, Nazareth, the West Bank and Gaza.

The Christian communities are represented in four main groups: Orthodox, Non-Chalcedonian (Monophysite), Catholic  (Latin and Uniate) and Protestant.

More than 98 percent of the Chrsitian community in Isael live in urban areas with Nazareth having the largest Christian population at 19,000.

The Catholic presence in Israel dates back to the Crusade, when the first Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was established in 1099 in theCrusader state of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Prior to then the Christians had been under the care of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Following the Destruction of the Kingdom of Jerusalem by the Mamluks in 1291, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem survived only in Name and was re-established only in 1847 underPatriarch Joseph Valerga.

The Latin Patriarche has enjoyed uninterrupted succession of 15 different patriarchs since that date.

The current Patriarch is Fouad Twal and he is assisted by four Patriarchal vicars, who are based in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Amman and Cyprus.

Source:  The Israel Project, the Israel Ministry of Tourism, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

By Israel Ministry of Tourism.

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