December 31, 2014

THE PICTURE: From 2014; The Angelic Face of "Little Christy"


by Larry Peterson

If there is one thing that is etched into my mind when I think back about the year of 2014 it is THE PICTURE. I am not trying to be graphic or shocking or anything like that. I am just trying to show  how an innocent child can be brutally murdered on camera because she was born Christian, killed for propaganda purposes, and the outcry from the world is barely audible. I do not understand.

Look at THE PICTURE below. You should feel sickened by it. It should repulse you. It should even give you nightmares. First the evil agents of Satan murdered her mom. (Make no mistake, this is the work of Satan and his followers.) Then they murdered this innocent, frightened child. I never knew her real name. I named her "Little Christy" because she was killed for being a follower of Christ.  (She did not even know this). Look at THE PICTURE. This is the evil that is spreading like rampaging locusts all across the planet. It has even started in our own country.

About 40 miles south of Indianapolis, Indiana is the city of Columbus, population about 45 thousand. Recently, three churches were vandalized on the same night. The common words sprayed on the walls were "INFIDELS" and KORAN 3:151.  This verse states, "We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah (reference to Christian Trinity) of which he had not sent down any authority. And their refuge will be fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers."

Australia, Canada, Europe, and now the United States. The Evil has spread. We had all better be vigilant and pray. It is time for all Americans to  join together to confront what has stepped across our very thresholds of peace, our churches. Look at THE PICTURE. Those who took it are ruled by "hate" and have NO boundaries.
                                        copyright December 31,2014 Larry Peterson

Remembering 2014--Killing Christians; Including  Baby Christy


December 30, 2014

Christianity Under Attack: Religious Freedom Protects It. Without it Many Die. May God Bless and Preserve America's Freedoms


by Larry Peterson

Countless articles, essays, blogs and so forth will be in print as we welcome in the New year of 2015. I'm not going to reminisce or wallow in what might have been or what should be. I just want to mention a family to you. Maybe you have heard of them, maybe not. Their names were Magdy Tawfiq, his wife, Sahar Rizk and their daughters, Catherine, 13 and two younger girls aged 10 and aged 9. Unlike Americans, these people did not have the Constitution of the United States of America in force to protect them. No, they were Coptic Christians (which is Catholic too) and they lived in Libya. They were our  Christian brothers and sisters in faith. They loved Jesus Christ and the message of Love and Hope and Salvation that He brought to all mankind. They believed as we do. Unlike us they are dead. They were brutally murdered because of their love and respect for the Son of God, Jesus.

Sahar and Magdy; July 20, 2000
Magdy and Sahar were married on July 20, 2000 and moved to Libya in 2001. Magdy worked at a Diabetes clinic in Sirte for two years and then  he began working with Sahar at the Jarf Health Center. People reported that Doctor Magdy treated all the people there regardless of having money or not and was beloved by everyone. They loved God, each other and tried their best to treat all people equally.

At 4:00 am on Tuesday, December 23, Doctor Magdy woke to knocking on the door of his building. He assumed it was a patient with an emergency needing immediate attention. When he opened the door he was greeted by armed masked men. They attacked him, handcuffed him and placed him in a chair. The family, living in fear after many threats from Ansar Al-Sharia, had become the target of cowardly, masked, gunmen who were taking their orders from the realm of evil.

The hooded demons went to the bedroom and shot Sahar dead. Then they took Doctor Magdy outside  and shot him through the head and chest leaving his crumpled body  handcuffed in a heap. Catherine's 13-year old body was found outside of town. The two youngest girls were forced to watch the murders. They were left alive to tell the story and are now living with relatives. It is all so hard to even imagine what these kind, decent, innocent people have to endure prior to their actual deaths. The fear, the anxiety, the hopelessness must be beyond anything we here in America can ever fathom.

We live in America. They lived in Libya. We share the same faith, the only difference being we are here and they are there. Therefore, based on location, we live and they die. And how much  do we hear about these atrocities and the virtual elimination of Christianity throughout the Middle East and other parts of the world? We hear hardly anything. You and I can get up on a Sunday morning and head off to our  churches and none  of us is concerned about our safety. Not one of us worries about being murdered for believing in Jesus.

Yet, in other parts of the world on the very same day we are going contentedly off to Church, our Christian brothers and sisters, including children and babies, are being brutalized, raped, beheaded, burned, shot and hanged for believing exactly what we believe. Look at the wedding photo of Magdy and Sahar. The picture might have been taken in Milwaukee, or New York or maybe Atlanta or Dallas. If that had been the case then they would still be alive and this story would not have to be written, But the truth is evil is running rampant throughout the world and its primary target is Christianity.

ALL Americans should embrace with all their might the freedoms our Founding Fathers handed down to us, especially Freedom of Religion. Yet there are those who portray this freedom and Christianity as an affront to them. They do not like religion because it stands its ground against the forces of secularism. These Americans want to purge religion from the public square. They will even go to court to have a cross removed from somewhere they have decided should not have it. Those that do this are just selfish and self consumed for not respecting so many of their fellow citizens and for refusing to accept the fact that they are chipping away at the very freedoms that give them the right to  protest in the first place.

They might want to consider that the Islamist radicals want them dead too. If you are an American they hate you whether or not you are a Catholic, a Jew, or an atheist. They  hate anyone who is an American.  I wish they would look at the wedding photo of Magdy and Sahar. They did not have the freedom we have. They have been slaughtered.

As we embark on the journey that is the year, 2015, I would like to remember people such as Father Frans Van der Lugt, murdered by ISIS in March because he was a Catholic priest. He was 76 years old. Pray for Asia  Bibi, a mother of five, in prison in Pakistan for five years and waiting to be hanged. Her crime--"blasphemy". She is Catholic and defended Jesus. Then there is Salem Matti Kourk who was hiding out in Mosul and went to find some food. He was captured by ISIS , beaten, murdered and his body left in front of the Church of the Virgin Mary, which ISIS had also destroyed.  Of course we cannot  forget the thousands of men, women and children kidnapped, murdered and mutilated throughout the year of 2014 by the evil ones who hate Christianity. Genocide against Christians is real.

I end this with a link to the story I wrote about "Little Christy". If ever there was a picture that could show the face of evil in this world this blog has it. Let us celebrate our freedoms as Americans and fight to the bitter end to protect them. The alternative is beyond imagination.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015  May God's Blessings be upon you

December 26, 2014

When Thinking Family Consider That Two Teenagers Set The Standard for Us All


by Larry Peterson

From the Book Of Sirach Ch 3: 2-4

For the Lord sets a father in honor over his children;
A mother's authority he confirms over her sons.
Those who honor their father atone for sins;
They store up riches who revere their mother.

N.B: In this essay the use of the word PRIDE refers to Negative Pride

The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday following Christmas. If you are among the millions of folks who never pay an iota of attention to this family, maybe you should. Why? Because this is the family that "set the bar" for all families. Comprised of two teenagers, Mary and Joseph and their boy, Jesus, their unconditional love for God and each other cannot be surpassed.  The birth of Jesus is the greatest act of humility imaginable.

This was God, the Creator of all that there is, becoming like one of His creations. He could have come in a majestic way, surrounded by armies and servants and glitter and pomp. He chose to come in the simplest way of all, among the animals in a cave. As He began His earthly life His body was wrapped in cloth and then placed on straw. Why would He do this?

 He did this because he loved us unconditionally and wanted us to learn that Pride, the greatest of the deadly sins and the root cause of all the evil in the world,  must be kicked to the curb at all costs. Pride was the reason He came to us. From the first sins of Adam and Eve to the very present, Pride is the villain. Pride is why He had to redeem and save us. Incredibly, he became as HUMBLE as humanly possible to teach us that humility is what conquers Pride. Amazingly, He chose teenagers to set the example for everyone from that very night onward. They showed us that  the love between a man and a woman  will always conquer negative pride if tempered with Humility. For marriage is about loving and sharing and giving of oneself to another--totally. Humility is the virtue that effects that giving.

We know so little about the lives of Joseph and Mary, yet they are an integral part of the Salvation story.  Mary's acceptance of a pregnancy that might have resulted in her being stoned to death as an adulteress, was another act of monumental humility. Joseph, a good man and a faithful Jew true to the law, accepted a woman who was pregnant as his wife, another act of extreme humility. The Holy Family was the complete and perfect embodiment of Humility. It remains so to this very day .

 Isn't God  amazing in the way He does things? This is the story of our Salvation and the rebirth of Hope. This Salvation became available to all people for all time and its success was entrusted to a couple of have-not teens whose humility and love of God enabled them to conquer the seemingly impossible. They married against incredible odds and traveled to Bethlehem while Mary was full term, a three to five day journey on the back of a donkey. Joseph walked guiding the donkey. Mary gave birth in a cave  surrounded by smelly animals and filth and then they managed to escape the soldiers of King Herod who were trying to kill their newborn Son. Oh yeah, lest we forget, they also  made it to Egypt, about three hundred miles away. We know the rest of the story.

If you take a moment to ponder all that happened and how it happened and why it happened, it will leave you breathless. And then we remember it was all done for all of us. There was nothing done for themselves, not one thing. We need to get back to "Family" and the Holy Family is the model to build on. We must never forget that within that family it was the husband and father who protected his wife and Son from the evils of the world. The Son humbled Himself  and gave his life for us all.  And the Mom, the most humble of all women ever, crushes the head of the evil serpent with her heel. In so doing she is protecting all of her "children" (which includes you and I) for all eternity. Humility conquers pride. Just look to the Holy Family.

December 23, 2014



By Larry Peterson

Adoration of the Shepherds, Charles Le Brun



Larry Peterson

copyright Larry Peterson 2014


December 19, 2014

"Peace on Earth" Humility is the Key and the Christ Child is the Answer


by Larry Peterson

Peace on earth? Where is it? Is it in Syria? How about Pakistan? It is not in Sudan or Iraq. It is definitely not hanging out in Afghanistan or Iran. Pakistan?—God help us. How about Russia and Ukraine and Ferguson, Missouri? What does "Peace on Earth" mean? Well my friends, it means exactly what it says: PEACE on EARTH. However, has there ever been Peace on Earth? From the beginning of the human race until today, I think not. We might ask, “and why not?”

The answer is actually simple and straightforward. True Peace on Earth can only come about by the destruction of the great demon, Pride. Yes, Pride destroys Peace. It also destroys love between people, within families, among friends and co-workers. How often does Pride bring forth its seedy companions of wrath and envy? Pride prompts murder and mayhem and wars. It has done so from time immemorial. It is probably the most destructive force on the planet and we all have it within us. How can so many of our species conquer this malignant force while others succumb to its devilish grasp? The answer is some people have what is called Humility.

How do we find our Humility? How can we kick the power of Pride to the curb? The answer came to us in the form of a newborn baby on Christmas and we celebrate that day in one week. Humility exploded on Christmas Day.  God Himself, the Creator of all that we have, including free-will, came to us and lived with us. Hey folks, this act was HUMILITY SUPREME. All we have to do is look into a pile  of straw at a newborn baby.  Therein lies our answer to finding Humility.

This story is so amazing that our simple common sense will tell us it was never fabricated or made up. The most creative writers who ever lived could not have conjured up such a preposterous tale. Imagine, a King being born in a smelly, dirty, animal stall to a simple teenage girl whose husband was a struggling carpenter with no money. Then the couple have to take the baby King and run for their lives because the reigning king, Herod, feared the baby might grow up and overthrow him. His Pride seizes him so he sends his soldiers to kill the baby King. They kill hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent children in their heinous bloodletting yet never find the child they were looking for to begin with. 

As preposterous as this story may seem, more than two thousand years later more than two billion people still believe it. For over two millenium this belief has continued to transform the world. Millions upon millions of us will celebrate this miraculous birth a week from now. How can that be? 

It is due to that great intangible we call FAITH. You can't see it, you can't touch it and you cannot smell it. However, if you open yourself up to it, it can grab you in a life-long embrace that might take your breath away. Faith in God and all He has done is the greatest of all the gifts we will ever receive. It spawns kindness, and temperance and patience. And Faith breeds Humility. Humility will lead to love, true love of others, not ourselves. This is fact.

Peace without love is an illusion. It cannot exist. It can never come from our own agenda. That is because the deadly toxin, Pride, is inside us and Satan prowls the world dripping his venom into our hearts using Pride as the gateway “drug”. Many of us reject his “empty promises”. Many do not and their egos are commandeered so easily that they sometimes explode with hatred. 

This hatred is quite visible throughout the world today. Christianity is actually on the verge of being wiped out of the Middle East as Christians are being killed and tortured every day simply because they believe in this baby and who He grew up to be. The Good News is we have been given the antidote. It is Humility.

Our greatest of all gifts, FAITH, allows us to believe that God, the Creator of all that is, shared Himself with us through  His Son. To accomplish this He  humbled Himself in the most profound act of selflessness that was and will ever be. This was God become man for us. He came as a helpless, innocent newborn, barely able to grasp the finger of his Mom. He allowed himself to be born surrounded by the squalor and filth of a stable. Poor shepherds from the hillside were His first visitors. Humility lay in a pile of straw and looked up into the beautiful face of His weary Mom.

A few small pot fires provided enough light for the man of the family, Joseph, to see the two people that he had to care for and protect. No bells were ringing, no trumpets were blaring and no cymbals were smashing. The deafening quiet made this the greatest of Silent Nights.  Thirty-three years later, booming thunder would echo His death and three days after that brilliant sunshine would announce our redemption. It is the most beautiful of all truths.

FAITH is a gift that many people have seen fit to grab onto. They have responded to God's graces and listened. They have grabbed the 'brass ring'. There are many more who cannot escape the all-consuming Pride that keeps telling them they are so much smarter than all those 'believers'. 

How sad this is because this Pride is Satan’s portal that will allow him to take them on a road that leads to complete misery dominated by an all-consuming hatred of anything that is Good. If only they would reach out and allow that little hand to squeeze their finger, just for a moment. It will not hurt one bit and they might find out that respecting and honoring Humility can do a person wonders. It could even lead to Peace on Earth.

During this Christmas Season let us all consider asking  for an extra dose of Humility and then pray for Peace on Earth and that Good Will be in ALL people, everywhere. 
                                   Copyright Larry Peterson 2014 

December 11, 2014

Celebrating Our First Alzheimer's Christmas Together; Laughter Allowed


by Larry Peterson

I guess the first time I realized that something was really wrong was about a year and a half ago. I have a bedroom I turned into an office and I was sitting at the keyboard clicking away. I sensed someone behind me and turned to see my wife, Marty, standing there. She had a strange look on her face. I remember the moment because fear was etched across her face. "Hey," I said. "What's the matter?"

Then I noticed she was trembling. I stood up and went over to her and put my hands on her shoulders.  She stammered and sort of whispered, "I don't know. I think I need your help."

"Okay, what is it?"

Marty turned and headed down the hall past the living room and into the kitchen. I followed and noticed that she had her "cookie" stuff out. As she had done so many times in the past,  she was about to  make the best, old fashioned, home-made, chocolate-chip cookies I have ever had. Like a child, I said, "Oh, awesome, you're making cookies. So, how can I help?"

"She sighed and shook her head, She began to cry and, looking at me, said, " What is all this? I don't know what it is for?"

The woman who had made thousands upon thousands of these cookies over the years had no memory of previously doing what she had done so many times before. She had placed the needed supplies on the counter and went to use the bathroom. When she returned a few minutes later what had been virtually second nature to her had been erased from her mind. It was all gone. She had come back to me for help because she KNEW something was terribly wrong inside her head and this time the sudden, specific memory loss was scaring the hell out of her. She sobbed, "What is happening to me?"

She had been sick with Lymphoma since 2011. She had endured numerous cycles of chemotherapy to fight the disease. Anesthesia required because of surgery in August (needed to repair a broken ankle) and an attack of A-Fib (Atrial Fibrillation) in September exacerbated the cognitive dysfunction. She was officially diagnosed as having Alzheimer's Disease *on September 28. And now we are approaching our first Christmas together with  Alzheimer's as our unwanted Christmas guest. Guess what---it is OK. He will not ruin our Christmas. He is welcome to join us. That is because we have started to laugh again, more and more. And we are laughing at the insanity of living in Alzheimerville. And trust me, it can get quite wacky.

I have always had a bit of a "flip attitude". It probably has helped me get through some tough times. So when Marty goes to the cardiologist and goes to sign in and cannot remember her name she looks at me for help. I smile and say, "Who cares Lucy, they know who you are. Just put down Lucille Ball."  She starts to laugh and I laugh and I write her name down for her. Not an issue.

The past ten years of her life seem to have literally vanished from her brain. She does not remember us getting married. (We were both widowed and married eight years ago. She has no clue.) So she asks me if we are really married. I show her our marriage license and pictures from our wedding. She is shocked. "I can't believe it, " she says. We really ARE married." Now, every night I say to her, "Okay, we can sleep together tonight. Its not a sin."  She always laughs at that.

There are so many little, extraordinary things that happen every day. Being asked the same question over and over can become unnerving. I have turned it around where I start by giving her the answer.  For example, she asks me ten times a day, "How do you feel today?"  After  a few times I answer, "Today I feel like seeing you and that makes my day shiny."  It is a ridiculous answer but she likes it  and I like it too.

I cannot count the things that have been moved to the strangest places. I have found the Parmesan cheese in the towel closet,  unwashed clothes in the dryer. She makes coffee and tells me it is the worst coffee she ever had and I should let her make it. She has hair curlers that keep vanishing. I have found them in the garage, in the refrigerator and under the kitchen sink. We had been searching for them and when I found them in the refrigerator I said loudly, "Here they are."

She was standing nearby and turned to see me lifting the bag from next to the milk. I quickly asked, "Can  I use these for curly fries?"  I began to laugh and she shook her head and smiled. I gave her a hug opened the freezer door and tossed the curlers in. "They are not frozen enough," I said.  She began to laugh and so did I and, although shrouded in a dark moment, we laughed our way into the brightness of a new moment.

 Marty has been captured and imprisoned by the most insidious of diseases. It is like a computer virus slowly deleting what is in memory. So far the last ten years are gone. That cursor is still clicking, delete, delete, delete.. The day will come when she will not even know who I am. I will do my best to keep her laughing and smiling as long as I can and as long as she understands why we laugh.

As for me, I must admit, this entire situation has been wearing me down. There is a lot to do as a caregiver. I traveled a similar road with my first wife, Loretta, who died 12 years ago from cancer. She was sick a longtime but she never lost brain function. That is a very difficult thing to deal with 24/7. But you do what you have to do.  If a man and a woman love each other that is the way it should be, HAPPY to be there for each other, "no matter what". We both took vows before God and man to that effect and, for me, they remain in full force until death.

Our biggest friend in all of this is our Catholic faith. It is there for us through the Holy Mass, through Our Lord Jesus, through Our Blessed Mother and through the examples and intercessions of so many great saints and reinforced every day by prayers from our family and friends.  In fact, I did attend Mass this morning and I had a bit of an 'epiphany'. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself when I realized I had been given a Christmas gift from God Himself. (If you think I am crazy, I don't care).

This gift is my ill wife afflicted with a disease that is unstoppable and incurable. She is foremost, God's child, and now she needs someone to take care of her just as she did years ago when she was a child.  We met at church and were married in church. An unlikely couple, I know that God brought us together. Maybe this is why. Because during the Christmas season of 2014 I realized that besides a wife, HE has given me one of HIS children to care for. I will do my best to make Him proud. I will also do my best to keep us laughing. It is all GOOD.


* In case you do not know this, Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia are NOT the same thing. Alzheimer's is the number one cause of Dementia but there are over 150 different causes.                                                                       copyright Larry Peterson 2014

December 5, 2014

I Love Christmas and I Will be Praying for all the "Grinches" trying to Ruin It


by Larry Peterson

I love Christmas and the entire season that surrounds it. Christmas is about faith and love and goodness and sharing and giving and all of those things that fill the hearts of the vast majority of people around the world with a renewed spirit that can shine through even the darkest moments we may have experienced during the preceding year. Yes, I love Christmas.

Christmas is so much more than a 'certain day' each year. It is an actual state of mind. It becomes part of whom many of us still are....Children at heart. And we become children again through our own children and even our grandchildren. We can love the anxiety and pressure and the cookies and candy and putting up the tree and neighborhood decorations the same as the little ones.  I  anxiously looked forward to Santa's arrival when I was a child and still looked forward to his arrival as the one who dressed up in a Santa suit and crept into my own house at midnight. Now my sons do that and I can hear about his arrival the next morning from the wide eyed grandkids who actually witnessed Santa disappear from their house after leaving presents under the tree. Yes, I love Christmas.

Most importantly, Christmas is about Salvation. The story is so beautiful and profound. A simple carpenter, obeying the law, must take his full-term, pregnant teenage wife, on an 80-mile journey to the town of his ancestry for the census. Riding on the back of a mule she somehow manages to make the trip and God only knows (and HE does) how this could be possible. Not knowing anyone, they cannot find a place to stay and the baby is about to be born. Effectively homeless and in a strange town they wind up in a stable and mom gives birth to her child surrounded by smelly animals and old straw. Can you imagine?

This helpless infant is the Son of God, sent by His Father, and His birth among the lowest of the low shows us all the greatest act of humility ever enacted by anyone, before, then, or ever after. This baby will grow up and they will torture and kill Him when He is 33 years old. Why? Because He preaches forgiveness and kindness and that we should "love our neighbor" and "turn the other cheek". This made Him a threat to those in power. They just had to get rid of Him. Today, 2000 years later, over 2.6 billion people are following  Him. I guess killing Jesus did not bring the desired results. Yes, I love Christmas.

Today we still have those who want desperately to kill Jesus. From the maniacal Islamists around the world who are doing their best to physically murder Christians wherever they can find them to  the atheists, agnostics, pagans, heathens, satanists and their ilk who HATE everything about Christianity and Christmas. (Okay, okay, maybe not ALL of them hate Christmas but we never hear from them.)

To all of you who want to ruin this day, I ask, "Why?" You are also removing the love and goodness that is associated with it. So, shame on you. You know what, you are all just "plain old mean". You are the true "grinches" in the world. You are an embarrassment to all the tender hearts filled with kindness and generosity during this time of the year.

I wish to say to all you "grinches" that I will say a prayer for all of you this Christmas. I will pray that you might catch a glimpse of that star that shines so bright. Maybe a droplet of its light will find a way into into your heart. If you happen to catch a glimpse of this light please, do not turn away. You will have chosen to ignore a beautiful Christmas moment. This moment could be the greatest gift you ever receive. What do you have to lose? So keep your eyes and hearts open and MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and may God bless us, ALL of us. And yes, I do love Christmas.

December 2, 2014

Is There REALLY a Santa Claus? Absolutely! No Doubt About It!


by Larry Peterson

Every year I put this out because it is proof that Santa Claus is real and loves children the world over and brings them gifts every Christmas Eve. How can I be so sure he is real? Well, the letter below proves it, even if it was written 117 years ago. It has stood the test of time and is as profound today as it was in 1897. In fact, it might be wise for all of the sophisticated secularists who inhabit the editorial boards of the print and broadcast media to take heed to the words below. They were penned by one of your own, Francis Pharcellus Church, an editorial writer for the New York Sun during a time when there were no radios, airplanes, televisions, and even iPads. In fact, back then, besides talking to each other, people used pencils, pen and paper to communicate with each other. Can you imagine?

Some of you might have seen this before. If you have, enjoy it again. If not, enjoy it now. It is a letter written by eight year old, Virginia O'Hanlon, of West 95th Street in New York City, to the newspaper asking if  Santa Claus was TRUE. Her dad had told her that if the "Sun" said it was true than it must  be so. Enjoy a moment back in time when things were a bit simpler and the innocence of children was loved and respected by most 'grown-ups'.


Is There A Santa Claus?
From the editorial page of The New York Sun
September 21, 1897
Dear Editor---I am eight years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN, it’s so. Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon
115 W. 95th St.
Dear Virginia, your friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes Virginia, there isa Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.We should have no enjoyment except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and  picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah Virginia, in all this world, there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives! And he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten time ten thousand years from now , he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

November 29, 2014

Mother of Five, Sentenced to be Hanged, Pleads, "Please Do Not Abandon Me!"


by Larry Peterson

Back on October 22, I wrote a blog  about a wife and mother of five kids who lives in Pakistan and has been sentenced to death by hanging for the crime of "blasphemy". That's right; BLASPHEMY. And how does one commit such a heinous act in Pakistan? Asia Bibi drank some water that was only supposed to be for Muslims to drink. She is a Catholic/Christian and is therefore considered "unclean". It followed that she defiled the drinking water. An argument between her and her Muslim co-workers ensued. So, since she was a Catholic, she was accused of blasphemy for insulting Muhammad. They beat her, tried her and sentenced her to death.  That was five years ago and she is still in prison waiting to be hanged. This sentence has been upheld by Pakistan's Supreme Court. How civilized some of our 'friends and allies" are.

 I cannot help but feel a deep affinity for these people. After all, we are all part of the same spiritual family. They are people just like you and I. They love their spouses and children and their moms and dads. They get the flu and upset stomachs. They get rashes and toothaches and they have wants and desires. They want a nice home that is safe and secure. They would like to have a church they can go to without a fear of being killed or maimed for doing so. They just want some peace in their lives. Yet they are hated and despised. Why--because they are just like me and maybe you. They are Catholic and believe in Jesus Christ.

 Yes, like us, they believe in the "golden rule". Unlike us and  for believing this they are called "infidels". They are defiled as "unclean". For this they are killed. For this they are blown up by maniacs. For this Asia Bibi will be hanged by the neck until her twitching body stops moving. Where is the outcry? Where is the outrage from all of us here in America? Where are the reproaches by the National Organization for Women? Why does our government help a government that allows such medieval acts to be inflicted on its own people by its own people?  Why not demand the Pakistani government end these atrocities or we will remove their seemingly bottomless U.S. money pit?

As a Catholic man I know that these people are also our brothers and sisters in faith. We belong to the same church and Pope Francis is our spiritual leader. We are "extended" family. The only difference between them and us is location. We are greatly blessed and still have full stomachs from our Thanksgiving feast. They are in dreaded fear of any day being imprisoned and tortured and murdered. This morning, I was able to drive over to my church and attend morning Mass. No fuss, no muss, no anxiety existed. I am a free American man allowed to practice my religion (so far) unencumbered. Cross over an imaginary line called a boundary and things can change quickly.

Recently a 28 year old pregnant Christian woman, our sister in faith, was dragged from her home by her employer's sons and his friends, stripped naked and forced to parade up and down the streets of Rana Town in Pakistan for a half hour. Her offense? The man did not think she was doing her work properly. She  lost the baby. Never doubt this fact, to be a Catholic/Christian in Pakistan and Sudan and Iran and other places takes tremendous faith and courage.

For me and you, blessed to be living in America, we have never been faced with the threat of torture, mutilation, hanging, beheading, or being starved because we believe in God differently than someone else. Yet, around the world, our brothers and sisters in faith live with this reality every minute of their lives. They must TRULY love their Savior, Jesus Christ. I do not know if I could be as brave and courageous if faced with the same everyday circumstance.

God bless them all. They make me SO proud and humbled to be part of their Christian family.

November 26, 2014

Time to Pause, take a Breath and Give Thanks to HIM.


by Larry Peterson

The simplicity of the Thanksgiving Holiday captured my spirit decades ago. This is the one day of the year where we, as Americans, just stop everything and take a breath from the year gone by to say THANK YOU to God. We gather with family or friends or maybe even with strangers in a food center who become our new friends, and share the bounty He has so graciously bestowed upon us. All we have to do is "show up". You do not even  have to bring gifts. Just bring a thankful heart and a smile on your face. It doesn't get any better than that. I love it.

So I would like to wish anyone who might read this a God filled and beautiful Thanksgiving Day. I am posting two Thanksgiving prayers that fit the occasion.


by  Walter Rauschenbusch
O God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

 From Living God’s Justice: Reflections and Prayers, compiled by The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors

Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

 From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley.

November 23, 2014

The Catholic Church; The Foremost Enemy of Satanic Driven Virtue


by Larry Peterson

The United States of America is the only nation in history to have used the Judeo-Christian Principle  as the lynchpin for the nation's development and growth. So, what happened? How did this principle seemingly get tossed into the dumpster of the outdated and irrelevant? How did this principle of ethics and morality based on the Ten Commandments and the "Golden Rule" somehow become a pariah to so many? Why would anyone want to remove the words, "under God", from the Pledge of Allegiance or the name of God from our coins or government buildings? What is going on? How did these principles ever become inverted?

It is, in my opinion, all biblical. And why not? We started out as a nation using the Bible as our cornerstone. Isn't it fitting that those opposed to us would try to destroy that very stone? Of course it is. But there is one critical aspect that drives this onslaught and I think we do not pay close enough attention to it. Neither do the ones committing the onslaught. Those that are flailing away at our religious heritage and freedoms are not committing these attacks on their own. They have a brilliant, diabolical, hate-consumed leader inspiring them onward. Their leader's name is Satan. And Satan's biggest and most hated enemy is the church that Jesus Christ founded, the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church was founded by Christ 2000 years ago. The Church is His "bride". We are all part of the Catholic family. (The word Catholic means 'universal' so it is for everyone--if they so choose). And the reason Satan hates Christ's church so much is because it still spits in his evil eye and says NO! It still has rules. It has standards that have been in place for two thousand years. It still has the "nerve and audacity" to use the words, SIN and MORALITY.  In today's self-indulged secular world anything or anyone that might suggest that a particular behavior is "immoral" or "sinful" is branded and vilified as intolerant and uncaring. How pompous and pride filled this is. Only the new age secularists would have the audacity to suggest that their inverted "virtue" is GOOD and the concept of self-denial is SINFUL.

Our old comic book friend, Superman, on occasion used to get stuck in "Bizarro World", a place where everything was backwards. Up was down and hello meant good-bye. Even the planet, Htrae, (Earth backwards), was shaped like a cube. The world was inverted. It is the same with the insanity of inverted secular virtue. I call this world "Secularro".

On Secularro killing is "Good" and if you stand against it you are bad. For instance, take abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and partial-birth abortion. The church says NO! On Secularro the Church is now bad. Fornication and people "hooking up" for one-night stands is heralded as "Good". The church says NO!  On Secularro the church is told to mind its own business. Divorced and remarried Catholics want to receive the Holy Eucharist. The church says NO! (This is nothing new) . On Secularro the church is intolerant and insensitive and is out of touch with the modern world and needs to get into the 21st century. Homosexuals demand to be married in the Church. The Church says NO!  Marriage is between a man and a woman ONLY. Satan screams from his evil world to his followers,'Say YES! YES! YES!"

On Secularro the inverted unwittingly listen to him and pound on the dogmatic doors of the Catholic Church demanding that they be opened to personal wants and desires. Unlike Bizarro World where things are just 'crazy' on Secularro World things are mean and vindictive. Secularro World is ruled by hate. Satan is Hate.

There are other Christian denominations that have succumbed to outside pressures and reworked their "teachings" to accommodate the demands from Secularro. They have been praised as "progressive" and "in touch" with the needs of the citizens of Secularro.  Their mission is to save souls for Christ  and guide these souls to their Eternal Reward in heaven.  They have failed in this mission. But the Catholic Church has not caved into the demands and pressures of Secularro World. Satan HATES this more than any of us can imagine. That is why the Catholic Church is Satan's (im)mortal enemy.

The Catholic Church still teaches  that there are Seven Deadly Sins. They are pride, greed,  lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth aka laziness. Note the key word in describing these sins is the word "deadly". The Church teaches that these sins can destroy the soul of anyone who might indulge these human appetites. The church also offers forgiveness for falling prey to these sins. On Secularro the church is mocked and laughed at for suggesting these actions offend God.  These acts are acceptable because the individual committing one of these sins is just being human  and God made us that way and wants us to be "happy". So--sin away. How inverted can one get. If you subscribe to that concept SATAN wins.

It is time to start looking hard at the Bible. And we might start by going to St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians. Chapter 6: 16-17.
In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield,
To quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit,
which is the word of God.

November 13, 2014

We Christians are the World's Most Persecuted People


by Larry Peterson

The persecution of our brother and sister Catholic/Christians continues unabated all over the world. In the Middle East, North Africa and Asia Minor, thousands upon thousands of our brothers and sisters in faith have been summarily tortured, raped, beheaded, hanged, burned, shot and even buried alive simply because they love Jesus Christ. Men and women, (including priests and nuns), and innocent children are the victims of this carnage. How can their fellow human beings hate so much that they would do these things to them? There can be only one answer. They have sold their very souls to the "angel of pride", Lucifer aka Satan.

Where is the outrage? Why is this happening? Why does the western world's newsmakers, print and broadcast, seem to ignore these atrocities? Where are the voices from the leaders of the west in speaking out in contempt and disdain against those who commit these heinous acts and proclaim them virtuous? How can the United States of America know these things and still give billions of dollars in aid to nations that allow such things to happen within their own borders?

Pope Francis, at the conclusion of his November 12 general audience said, "I turn to those who have political responsibility both on a local and on an international level, as well as to all persons of goodwill, with a heartfelt appeal to engage in a vast mobilization of consciences in favor of persecuted Christians. They have the right to once again find security and serenity in their own countries, freely professing OUR faith."

Pope Francis intentionally used the word OUR. OUR is a possessive pronoun. We are part of them and the Pope wants us to be aware of that fact. Is anyone LISTENING? These are OUR brothers and sisters in faith. They have the same belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior as we do. But OUR Christian relatives are being slaughtered because WE all are hated. If we were over there with OUR brothers and sisters our life expectancy would drop dramatically.

History repeats, over and over and over. Genocide(s) have accounted for millions upon millions of deaths to people just like all of us. Just in the 20th century alone there have probably been 100,000,000 people murdered and oftentimes it was for "religious" beliefs. The Nazis alone accounted for the extermination of 6,000,000 people simply because they were Jewish. From 1915-1918, Christian Armenians in Turkey were slaughtered by those who had come to power. Three Muslim men, known as the Young Turks, had seized control of the government from the Sultan and orchestrated this horrendous slaughter so as to expand their empire. When they were done 2,000,000 Christian Armenian men, women and children had been killed.

Today the group known as ISIS, a band of Islamic maniacs, are rampaging through the Middle East killing Catholic/Christians by the thousands. These "people" do not even have a country of their own. They are wanting to start a Caliphate, a completely Muslim world ruled by Sharia Law. In their hate filled, bloody-thirsty quest to accomplish this they have "cleansed" entire cities of Christians. Where is the outrage from the civilized world? Why is the American press so silent about these atrocities? Could it be that those in power also want Christianity obliterated and show their approval by their deafening silence?

If you happen to read this I would ask that you remember the following Catholic/Christians and say a prayer for them,whether or not they are dead or still alive:
Father Frans Van der Lugt; a Catholic priest who spent over 50 years in Syria helping the poor. He was beaten and shot to death by ISIS last spring. He was 76 years old;
Salem Matti Kourk; because of a heart condition he had to stay behind in the town of Bartella as ISIS overran it. After three weeks in hiding Salem left his hiding place in a quest to find some food and water. He was caught by ISIS maniacs and beaten to death with clubs. They took his mangled body and placed it in front of the Church of the Virgin Mary which they had already destroyed.
Asia Bibi: has been in prison in Pakistan for five years. Her crime? Drinking the same water that the Muslims were going to drink. After being mocked as a Catholic she defended Jesus. She was immediately accused of "blasphemy" and sentenced to be hanged. She has five children and this sentence may be carried out any day as the Pakistani Supreme Court upheld the verdict.
"Little Christy": this was a baby, (less than two years old) who was used as a photo-op by ISIS before being killed. One of the most horrendous photos I have ever seen. See the Christy link for the full story.
Miriam Ibrahim: is alive and back in the United States. But she was held in prison in Sudan for months, chained to a bed and forced to give birth to her baby that way. Her two year old son was imprisoned with her. Her 'crime'. She became Christian and did not know that her long, lost father, had been a Muslim. Thus, she became a "blasphemer" and was sentenced to be hanged. World pressure finally forced her release. One good ending interlaced amongst the bloodthirsty madness.

As the Christmas season approaches we must accept the fact that a war against all Catholic/Christians, including you if you believe in Jesus Christ, is raging. We must be ready to defend our faith at all times. Let us join together in prayer, every day, for all our brothers and sisters, being persecuted all over the world, including in the USA.  We ask our heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, His Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit to hear our prayer(s).                                                                                          

November 9, 2014

A Piano Concert Given on the Road to Nothingness


by Larry Peterson

Until about four years ago, Marty, was never sick a day in her life. That is when the Lymphoma was discovered and the chemo began. The cancer would come and go and so would the PeT Scans and continued chemo treatments. Truthfully, it was never much more than an inconvenience. She never got sick, lost weight or had any of those stereotypical cancer fears materialize.

What did unexpectedly occur were the ever more frequent cognitive disruptions. Memory lapses, asking the same question over and over and things like that. I spoke to her oncologist and he silently said with raised eyebrows, tightened lips  and a shrug, ‘there might be a problem’.

Anesthesia administered during surgery for a severely broken ankle on August 1, dragged her deeply into the nether world which, up until then, had only been toying with her.  Now it grabbed her and yanked her in. On September 24 a heart attack (A-Fib) resolved any uncertainty. Her “Fog” or CRCD (Cancer Related Cognitive Dysfunction) was diagnosed as Alzheimer’s Disease. Quicksand could not have been more efficient.  Onward and downward.

The hospital and rehab stay after the ankle surgery had lasted 20 days and the days spent in the hospital and rehab after the A-Fib attack lasted 33 days. She thought I had moved her into a new apartment and was wondering why I would not stay there at night. Like a good “soldier” she would wait patiently, hour after hour after hour, until I returned the next day. Then, like a three year old who had been found by her daddy, her face would light up and she would say, “Oh thank God, you found me.” She knew she was “saved” and would hug me tight and not let go.

I freely admit that every damn day on the way home I cried thinking of how sad this was. My intelligent, independent, wife had become a lost child, the victim of an insidious demon inside her head who was erasing her brain. I had turned into a blubbering idiot. This Alzheimer’s thing was surely a despicable foe.

Marty returned home on October 26 with a bag full of new medications and a mind that was telling her that I had moved her into a ‘new’ house. She asked me if we “were married’, if we would sleep together in the same bed and if, in fact, her piano was new. After two weeks she had recovered some of (not all) her sense of belonging  in “her home”. She was still not sure where things should go and kept moving items from here to there without me knowing. I have (so far) had to search hi and low for the shampoo, the toothpaste, parmigianna cheese,  combs and hairbrush etc.  So be it—together we plod forward with her doing whatever she will do and me learning to (at all times) expect the unexpected. This is a minute to minute journey, unplanned, without a destination and very spontaneous.  But—there can be beautiful moments and yesterday one unexpectedly came along.

Marty has played piano since she was a child and is quite an accomplished pianist. A concern of mine while she was in rehab was that she might not remember how to play. I have been told she will actually forget how to. Yesterday, those concerns were put on hold.

I was in my cluttered, paper strewn office staring at the computer monitor when piano music began filling the house. I smiled to myself as I began to listen and then I realized this was something different. This was not the usual Marty, this was a transcendent  Marty. I could not believe what I was hearing. She was playing the most beautiful music I had ever heard  her play. “Stella by Starlight” filled the rooms followed by “Autumn Leaves” and then, my favorite, Chopin’s Major in E flat. I watched from the hallway and saw that she was lost within the music that she was bringing forth on that old piano.

Watching her play was like observing one of God’s magnificent flowers fully bloom. Realizing that these were now fleeting  moments soon to be no more I had the good sense to record the entire hour  that she played.  I figured that when she does forget how to play and does not recognize the piano or maybe even me, that music will still be here. That is when I will play it for her.  Maybe, just maybe, from whatever world she is in, she will take pause and smile. Maybe she will remember some of her music. Maybe, just maybe…

October 30, 2014

All Saint's Day: Never Forget that Our Christian Roots are Embedded in Judaism


by Larry Peterson

My father has been dead for many years but he is still teaching me how to be  Catholic. He is doing this by living in my mind via memories of his personal Christianity in action.  The Feast of All Saint's Day flips a switch that turns on one of these memories. That is also when I began to embrace the fact that the vast majority of the first Catholics were born and raised Jewish .

I remember that Friday night long ago. We lived in the south Bronx in a five story walk-up on Sherman Ave. There were eight of us in a four room apartment and we never even considered that it was small and cramped. The neighborhood was the same for all families except for those living up on the upscale Grand Concourse. That's where the "money" people lived in buildings with courtyards and sometimes the courtyards even had fish ponds in the middle.

It was still September and  summer had not yet left. Back then no-one had air-conditioning and everyone kept their windows open praying for a breeze. The screaming started a little past midnight. It filled the back alleyway and floated unmercifully upward and into the open windows. Our apartment was directly above the window from where the screams were coming and on this night they seemed exceptionally close and  blood-curdling. Pop got up and my brother, Danny, whispered from his bed, "I think he's going down there."

We watched as Pop left our apartment and headed down the stairs. We followed and quietly sat on the upper landing stretching our necks so our heads would make a right-angle turn to see down and around the landing below. We watched our father, who without hesitation, walked over to the apartment door and began banging on it with his fist. This was the apartment of Leo and Sophie Rabinowitz. Leo was the landlord and he owned the building. No one dared complain to the landlord about noise coming from his apartment even if it was about midnight screams that curled the hairs on your neck. But Pop was not going down to complain. He was going to see if he could help. He had this way about him and sometimes he was uncommonly instinctive.

The door opened and Leo poked his head out. Pop started talking to him and, incredibly, Leo just stood there listening. The man was short, maybe 5'2", he had a droopy mustache that needed tending and his sagging shoulders said he was obviously worn out. He held a pipe off to the side of his head and his face seemed to be saying, "Please help me." Pop continued talking for a minute or so and suddenly Leo Rabinowitz, the "feared" Jewish landlord, buried his head in my father's chest and began crying unashamedly. Danny and I were stunned. Then Pop, his arm around Leo's shoulder, disappeared into Leo's apartment.

We both went back into our apartment and lay there conjecturing away at all the possibilities that may have caused this unexpected union between a landlord and tenant, a Jewish man and a Catholic man, between two people who were neighbors but were not really except for location and who had nothing in common. Within fifteen minutes Bobby, Johnny and Carolyn had joined Danny and myself in the conversation and by the time our  five imaginations extrapolated each other's ideas, we "knew"  that Leo Rabinowitz was a communist spy and he had somehow killed our father and disposed of his dismembered body in the coal furnace down in the basement.

As we plotted our course of action Pop came back into our apartment. It had been a few hours, or at least it seemed that way. Pop just walked through our bedroom and headed to the back room moving ever so slowly. When he paused by his workbench he sat on the stool, lowered his head into his upraised fingers, took in a deep breath and sighed. Then, ever so quietly, he pulled his beads from his pocket and started praying the  rosary. None of us interrupted and I think we all just fell asleep.

We found out about those screams the next morning. Sophie was having nightmares all right, nightmares of her two boys, ages 12 and 9, being clubbed to death with rifle butts by the Nazis, who also  insisted that the boy's mom and dad watch as they killed their sons. To this day I cannot imagine what those moments in their lives were like. They were loving parents and were rendered helpless as godless people murdered their children, enjoying inflicting their heinous butchery on innocents. The ultimate torture distributed by the Nazis was allowing Leo and Sophie to watch. Sophie's screams told that story night after night, year after year after year. How ghastly and cruel those memories had to be.

All Saint's Day is celebrated on November 1. The gospel reading for the day is from Matthew 5:1-12, The Beatitudes. When the priest reads them the switch will flip and I will go back to that Friday once again. It always happens. I hear #2,  "Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted"; then #5, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy"; and #7, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."

Pop lived all three of those Beatitudes that Friday night long ago. He mourned with his Jewish neighbors, he was merciful to them and he brought a sense of peace into their lives. My gift was being able to remember how a Catholic man reached out to his Jewish neighbors and how they became friends. I also remember that because of that friendship Leo and Sophie Rabinowitz became friends with other folks in the building and in the neighborhood.

My final lesson in all of this was when Pop told me to get out my missal and read the Roman Canon. I did and began reading., silently. "Out loud", he said. I paused for a moment and looked at him. He said, "Just do it."

I did until I got to the part that read, "whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary---,and blessed Joseph, her spouse---", etc. "Okay, stop," he said. "Tell me about all those people."

"What about them?" I don't understand."

"Never ever forget that most all of them were Jewish, including Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Our roots are deeply embedded in Judaism. We Catholic/Christians and Jews are joined at the spiritual hip "in perpetuity. Leo and Sophie Rabinowitz are our brother and sister too. Never forget that."

I never forgot.

October 29, 2014

On Her Feast Day: Meet Blessed Maria Restituta; Holocaust Victim


by Larry Peterson

May 1, 1894,  was  a happy day for Anton and Marie Kafka.  Marie had just given birth  to her sixth child, a girl, and mom and her daughter were both doing fine. The proud parents named their new baby, Helena.  Devout Catholics, Anton and Marie had  Helena baptized into the faith  thirteen days after her birth. The ceremony took place in The Church of the Assumption, in the town of Husovice located in Austria.  Before Helena reached her second birthday and due to financial circumstances, the family had to move and settled in the city of Vienna.  This is where Helena and her siblings would remain and grow up.

Helena was a good student and worked hard. She received her First Holy Communion in May of 1905 in St. Brigitta Church and was confirmed in the same church a year later. After eight years of school she spent another year in housekeeping school and by the age of 15 was working as a servant, a cook and learning nursing.

Shortly thereafter, she became an assistant nurse at Lainz City Hospital in 1913. This was Helena's first contact with the Franciscan Sisters of  Christian Charity and she was immediately moved to become a Sister herself.  On April 25, 1914, Helena Kafka  joined the Franciscan sisters and on October 23, 1915, became Sister Maria Restituta. She made her final vows one year later and began working solely as a nurse.

Blessed Maria Restituta
When World War I ended Sister Maria was the lead surgical nurse at Modling Hospital in Vienna.  She and all other Austrians had never heard of Adolf Hitler and could never have imagined  that one day,  because of this man, their beloved nation would  be annexed into the German Republic.

 After a successful coup d'etat by the Austrian Nazi Party on  March 12, 1938, these unforeseen  and unimagined things came to pass. The Nazis, under Hitler, now controlled the once proud Austrian nation.

Sister Restituta was very outspoken in her opposition to the Nazi regime. When a new wing to the hospital was built she hung a Crucifix in each of the new bedrooms. The Nazis demanded that they be removed telling Sister Restituta that she would be dismissed if she did not comply. She refused and the crucifixes remained  hanging on the walls  

One of the doctors on staff, a fanatical Nazi, would have none of it. He denounced her to the Nazi Party and on Ash Wednesday, 1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo after coming out of the operating room. The "charges" against her included  "hanging crucifixes and writing a poem that mocked Hitler".

Sister Maria Restituta, the former Helena Kafka, loved her Catholic faith and, filled with the Spirit, wanted to do nothing more than serve the sick. The Nazis promptly sentenced her to death by the guillotine for "favouring the enemy and conspiracy to commit high treason".  The Nazis offered her freedom if she would abandon the Franciscans she loved so much.  She adamantly refused.

An appeal for clemency went as far as the desk of Martin Bormann, Hitler's personal secretary and Nazi Party Chancellor. His response was that her execution "would provide effective intimidation for others who might want to resist the Nazis".  Sister Maria Restituta spent her final days in prison caring for the sick. Because of her love for the Crucifix and the Person who was nailed to it and died on it, she was beheaded on March 30, 1943.  She was 48 years old.
 Pope John Paul II visited Vienna on June 21,1998.  That was the day  Helena Kafka, the girl who originally went to housekeeping school to learn how to be a servant, was beatified by the Pope and declared Blessed Maria Restituta.  She had learned how to serve extremely well  always serving others before herself.

Blessed Marie Restituta, please pray for us.

October 26, 2014

Halloween and The Legend of the Jack-O-Lantern (one version)


by Larry Peterson

Long ago in Ireland, the land of shamrocks, leprechauns, soft winds and smiles, there lived a man named Jack. Jack was quite lazy and did not like to work. But he had the gift of "blarney" and could talk the peat off the moss. He would tell wondrous tales about his adventures as a world traveler and the people in his village would be held spellbound by his golden tongue. Alas, Jack outsmarted himself when he  stole money from the townsfolk. He thought that they were not very smart and would never find out. But they did find out and began chasing him down the streets of the village.

As Jack ran down the road as fast as he could he rounded a bend and ran smack into the devil. The devil smiled at Jack and told him it was time for him to die and that he was there to take his soul. Jack quickly convinced the devil that if he would let him go and promise to never take his soul he would give him all the souls of the folks who were chasing him. "And how do you plan to do that, Jack?" the devil asked.

"Well now, all ye have ta do is turn ye-self into a pot of gold coins. Then I will give the coins to the people and you will be in all of their pockets. They will be yours."

Since many souls were better than only one, the devil readily agreed and turned himself into a pot of gold coins. Jack gave the coins to all the people and they went away smiling never realizing that they had given themselves to the devil in return for money.

So Jack lived on, grew old and, like all mortal men, finally died. His life had been so sinful on earth that he could not get into heaven and since the devil could not take his soul, he could not get into hell. He had nowhere to go. He asked the devil how he was supposed to see because he was in complete darkness. The devil laughed and tossed Jack a burning ember from the fires of hell, an ember that would never burn out.

Jack, using the ember to guide his way, found a pumpkin patch (some say it was turnips) and carved out a pumpkin. He put the ember inside and began carrying it around so he could see where he was going. To this day he wanders the earth seeking a resting place. And that is why he is known as "Jack-O'-Lantern" or "Jack of the Lantern".


October 21, 2014

Meet Asia Bibi; A Catholic/Christian Mom Sentenced to Death for Being a "Blasphemer"


by Larry Peterson

We are so blessed to be living in the Unites States of America. The freedoms we have enjoyed are beyond compare. Yet there are those Americans who will fight to have these very freedoms we enjoy stripped away to satisfy their own ideologies. How sad this is and what fools they are. Especially those who try to strip away religious freedom from those who disagree with them.

They call Christians  "intolerant" because Christianity stands against their preferred mantra of  hedonistic, secular "virtue". I wish that some of these people would try to imagine what it is like for so many people who live in countries without these freedoms.  I wish they could get out of their own comfort zones, remove their shoes or sneakers, and try on the shoes worn by Asia Bibi.

When you slip into Asia's shoes you realize that you are now a poor farm worker, the mother of five children and you worked in the fields harvesting berries. You are 44 years old and your husband is a brick laborer, a man who mixes the mortar and hauls it to the brick layer. You both work very hard and put in long hours to care for your children. You are also Roman Catholic. Your full name is Aasiya Noreen but you are better known as Asia Bibi. The country you live in is Pakistan.

You remember that hot, sunny day in June of 2009. You remember being out in the field working alongside the other women. They told you to go and fetch them water from the nearby well. (They are Muslim and you are a Christian. You are "beneath" their level and must do the menial tasks required). So you dutifully went to the well and pulled up the water. There was an old tin cup nearby and you picked it up, filled it with water and took a drink. You knew you were not allowed to drink from the same cup as the others lest you "defile" it and you made sure you did not. But by taking that simple sip of water the die had been cast.

Alas, using the dirty, rusted cup to drink from mattered not. A field hand angrily tells you that you are forbidden to drink the same water as a Muslim. You are already considered "unclean" because you are Christian. The other workers hurriedly gathered around you and started cursing you and your religion. Your faith must have been exploding in you because you defended it immediately. You summoned your resolve and remember saying, "I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ who died for the sins of mankind. What did your prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind." WOW!

Later that day some of the workers reported to the local cleric that you had "insulted" Mohammed. A  mob came to your home, beat you and your family and you had to be rescued by the police. The police investigated your remarks and arrested you for the crime of "blasphemy". Under the country's Sharia Law you are not equal to a Muslim so what you had to say was only considered "half" as important as what they had to say.

Trying to defend yourself was an effort in futility. They hold you in a local jail for one year and then you are found guilty of Blasphemy. Your sentence is death by hanging. You are shocked and horrified and helpless. Your husband is sickened and your children lost inside themselves. You can do nothing. You are sent to prison and placed on death row.

It is now 2014. After a hearing that lasted a few hours, the Pakistani High Court upheld the verdict handed down in 2010. Your impending execution by hanging is affirmed. People and organizations around the world have been clamoring for your release. So far it is to no avail.

If you have had the guts to "try on Asia'a shoes" can you get a sense of what life might be like for Christians and others who have no religious freedom. Can you imagine what this Christian woman, the mother of five, must be feeling? She has been living in a dank, stinking hole for almost five years. The only visitor she can receive is her husband and a doctor. How disgusting and inhumane to do this to someone just because they have a different belief than you do. How reprehensible to vilify a wife and mom simply because she took a sip of water from an old tin cup. Is this what you want someday?

Asia Bibi is a human being just like all of us. She has family she loves. She has children she wants to hug and feed and nurture and tuck in at night and tend to their scrapes and runny noses. She is hard working, kind, and generous to her neighbors. She is not different than most other people. No different except for one thing. She is a Catholic in a Muslim world. Therefore, because of her "beliefs", she is hated and despised.  In the highly "civilized" world of 2014 we are seeing more vicious and brutal murders of people who follow Christ than at any time in history.

Over 400,000 signatures have been collected on petitions asking for Asia's release. Pope Benedict XVI called for the charges against her to be dismissed. These pleas have fallen on deaf ears. In fact, a Christian minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti and a Pakistani official, Salmann Taseer, were both murdered for defending Asia. Her family has gone into hiding because of all the death threats they have received. Finally, the word "on the street" is that if Asia is released she will be killed anyway.
Are you tired of walking in Asia's shoes yet?

I will never understand Americans who "fight" to get rid of religious freedoms. If you do not like religion you do not have to participate in any of it. You are living in a country which accepts and promotes this kind of  freedom. The United States of America was NOT founded so people like you can destroy people who disagree with you. When you do that you are no different than those that want to hang Asia Bibi.  The only difference is you do not use a rope and a gallows as a weapon of choice. The weapon you use to destroy your fellow American "enemy" the U.S. Constitution. You have managed to turn it against itself to defile religious freedom. How clever you all are.

Many people around the world are praying for the safe release of Asia Bibi. Americans trying to destroy religious freedom in America might take pause and think of her also.  She has been imprisoned  for five years and is set to hang because she was a Catholic who took a drink of  "Muslim" water from an old tin cup. This could never happen in America. Or could it?

October 15, 2014

The Catholic Church is the "Bride" of Christ and the Holy Spirit has Her Back: NO Problem


by Larry Peterson

It is quite apparent to me that the 2014 Vatican Synod on the Family has been hijacked by the mainstream media and press. (Maybe we should call it the Secular Media Synod). Reports of Synod actions are flying out from the keyboards about all sorts of things and none of these keyboards are privy to what any of the final Synod results will say.  For example, I opened the Tampa Tribune this morning and on the NATION & World page the headline blared,
"Vatican Reaches out to gays, cohabitants
Conservatives denounce report as "betrayal"

This was reported by Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press and the first sentence read like this;
VATICAN CITY----Gay rights groups hailed a "seismic shift" by the Catholic Church toward  gays on Monday after bishops said homosexuals had gifts to offer the church and that their partnerships, although morally problematic, provided same-sex couples with "precious" support. 

A spokesman for the LGBT "Catholics" in the United States and around the world called the Synod's actions "a light in the darkness, a dramatic new tone from a church hierarchy that has long denied the very existence of committed and loving gay and lesbian partnerships."

Tell me please, what does the average "news reader" get from that? In a world where iPads and Androids and laptops and Twitter and Facebook fill cyber world with all sorts of information, just those two short news clips leading a story are enough to give a person all the news they think they might "need" to determine what is going on. But this is NOT what the Synod has done. Once again the media, in its quest to make "points" evades the truth.

You know what, we all had better step back and take a breath. The secular media is defining the synod on its own terms. There is NO "seismic shift" taking place inside the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has NEVER DENIED the "existence of committed and loving gay and lesbian partnerships". The Church has always taught that sex outside of marriage is sinful. That applies to heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples. The gay community seems to ignore this fact. So do many heterosexual couples. If  unwed couples wish to live together they are supposed to be celibate. That s nothing NEW.

The fact is, the Catholic Church's end game with marriage is a sacramental union between a man and woman. As Cardinal Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod said as the Synod convened, "----to seek the truth which is not an abstract concept or the result of philosophical or theological speculation", but the person of Christ, the God-man, man born-in-time, and Son of the Father: 'I am the way, the Truth and the Life' (John 14:6). He is the point of departure."

The Catholic Church was founded by Christ 2000 years ago. The Church is His "bride". We are all part of the Catholic family. (The word catholic means 'universal' so it is for everyone--if they so choose). This Synod is about family, the Catholic family. That is the primary purpose. Secondly, family starts with a marriage. Not a marriage as defined by the secular world but marriage as defined by the Church. The fact is, within the Catholic Church, marriage is a sacramental union. It is called Holy Matrimony. Christ Himself instituted the Sacrament of Matrimony.

That is the starting point for the members of the synod. This is critical to remember. These synod participants are ordained priests and bishops. They know that their primary purpose is to defend and protect the faith they love and have vowed to serve. Herein is where the confusion begins. They are all different yet all part of the same family. As with any family, discussion among family members about critical family issues (finances, health care, living arrangements, education etc) can be diverse, opinionated, and sometimes even intransigent. Emotions might get elevated as different personal beliefs clash.

This is what the family hierarchy does. They discuss, opine and hopefully arrive at a decision that  reaches out to all family members. Sometimes they have to reach out slowly and "gradually". Most importantly, they stay within the family's value system and, no matter who likes it or not, do not stray from that primary goal. Yes, the primary goal is the health and welfare and well-being of the  entire family. That is defined in its family doctrines and dogma. In the case of the Catholic Church, that family and its belief system can be traced back 2000 years and more.

Jesus Christ created the church hierarchy when He founded His church. He appointed his apostle, Peter, the head of the church. Peter, thus, was the first Pope and his lineage can be traced, unbroken, down to Pope Francis who is the 266th Pope. There is one all important factor in all of this that everyone should remember, especially the secular world. The Catholic Church, when it conclaves as it is doing within the Synod, is not political and it is not ideological. There may be arguments and disagreements but that is the way within a family. However, when the day is done, the one who has the final say is Jesus Christ and he does it through the Holy Spirit who guides this Church. Certain rules have been in place for centuries and some can never change.  This is our faith. This is what we believe. This is why I am waiting until spring of 2016 for the final results of the Synod's work. I refuse to get my information from the main stream secular media.

Finally, according to Catholic World News on October 14, the synod fathers,in summing up synod's post-discussion report, suggested some of the following:
.the synod should encourage and thank faithful Catholic families
.clarify what is meant by gradualism
.the Holy Family should be presented as a model of family life
.the word "sin" is almost absent from the document
.recalling "the prophetic tone of the word of Jesus," the synod should NOT conform to the world's  mentality.
.in offering pastoral care to homosexuals, the Church should not "create an impression of a positive  evaluation of this orientation"

I am not worried about this at all. The Holy Spirit has the back of the "Bride" of Christ. No problem.